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How to Handle Rude and Unruly Grandchildren

(43 Posts)
Cynthi013 Wed 23-Jan-19 12:08:35

I am the mother of 4 grown children and grandmother of 10 grandchildren ranging in age from 4 to 22 years of age. Three of my children remarried and had more children, hence the age difference of my grandchildren. Of course, I went crazy when I had my first 4 grandchildren, but by the time the other 6 arrived, I was overwhelmed. Eight of my grandchildren are very respectful and mannerly, but 2 of them (girls aged aged 4 and 7) are very rude, disrespectful, and will not mind. The oldest was removed from 2 different child care facilities for spitting, biting, etc. and is currently in counseling for her behavior. I have informed my son of their behavior when we have kept them overnight and dealt with this type of behavior. My son acknowledges her behavior and informs us she is in counseling. My daughter-in-law (DIL) has always defended them and informs us that they are both "gifted" and their behavior is that of a leader. We have stopped having them over for sleepovers, but do still continue to have the others. The last few times we have seen these grandgirls, they have been obstinate, rude, won't acknowledge us and if they did, it was to inform us they wanted to spend time with "their family". It is obvious that my DIL has made negative statements about us. This is very upsetting to me, and I feel like I should do something and try and repair this situation. My husband thinks we should leave it alone because our past attempts have made no difference. Do any of you have grandchildren like this and if so, how do you deal with it?

notentirelyallhere Wed 23-Jan-19 14:27:04

Cynthi those two children sound very troubled and perhaps their mother is the problem. I remember a friend whose son kicked and bit my children, she was a laid back, never-say-a-word mother who imposed no discipline whatsoever and her son was permanently in trouble at school. In the end, he became a solid citizen, if a little unorthodox.

I am inclined to agree with your husband and keep your distance. Don't cut off contact but enjoy your other grandchildren. If you can tactfully make it clear that you find the children's behaviour unacceptable, then I'd do that too.

One last thing I'm hesitant to say, but, sometimes children behave like that because there is abuse. Apologies if this horrifies you but perhaps just pause and think about the wider DILs family and how they are treated by them. If the school has excluded them it must be pretty bad. All the best to you.

agnurse Wed 23-Jan-19 18:40:19

The most you can do, realistically, is advise them that you won't tolerate that behaviour at your home and you can model positive behaviour.

kathsue Wed 23-Jan-19 19:03:48

If you had them for a sleepover one at a time it might be easier for you. Or maybe have one of the unruly girls and a different GC of a similar age. The GC might set a good example for the other girl.

PECS Wed 23-Jan-19 19:10:40

If the children do not have a diagnosis of any additional need and you are sure it is because they have not been given good guidance by parents then there is not very much to do. Arrange to always see them somewhere public: go out for lunch, a walk in a NT place, seaside etc. so parents are always present. It is then not your responsibility to manage the behaviour.
It sounds as if mum cannot accept that her DDs are poorly behaved. It makes no difference how gifted or otherwise a child is. They need to learn to behave successfully in society for their own happiness as well as that of everyone around them!

Iam64 Wed 23-Jan-19 20:02:26

Good suggestion from PECS. The idea of seeing them in a public place and avoiding sleep overs sounds good to me. Are the children different if you only have one of them to visit at a time. If not, definitely stick with the meeting in public places. Try and avoid confrontation with their parents, which won't help any of you.

luluaugust Wed 23-Jan-19 20:30:16

It would be interesting to have them to stay or take them out one at a time especially the younger one and see what their behaviour is like when they don't have any back up, however, I do agree days out with the whole family somewhere they can run around would be a good idea. Obviously there must be a lot of problems if she is 7 and having counselling. I agree with your husband try to keep it all friendly.

DIL17 Thu 24-Jan-19 11:56:52

PECS makes a good point. If their parents haven't done anything to help then I'm not sure what you can do.

That said, my DD is a star for my mum, but just won't entertain being around my MIL. We've asked her to be nice and polite, that nanny loves her, we've tried leaving them for the day to bond and enjoy 1:1 time but the reality is, they just don't click or want to do the same things together.

All I can suggest is what I say to my MIL is that continue to see her, please don't exclude her from the family, she's only 5, but she is also a girl that know what she is and isn't interested in.

M0nica Fri 25-Jan-19 09:33:50

Being 'gifted', assuming they actually are, is no justification for poor behaviour, any more than poor behaviour is acceptable in any other child. I worked with academically gifted children for over a decade and any behavioural problems - and there were few- had other causes, unrelated to their ability.

As others say, if one of the children is receiving counselling, then there clearly are problems that have been identified by the school, Social Services or doctors. Could you find out more of the reasons for this, beyond that she is has behavioural problems.

There is nothing you can do to remedy the situation because you did not cause it and cannot remove any of the possible causes. Your DH is right, the thing is to leave things alone.

One advantage of being a grandparent is that we are usually older and if all else fails, can always say that now we are older we do not have the energy and therefore cannot do............... So, just say that you do no longer have the energy to cope with these two grand daughters on their own, no-one is denying they are a handful, and insist that whenever they come round a parent comes as well.

Aepgirl Fri 25-Jan-19 10:39:08

I agree with your husband. If you ignore the situation it may well resolve itself. If you fall out with your DIL you may well lose contact with your son.

4lyndon6 Fri 25-Jan-19 10:43:56

My granddaughter, 18, has been given an unconditional place at uni for this September, but unfortunately was taken ill and ambulanced to hospital the day before the scholarship exam. She’s recovering at home right now, but uni are saying no to a resit of the exam. Has anyone experienced a similar situation and had success in getting this exam allowed again? Feel so helpless and sorry for her, she’s worked so very hard for her uni place and had great A level results. TIA

mabon1 Fri 25-Jan-19 10:58:57

Tell them "this is my home and I will not put up with bad behaviour and will not have them here"

annab275 Fri 25-Jan-19 11:10:02

it does sound as though they have not been given any boundaries, which children need. You can only treat them as you would your other grandchildren when you see them. It sounds like their mum is a bit misguided. Such as shame, as the kids suffer and grow up with an expectation of how the world is, which is out of step with reality.

Willow10 Fri 25-Jan-19 11:53:36

4lyndon6 - maybe you should start a new thread on your subject - it may get lost in this one?flowers

allsortsofbags Fri 25-Jan-19 12:09:35

As others have said seems as if your DIL may be at the root of the issue. And as others have said I'm leaning towards your DH leave things as they are for now. Find ways to keep the contact going but in ways that don't leave you too hurt.

If she and her girls are the "Second" family she and the girls may feel in competition with the "First" family and other members of your family.

I'm not saying this is the case or an excuse but may be something for you to think about.

If the girls feel more important to your DIL's family it may not just be because your DIL is or isn't saying things. Where do these girls sit in the order of GC in her family?

Are your DIL's family norms such that this behaviour is accepted? It's not acceptable for me but other families have other values. May be a question for you to ask yourself.

However, the behaviour your DIL thinks is a leadership quality sounds more like bullying to me but I could be wrong.

If there is a counsellor involved try to give them time to see what the outcome is.

I understand that you are feeling hurt and you may have feelings of being disappointed in how these girls are being parented but it's down to your son and his wife to parent their girls.

It is sad when you/we can see things that could disadvantage a child either in the now or as a potential difficulty in their future.

Do what you can to stay in touch, try to think about what other factors may be contributing to the issues with and for these GDs doing that may help you feel less hurt :-(

Wishing you and your family the best of outcomes.

Chocolatenoodle8 Fri 25-Jan-19 12:16:34

My house, my rules! We have grandchildren and adore them. What happens in their own homes is up to their parents but in our house we insist upon them being polite and speaking clearly plus good behaviour when we take them out. My advice would be that until their behaviour improves they can’t sleep over. Such a shame because they’re missing lots of fun!

inishowen Fri 25-Jan-19 12:19:10

My 7 year GD has become rude and demanding since her dad walked out recently. She still sees him but it has had a profound affect on her. I pick her up from school and the other day she said "I'm rubbing ear wax on your windscreen". I told her that was disgusting and gave her a wet wipe to clean it. She refused to clean it. She is so demanding to me at home. "Get me something sweet, now!" was how she spoke to me. I've also had "stop staring at me" when she was opening a present I'd bought her. I'm hoping she will return to her normal self soon as I will have her for all the school holidays in the future.

sodapop Fri 25-Jan-19 12:38:40

Time for a heart to heart with your granddaughter inishowen. Talk to her about the problems at home and you understand how sad she feels. Then you can tell her that her behaviour is not helping either of you and perhaps find ways she can express how she feels without being rude.

Greciangirl Fri 25-Jan-19 12:52:37

I think you need to be a little more assertive when dealing with your dgd.
You seem to be taking a very passive approach.

Just assuming she will return to her normal self soon isn’t very realistic. It sounds as if she needs a firm talking to about her unacceptable behaviour. Otherwise she will probably carry on disrespecting you.

Coyoacan Fri 25-Jan-19 12:55:44

inishowen It sounds a bit like she is testing you to see if your love is unconditional or if you will also leave her.

grandtanteJE65 Fri 25-Jan-19 12:58:31

I am afraid you have three options:

Put up with their bad behaviour (which I do not advise).

Inform your son and daughter-in-law what behaviour you are prepared to put up with and what you are not. Make it clear that you love the children and that they are welcome if they behave. If not, you will invite them when they have learned to behave. (This course of action will offend your daughter-in-law and probably your son as well, as basically you are saying that they have made a bad job of bringing up their children.)

Only invite your grandchildren with their parents. Correct anything you see as bad behaviour and if the girls' parents object, say sweetly, "My house, my rules".

Anything except grinning and bearing their behaviour may well cause a breach in the family.

jenpax Fri 25-Jan-19 13:38:56

For those who say DIL to blame remember it takes both parents to bring up the children! If the DGC are rude BOTH parents should be dealing with it!

Daisyboots Fri 25-Jan-19 13:58:23

I have a huge number of grandchildren (23) and they range in age from 34 down to 3 months. But the thing to remember is all children are different even in the same family. Same with the greatgrandchildren . Mostly their behaviour is down to both parents not just one. One of my DGS was was very badly behaved at the age of 4 mainly due to his parents but it was best ignored . Now aged 12 he is a delightful, polite and very intelligent young man.
Maybe yoyr DIL is the second wife and could be feeling that she is an outsider in your family which makes her defensive. I agree with earlier posters advice to continue seeing them but dont have them over for sleeepovers at the moment. Some children love staying over but some don't.

sodapop Fri 25-Jan-19 14:02:25

I think its more to the point to understand why the little girl is acting this way. I think she is more sinned against than sinning. Maybe the parents need to pull together to help even if they are separated.

breeze Fri 25-Jan-19 14:46:12

This thread has become a little complicated.

inishowen I agree completely with Coyoacan She probably feels insecure and insecure children are sometimes naughty as any attention is better than no attention. Just ignore the bad if you can and reward the good and be there.

lyndon6 I felt quite astonished when I read about your DGD. I thought that, as long as medical evidence was produced, i.e. GP/hospital letter, then all establishments would allow a later sit or resit of an exam. But I don't have the direct experience to know for sure so I'm hoping someone can help you there. A separate thread may be the way to go as someone said previously.

Cynthi013 like others, I find it hard to believe that spitting and biting at their ages (toddlers do do this) is a sign of a gifted child or 'leader' (maybe Teresa May should try biting some MP's). So it does seem that your DIL is the type of person who cannot bear to face facts and is using this as an excuse for unacceptable behaviour. How you deal with it? I guess you have 2 options. Either refuse to look after them and only see them, as others have suggested, when you visit their home or in a public place. Explain you are not capable of looking after 'gifted' children.

Or, if you really feel you want to help them, then as someone said earlier in the thread, you could try having them one at a time hoping that they will learn by your example. If you have good manners and behave in a calm non violent way maybe they will see that is the right way. If it's not reinforced at home of course, you may get nowhere.

When they mature, they will be ostracised if they continue to behave in such an unsociable way, so they will probably learn the hard way in the end.

You sound like a great GP to show such concern. I hope you can see some progress with their behaviour so you don't have to worry.