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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?

Madgran77 Tue 18-Jun-19 08:08:19


Bordersgirl57 Mon 17-Jun-19 23:51:29

Thank you kwest, madgran and tilleybelle. Things are looking good.

kwest Mon 17-Jun-19 22:47:18

If someone is brave enough to open their hearts here then maybe we should not be so quick to be judgmental.

Callistemon Mon 17-Jun-19 14:47:17

I wonder about the term manipulative? Is this more American psycho-babble? I am very wary of some of the terms used nowadays.
Adults can be manipulative, I think that perhaps children just 'want their own way' because a five year old will see the world on their own terms, as it relates to them without the experience or knowledge to always understand how this affects others. Some may, of course, have more empathy than others.

When you say her behaviour is vile I wonder what she does: Is she naughty, jealous of her little stepsister, then spiteful towards her and reacts in the only way she knows how?

I do think you're handling this in the right way, though, knickas63, well done, and what a pity her mother is not allowing her to see her father as much as they both probably need. I wonder what her mother is telling her too?

I hope the OP has read your post, it's the best way forward.

knickas63 Mon 17-Jun-19 09:05:31

5 year old girls ARE manipulative. My stepgrandaughter is the same, as are a few others I know. Although it is not easy, I see it as a cry for attention, so I make sure she is never treated differently to my natural grandchildren. I hug her when I see her, I make sure to give her time to talk, and when she is nasty to her (almost but not quite) stepsister, who is three, I try to discourage without making it obvious that I think her behavioiur is vile. She is a victim in a situation she has no control over. She only sees her father when her mother allows it. He adores her. I agree that your little five year old is suffering from feeling the bad vibes and just being 5! Give her love and attention, even if you have to fake it for a while.

Madgran77 Mon 17-Jun-19 08:10:55

Grannymags why "shame on you"? Borders has been honest about her feelings, is not comfortable with tem and is asking for help/ideas with a situation that she is unhappy about. If you had read her follow up post she has used some helpful advice on GN , has made some steps forward to rectify things and has thanked Gnetters for their support. No shame in being honest about feelings to an appropriate audience, listening to advice and acting on it!!

oodles Sun 16-Jun-19 19:08:43

If GD has a good time mum will be pleased, and if you're pleased that's a good thing

grannymags Sun 16-Jun-19 17:23:02

Shame on you bordersgirl57 to say you don't like a wee 5yr old gd ok she may be a little difficult but is that not when grans come into their own to offer help and advice.... I suggest you don't punish her because you don't like the mother

janeainsworth Sun 16-Jun-19 15:06:15

Not nonsense at all. Obviously I didn’t mean from the minute the GC is born. For heaven’s sake don’t take everything so literally. I meant from when the GC is small
With all due respect tickingbird that wasn’t what your previous post said at all.
And if we are not supposed to take your posts literally, how do we know how to interpret them?

It’s ok, don’t bother to answer that hmm

tickingbird Sun 16-Jun-19 11:53:58

Madgran77. Totally agree with you and have posted similar on other forum posts. If people have nothing constructive to say then move on. Always some nasty poster waiting to jump in carping and criticising.

tickingbird Sun 16-Jun-19 11:48:23

Janeainsworth Not nonsense at all. Obviously I didn’t mean from the minute the GC is born. For heaven’s sake don’t take everything so literally. I meant from when the GC is small. I love my children and grandchildren. For reasons beyond my control one GC was absent from my life for many years. She came back as a 12 yr old. She didn't know me and I didn’t know her. She practically lived with me until her 2nd birthday. My point is - if you don’t establish and keep a bond the child becomes just another child. We shouldn’t feel forced to love a child just because it’s related to us if we have never known said child. I love children and would never be nasty to one but true love isn’t something you just turn on like a tap.

Onestepbeyond Sat 15-Jun-19 21:59:42

Is her Mum an alcoholic by any chance

agnurse Sat 15-Jun-19 18:08:56

If she said no reins or handles, and someone doesn't feel equipped to take a child without them, the appropriate response is to say "I don't feel I will be able to take them". Not to go behind the parent's back and just do it anyway. (Directed generally.)

This child is 5. She's a preschooler. Preschoolers have big imaginations and sometimes big feelings. It would be difficult to say if there is something pathological in her behaviour given that she is so young.

Elvive Sat 15-Jun-19 13:07:47

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

Be thankful and leave the poor kid alone

( if this is true at all)

Starlady Fri 14-Jun-19 22:31:44

Thanks for the update, Bordergirl! I LOVE the way both DIL and GD want GD to spend time/have a relationship w/ you! IMO, it's good that you are all on the same page about that.

As for GD's many suggestions, I would choose 2 or 3 of them to do on one day, if feasible, and 2 or 3 for another day, etc. Let her know you want to make sure you have enough activities for each outing. Wishing you all the best and looking forward to updates!

Starlady Fri 14-Jun-19 22:25:14

"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."

Thank you for being honest about this ^, Bordersgirl. IMO, more of your problems w/ this GD may come from your anger at her mum. For example, the fact that you don't always respond when she's seeking your attention (if I read that correctly).

"I always want to spontaneously hug all the grandchildren except this one GD who I hardly know at all."

Again, than you for the honesty. Please don't beat yourself up about feeling this way. You can't help how you feel, and you can't force yourself to feel what you don't (yet, anyhow), especially since you really don't know her that well. But are you acting on your feelings? And is it when the other GC are present, too? Are you rushing to hug the others while ignoring her? I hope not, but I think that's how some posters are taking it. I hope you give hugs all around when your GC are there, even though you really don't feel like hugging this one. You can't help how you feel but you can help how you act - you can make sure you don't show favoritism in any way.

Please remember, her mum's behavior towards you is NOT GD's fault.

I think it's great that you want to have some visits just w/ this GD alone. But you also need to treat her the same as the others when her brothers or the other girl cousins are there. Also, I trust you realize that gifts should be of equal meaning/enjoyment to each child, and not obviously different in price (kids won't realize if one gift is way cheaper than another, but the parents will).

Anyhow, I'm sorry GD's mum made such a big deal about the rugsacks. I know she didn't want them for her children. But she should have understood your problem. I'm sorry you two weren't able to work that out beforehand, and that she kept GD from you for so long. I'm glad you have access to her now, though, and wish you the best as you work on your relationship w/ her.

Sara65 Fri 14-Jun-19 22:19:40


We had a similar experience to you, our oldest granddaughter was a little horror at times, but it didn’t stop me loving her, in some ways I think I loved her more, because her confrontational behaviour didn’t win her any friends, and I always felt sorry for her, it was like she couldn’t see what she was doing, but she’s grown up, she’s a young woman, she’s affectionate and sweet, and has at last found her own way

Please don’t give up on this little girl, Bordergirl, she’s your grandchild just the same as the others

Madgran77 Fri 14-Jun-19 21:55:04

Bordersgirl That is great and really constructive! Good luck flowers

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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).

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!!

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! 🌈