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Advice re GD

(68 Posts)
Bordersgirl57 Fri 14-Jun-19 07:43:19

I'll try and keep the background short. I managed to upset my eldest son's wife about 7 years ago and contact was dramatically curtailed (we had been looking after the boys one day a week). They have 3 children and I have a great relationship with the older two boys but the third one - a girl - was kept from me. She is now 5.

I find I have no instinctive connection with her, I find her difficult and manipulative. She never stops talking - just keeps going till she gets a response. She apparently has days where she just screams at everything and everyone and refuses to co-operate (I never want to see that!). She wants to spend time with us but only on her terms. We live an hour away but I'm expected to collect her and then take her at least halfway home.

My other son's girls spend a day a week with us and we have a brilliant relationship with them. His wife and I are very close which is so lovely in comparison with the other.

I always want to spontaneously hug all the grandchildren except this one GD who I hardly know at all. I feel I should want to get to know her but actually it would be a massive effort (all on my part) and, knowing her mother, it could all end badly on a whim.

It's a truly terrible thing to admit that I really don't like this wee 5 year old - for so many reasons - and a lot of them are to do with her mother and only some to do with her.

Help??? Any suggestions to change my feelings for her and build a relationship without risking her mother's wrath?

dragonfly46 Fri 14-Jun-19 08:02:40

You say your GD was kept from you. I wonder why that would be. Maybe this little girl is autistic or has special needs. Have you spoken to your son about her.
You also say you have upset your DiL but you don’t say how. She must know you don’t like her as it comes across loud and clear.
Children soon sense that you don’t like them and respond accordingly.
If you want to have a relationship with this little girl you have to change your mindset.
There is such a thing as faking it before you make it!

wildswan16 Fri 14-Jun-19 08:35:52

If this little girl is living with a mother who is rather volatile and apt to fly off the handle as you describe, then I think you need to feel very sorry for her. She needs all the loving and cuddling she can get.

You are the adult in this situation (as her mother doesn't exhibit adult behaviour). Swallow any bad behaviour from your DIL and pretend, in the first instance, to like and want to play and chat with the little girl. Hopefully you will come to feel closer to her.

sodapop Fri 14-Jun-19 08:43:06

I agree with wildswan this little girl needs some love and calm affection in her life it seems. Try to gradually build a relationship with her I'm sure you will both enjoy it after a while.

BlueBelle Fri 14-Jun-19 08:45:46

As you don’t like the daughter in law the little child will totally pick up on this and are you sure you aren’t taking your dislike of the mother out on the daughter
You say contact was withdrawn 7 years ago and the little girl is 5 so when did the contact start back ?
Well of course she keeps talking till she gets a response she’s 5 they rabbit on and yes needs lots of attention are you sure you are giving her all the attention or the more she asks the more you withdraw
I always want to spontaneously hug the others but not her
And she knows it and is desperately trying to get into your good books I feel sorry for her

Bordersgirl57 Fri 14-Jun-19 08:49:01

Hmm, maybe it does now seem as though I don't like her but let me explain. When she was going out with my son - for several years before they married we welcomed her into our family with open arms. She stayed in our flat rent free with free meals for 2 years and we supported her financially through university and with some private healthcare as well. I have a dozen thank you cards from her from that time expressing her gratitude.

She is from another country and I do think there are cultural differences which understandably impact and influence her outlook.

The thing that changed our relationship was the fact that when we were preparing to take the boys one day a week I asked them if there was anything particular they did/didn't want us to do and we discussed behaviour etc. The only thing she said was "I don't like reins" my son shrugged his shoulders and said he wasn't bothered. At the time we lived in a third floor flat in the centre of town and I was waiting for a hip replacement so was in constant pain and perhaps not as mobile as I would have liked. The younger boy would have been about 2 and at that "bolting" stage. As we had to cross a complicated junction to get to the park I bought a wee rucksack thing with a handle for me. She saw us one day and completely lost the plot screaming "my son is not a dog".

With hindsight I should have re-visited the issue first and explained why, for safety reasons I'd like to use the rucksack but I didn't and have never been forgiven. I have received several vitriolic emails over the years and to be honest when I see she has sent me an email my stomach starts churning - what have I done now.

Unfortunately also we didn't respond with the expected unbridled enthusiasm when they told us they were expecting a third child. They have no money, lived in a 2 bedroom flat and my son and DIL spent the first year of GD's life sleeping on a mattress on the lounge floor as GD had their bedroom.

She is a good wife to my son and he is very happy and loves her very much, she is also a good mother and takes care of the children well.

She initially influenced my other DIL and I nearly missed out on a relationship with her and her girls because of it. The one that I now have a great relationship with feels that she lost a number of years with me because she had been influenced by the other one. When she was looking for childcare in order to go back to work she wouldn't consider me until my son said "look just give mum a chance - if you're not happy I'll stop it". Bless her she did and now can't get enough of my childcare!

We all try very hard with the difficult DIL but we ALL feel we are treading on eggshells.

If I come across as not liking her, it's more that I am just terrified of being hurt again.

BlueBelle Fri 14-Jun-19 09:26:16

I can understand your fear of being hurt I can also understand how your daughter in law coming from a different culture may have seen the reins as a form of restraint or even worse Not knowing her ethnicity or background it’s hard to judge but it could have brought up old wounds or cultural no nos, but that’s a long time ago
There seem huge positivities she loves your son and he her she’s a good mother to the children The fact they had three kids is nothing to do with you You obviously chew over her faults with your other daughter in law (as you quote her) and that’s not really helpful
You sound a lovely very caring lady but you can’t be too involved with the ups and downs in their lives and talking about one to the other etc isn’t on and none of this should influence your relationship with your granddaughter
Learn to distance her and her behaviour from your distrust of the mother All kids are different I ve got seven grandkids I ve got some very very quite ones , somebody very chatty never stop ones some loud some quite, love them all and forget the parents ups and downs

Craftycat Fri 14-Jun-19 09:59:43

I have 6 DGC & 2 are girls. I find the girls are much more difficult than the boys. Our eldest DGD is now 10 & has been an absolute pain from day one! She threw tantrums from 6 months on & was a horror at times.She HAD to be the centre of attention of she would blow!
I have struggled to like her although I love her but all of a sudden she is blossoming into a nice child & we can talk & do things together & she no longer needs to be the centre of attention all of the time. She has 2 older brothers who are & always have been very easy & I think she always wanted to compete with them.Now she comes to stay by herself sometimes as the boys are getting to the stage where they do not need adult supervision all the time & we get on really well.
The other DGD has not been so bad but she is the middle child. Funnily enough at 7 she is just getting a bit 'precious'
but I am relaxed about it as I expect she will blossom out of it at around 11 too.
I do think boys are so much easier!!

jaylucy Fri 14-Jun-19 10:02:59

"Difficult and manipulative" Sounds to me like a little girl that is craving for someone to take notice of her - the fact that you have spent time with her brothers and not her makes her feel very left out and she no doubt wants to feel that you love her the same as you do her!
All in all, she is either a very frustrated little girl that feels overshadowed by her brothers or is on the autistic spectrum.Either way, she is too young to be labelled so harshly.
You need to put your feelings for your DiL to one side - it's not your GDs fault you don't get on! She needs to be treated exactly the same as all the rest of your grandchildren.

Minshy Fri 14-Jun-19 10:03:56

This little girl simply needs to know that you love her. I’d start showing her that love. She may be testing you out. Be constant. And if she wears you out at the end of the day so be it. She’s just 5 years old. Show her that you love her just as much as the other grandchildren

Gonegirl Fri 14-Jun-19 10:15:01

She sounds as though she is taking after her mum. I wouldn't bother. Just enjoy the others.

Gonegirl Fri 14-Jun-19 10:17:33

I find it hard to believe the "reins" thing. Those rucksacs are cute. No way would anyone think they were like a dog's lead.

Jaycee5 Fri 14-Jun-19 10:30:00

I can't imagine enthusiastically hugging two children and not the third younger one. The whole things is very sad. I was the least favoured child in my family and she won't forget. Not everyone can like every child but there is no excuse for showing it.

BrandyButter Fri 14-Jun-19 10:58:53

I had complete opposite situation. Dil1wanted me to use reigns but I hated them and felt it is my Grandchild not a dog, I just really hated them. I obliged as it was her child, her rules. She has very opposing parenting to mine and we have a difficult relationship at times. She objects to my 'free-play' methods using mix and match objects like a bought toy but allowed to fill with grass or stones from garden, using kitchen utensils like pegs or plastic tubs for play etc. She insists on toys only to be used for the 'specific purpose' which drives me crazy. The cup towers they build as toddlers HAD to be stacked in size and colour order, he couldn't turn them upside down and fill with lego etc as that wasn't what they were 'meant to be used for'. Lego HAD to be made into the design on box not used to make bridges for toy cars. Needless to say he has grown into a very inventive child who is very strong-willed!! DIL2 had similar parenting ideas to mine so we get along fine, Dil3 is accepting we are very different but respects that in her care it is her way and in mine I can do my thing so that works as well. The child who had to wear reigns was very difficult to teach to cross the road and used to run off at every opportunity in the park and refuse to come back, it was like letting the dog of the leash! Both girls who never had reigns both have good road sense and obeyed the word 'stop' as soon as it was shouted, they still automatically reach for my hand crossing the road now and one is 10yrs. Are the differences caused by personality of child or use of reigns? I am not sure. I appreciate you said it is a complicated road you have to cross. I tended to use a buggy where possible and make them sit in it until we reached a safe area. The rucksac reigns are very nice though and don't look as much like a dog lead as the plain tyoe.

pinkjj27 Fri 14-Jun-19 11:00:28

I know this is very difficult as I am in a very similar situation with one of my 7 grand kids. However for whatever reason, weather she is spoilt and entailed, deeply hurt or psychologically unstable ( 3rd child syndrome ) she is reacting and she is still a child and you are the adult. I was one of four and by the age of 7 I was very aware my parents didn’t love me I was treated differently (by them at first then everyone.) I craved love and attention and grew up hurting with a very low self-worth. My siblings grew up seeing me differently too.
You say it will take a lot of effort on your part isn’t that what grandparents are for? Unless you want that little girl spending hours and hours in counselling feeling depressed and anxious trying to work out what she did wrong why she was so unlovable when her siblings were. Seeking out anyone she thinks will be desperate enough to love her as I did I suggest you may want to consider wheather that efford is worth putting in. Start of small focusing on her making her feel special making something about her. Like I say I know it’s not simple or easy as I am going through this right now but I know it’s not about me its about that little girl and making show her spirt grows not is crush at five like mine was.

paddyann Fri 14-Jun-19 11:00:56

I am shocked that any one would treat a child like this ,she's your flesh and blood for goodness sake ,Get over yourself and start acting like the adult you are ..or are supposed to be..Treating her daughter like a second class citizen wont endear you to your DIL and quite frankly I would understand why and if she decided just to keep all her children away from you .You either treat them all the same or have nothing to do with them!As to the reins her child her choice .

pinkjj27 Fri 14-Jun-19 11:03:18

I mean making sure not show I wish these post had an edid button

GG65 Fri 14-Jun-19 11:04:52

Describing a 5 year old as difficult and manipulative is disgusting. You speak about that little girl as though she were an adult. She is a child! You seem to be projecting your feelings towards your daughter in law onto your granddaughter.

To be honest, the rein situation or not, your daughter in law being difficult or not, if anyone harboured negative feelings the way you to do towards my 5 year old child, they wouldn’t be seeing ANY of my children.

montymops Fri 14-Jun-19 11:23:23

The last two messages seem unduly harsh. If there is a problem with hips knees etc - it would seem sensible to take precautions such as reins when in charge of a very young child. Surely this could be understood by all parties? Why did the daughter in law not realise this? It sounds as if the child may be autistic- and also there are some gulfs of misunderstanding which could be sorted by talking frankly to each other- all the best

Legs55 Fri 14-Jun-19 11:31:03

My Step-D's 2 children were adorable from day 1, they were well disciplined (by their parents) & we always loved having them to visit.

My Step-S's 2 were different, parents didn't discipline them in the same way, DH & never felt the same way about them as other 2 DGC however we never let it show. Since DH died I am no longer in touch with Step-S & family, can't say I'm sorry.

My DD has 2 lovely boys, challenging at times as they have so much energy but also very loving.

Try to spend time getting to know this little girl, talk to her, if she's anything like my DD at that age she was a real chatterbox & you have to respond or she will go on & on until you do. I hope you find it in your heart to try & learn to at least like if not love this child.

Treelover Fri 14-Jun-19 11:33:47

That’s very harsh paddyann.
Are you a troll?
Back to the problem which you have trustingly and honestly shared. I was talking about reins to my daughter only yesterday and she told me about these new back pack reins. I think they have their place though they were much despised when I was a young mum, as were play pens and dummies! I think I would use all three now! I also think that if dogs could walk on two legs we would hold their paws and the only time my dogs have to be on reins is near traffic. Toddlers don’t understand traffic either. I remember darting across a main road in London to my dad, he’d told me to wait, when I was a toddler and a bus stopped inches from me...I just remember him with his hands over his face I was s lot more worried about that than the bus.
And I have a very unkind DIL. For no reason. She is pregnant with her third daughter and already has two, I have never been allowed to be with them without her supervision. I have no other grandchildren and it does break my heart because I love young children. That’s the way it is and I have to fill my life with other things. And try and distance myself from them because the emotional effects can be very harmful as I have a terminal heart condition. I intend to live long enough to one day see these granddaughters grow and hope I can do some good in their lives. I have stopped sending them clothes as they are never acknowledged and I think it irritates DIL. They are four and seven and live over an hours drive away (scary M62 which I can no longer deal with) I send little fun presents to them every now and then and my son sends me thank you vids if I ask.
We all have to deal with the hands we are given. And it can be a tough one with male adult children when you are replaced by another woman who sees you as a threat.

BlueBelle Fri 14-Jun-19 11:38:18

She sounds as though she’s taking after her mother I would not bother just enjoy the others
What an absolutely hard hearted and nasty post Gonegirl you really must be made of stone I find it hard to believe you could consider thinking it much less writing it down Disgusting

Bordersgirl57 Fri 14-Jun-19 11:43:20

Whoa.... well that was the whole gamut of responses. Thank you so much for the helpful and supportive advice. Much of it has given me food for thought, though some felt a little harsh. Note to self: when offering advice on a forum - be gentle.

However, what I am formulating is a plan to gently spend more time with just her, offer to take her out over the school holidays and hopefully gradually develop a relationship with her, make her feel special without the boys always there. I do hope that this will be well received by her mum and I've got just enough optimism left to think that maybe, just maybe, her mum and I might get back to something resembling the good relationship we used to have.

Dinahmo Fri 14-Jun-19 11:52:45

I just don't understand the thing about reins. Many of us wore them when we were young. I can't help but think of the Jamie Boulger case everytime this subject is mentioned. If only he had been on reins!

Gonegirl Fri 14-Jun-19 12:00:36

Just being factual Bluebell. No point in putting yourself through the wringer over a child you are not going to be able to change.

Be nice to her. Love her if you can. Hope that she changes as she grows up. But she sounds perfectly well looked after at home. You really don't need to "rescue" her from her mum.