Gransnet forums


Granddaughter sobs every time she goes to her mummys house

(53 Posts)
Goodynanny Sun 24-Jan-21 16:22:15

I’m worried about my granddaughter. She is only 5 and her mum left my son when she was two years old. My son has done a wonderful job bringing her up, she is such a happy child. But over the past year she doesn’t want to stay with her mum and her new partner at the weekends. We’ve asked her if she liked mummy’s new partner and she said he was nice.
She just wants to stay with her dad, where she lives during the week. She has started crying at bedtime and wanting to sleep with her dad. She’s now said she doesn’t feel safe at Mummy’s. I’m so concerned. I can’t bear to think of her being so unhappy. My son has spoken to his ex and she says she’s fine after a little while.

M0nica Sun 24-Jan-21 16:58:51

Your son should speak to his daughter, she is the one who holds the key to the story. if necessary he should seek professional help

If something is going on, is the child's mother going to say so? And if sonething is going on, isn't likely that that child will have been threatened with reprisals of some kind if she tells?

I think you are right to be worried and I would seek professional help .

BlueBelle Sun 24-Jan-21 17:00:40

This is very worrying it could just be the change over getting her down but I d be very concerned if it was my child how long does she stay for ? Can you or her dad gently ask what sort of thing makes her feel unsafe perhaps a generalised conversation not just about her but about feeling unsafe in general and see what sort of things she comes up with or maybe get her to draw a picture of her weekend with mum and .? Just see if you can pick any little clues up
Hopefully it’s something innocent but it needs finding out just in case....

Charleygirl5 Sun 24-Jan-21 17:02:40

I totally agree with what MOinca says. The child holds the key- something is going on.

JaneJudge Sun 24-Jan-21 17:05:52

Maybe they should work out a way for her to have a staggered way to get back to seeing her Mum overnight again. So maybe just see her Saturday mornings, then may maybe afternoons, then overnights over a period of weeks. It doesn't necessarily mean any thing awful has been going on, children are sensitive.

sodapop Sun 24-Jan-21 19:52:47

That's a good idea JaneJudge I can understand your worries Goodynanny children often don't want to change their routines and its not easy if there is a new partner. Your son does need to find out why she has changed it seems to have lasted for a while now,

Madgran77 Sun 24-Jan-21 20:13:53

This does rather sound like more than not liking a change of routine. Gentle talking about what she dislikes , why she doesn't feel safe etc without feeding any "ideas" of reasons might help her to open up. By not "feeding" I mean for example: When she said she didn't feel safe had someone asked her if she felt safe before she said it?

Gentle questioning might be:

What do you like doing at Mummy's?
What do you not like doing at Mummy's
What do you like doing with Daddy?
What do you not like doing with Daddy?
What is different at Mummy's?
What is the same at Mummy's?

Not as a list but built into general chatting etc

Maybe ask her to draw a picture of being at Mummy's...this can be quite revealing when children are worried about something.

I do think this needs careful handling but also cannot be ignored and you are right to have concerns

Jimjam1 Sun 24-Jan-21 20:21:11

I do agree needs careful handling. Your son definitely needs to find out why his daughter is feeling like this. Sorry not down to you. This is your sons responsibility.

Hithere Sun 24-Jan-21 22:48:48

What does your son say about this?
Could it be she doesnt get to do thing she likes at her mother's?

Callistemon Sun 24-Jan-21 23:15:14

When she said she didn't feel safe had someone asked her if she felt safe before she said it?

Yes, asking leading questions is not a good idea.

Chatting and getting her to draw pictures is, and could reveal what is troubling her.
It may be nothing more than mother being more strict or it could be something more serious but this needs careful handling, probably by your son. But you could be alert when she is with you without pouncing on anything she says, just chat with her.

Jane43 Sun 24-Jan-21 23:33:48

I agree with those who have suggested asking the little girl to draw a picture of when she is at her mother’s house. There is information on line on how to interpret children’s art.

Oopsadaisy1 Mon 25-Jan-21 06:48:38

Don’ t forget though that 5 year olds can be very canny, if wanting to sleep in Daddy’s bed usually ends up with her getting what she wants, then she doesn’t want to go to Mummy’s, presumably she doesn’t get her own way at Mummy’s house ?

So if she cries maybe she can stay at Daddy’s house?

M0nica Mon 25-Jan-21 07:09:39

Oopsadaisy1, what is being described here goes beyond, a child manipulating a father.

It is also the classic behaviour of a child who is being abused sexually and/or in other ways. Far too many children have had their upsets when being abused, dismissed as just manipulation, being spoilt etc etc when they were actually the victims of abuse and calling for help..

Just asking a child of 5 to draw a picture of life with the other parent, will provide no help at all. If being abused and threatened the picture will show nothing.

Picture drawing is a proven technique, but in the hands of qualified and trained psychologists, who use this method as part of a battery of techniques that they use with a child. On its own it will reveal nothing.

Madgran77 Mon 25-Jan-21 07:46:34

Just asking a child of 5 to draw a picture of life with the other parent, will provide no help at all. If being abused and threatened the picture will show nothing

I did not suggest drawing a picture to analyse deep seated stuff or psychological analysis. Others suggested that!

My suggestion linked to a child sometimes draws things that can help in chatting etc , helping her to express herself. Having said that having been involved professionally with children for many years, I can assure you that pictures CAN give clues about abuse/fear. However, I am not advocating it as a tool for the OP or her son.

Madgran77 Mon 25-Jan-21 07:48:34

Oopsadaisy I think what the OP describes should not be dismissed as manipulation, that is what happens far too often.

Oopsadaisy1 Mon 25-Jan-21 07:50:05

Just offering an alternative POV. A work colleague had a very manipulative 6 yr old, who went on to become a very manipulative teenager.

But if the son of the poster is concerned then he should be pushing to find some help.

Curlywhirly Mon 25-Jan-21 08:02:59

I too would be very worried - it's one thing to say I don't want to go to Mummy's, but to say I don't feel safe?? It definitely sounds like something more serious than her just reacting to a disruption to her usual routine. Has this only started since her Mummy's new boyfriend came on the scene? I hate to say it, but if your granddaughter doesn't feel safe, then some kind of abuse may be the reason. I'd get your son to have a gentle chat with his daughter to try and find out why she feels unsafe, and I would certainly get him to quiz the Mum and ask if their daughter is ever left alone with the new boyfriend. The Mum certainly won't want to hear it, but she needs to be vigilant, no matter how 'nice' the boyfriend seems.

25Avalon Mon 25-Jan-21 08:16:52

I can hear alarm bells ringing here. To go from being happy to go to her mother’s and then not wanting to go which appears to have happened since new boyfriend arrived on the scene raises serious safeguarding concerns. It is better to address these now to see if they have any foundation. The NSPCC have a special safeguarding line which I suggest your son or even you ringing. I have done basic safeguarding children courses and we are told any concerns should be reported. It is your go’s welfare that matters.

25Avalon Mon 25-Jan-21 08:18:13


fevertree Mon 25-Jan-21 08:34:15

Before jumping to conclusions about dark and dreadful reasons for this child's reluctance to go to her mother's home, consider this: the reason may simply be that she is a sensitive little girl who craves stability and doesn't like not having one place to call home. That was me at 5 years old, crying when I had to go to my father's house, because I wanted to be at home and sleep in my own bed. It really was that simple.

flowers for the OP.

Toadinthehole Mon 25-Jan-21 08:43:26

I can only agree with what’s been said so far. It may be nothing...bit I’d rather risk falling out with adults, than leave a child to the mercy of abuse.
I do hope all is ok, and your granddaughter is just playing up, but better to be sure, I think.💐

lemsip Mon 25-Jan-21 09:08:12

ask the little girl if mummy puts her to bed and reads a story or does the mummys 'partner' could be the mother is trying to draw her partner into a daddy roll!

Iam64 Mon 25-Jan-21 09:21:42

Not wanting to minimise the worries. I’d be worried but we need to remember this has been a difficult, stressful year, in and out of schools, lockdown is affecting our children.
Many 5 year olds would choose to sleep with mummy or daddy, given any opportunity.
It’s good your son has raised it with her mum. How worried is he? I’d be very careful about direct questions. Encourage her to say a bit more but avoid initiating discussions.

Shropshirelass Mon 25-Jan-21 09:31:25

It is the child’s right to access to their parents and not the other way around. Maybe just have day visits and not overnight until she settles down a bit. I would keep a very close eye on the situation, it is very difficult for children when new partners are introduced into relationships. She might not like her Moms new partner but doesn’t want to say in case she upsets her Mom. I went through a breakup when my children were young and with hindsight would do things very very differently. Children have to come first. Good luck.

Callistemon Mon 25-Jan-21 09:32:23

There is information on line on how to interpret children’s art.

I wasn't suggesting analysing her drawings, just that she may chat about them in a casual way which might reveal what is troubling her.

Is she still attending school, Goodynanny?
She may just be feeling insecure at the present time as many children are.
It may be just that she doesn't have her mummy all to herself at weekends now her Mum has a new partner.