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Advice re GD

(69 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?

Gonegirl Fri 14-Jun-19 12:02:25

Actually, we are not talking about reins. We are talking about those lovely little rucksacks that they have now, with a discreet handle for the grownup to hold. Children generally love them. Great inventions.

harrysgran Fri 14-Jun-19 12:20:47

Enjoy your relationship with your other GC in time she might come around don't let her see she is stressing you out and don't try too hard children go through lots of different stages not all are likeable you sound like a lovely caring grandma might it be that DIL is a little jealous of the great closeness and relationship with your other DiL

paddyann Fri 14-Jun-19 12:43:46

I dont think it was harsh at all treelover just honest.If anyone had treated my daughter differently from my son I'd have told them to their face,to either grow up an dbehave like an adult or be prepared to lose contact with ALL the children.Thankfully both my parents and my IL's loved our children and both of mine are real chatterboxes..still are as adults .Whats the problem with a child who wants to talk to you? As to "hoping that she changes as she grows up" thats nearly as bad.Shes a child who will develop and grow how she does NOT in a way just to suit her grumpy ..not very kind granny.The number of grans on here who would love a chatty 5 year old in their lives and then this! No I'm not a troll ...I am a human being who loves children ,I've never met one who I couldn't get on with .

ReadyMeals Fri 14-Jun-19 13:19:22

Maybe she just has really bad PMT or something. That could explain the bad temper for days on end. On the other hand if you don't care about that side of the family, and don't particularly feel the urge to see the grandchild, then don't bother with them. You've managed like that for 5 years, so what prompted you to post about it after all this time?

Bordersgirl57 Fri 14-Jun-19 13:31:30

Just to clarify - re DIL that I am in a good relationship with - we made a conscious decision not to talk about the other one as we are all trying to build bridges not make the situation worse.

I'm not trying to rescue or change the wee girl, her parents are encouraging her to have a sleepover and she wants a relationship with me. An overnight stay is a big ask when we don't know each other and it seems wise to spend some daytime time together first. The age old problem of having put my hand in the fire and been badly burned several times is what is making me hesitate.

However, the wide and varied response to my initial post has been enlightening and I choose to take the positives, examine my own feelings and try again to establish and renew the relationships.

I somehow naively thought Gransnet would be a gentler more wise platform than F/B. I guess folks are the same whatever medium is used.

ReadyMeals Fri 14-Jun-19 14:02:29

Well yes, I am sure the kid would prefer to get to know you a bit before a sleepover. At 5 she probably doesn't have enough experience to anticipate that she's gonna feel a bit strange by the time bedtime comes around. Can you have video chats with her? That would mean you can minimise the time actually spent with her mother and would ease you in more gently.

Chinesecrested Fri 14-Jun-19 14:06:07

Personally, I think all people are different and that includes children. Some are more likeable than others, some are irritating or difficult. Don't blame yourself. You obviously do the best you can. You've got a brilliant relationship with all the others.

Jaye53 Fri 14-Jun-19 14:40:46

Agree with other posts that reigns are sensible hmm

tickingbird Fri 14-Jun-19 15:14:47

Why do we always have to pretend we like children? Although we should never, ever be spiteful or nasty to children, we don’t have to feel guilty because we aren’t too keen on some of them.

I have been in a similar position and when you don’t get the opportunity to bond with a grandchild from birth they are just another child unfortunately.

Your DIL massively overreacted and I don’t see why you have to go crawling on your knees to her. You’ve been very good indeed to this woman and she should show you some respect. As for having the GD and all that entails I wouldn’t I’m afraid.

Callistemon Fri 14-Jun-19 15:15:38

She never stops talking - just keeps going till she gets a response
I wonder why you don't respond? Small children do tend to do this, repeating themselves until they get an answer; if you are distracted and don't answer straight away they just go on and on.
My DD from being very tiny did not stop talking from the minute they opened their eyes until they went to sleep, even when playing they would be talking to their toys. DS would ask persistent questions until sometimes my head was spinning!

She wants to spend time with us but only on her terms.
I think that's normal too - when we looked after the DGC everything else, apart from the absolute essentials, went on hold. Obviously, as parents, we couldn't do that, but I think that grandparents are allowed to.
I don't know if you still live in a flat, but if so, perhaps she needs to be taken to a park to let off some steam too.
She's too old now for reins but I do agree that they are a good idea for toddlers; I bought those little backpacks with a rein for mine and wished they had been invented when my DC were small.

Do you think you are nervous about loving this child and showing her affection, hugs etc in case her mother decides to cut off contact again?
She will notice the difference between your relationship with her and that with her brothers - children can be very perceptive.
Try to relate to her, make time for her, hug her if she wants to be hugged and you may surprise yourself.

If she does have other problems then it's up to the parents about following those up but I would be extremely cautious about mentioning them, especially to her mother.

Callistemon Fri 14-Jun-19 15:17:08

this one GD who I hardly know at all.
And, of course, that means she hardly knows you either - so she may be bewildered especially if you are cold towards her.

tickingbird Fri 14-Jun-19 15:17:23

ReadyMeals - she posted about it because she wanted to. She doesn't have to justify anything to you or anyone else on here.

Gonegirl Fri 14-Jun-19 15:21:11

Bluebell actually I find your post to me quite offensive. I don't think I'm the one being "nasty". Look closer to home.

janeainsworth Fri 14-Jun-19 16:47:43

when you don’t get the opportunity to bond with a grandchild from birth they are just another child unfortunately

What nonsense.
Not every grandparent can see their grandchild within hours, days or even weeks of the birth.
It doesn’t stop them loving the child and building a relationship with them.

ReadyMeals Fri 14-Jun-19 16:58:14

tickingbird thank you for the lecture. I asked because it might have been helpful to know what had changed in the situation to trigger the doubt. As it happens a later post by her explained it further.

Tillybelle Fri 14-Jun-19 17:27:43

Bordersgirl57. I'm sorry to hear about this. I've been thinking all day actually and still can't get any really good ideas.
So with apologies for being such a poor help today (I'm not at my best) I simply want to wish you the best of luck and to say that as she grows up she will probably become easier. I do hope you get the opportunity to spend time with her and that her mother sees you as the caring and loving Grandmother that you are. I would hope she would understand your anxiety about the road safety issue earlier.
Time does heal and I really do hope this mother and her not-so-easy little girl will get to know you properly. I have to say, it is sad that they are missing out on you while the mother is holding back. Maybe she has some cultural issues and feels a bit "different" and on her own, surrounded by her family who are all from the West? Could you boost her morale a bit?
Wishing you much happiness with all your family and hoping this all works out for the best. Will you be able to let us know how it goes? flowers

Saggi Fri 14-Jun-19 17:40:28

Even if you don’t like your little granddaughter at all ...she sounds like she needs all the cuddling and unconditional love she can get. I feel sorry for her and I don’t know her. Next time you see her just cuddle her...just a brief cuddle ...ask her how she is ...and what she would like to do today ; if your looking after her) . If she doesn’t respond matter... next time you see her do exactly the same . I had this problem with my granddaughter...she was lovely til she started school...then went right off me...she would play up no end with me....I refused NOT to love her and she soon got the message... my love was unconditional and always there , no matter what she did or said to me. friends and as loving as she ever was. Not easy, but worth the work and effort. Good luck

Mollyplop Fri 14-Jun-19 17:54:46

Bordersgirl57 I admire you're honestly and I do think some people are being a little harsh. You are obviously a caring person as you are bothered by your feelings for this little girl. Hopefully by spending some time together things will get easier. Xx

Tillybelle Fri 14-Jun-19 18:05:45

Regarding the cuddling: Some children love to be cuddled and can even ask to be cuddled a bit too often - like when you are peeling potatoes! Others, in the same family, just don't want to be cuddled! I suspect I was one, and two at least of my Grandson's are the same. They are active, wriggly, on the go children and have been that way since they started to crawl! One even sat at the far end of your lap, bolt upright, looking around for things to do and if I tried to sneak an arm round him and get in a furtive cuddle he would wriggle away and push me away! It was not rejection! We were and are great buddies! It's just that some people aren't the cuddling kind.

I would try not to "over think" this part of your relationship. Indeed, if you can, try to be as relaxed as you can, despite the earlier set-backs, and just allow the relationships with your DiL and her little girl to unfold as an adventure. Try and keep a sense of fun about things and try not to be too defensive - we understand about the reins/rucksack! We would have done the same! But sometimes mothers are a bit insecure, it was her first/only daughter... maybe she has some different aspirations for her that we do not quite understand...
I did not know, for example, how terribly protective I would be towards my grandchildren and how much more safety conscious (or safety-scared!) I was about them than my own! You might be able to tell your DiL this, laughing at yourself a bit, saying how you protect your DGC so strongly. I remember taking DGS2 out in his pram and the path was bumpy for example. His head was bumping a bit. So I took him out of the pram and carried him, pushing the empty pram until the path was smooth!
I really do hope this DiL (by the way - I am not sure why I got the idea she was not from the West! Just my funny imagination! sorry!) anyway - I do hope she allows herself to get to know you because you clearly do want to have a happy and loving family relationship with her and her little girl. It would be such a pity to waste any more time not building those bridges so you all get together. Good luck and try not to worry! 🌈

Madgran77 Fri 14-Jun-19 18:07:36

The OP was asking for help/ideas about how to build a relationship with a GD who she clearly is finding difficult to love. To do so she described aspects of the child's behaviour

She also described how she upset her DIL and admitted that she realises that she should have checked first.

In other words she is not actually trying to justify where she is at, in fact she clearly feels unhappy about it!

On the basis of those two points words fail me as to why some posters feel the need to be so unpleasant, unhelpful, unconstructive and on occasions just plain nasty!! Why does she need to have all that thrown at her rather than constructive ideas on how to improve things, as she clearly wishes to do?!! Dear, dear me!!

Bordersgirl57 Fri 14-Jun-19 18:08:34

I think we've exhausted this subject! Many thanks Mollyplop and Tillybelle. I've thought of a few things we might do together over the summer - might come back with the results in the autumn. Fingers crossed it's a completely different picture. (we have hens and GD wanted to name the light brown one - we readily agreed and I sent her some photos today. I do try).

Tillybelle Fri 14-Jun-19 19:14:54

Madgran77 Hoo I agree! Indeed, Bordersgirl is so honest, she has probably done herself down a bit. I feel someone trying very hard to send her love to her little granddaughter and DiL here. I do hope all works out well for them. With such a loving Granny I feel it will.

Doodle Fri 14-Jun-19 19:21:15

She’s only 5 years old. Can you even remember being 5. Cut her some slack.

Callistemon Fri 14-Jun-19 19:26:48

^ I've thought of a few things we might do together over the summer^
Oh good, let us know.

I do wonder, too, though, if you are holding back because your DIL could possibly withdraw contact again and you are hesitant to form a strong bond with your DGD.

I hope all works out for you.

Bordersgirl57 Fri 14-Jun-19 21:11:53

Just texted them to offer to take her out in town for a couple of hours a few times over the summer. Knocked over (in a good way) by the immediate positive response from DiL and the wee girl sent me a WhatsApp voice message suggesting about 5 things all to do in one day!!!!! I might have to manage her expectations! I voice messaged her back (first time ever). I'm cautiously optimistic - not for my relationship with GD but wary of mum. Hope it's misplaced.