Gransnet forums


How do I handle this?

(31 Posts)
ruthiek Sat 26-Jan-19 11:15:37

My DS and DIL divorced when my grandchildren were 3 and 1, all amicable, both have remarried and the grandchildren Love their stepparents all good you think, but now the two GC are arguing over who they should love more, my GD who is 10 idolises her Dad and gets really cross with my GS when he says he can love both Dads the same , it erupted - as they do- this week into a full on row which I had to separate, the sensible part of me is so glad their stepdad loves them as his own andvis good with my GS but a part of me agrees with my GD that they should love own dad more! Dreadful I know, I sorted it by telling they could love each Dad the same but in a different way, but I must admit to going to bed saddened that my GS loves his stepdad more. Did I do right in what I said ?

GrannyGravy13 Sat 26-Jan-19 11:37:54

I would take comfort from the fact that your grandchildren have two "fathers" who love them very much and whom they love back. Along with the fact they have two positive male role models in their lives.

sodapop Sat 26-Jan-19 12:13:08

I understand how you feel ruthiek but those feelings are best kept to yourself.
I agree with Grannygravy.

Newmom101 Sat 26-Jan-19 12:35:35

Children's affection can be very fickle and I don't think they really understand the concept of 'loving someone more'. It's very likely that his step-dad did something fun with him this week which means hes the 'favourite' for now. It'll change all the time.

Also, his step-dad probably isn't as involved in discipline as his mom is there to do that. So the step-parent is sometimes the fun one who doesn't have to deal with telling them off. As they grow up they understand this. I agree with a pp, it's great that there are so many people that love them.

I would tell them they are both allowed to love different people different amounts as well. They don't have to love the same person the most, to try to stop your GD telling him who to love more, which might then avoid the arguement.

Nannarose Sat 26-Jan-19 14:16:28

They are playing out their confused feelings with you and with each other. Shows they have healthy relationships, and must feel very secure with you.
I think you did absolutely the right thing, and I wouldn't dwell on what was said, your GS is trying to express quite complicated feelings. You have left it do that they can continue to talk to you and that is a great help for the whole family.

M0nica Sat 26-Jan-19 21:18:52

My reaction is: What not to like?

Despite the break up and remarriage the parents are doing everything to help their children, the step father is loved and they feel free to have silly competitions like this in their grandmother's presence.

Dip into some of the many threads under 'Grandparents' and 'Relationships' and see just how difficult, and sometimes vile and poisonous, relationships following family breakdown can be.

Then rejoice that your family has been spared so much acrimony and the children can argue without fear who is best, DF or DSF.

FarNorth Sat 26-Jan-19 21:38:04

Your GS doesn't love his stepdad more; he said he loves them the same.
Yes, you did right.

BradfordLass72 Sat 26-Jan-19 21:49:16

To a child, loving a parent is not much different from loving ice cream in that this is a simple, immature concept. Love as we know it, is one they cannot articulate adequately.

Your explanation: loving people differently, will suffice for now but it will be years before they truly understand.

We so often expect children to think as we do - when of course they cannot. Nor can they express themselves as adults do.

Catch one of those children when they are out of sorts with a parent who's just corrected them and they may well say they don't love that parent any more.

How many children, if punished, yell, 'I hate you' ?
No they don't.
So we, as mature adults, should not take this sort of thing seriously.

Just mediate, explain in age-appropriate ways - which you did ruthiek - and discourage them from fighting and getting into serious conflicts. thanks

Anja Sat 26-Jan-19 22:39:22

Tell them that love is a wonderful thing and it’s great to have so many people to love and so many to love them 💕❤️

Yorkshiregirl Sun 27-Jan-19 09:46:38

He's a child. Be happy that he is happy, and hopefully nobody will try to change that by questioning it. He's obviously well loved by all, which is the main thing

georgia101 Sun 27-Jan-19 10:06:29

Tell them love isn't something that can be measured, but the more you give out the more you get back. They can love both dads equally but as each of them are different, so the love will feel different. It doesn't mean that the love felt is any more or any less than for the other parent. It's the same as the love they feel for their mother being different for their father. No more or less, just different. My grandchildren are in the same position as yours and I thank god that they are loved, and love back, their stepparents. It sounds as though your grandchildren just need things clarified for them to feel happy again.

naheed Sun 27-Jan-19 10:22:36

You dealt with it so well, ruthiek. Well done. Love is an emotion, a feeling that we have and even we the adults can't sometimes explain why we love someone more or less than another. At times we just can't help it and so often logic doesn't come to it, especially with the kids. No one can tell us to love someone or not to or how much of it we can have towards anyone. This is a freedom we all have and I think the sooner we learn it the better it is. It's a freedom to be respected even if we may not like it. We're all, irrespective of our age, entitled to it and once we develop this mentality we're less likely to argue or fight about it. It can come and go just as easily as it came and went.

Having said all this, when my 3 year old grand daughter told me she didn't love me the other day, I felt deeply hurt and sad. It didn't help me at the time that she was frustrated with someone else. I felt hurt despite the fact that she's only 3, I much, much older, and the fact we're both entitled to our feelings.

I've learnt that as we get older, we can learn how to notice and respect our emotions and feelings but be mindful of how we react to them. I've learnt I have choices and control over them. I can now assess which reactions could produce what kind of outcomes and choose between them. Even then, not all my choices work out well. It took me a life time to learn these and find peace. Before that I used to react to many of my emotions without enough thought like Kids and many adults who go through life missing out the real growth in our lives, the emotional side.

ReadyMeals Sun 27-Jan-19 10:53:16

Which one is the younger? The little boy? In that case I'd not be surprised - he doesn't remember a time when his real dad was part of the family. Of course he's going to feel closer to the stepfather.

sylviann Sun 27-Jan-19 11:02:59

I think your grandchildren should be able to decide for themselves as they know how they feel

Gingergirl Sun 27-Jan-19 11:03:16

No one can be told to love anyone more...or in which way. I personally would just stay out of it, even if they are arguing. In a sense, they may need to argue, to be able to work out their own feelings. And it may be that they both grow up feeling differently. If their parents intervene and have things to say, that’s up to them, but as a grandparent, I wouldn’t get more involved. I’d just value your own relationship with them both, which is of course, unique.

ReadyMeals Sun 27-Jan-19 11:27:11

Personally I'd discourage them from even having conversations like that. I know most schools discourage "best friends" now and probably would stop any conversation about "I like x better than y" among their classmates. I think I'd deal with it by stopping them and saying "everyone needs love and respect, we are all good people"

Legs55 Sun 27-Jan-19 11:48:44

My DD adored her Step Dad, she never forgave her own F from leaving when she was coming up 5 (I never said a bad word about him, this was her own opinion). You sound like you've got a well balanced family. Children form opinions but may love a person one day & then love some-one more later on. All part of growing up

Albangirl14 Sun 27-Jan-19 12:12:33

I was thinking the same he must feel rejected by his dad in some way and this is how he expresses it.

Kerenhappuch Sun 27-Jan-19 12:53:00

I remember struggling with this as a child, trying to work out which granny I loved more. I don't know why I thought I had to decide! My mum said it wasn't nice to say I loved one more than the other, but didn't explain that I didn't have to rank my grannies like this! I can only assume I'd heard some other child talking about which of their grannies they preferred and it set me off thinking about it.

paddyann Sun 27-Jan-19 13:05:23

My GD used to say that she wanted her parents to get back together as she ha dsuch amazing memeories of the things her dad did with her .Mum couldn't understand that as she was only 2 when dad left with the first of a long line in women in tow.
When she was questioned about those "amazing memories" we discovered it was her Stepfather who had been at the centre of them and she was too wee to remeber that ,just that she felt loved and wanted and cared for.She didn't actually believe her mum until she was shown photographs of the times she talked about and saw for herself who the man in the pictures was.She still adores her Dad ,who rarely sees her as he has "a new family" but she knows the most important man in her life is her stepdad and she's happy with that .

GreenGran78 Sun 27-Jan-19 13:23:48

Children are constantly 'winding up' their siblings. It's part of growing up, and learning how people interact with each other. My oldest daughter, in particular, was an expert at getting her brothers and sister arguing with each other. Now they are the best of friends. You did the right thing. Just keep on reinforcing the theme that having lots of people to love, and be loved by, is wonderful.

ruthiek Sun 27-Jan-19 13:33:05

Albangirl this is what I fear as I know myGs does have a different relationship to his sister with his dad and his My DsS is harder on him which I dont agree with .

Tiggersuki Sun 27-Jan-19 13:54:08

Tough one . I think you did your best and Granny Gravy is right. You are lucky they love and are loved by both sets of parents. Long may it continue and rejoice in that. Children will be fickle, most will go through times when they profess to love one parent more than the other. My son used to tell me,aged 3, how his childminder was his favourite... I was just pleased he felt safe and looked after (once over the working parent angst of course!).

Theoddbird Sun 27-Jan-19 15:23:31

Do children that age understand the true meaning of the word love? I doubt it. Oh and it will be like best friends...a different one every few weeks. I wouldn't worry. They are children.... It is more important that they have four very caring adults looking after them.

Hollydoilly10 Sun 27-Jan-19 17:08:10

All children play this game of who they love most and who loves them most I would ignore it after saying we can love everyone the same and no need to be loving one more than the other as it is not a competition.
They will forget it long before you do and making a big thing of it just keeps it going.