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My daughter's no longer interested in her grandparents, causing much upset!! (Long sorry)!

(20 Posts)
onthepier Sat 04-Oct-08 17:42:40

My dd who will be 10 soon, seems to have a very negative attitude towards her grandparents, (my parents).

They love her to bits, as they do her younger brother, but my mum does have a habit of:-

correcting her speech when she speaks fast (due to excitement),

being very tense at my children's parties when their friends are present, "it wasn't like this in my day, etc",

commenting on what my children choose to eat when we're out, (both are quite fussy eaters but I'm working on it)!

My dd is generally a very bright, active + popular child who has the advantage of also being pretty. However, she's not a typical "girly-girl", she'd rather be running + climbing than experimenting with hairstyles + clothes!

She's taken to being very grumpy when we spend time with my parents, not wanting to talk to my mum, only grudgingly when I prompt her. My parents recently came to watch her in her school play, waved as she came on stage with her class + my dd turned the other cheek, refusing to acknowledge them! She says they make her feel nervous, but she's not a nervous child!

She gravitates more towards my dad as he's generally more relaxed, but my mum gets so upset at my dd's indifference to her, + so do I! She thinks the world of her grandchildren, (she has 4 between me + my sister), and seeing my dd act like a sulky teenager towards her really upsets me! She's completely different with my dh's parents though who we don't see as much due to the distance, she's smiling, chatty about school + everything + excited to see them!

I do pick my mum up on things sometimes, telling her just to enjoy my dd's company without getting tense, but she just goes on about how it was all different in her day bringing us up, (that was the 70's)! My dd's not a naughty child, she's just not one to sit + chat/sit with a sewing kit for hours, which is how I feel my mum would like her to be! My 6 year old ds is fine with them at the moment, but hoping he doesn't copy his sister in time!

ImnotMamaGbutsheLovesMe Sat 04-Oct-08 17:45:31

Have you talked to your daughter about how she feels more relaxed with her Dad's parents that yours and is there anything that is bothering her?

Children quite often don't want to spend time with their GP's once they get to a certain age as they want to do their own thing.

Pheebe Sat 04-Oct-08 17:47:59

Sorry but it sounds to me like your mum is bringing it on herself sad You can't force DD to enjoy her company she will or she won't and many children simply 'outgrow' their grandparents for a while I suspect. perhaps try and encourage your mum to spend time with your DD on her own, go shopping for something specific, get her to teach her to do some baking, sewing, drawing, whatever. Thats all I can think of really. I really feel for your mum, must be really sad for her.

JuliePurchill Sat 04-Oct-08 17:48:28

She's picking up on your mother's attitude. She might be seeing it as criticism about herself, correcting her speech etc. She's at the age where she's more self concious and maybe feels your Mum is pointing out 'faults'.

Helga80 Sat 04-Oct-08 17:50:22

Being totally honest, I read this as your mum having the negative attitute rather than your DD

If your mum is tense all the time and picking DD up on her speech and eating habits it is going to make her nervous and surly (especially at 10!).

You can't make a child behave in a certain way but you can speak to your mum. Sorry but I feel it's her that needs to change her behaviour and attitute then your DD will relax.

Your mum needs to realise that times have changed and your DD is an individual who doesn't behave the way your mum expects.

This situation could end up getting worse as your daughter hits puberty if things don't relax soon.

Good luck

rachelp73 Sat 04-Oct-08 22:37:48

sounds like your DD has had her confidence knocked quite a lot by your mum. An adult would get mightily pissed off if someone kept correcting their speech and commenting on their eating habits, your DD is just at an age now where she is thinking a bit more as an adult would, and dealing with it in the only way she can, eg, avoiding her grandparents. At age 10, you just don't feel like you can say to an adult "oh, for god's sake, how RUDE are you being? Stop criticising me."

"She says they make her feel nervous, but she's not a nervous child." You've answered your own question really. You need to tell your mum that she has said that to you. She needs to see the effect her attitude is having on her grand-daughter, otherwise the gap between them will only get wider.

Dropdeadfred Sat 04-Oct-08 22:43:47

your mum needs to be interested in who your daughter is...not who she might have been if born years ago or who she might like her to be

if she loves her it should be for her personality warts and all, forget eating habits and speech - that should be your job to correct (if necessary) not hers anyway!! tell her to butt out a bit and have a word with your dd about how much grandma does love her but is a bit 'out of touch' and they need to find some middle ground

AbbeyA Sat 04-Oct-08 22:50:43

I think your mum has brought it on herself. You have to respond to the DC she is not the DC she would like! Your mother is the adult, she is the one that needs to change her attitude. You can explain to your DD that her grandma loves her but it won't make the relationship easier on a practical level.

MmeTussaudsChamberOfHorrors Sat 04-Oct-08 23:03:22

I agree with the other posters. Imagine your boss would constantly criticise you and make you feel inadaquate even though you were doing your best. That is how your DD feels.

Your Mum is the adult, she needs to see that your DD is growing up and should be treated with respect. She is her own person and her Gran should accept her as she is and not try to make her into the person that she wants her to be.

Can you say something to your mum along the lines of, "Yes, well attitudes to children's upbringing have changed over the last 30 years and I like the fact that DD is confident and outgoing"

PortAndLemon Sat 04-Oct-08 23:51:36

I would both
-- have a serious talk with your mother about how she is alienating your DD and try to get her to behave in a more positive manner
-- have another serious talk with your DD about how you have talked to your mother and how she has (I hope, by this time) promised to make an effort. Then you could talk about motivation and behaviour and how if she can respond to the New Gran by behaving more like she does with her other grandparents it will encourage her gran to keep up the good work, while if she keeps being standoffish then your mother is likely to revert to Old Gran.

Marina Sat 04-Oct-08 23:59:52

I agree with posters who say this is really about your mother learning not to upset a child, and thinking before she criticises so frequently (my mother is rather like this so I do understand how wearing it can be)
However, at ten, your dd is, IMO, old enough for you to talk to her about cutting batty oldsters some slack and trying not to take it all too much to heart.
Ds, who is nine, finds it easier to cope with my mum's "helpful remarks" now that I've told him that even though grandma can be insufferable, she is also a grandparent who rings most days to see how they are, takes a keen if slightly bonkers interest in everything they do - in short, she really loves them. And sometimes people express love in slightly unexpected ways.
Your mum and dad are very much in your dcs' life, so at the same time as tackling your mum, you could have a little chat to dd about actions speaking louder than words?
I really sympathise. My mum comes out with some corkers sometimes and I ended up not speaking to her for a month earlier this year.

hatwoman Sun 05-Oct-08 00:10:37

I agree with the other posters but have an additional thought - do your dd and your mum spend any time together just the two of them? some of the things your mum does, and the way in which your dd reacts could in part be connected with the presence of other people (ie both of them, in their own ways, worrying about "appearances")would your mum (and therefore also your dd) relax more if they had some one-to-one time together? it might help your mum see her good sides and might help your dd enjoy your mum's company. sounds to me like they need to get to know each other better.

AbbeyA Sun 05-Oct-08 09:39:38

I think hatwoman has an excellent suggestion. She could stay with her grandmother on her own and most importantly without her younger brother. It is much easier to form a relationship on a one to one basis.

onthepier Sun 05-Oct-08 12:11:16

Thanks for all your posts, some useful suggestions there. Hatwoman, my dd + her grandmother rarely spend time on their own together, it tends to be all of us inc. my dh + the children's grandad, or my dd + her younger brother staying there occasionally. There is an almost 4 yr age gap between the children so of course they do bicker.

Agree my mum does need to change her attitude. I'm not saying my dd is perfect, but for instance the other day I'd taken the dc's to a children's play at the local theatre, knew Mum + Dad would be in town so suggested meeting them for a bit of lunch. (They pick them up from school for me once a week but complain that the children are never "at their best" straight after school, so I thought we could make the effort to see them on a Sunday lunchtime instead).

Anyway, I arrived at the cafe we were meeting in with both dc's, insisting on the way on good behaviour from both of them, (they'd had a lovely time at the play). One of the first things my mum said to dd was, "I bet you'd rather be somewhere else wouldn't you?" My dd agreed that she would + then proceeded to sulk!! Mum later told me that she'd waved to the dc's through the cafe window as we approached, only for my dd to turn her head away + not wave back.

I was fuming by the end of it as I'd made the effort + yet again it had all gone wrong! My ds was ok, a bit demanding but maybe he could sense Mum's tension.

I do agree that Mum needs to change, it's a bit pathetic to take offence at a child not waving, irritating but surely not enough to cause tension all round! I'm definitely going to have a chat with her about it all.

rachelp73 Sun 05-Oct-08 21:56:07

The other thing to consider is that her hormones could be starting to fly around. I have a couple of friends who have girls that age and they have all said that their DDs have been really moody lately. Hence it was maybe part of the reason your DD was sulky at the cafe. Perhaps your mum needs to take that into account too? Your mum is obviously taking it personally, when it's probably a combination of she herself treating your DD in too critical a way, and just normal pre-teen moods.

Sounds like yes, you need to have a chat with both. Would be interesting to hear what happens, so please come back!

more Mon 06-Oct-08 14:02:56

I am sorry but your mother is asking for it. Starting out with a negative question like that "I bet you would rather be somewhere else". That is not a positive, welcoming comment to make. That is more of a martyr comment, and at the risk of going back to the playground your mother started the bad lunch date not your daughter.
Both you and your mother had gone to that lunch with the attitude that it was going to be hard work for those two being in the same room and watching every step that your daughter was taking. If you are going to be looking for her making mistakes then she is going to make one.

If she wants to change her relationship she needs to change her own outlook to something a bit more sunny.

I would say that you should just ignore your daugher when she gets "teenagey" instead of constantly pulling her up on it. Especially if she otherwise has a good relationship with everybody else.

onthepier Mon 06-Oct-08 17:09:30

Thanks for your replies. RACHELP - You could be right about the hormones, as I've recently noticed "awkward" behaviour in my dd that she didn't have before, for example walking with shoulders hunched, + not really settling to anything at home after school. She suddenly seems to old for all things she used to play with, but far too young for pre-teen things as she's still quite innocent in her way. (By the way, she's not awkward around her friends, teachers or us, it's just with other adults, doesn't seem to know what to say to them at first, but then warms up + chats away. Except with her grandma of course but that's a different issue)!

MORE - I agree with you about the lunch, Mum seemed instantly wound up when we got there. Have seen her today, she started on about my dd's eating habits, nothing major, just that she hates to see her picking at her food, when I was her age apparently I ate everything!

Told her that all this is making dd unhappy, she's worried about putting a foot wrong in case my mum criticises, + reminded her that my dd is just a child!! We're due to go away in December for a weekend without the dc's, I suggested asking some friends of ours to look after them instead of Mum + Dad, but of course she didn't like that at all + is insisting she has them, as she has before. I think she did take note of what I said, as she was extremely quiet for the rest of the morning, just said her normal "It was different in my day!", but admitted that she'd hate my dd not to want to spend time with her. Hopefully this will be resolved!!

boohockey Mon 06-Oct-08 21:28:25

you have my sympathy but I do agree with the other posts, your mum is the one out of line, I have similar issues with my IL's - they once told my DC they wanted them to say 'Hello Granny' or 'Hello Grandad' not just hello or hi. Maybe it's a generation thing but that's mad surely?! Good luck, hope you find resolution

more Tue 07-Oct-08 12:35:41

Sounds like a really good idea that you get one of your friends to look after your children. Maybe meet in the middle, ask your mother to look after ds and your friend can look after your daughter.

Remember it is your choice not your mother's as to who looks after them, she can insist and reminisc about the good old days all she wants, but ultimately dd is your daughter and not her's.

Could youtalk to your daughter about it, ask her what which choice would make her happiest.

Elkat Tue 07-Oct-08 13:25:02

Agree with the other posters about your mum's negativity... but to be proactive and turn things around, perhaps the three of you could go out for a girlie day - shopping or whatever your DD enjoys, get your nails done or something, just spend time together and relax together (warning your mum first not to pick up on anything). As a child, I had regular 'girlie days' and still have those bonds now... only now I take my mum out with my girls on our days out. (You could get your son to have father / son bonding with his dad, at a football match or whatever). I think the key things is that they have got to have a relationship with each other, and it doesn't sound as though that is there yet! But maybe some days out might help to facilitate that???
HTH

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