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12 month old crying every time Grandfather is near her

(17 Posts)
Ruth1234 Tue 30-Aug-11 18:00:47

Just after some advice/reassurance please!

My dd is generally good at going to other people, even people she doesn't know very well. However, since she was about 7 or 8 months old, she has become distressed every time my Dad (her Grandad) has attempted to pick her up, play with her or sometimes even just try to talk to her. He is ever so patient and kind to her and I just feel awful everytime she gets upset. She sees her Grandparents about once a week and is always fine with her Nana. I don't think it is just because he is a man as she is generally ok with other men she knows less well than my Dad.

So what I want to know, is is this normal behaviour? Is there anything I can do to improve the situation? And when will she grow out of it? I feel terrible for my Dad :-(

Many thanks in advance for any help or advice.

Tee2072 Tue 30-Aug-11 18:05:15

Does he have any facial hair or bushy eyebrows or anything that might be scaring her?

Newbabynewmum Tue 30-Aug-11 18:07:17

My DD loved everyone then around 8mo went right off men. Hates them tbh now! She knows my brother & grandfather (doesn't know her dad or my dad but that's a whole other post). It will pass. Just try and reassure her for the first few mins she sees people and she'll get used to them soon enough. It helps if men don't go too close too quickly I've found, just give it a bit of time.

CroissantNeuf Tue 30-Aug-11 18:09:29

I was going to ask about beards etc too as my DD had a phase of crying when she saw my brother who has a beard or, in fact, any man with a beard

SquongebobSparepants Tue 30-Aug-11 18:43:49

She will grow out of it if you can't figure out what the problem is, does he wear gl;asses? they can be quite freaky for some small children, especially big magnifying or tinted ones.
DD1 used to scream and hide at FIL but she grew out of it at about a year old once she could walk/run away from him and play peekaboo.
What FIL used to do was completely ignore her after saying hello, no fussing or trying to pick her up, and she eventually realised he wasn't going to grab her grin and relaxed.

hugglymugly Tue 30-Aug-11 19:52:25

My first thoughts were those already mentioned - facial hair, glasses. It could also be the scent of his after-shave or deodorant, the texture of his clothes if he usually wears something like a tweed or leather jacket, etc. Squongebob's suggestion of magnifying/tinted glasses made me wonder if perhaps he's doing too much eye focus - a lot of young children, as well as animals, don't like that.

It is upsetting, but maybe suggest to your Dad that he takes a softly-softly approach for a while - and reassure him that it's not an unusual phase for young children to go through.

There's often no apparent reason why some young children react the way they do. At that age they don't have the words to explain their feelings - and by the time they do, they'll have forgotten why.

youbethemummylion Tue 30-Aug-11 20:48:07

My first thought was glasses, beard etc my Dad also used to hold my DC too tight (not to be nasty because he was terrified of dropping them!)

Best thing would be that he got down on the floor and played alongside your DD and someone she is comfortable with until she is used to this, then the other person gradually withdraws further and further until they are playing together, the holding/going to will naturally progress from this.

charlottesmumkat Tue 30-Aug-11 20:52:24

my daughter is 16months and always really quiet with my dad and takes ages to chill out and play with him, i don't know why but i think maybe he's a bit too enthusiastic and a bit loud lol

Allboxedin Tue 30-Aug-11 20:54:19

Yes my dd was the same. I think it was because he is ill and has a permanent cough and breathlessness, I think she sensed he was ill and maybe unhappy.

Mandyville Tue 30-Aug-11 20:55:10

DD was like this with FIL. He's hopelessly pushy and never managed to give her enough space to get used to the idea of going to him. She suddenly decided she liked him just after her second birthday and he's now the grandparent she asks to phone up. It may just take time. I know I didn't help by stressing about it and trying to intervene. I would have done better to let FIL discover for himself what she liked and disliked - I just wanted to avoid upset for both of them. And failed anyway.

mumfromspace Tue 30-Aug-11 22:46:52

Apparently I cried whenever my dad came near me until I was 18 months, he has a very deep voice which may have been the reason.

mathanxiety Wed 31-Aug-11 05:08:39

Attachment and separation anxiety article here. Maybe she has figured out you are her main adult and she is just a bit anxious when someone else seems to be trying to fit into your role? Hence the distress you witness in her. It is very normal. She is just naturally very attached to her mum smile. It will pass but should not be hurried. Let her go through it at her own pace.

the3csmummy Wed 31-Aug-11 11:33:54

my eldest did this with my dad she hated him when she was a baby we put it down to the fact she only seen him once a week, whatever her reasoning for it the older she got the better she got, shes now 7 and adores her grandad who in return adores her and they both love her sleepovers at nanna and grandads house as its their time 2 snuggle on the sofa and watch simpsons! i wouldnt worry 2 much about it although i understand the stress it causes as there will be light at the end of the tunnel! grin

Ruth1234 Wed 31-Aug-11 19:47:53

Many thanks for all the advice and similar stories, they have given me hope for when she is a little older! My Dad does have a beard and perhaps does try too hard with dd sometimes. Thanks again smile

Grizzy Thu 01-Sep-11 12:37:03

My DD was exactly the same with my Brother. I concur with other's comments, it is likely to have something to do with his physical appearance.

We tried to work out what it was with my Brother whether it be his beard, colour of his skin (brother is white whereas most other men she has come into contact with are black (including Daddy)), etc. In the end we thought it may be to do with his size. My Brother is unusually large. He is 6ft 4in and quite well padded with it!! So one day, as soon as we came in, he got down on his hands and knees and approached her that way rather than walking (looming) towards her. Since that day, she loves him to bits!!

So I would concur with others. Try and work out what it is about his appearance she is frightened/anxious about and try to remedy it as best you can. Also, try the hands and knees approach (if he's fit enough to manage it!) as that is very non-threatening way to approach a small child.

Good luck! Please let us know how you get on.

Grizzy Thu 01-Sep-11 12:39:23

Oh, forgot to mention. He spent the majority of the rest of that visit on his hands and knees playing with her too.

AngelDog Thu 01-Sep-11 13:51:53

My 20 m.o. has been like this with my dad for months & months. My dad also 'tries too hard' and wants the sort of relationship with my DS that he had with me - but doesn't realise that he needs to let DS set the pace. He's a bit scared of my FIL but less so, as he doesn't try too hard with DS.

In general, he's more wary of men than of women, though.

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