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My Grandson is scared of me!

(117 Posts)
Armoria Wed 12-Dec-18 15:24:36

It's getting to the point now that I really don't want to visit my son and daughter in law because my 22 month old grandson screams and cries and clings to his mum whenever I arrive. I have never ever done any single thing to warrant this and it is really upsetting.

I have a loving and close relationship to my daughter's children who are now 12 and 17 and when my son and his wife had a little boy in 2016 I could not have been more thrilled. We were not allowed to visit for the first week as they wanted to get established into a routine before having visits and also it had been sort of agreed that my daughter in law's parents should be the first to visit as the little chap was their first grandchild and we already had 2 so we had to wait until they had got round to visiting. I was a tad put out but went with it to keep the peace. When we did see him he was adorable but parents were suffering and sleep deprived so we used to take him out for a walk for a couple of hours or so to give them chance for a catch up nap and we absolutely loved the time we spent with him out and about.

When he was a few months old he had a stinking cold and reflux and at one point stopped breathing. They called an ambulance but after being checked out in hospital he was given the all clear and sent home. My son called me, he was overwhelmed and daughter in law a mess too so at 10.30pm we just got in the car and drove the 90mins to their house and spent the next 2 days and nights with them till they all settled. They are first time parents in their mid 30's, both professional people and absolutely no experience of children whatsoever. We continued to visit 2 days and nights a week until they seemed to be more confident and then we started stepping back to one a week. Also I am self employed and while I can juggle my work to fit in any family demands I cant always do so and there are periods where I have to work maybe everyday for a few weeks and I also help out my daughter with childcare for her youngest one and we do try to have a life of our own and go on holidays and breaks.

When little one was about 7 or 8 months old my daughter in law became very possessive, having now found her 'mummy feet' big time and she became his whole world whereas before she was happy to let us take him for walks, feed him, change him, cuddle him. If I were to even try to go near him or pick him up he would cry and rather than let me rock and shush him she would immediately take him off me, take him away and cuddle him. This went on for weeks and weeks and I eventually got so exasperated but tried not to let it show for sake of harmony but my son could see I was upset one time however they both said sorry if I was upset but they did not want HIM to be upset or cry and maybe it was because we didn't come over often enough and her parents were there every week or so. Her parents by the way are older and both retired, my son is also self employed so knows that when you have to work, you have to work. It got so bad that I would only have to walk in through the door and he would burst into tears, scream and hold out arms for his mum and she of course would always rescue him.

He's now nearly 2 and while he does not cry and scream so much he still does cry upon seeing me and will not go anywhere near me. Ive tried being casual about it, Ive tried holding something out for him to take, I've tried playing with him, talking to him but to no avail. If he is walking across the room and say I walk in he straight away turns around and goes back or does a massive detour to avoid me.

I am really at my wits end, He is OK with my husband, he goes up to him and holds his hand and plays cars with him. I want nothing more than to pick him up and give him a big sqwishy nanna kiss and cuddle, sing to him, read a book with him on my lap, take him for walks round the garden looking for bugs and things. All the stuff I did with my other grandchildren.

I have no idea what to do. I suspect it has been 'imprinted' on him that I am something to be scared of and to be mummy rescued from because of how each time he cried he was taken off me but I cannot say that without causing offence. He does not go to any kind of preschool, nursery or toddler group. My son works from home but little one is with mummy pretty much 24/7. They never come over to our house as a family. Son has visited just twice with him since he was born. We are expected to make the journey over to theirs which is 90 mins each way if traffic is OK. If she stays at her parents for a few days (they live about 13 miles away from us) she will meet us in town for lunch or an hour or so between his naps on one day. To be honest it's getting expensive for us to keep visiting especially as he has set naps so by the time we get there and he has been woken from his nap at the set time, we would have maybe a couple of hours with him before we would have to travel back as hubby and I dislike travelling along the country lanes in the dark so we end up getting a hotel so we can have longer with him.

It's got to the point where we just don't want to go but feel we have to to keep the peace and not be bad grandparents but how much longer can we keep doing this only for him to cry and rebuff my efforts. I am not a quitter and hate the idea of giving up on him but I'm absolutely at my wits end as to how to rectify the situation and get him to accept me. Sorry this is a long one but I am pretty desperate for any advice or help.

marii53 Thu 07-Feb-19 12:43:04

Oldbatty, what a ridiculous remake to make , this is her family.

EllanVannin Fri 21-Dec-18 18:31:43

As Peter Kay used to say in his advert " put your photo on the mantlepiece and the child won't go near the fire ".

He said it, not me but the thread title reminded me of it.

linjon Fri 21-Dec-18 18:01:20

I agree that you should carry on as normal and make conversation with everyone but ignore your gs. If you catch his eye smile kindly but don’t try to engage with him. Slowly but surely he will come to you but don’t ever force it - always let children come to you on their terms. I would start off by maybe showing an interest in one of his toys but ignoring him. If he wants it back give it to him but you may find he will want to share your interest in said toy. Patience will almost certainly pay off. Good luck

knickas63 Fri 14-Dec-18 12:36:14

They all go through this phrase I think. My older three, 3, 4 and 7, have all 'gone off' a certain person for a while, sometimes me, sometimes my husband, sometimes their other grandparents or great grandma - for no real reason. It will pass.

chattykathy Fri 14-Dec-18 10:48:08

I think oldmom has hit it on the head. Your DIL is not helping in any way. She should be working with you to encourage the relationship between you and your GS. Do you think she may subconsciously resent the fact that you had to rally round when GS was a baby? I agree that the best approach is to work on your relationship with DIL, kill her with kindness!! Another thought I had do you invite them for Sunday lunch? GS can have his nap en route in the car. Good luck OP

MissAdventure Fri 14-Dec-18 09:34:16

Children go through all sorts of phases.
They're fickle.

oldmom Fri 14-Dec-18 09:32:33

I'm speaking here from a DIL's perspective.

OP, from everything you've said, I don't think your DGS is scared of you. I think your DIL doesn't like you and this has transferred to your grandson.

You don't need to see a child frequently to have a good relationship. My PILs live a 2 hour flight away, and see my son every couple of years. he has an excellent relationship with them, because I encourage it. My DH loves his parents, but if everything was left to him, they would hardly know DS.

Ignore for now the fact that your grandson doesn't like you, hurtful as that may be. Focus on your relationship with your DIL. If you can improve that, I'm sure the relationship with her son would also improve. Maybe she has a very different personality to yours, and while she is probably very grateful for all your help and support in the past, she may still resent that she needed the help, and various little things you may have said and done, that in her mind build up. TBH, some of your comments do suggest that you don't agree with her parenting methods. If you are, however involuntarily, communicating that, the she will likely feel resentful, and not be willing to spend time with you.

The cardinal rule of successful grandparenting, is work on the relationship with the adults first, if you want a relationship with the child.

icanhandthemback Fri 14-Dec-18 08:56:43

I think the difference with Gransthebest and Armoria is that the former is a blood relation with the latter being an in-law. It does tend to be a different dynamic.

oldbatty Fri 14-Dec-18 08:02:37

Our youngest GD is a manipulative young lady

Or basically just a 6 year old kid.

Newmom101 Fri 14-Dec-18 07:32:59

I knew if he didn't see me at least 4/5 times a week that he would become estranged from me..he is a very clingy baby.I suggested we live video each other via mobile phone at least every other day so the baby can hear my voice and get a visual of me to go with the voice

NOOOO! Do not suggest this OP. It will make you look clingy and very obsessed with the baby. It will probably push her further away, if my mom or MIL suggested this I'd be running for the hills. No way would I do that

Gransthebest you must have a very close relationship with your daughter for her to allow that. But I don't really get why you thought the baby would need to see you or hear your voice 4/5 A WEEK! to not be estranged from you? Plenty of grandparents (lots on here in fact!) see their grandchild weekly or less and have very close relationship with them. That's more contact than some non-resident parents have.

Dockersgirl1955 Fri 14-Dec-18 03:51:14

Just be yourself and you can't go wrong as children of a ages can sense if your nervous around them so be happy be yourself

gmelon Fri 14-Dec-18 03:47:58

As pp have said things will change.
My granddaughter screamed the place down and clung to mummy from eighteen months onward for a year.
Her distress could not be calmed and I felt so for her.

As for me I accepted it and found it pretty tiring to be honest.

When she got older she grew out of it and can now be heard out in the street gleefully shouting Nanny, Nanny, Nanny on arrival by car at mine. We can't wait to see her she's a joy. It's wonderful to know she is happy and free of the distress.

Gransthebest Fri 14-Dec-18 03:14:18

My daughter moved and had a baby who's nine months old now and I knew if he didn't see me at least 4/5 times a week that he would become estranged from me..he is a very clingy baby.I suggested we live video each other via mobile phone at least every other day so the baby can hear my voice and get a visual of me to go with the voice...the call would only last between 5/15mins depending on how long daughter had time.This has worked extremely well for us as baby recognizes me when I go there (which is usually only once or twice a month)and will put his arms up for me to take him and becomes quite clingy with me then!..I wonder if this would be an option that could be considered in your situation? does really work.

icanhandthemback Thu 13-Dec-18 23:47:55

It will probably pass if you can sit tight. I used to find it difficult that my DGS would cry and avoid me whenever his parents were around despite the fact that I looked after him twice a week. I used to rationalise it by thinking that he was worried that they might leave him with me but it was still upsetting. I have been looking after him for over 2 years and it was only about a month ago that they left him with me for a couple of days whilst they had a mini break. The change has been phenomenal. For the first time ever, he cried when I didn't take him back with me after dropped him back with them the other day. Of course I don't like him crying but it does show that the fear has gone. Be patient, it might take a while, but you will get there if you don't show too much angst to the child or parents.
Very often with the first child, parents are very protective. By the time the second one comes along, they are less restrictive.

willa45 Thu 13-Dec-18 23:25:46

Children go through phases where they are afraid of someone with eyeglasses or a sudden loud voice or gesture. Once they have an episode of fearfulness, it happens every time they see the person.

When my oldest D was 7 months old, my mother's neighbor laughed out loud and startled her. That triggered a fear that lasted until D was fourteen months old. Every time the lady visited my mother and we happened to be there, my D would cry hysterically if she even so much as looked her way. One day we ran into the (very nice) lady in the lobby, started a conversation and surprisingly D didn't even react.....end of phobia.

Nonnatimesfour Thu 13-Dec-18 23:18:47

It does sound like a bit of a phase Armoria, I truly hope it passes soon and all will be well. Wishing you all the best.

B9exchange Thu 13-Dec-18 22:09:15

As everyone else has said, this too will pass. I have one GD who as a toddler would scream when I came in the room. That stopped, but then when they were staying with us, she walked in the bedroom and my husband had no shirt on. She took an instant dislike to his grey hairy chest and announced for about 9 months that she didn't like him, he was devastated! She is now an absolute delight at 7, and writes us letters telling us how much she loves and misses us.
Our youngest GD is a manipulative young lady. Now nearly six, she clings to her mother and sobs if we babysit, despite us seeing her every week. The sobs switch off in seconds the minute the door closes on her parents. She will not go anywhere near any of our other children, especially the boys, will make great detours not to go anywhere near them. We just ignore it.

Or course it hurts a lot when he does this, you poor soul, but in no time he will be at school, and he will change. They grow up so fast, you blink and they are teenagers, and see grandparents then as a bit boring, with no idea what life is all about!

marmar01 Thu 13-Dec-18 21:45:32

my first gc a girl is very close to me, sleeping over a couple of nights a week from 4 weeks old (mum in another room) but her brother has been kept a baby by my DD so at the age of 4 its only now that he wants to spend time with us,And i have just let him get on with it, if you love him just let him be xx

Armoria Thu 13-Dec-18 21:36:04


Sorry, this isn’t about a grandparent unhappy that her grandson doesn’t like her. This is a parent unhappy with her sons choice of wife

ABSOLUTELY NOT! She is the very best choice my Son could have made in many ways and they both fit each other very well.

I am NOT expecting her to do a 3 hour round trip every single time or even on a regular basis but one visit once in a while would be nice especially as she drives to her parents house pretty much every other month or sooner to stay with them for a week and she actually has to almost pass ours to get to theirs!

When my children were little we took them to see both sets of Grandparents and would not have dreamed of expecting them to visit us all the time or making them feel guilty if they didn't . My parents in law lived well over an hour away so every other Sunday we would go over for the afternoon and although my parents lived closer we still made the effort to visit them too. Yes I understand times are different but I really don't think a visit to us once in a while is asking or expecting too much.

Sorry to disagree with you but while I do have an issue with the onus to visit being on us all the time, my post IS all about the fact that my GS for well over a year now seems to hate the sight of me and I am finding it more and more upsetting and was reaching out to other Grans to seek opinions and advice.

Elrel Thu 13-Dec-18 20:41:04

As you say 'Everything passes' - I was about post that OP's DGS won't be having 3 hour daily naps for ever!

Jane43 Thu 13-Dec-18 20:03:56

Try not to compare your son and DIL’s family dynamic with your daughter’s and your relationship with your daughter’s children with your son’s child. Expectations can be unrealistic sometimes and I have found the best approach with DILs is not to have any, be guided by their ground rules and tread very carefully. I have had three over 30 years. It is an upsetting situation but your son and DIL are probably upset by it too.

I concur with others that it is a phase that will pass. When our first son was born he used to cry as soon as he saw my MIL and it was very upsetting for us all. When he was very small she was passed him for a cuddle and unfortunately scratched his face with her watch which could have caused his future behaviour. She also used to say he was frightened of her hair which was dyed black and her loud voice which was a result of her mother being deaf. It could have been all these things or it could have been none of them but it did pass and my son eventually had a very loving relationship with her.

I often think of things my mother used to say and one of her sayings was, “Everything passes”.

OutsideDave Thu 13-Dec-18 19:30:27

Do you skype or FaceTime with him when you can’t visits? Send him little notes and cards in the mail? Send pictures when you can’t see him? All of those things are a lovely low pressure way to remind him of your affection for him between visits.

OutsideDave Thu 13-Dec-18 19:28:40

I quite agree with Eglantine. As tough as the visits are for you and DH to make they would be quite a bit tougher on DIL and GS. His reactions are a phase. One all 3 of my kids went through. My DD would scream bloody murder when she saw my mothers car pull into the driveway. They are best buddies now. It took time and development and a thick skin but everyone survived. It seems as though you think dIL shouldn’t have comforted her crying child and that’s somehow to blame for him having a completely developmentally normal phase of preferences towards caregivers/kin? It is absolutely not her fault, nor something she can control. Please take some deep breaths and remind yourself it’s not personal.

luluaugust Thu 13-Dec-18 19:12:12

Armoria it all sounds exhausting take care flowers

Eglantine21 Thu 13-Dec-18 19:06:11

The OPs son can’t visit because he works. The OP wants her DIL to do a three hour round trip (if the traffics good, more if not) with a almost two year old -unaccompanied, so she has to drive through traffic and see to his needs. And the OP complains that her DIL doesn’t want to do that hmm

Sorry, this isn’t about a grandparent unhappy that her grandson doesn’t like her. This is a parent unhappy with her sons choice of wife.