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Skype, in-laws and reluctant DS1!

(15 Posts)
sheeplikessleep Sun 21-Oct-12 20:39:27

So how do we encourage a reluctant DS1 who has just turned 5, to speak and converse with his grandparents on Skype (who he sees about 3 times a year and absolutely fine when we go there).

MIL is starting to take offence I know and is starting to be urring on the telling him off tone for not talking to her. DH is coaxing / bribing him to engage with her on Skype.

I'm in two minds. DS1 is a sociable little boy and happy to chat generally. But he just isn't into Skype or the phone. He isn't close to his GPs.

How much should we / do we force this? I feel like if we push him, it's not going to end well.

MIL just asks him questions and I feel that he is feeling pressured.

But then it is rude to ignore / continue playing with his toys and not engaging in conversation.

Any experience or thoughts? Thanks for reading.

Runningblue Sun 21-Oct-12 20:55:06

We have a similar time with DS - aged3.
He doesn't like been directly questioned or being told its time to sit there.
So I suppose our half- solutions have been
To tell gps - its not you, he's like it with everyone including us if I spk to him on phone/ Skype
Picking your moment, has he got something lovely to show off he's made or done at school?
Try a three way chat with you gp and him
Make it short
You're probably doing all of that!!

Runningblue Sun 21-Oct-12 20:58:36

We have a similar time with DS - aged3.
He doesn't like been directly questioned or being told its time to sit there.
So I suppose our half- solutions have been
To tell gps - its not you, he's like it with everyone including us if I spk to him on phone/ Skype
As part of this, could you suggest that you and op spk on Skype with DS just in room, he might well come over and say hello of his own choosing if he feels less pressure
Picking your moment, has he got something lovely to show off he's made or done at school?
Try a three way chat with you gp and him
Make it short
You're probably doing all of that!!

Lastly, I have to tell you DS is even like this with my mum, his darling nana, who he adores....

instantfamily Sun 21-Oct-12 21:06:36

Can they ask more specific questions? My PILs would ask "How was school today?" and the answer would invariably be "don't know" or "good" and the conversation would stall.

Does your DS like to perform? Sometimes mine got all silly - not talking but showing dance moves or somersaults - or things they had drawn.

But it is difficult! and after years of this they still often are not in the mood for it. And I from talking to other parents who are often away it really isn't a personal thing. Kids will not want to talk to their dads who are on business trips sometimes either.

SilverCharm Sun 21-Oct-12 21:36:14

My Inlaws live abroad so Skype is a major part of our lives. DD1 was a bit like this...I started sticking MIL on the table when we were eating....she was plonked by the trifle last week and so DD was most amused by the sight of MIL drooling at the bowl but unable to partake!

But my MIL is funny and would never scold at DD being reluctant...ignoring them is best...I often say "Show MIL the picture you did..." so the DD can just flash the picture at the screen and MIL can admire it....or take the laptop into the garden so MIL can see the DDs playing.

sheeplikessleep Sun 21-Oct-12 22:08:56

Thanks all for posting.
I've said to DH we need to not make a big deal of it and to try first thing Saturday morning instead of just before tea on a Sunday. I'll also encourage him to build in more of something DS1 can talk about, like schoolwork or his new toys! But even then, DS1 is quite stubborn (not sure where he gets that from!), so once he decides he doesn't want to play ball, it never ends well. I just would like it to become a less pressured situation for all.
Equally, he is 5 now and part of life is talking to others and I want DS1 to be polite (sometimes he gets a bit freaked out when an adult talks to him that he doesn't know and just ignores a question asked, so I've tried doing role play with him for that and he is getting better).
It's also because DH and MIL don't talk about much else, it all becomes focused on the boys. So I'll try to encourage DH to just talk about other stuff and try to take the focus off DS1 a bit.
I'm also a bit eek about it, as MIL gets the hump if DS1 doesn't instantly give her cuddles and kisses the moment we arrive when we do visit. Guess DS1 is picking up on it all.
Thanks for posting - reassuring, thank you.

sheeplikessleep Sun 21-Oct-12 22:11:16

Trying it at dinner time is a good idea

noteventhebestdrummer Sun 21-Oct-12 22:13:02

Would the GPs write alternate bits of a story with you/DS and read them to him on Skype?
So you/he email them a paragraph and they then tell him the next bit??

SilverCharm Sun 21-Oct-12 22:36:37

sheep do you not talk to MIL when she's on Skype? I think from what you say, that it's just DH and DS?

I think that it may just seem too formal...not chatty and relaxed. Can you join in too?

Runningblue Sun 21-Oct-12 23:03:29

DSs nana will help read a story or sing a song too - if you're clever you can hold the book so they read and DS can see... It has to be like just a chat like they were in your living room or it's too stifling - not just for kids, everyone concerned!

mysweetie Sun 21-Oct-12 23:57:22

My DD and nephew's loves skype...even to phone (even no one is calling..lol).
My DH is working overseas and just got home after 2 years(and were hoping it can be annually) so skype chatting is really essential. I usually hold my DD, 18months now when we are chatting, I though her to kiss and play with "daddy" even through the net, My DH also watch her play.
Does your LO have an online game? Maybe he can play it with his dad online. And when they chat,. go sit with them so the kid won't be bored or irritated. Hope this helps, Goodluck!

dabdab Mon 22-Oct-12 00:12:52

My parents are abroad, so we have a regular skype 1x week. Kids don't like it too much, Dd1 (11) really doesn't like it. We do it at dinner so there isn't the getting up and down thing. We also ask them to give gps 5 minutes of their time (literally) and Dh and I try not to butt in when it is the children's time to talk. TBH, I don't really like skyping that much either. I don't think that children are made to skype - it is the here and now that they are interested in, and doing things rather than answering questions. I do encourage them to show things that they have made, play new musical pieces learned, etc. It does really mean a lot to my mother though.

sheeplikessleep Mon 22-Oct-12 10:53:32

noteven and running - that is a good idea. DS1 loves stories, so even just reading to him over it might be an idea. i'll suggest that to dh.

silver - i am around, in the background, say 'hello, how are you' type of thing, but it is dh who leads the conversation. it normally is quite relaxed, ds's playing on the floor. it was ds1's birthday, so i guess even more onus on him. it just gets pressured when dh asks ds to come and say hello and ds refuses.

mysweeties - ds1 used to be 'better' at skype than he is now. he is just so uninterested in it.

dabdab - you're so right, ds1 is just interested in what is going on around him and i don't think the 'technology novelty factor' is that motivating to him now, like it used to be. we do ask ds1 to give 5 minutes of his time and i will say to dh about not talking thing.

i think we need to change timing, talk about things, incorporate books or toys.

part of it is that mil doesn't really have much empathy about how ds1 is feeling, she just asks him questions. with my mum, she turns the camera upside down, brings toys (at her house) to the camera, sings and reads and 'hides'. i just can't see mil doing these things!

thanks all for posting, really helpful.

ZuleikaD Mon 22-Oct-12 11:11:41

I wouldn't push it. Have you tried just letting the GPs watch while your DS plays? A bit like a webcam. They could comment about what he's doing (as long as he's in view) - so rather than him having to Sit Here And Talk To Grandma he gets to play and it's more just as though she's in the room. I agree your MIL should do more to engage him - how about reading him a story? Don't place the onus on him.

mumof4sons Mon 22-Oct-12 16:20:48

When growing up I lived in US and my grandparents lived in England. The only communications then was either by phone or letters. I remember, when I was quite young, hating to be made to speak to my grandparents on the phone. They were strangers to me. I didn't know them very well.

It was so different when I saw them in person, once about every 2-3 years when they either visited us or we visited them. I was just easier to get a feel for them. I think it was hard to feel the warmth and love from them when on the phone.

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