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Ultra possessive grandparents?

(76 Posts)
Cuffetta99 Mon 05-Jul-21 12:27:34

Cuffetta99

We just had an upsetting experience. Yesterday was the first time we saw our grandson together with my son in laws parents. We used to be good friends with them for years until the baby was due. I was a birth partner for my daughter and this was not well received by the other set. Some comments were made which I rose above thinking that it was just a bit of jealousy.
Then lockdown started and we were my daughters support bubble. So the other GP didn’t see or have contact with GS apart from outside at a distance for 18 months.
So we’re both really close to him, I see him 5 days a week normally. My husband (step dad to my daughter since she was 11) sees him 2/3 times a week.
The problem yesterday. We were nervous that GS might be too obviously confident with us and too shy with them. Since C19 has been almost all his life (20months) he’s very shy of people except us and his parents as that’s all he’s really seen.
But not only we’re our fears unfounded but reversed!!
He’s seen more of his other GP in the last few weeks so is more comfortable with them. But yesterday was weird!
He ignored his other Granny, mostly because he was utterly monopolised by paternal GD. He picked him up immediately on coming in and that was it!
(He has other GC which he’s always done the same with ie takes them off to play away from everyone else (including his wife) and totally excludes everyone else. His other son (parents of older GC) eventually told him off for constantly taking first one, then both GC, away from the family group saying he wanted to spend quality time with his kids as well on a weekend as he works all day and obviously only sees them after work most days. I don’t know what the response was but it still happened. Till they got fed up with it and supervised their time with them more closely and stopped him taking them off.).
So this happened again yesterday. GS was totally just wanting to be with GD and play etc and ignoring his parents and us. So maybe we were just surprised and a bit confused to start with. As the visit went on, he took him off up the garden or in the summerhouse or up to the allotment several times. (GS is never not wanting to visit the allotment ). Son in law got the “go with them” look from daughter as she doesn’t trust him not to have secret snacks of chocolate to give GS.
(They both (other set of GP) think it’s funny to give GC chocolate and treats and the older ones are sworn to secrecy ie “We mustn’t tell M&D we’ve had chocolate/money to buy chocolate/biscuits “ etc because we’re not allowed it unless they say so. Which we all think is appalling and daughter and SIL have shopped them to the other parents about. But despite threatened sanctions it still secretly goes on ).
So when eventually GD left the room, I was talking to GS and asked him if he wanted to show other Granny a toy. She was very keen to share it as he hadn’t been near her all afternoon.
GD came back in just as he moved towards Granny and sat on the floor in between GS and Granny and asked to see the toy. Distracted again and then taken off again to look out the windows.
So I’m well aware this sounds a bit petty but why is he doing this? Why does he have to monopolise any child and remove them from the group for 121 interaction? What’s going on?
As my husband later remarked “ no one else need have been there! It created the most odd atmosphere “?
He was very upset by it and couldn’t understand it at all. I’m also a bit confused as to why he does this? He’s a bit of a show off and a confirmed liar but this is still odd behaviour. I felt so sorry for Granny but she always lets him walk all over her ( and his kids) without demurring so it’s not surprising that he gets away with it. My husband said he’s shot himself in the foot as they won’t be invited back when GS is here, so he’s the one who’ll miss out. I don’t know if confrontation is the answer or not. (Not from us, I’d have no problem doing it but it’s really a parenting issue). My daughter has only just accepted they have to see more of them now lockdown is eased but still has trust/dislike issues with them because of serious lying/honesty/causing her husband pain issues from long before lockdown.
Does anyone else have any experience of this?
I’ve read a few articles to try and get a handle on this but would appreciate any constructive advice please?
Just to add, 2 days before, GS saw his great Granny and some other relatives for the first time in 18 months. After a shortish while of shyness, he lost his nerves and had a lovely day playing in the garden with everyone. He was the centre of attention of course but played beautifully with all and it was a lovely relaxing day. Not one person tried to fight for his attention, everyone was just happy to share a lovely day with him.

Grandmabatty Mon 05-Jul-21 12:34:48

There is nothing you can do or say, unfortunately. I am in a similar situation and I bite my tongue. I always remember he is dsil's father and the issue isn't for me to resolve. Now I make sure that I visit at separate times from him as he also shows off and behaved badly with dgs. I ignore his bad behaviour, I get up and go to the kitchen or talk to his long suffering wife. I practise indifference. Do not confront him as it will put your sil in a difficult position and also show that it bothers you.

eazybee Mon 05-Jul-21 13:22:24

Stay well out of it; this is for the parents to resolve.

There are two issues here: firstly, two sets of possessive grandparents competing for attention; you see him five days a week so leave the other two to enjoy their time with the grandchild if you are together; the parents can prevent him being taken away if they wish.
Grandfather monopolising the grandchildren: (look at me everybody, I'm so good with children,) is one thing, but deliberately subverting their parents' discipline by buying their affection with secret money for sweets is much more serious . Your daughter and son in law are already aware of how he behaves, and will move in to stop it when necessary. Don't attempt to intervene.

M0nica Mon 05-Jul-21 13:29:19

I would find the secrecy and taking the children away from everybody else very worrying. It smacks of the behaviour of paedophiles.

I am sure this is not happening now, but......

Cuffetta99 Mon 05-Jul-21 13:54:47

Thank you for replying. It’s an odd situation as we’ve never been all together due to Covid. It was just such a shock to find he just took him off like that and almost stopped him interacting with anyone else, including his mother! We had no idea it would happen, we were worried about how they would feel if he didn’t mix with them! Ah well, it won’t happen again.

Spinnaker Mon 05-Jul-21 13:55:06

My thoughts too MOnica, especially considering that there are already trust/painful past issues with the child's father and the grandfather. Throw into that the silent, long suffering wife and it's a recipe for all sorts of ugliness.

I would rather be wary and on my guard than not because as you say, it's probably not happening but you can never be sure.

lemongrove Mon 05-Jul-21 14:07:08

Grandmabatty

There is nothing you can do or say, unfortunately. I am in a similar situation and I bite my tongue. I always remember he is dsil's father and the issue isn't for me to resolve. Now I make sure that I visit at separate times from him as he also shows off and behaved badly with dgs. I ignore his bad behaviour, I get up and go to the kitchen or talk to his long suffering wife. I practise indifference. Do not confront him as it will put your sil in a difficult position and also show that it bothers you.

Good post, and it’s what I would do too.

Cuffetta you said it yourself, he is a show off.He is amusing and fun to the young child so no surprise that he eagerly goes off with Grandad.
Try to only go to your DD’s house when he isn’t there as much as possible.

Cuffetta99 Mon 05-Jul-21 14:13:45

Thank you. Sorry guys, I wasn’t very clear, there are no issues with Dad. Just that GD caused great pain to the rest of the family with deceitful behaviour.
I hadn’t thought there might be an ulterior motive in taking him off ( never far away ie within 100m or for more than a few minutes) but I don’t know how peados operate. I think it’s just trying to make himself “the popular one”. But I could be wrong. Horrible thoughts. I think I’m going to quietly talk to my daughter about this. He’s her child and she’ll do what she has to keep him safe. Even if it’s protecting him from a Narcissistic GD, rather than a Peado. Thank you all.

Madgran77 Mon 05-Jul-21 14:25:14

firstly, two sets of possessive grandparents competing for attention; you see him five days a week so leave the other two to enjoy their time with the grandchild

There is nothing in the OP to suggest tge poster is over possessive. In fact she wS personally encouraging her grandson to play with his otger grandmother. A really unfounded comment in my view!

BigBertha1 Mon 05-Jul-21 14:30:51

I think easybee has a point. I had a mental vision of this child being the centre of a tug of war when I read the OP.

Lucca Mon 05-Jul-21 14:39:41

Why not just avoid being there with the other grandparents ? Isn’t 5 days a week enough ?!

Please let’s not jump to conclusions about narcissism or paedophilia…

Esspee Mon 05-Jul-21 14:44:18

M0nica

I would find the secrecy and taking the children away from everybody else very worrying. It smacks of the behaviour of paedophiles.

I am sure this is not happening now, but......

Exactly what I thought on reading the post. Going against the wishes of the parents and developing secrets with the grandchildren made my flesh creep.

Cuffetta99 Mon 05-Jul-21 14:50:51

Hi Bigbertha and easybee.
There has never been a “tug of war”…. This was the very first time we had ever been together since he was born! So how could there have been TOW?
We were just flabbergasted that he was so blatantly monopolised by one person who clearly didn’t even want his own wife involved! I actually felt sorry for her which is why I was trying to get him to show her the toy as he hadn’t been near her without him holding him! Thank you Madgran for supporting this.
He also always does it with all dogs, luring them away with treats in his pocket.
The only reason I see him so much is that they have no garden and I am her (daughters) sort of childcare/babysitter so she can do some housework/ horse stuff / etc without him getting bored. One day of the weekend they see his parents the other they come to us. Yesterday was “our” day and we chose to invite them so we could all be together again after 18 months.
Not a resounding success. Obviously.

Germanshepherdsmum Mon 05-Jul-21 14:58:06

This man may be just a selfish, narcissistic boor but I’m afraid my first thought was the same as Espee and MOnica suggested.

blondenana Mon 05-Jul-21 15:05:11

Sorry to say it,but my thoughts same as you MOnica would worry me that behaviour

Shelflife Mon 05-Jul-21 15:15:12

Very delicate and sensitive problem . A grandparent should not under any circumstance create secrets with a grandchild. If that is happening , let's hope there is nothing else happening.......?? Whatever the reason there is something not quite right here. Strange behaviour to say the least . I wonder what your daughter thinks about it , if she is not happy she must exercise her parental rights and put a stop to it. Even if he is simply a possessive grandfather it is not appropriate to monopolize the child by taking him away from his family on such a regular be basis.

V3ra Mon 05-Jul-21 15:43:46

There is no way the other grandparents, and you say it's both of them, should be encouraging the grandchildren to lie to their parents about anything for goodness sake. What an irresponsible thing to do.

Hopefully it's just big-headed stupidity but as M0nica suggests it could be the thin of the wedge and lead to a very unpleasant situation in years to come. Be very careful.

Blossoming Mon 05-Jul-21 15:48:30

I thought the same as M0nica , big alarm bells ringing. Very creepy behaviour.

Smileless2012 Mon 05-Jul-21 15:55:38

My thoughts exactly Lucca "Please let's not jump to conclusions of narcissism or paedophilia". For goodness sake, how would those of you who have mentioned this feel if the same were suggested of you?

I agree that secrecy between a GP and GC is wrong and is something for the parents of the child to address, if they see it as an issue.

A conversation with your D is a good idea Cuffetta, that said I certainly wouldn't recommend suggesting that her f.i.l. may be a narcissist or paedophile. Lucca's suggestion that as you see him 5 times a week, not visiting the same time as his other GP's would be a good idea too.

Hithere Mon 05-Jul-21 15:57:14

A person who encourages a child to keep secrets from his/her parents is a deal breaker for me.

Your son and dil need more nuclear time and all grandparents need to calm down - this is not a competition.
That poor child, so many expectations on him.

Daughter has a husband problem and I hope she puts her foot down soon.

DiscoDancer1975 Mon 05-Jul-21 17:32:09

Oh good, I’ve found you! I would do everything separately, so you’re not seeing them when the other set are.
It does sound strange, but I would think he’s being too obvious about it for it to be sinister. He’s hopefully just monopolising, but does need an eye keeping on him.
Either way, this is for your daughter to sort out with her husband. He needs to then sort it with his parents. So many men are so weak in this department.
At least if you don’t see them, and explain why, it may make them think. So many people have missed their grandchildren over the last 18 months, it’s not surprising, but he’s over the top if he’s excluding the granny too,
All the best.

HolySox Mon 05-Jul-21 17:42:56

You say he has done something similar with SIL's brother's children. Would encourage your DD and SIL to talk with the brother and his wife. How have they dealt with it? How could they have done better? Perhaps they can 'join forces' if this GD is causing significant problems. Hopefully it is simply this GD is just good fun and little ones are attracted to this ... but he should be respectful to others - certainly his wife and, most of all, the parents. Does he just need telling?

grandMattie Mon 05-Jul-21 17:47:56

Because of distance, we only see our DGDs about three times a year. However, they see the other grandparents very, very often. I try never to be with the other GPs as granny is very competitive and likes to show how much more the girls see them, stay with them, etc. I also keep my mouth buttoned up and my hurt to myself.
I think you just have to accept the situation. No competition as children can feel the tense atmosphere.

User7777 Mon 05-Jul-21 18:00:43

Well said Monica.. but it could of course indicate social shyness on GD part. Can only function if the GC is displaying undivided attention to GD. Hence, little trips to allotment etc.

eazybee Mon 05-Jul-21 18:15:35

I don't believe there is any suggestion of narcissism or paedophilia, just a silly conceited man who wants to be top adult within his family, and who thinks the way to do it is by creating secrets to keep from the grown-ups. That needs to be stopped immediately, and I believe the child's mother is already aware .
And I do think the child needs to be allowed to play without constant direction from adults as to sharing toys and looking at things. Just sit back and enjoy.