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Three year old rejecting grandparents - advice needed

(8 Posts)
summermagic Thu 21-May-09 00:31:16


I have a normally lovely three year old boy who has recently become progressively meaner to one set of grandparents - who happen also to be my parents.

They look after him a day and a half a week while I'm at work and they absolutely adore him - especially as he's the only child in the family.

They play games with him so it's not like they don't get down to his level.
They've tried backing off a bit but he doesn't seem to be responding to that.
I've tried explaining to him that being mean makes people sad and that it makes Mummy sad when he's mean to them and I'm very firm with him that rudeness and being unkind is not somethng that I find acceptible at all.
I've also tried leading by example by giving my parents extra hugs.

I don't really know what else to try. He's particularly offish with my mum and I know it upsets her more than she lets on and that upsets me.

I think he's worse when I'm around (he's always been a Mummy's boy) but I can't ask them just to back off completely when I'm there. It feels strange.

It's particularly difficult as he absolutely idolises his other grandmother (for very good reason - she's lovely and amazing with children) who lives further away and doesn't see him as often. Obviously she's more of a novelty and as she's not a main carer never has to tell him off or say no very often because most of the time we're around to do that. But I know my mum has noticed this and it makes it more hurtful for her.

Has anyone else had any similar experiences who could offer some advice on how to deal with this?

He's not generally a mean boy and other peole are allways telling me what a sweet natured little boy he is. He doesn't do it all the time but it's getting often enough to make me dread seeing my parents in case he rejects them.


SOLOisMeredithGrey Thu 21-May-09 00:35:57

Perhaps he resents that you leave him in their care...

Paleodad Thu 21-May-09 09:25:14

we're going through similar experiences at the moment, with our DD (2.5). Whenever my DW's parents enter a room she screams "mine", grabs whatever is near and adds several "no no no" and go away nanny/grandads etc.
I think there are a couple of reasons for this, primarily a kind of over familiarity. As we are living with my PIL for a few months an consequently there is no 'novelty' factor (in contrast she loves my parents, and sees them about twice a week.
Also, PIL tend to tease her quite abit, in a nice way (e.g. "that's my baby/teddy/toy") but i think DD is a bit young to understand properly, and instead thinks she's being dispossessed.
Not sure what to do about it TBH, except keep gently telling off DD and encouraging her to be nice etc.
But really i tend to think it is the adults problem, and they need to understand that they're only (very little) children, learning their way around the world. The adults need to behave like adults and be paitient!

JeffVadar Thu 21-May-09 11:13:46

My DS went through this with my mum too. I think it was because she was the only one of his grandparents that he didn't have completely wrapped around his little finger! It did eventually pass, but I know how upsetting it is.

I think that what you are doing is absolutely the right thing, but it may take a bit of time.

If you are having time away for a holiday you could perhaps draw his attention to how he hasn't seen his grandparents for a while, and won't it be lovely to see them again when you get back!

You could also try mentioning to him how lucky he is to have family who love him to look after him and make lots of fuss of him. Say that if was at nursery he would have to share toys with lots of other children etc. Obviously that is a risky strategy as he may decide that nursery sounds really great and he would be rather be there!

I hope it passes soon anyway, and good luck

smee Thu 21-May-09 13:45:46

You have to say something if he's outright rude, but otherwise don't pay it any attention. It'll pass and they're parents too, so probably know that deep down. The bigger the deal you make of it though the longer it lasts. Kids are demons like that grin

summermagic Thu 21-May-09 14:23:49

Thanks everyone. I bloody love Mumsnet.

I really really appreciate your views and you're right Paleodad my parents do need to remember who the child is in the situation.

I lectured him last night and again this morning and I need to bear in mind that while I won't put up with him being rude he is just little and I do need to give him a bit of a break.

Thanks again smile


Pinklett Thu 03-Sep-09 22:09:52

Anyone still on this thread??
My Mum lives on a different continent and hasn´t visited for over a year, so it´s the opposite of over-familiarity, but my 3.5 yr old DS is being a nightmare towards her.... offish, rude, belligerent and generally a little BRAT and it´s only her 1st week out of 4 that she´s staying!
Would love to know how it´s turning out for you, Summermagic, if you have a moment and what strategies worked best!

wolfear Thu 03-Sep-09 22:32:47

Pinklette - my mum also lives on a different continent and has just gone home after a 3 week visit to meet 11 wk old DS2 for the first time. DS1 is 2.2 and was awful to her to begin with. She couldn't even look at him without him shouting 'no no NO Nanny!. I felt so awful for her and kept apologising on his behalf and consequently being harder on him than I usually would as I was so embarrassed. She's a mum of 5 herself and has 4 other grandchildren so said she completely understood but I think she was still a bit hurt.

She really persevered with him though, doing fun things on their own, like she'd take him down to the park and buy him an ice cream, build cubby houses out of the sofa cushions etc and he'd really warmed to her by the time she left. He always talks about her now and chats to her on the phone when she calls.

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