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help! DS seems to hate his grandparents (my parents) - what can I do?

(12 Posts)
chocolateshoes Sun 12-Jul-09 19:11:47

This is rambly - sorry!

Ds is just 4 and for the last 6 months or so has become really wierd with my parents. They pick him up from nursery roughly once a fortnight and usually take him back to theirs for a couple of hours. It seems that he is not happy that they pick him up and sometimes cries or looks miserable. I try to see them with him so that their relationship does not just revolve around childminding. They come round once a week and I try to call in on them about once a fortnight. The thing is DS says he wants to see them and talks about them alot. Today for example he was really keen to go over there, but once we arrived he shied behimd my legs, wouldn't talk to them and went very moody. He knew that we were all staying and that I wasn't going so it wasn't an issue of him not wanting them to replace me iykwim.
I jyst don't know what to do to make things better. My mum is getting more and more upset.DS got upset today because he was thirsty but wouldn't speak to my mum to ask for a drink....has anyone else had this sort of issue, any advice please!!

chocolateshoes Sun 12-Jul-09 19:39:58


MIAonline Sun 12-Jul-09 19:50:50

The fact that when he is not there, he wants to go is a good sign iyswim. It would make me think there isn't an actual problem.

It could just be a simple case of the adults reactions to him not wanting to be there. The first time it happened did you comment on it or have the grandparents made a fuss about it (mine would!) Dc soon realise it is a good way of getting extra attention, even if it is in a strange way.

Try not even mentioning it, no cajoling him with them and all make a concerted effort to ignore any reaction he has to your parents. I am sure it is just a phase and will pass.

MIAonline Sun 12-Jul-09 19:55:03

Thinking about it further, try asking your parents to actually not acknowledge that he is there and all carry on talking. This will hopefully work in 2 ways, 1st he doesn't get any attention in a negative way 2nd he can initiate contact on his own terms.

Often with grandparents they push something until it becomes an issue, especially a they will be feeling hurt by his behaviour and they forget they are only little.

chocolateshoes Sun 12-Jul-09 19:57:15

Thanks Mia, I appreciate your reassurance! Yes my parents make quite a lot of fuss. Maybe you are right - DS is doing it for attention. Think it could be a good idea to make no fuss at all next time - which is tomorrow!! Hope it is a phases - quite a long one though!

MIAonline Sun 12-Jul-09 20:31:10


Hopefully you will get some more advice too.

If you are going to try the ignoring thing it may take a few times until DS realises it isn't worth making a fuss.

The hard thing might be getting your parents to go along with it, especially if they are anything like mine! grin

screamingabdab Sun 12-Jul-09 20:45:53

I agree with MIA. Either he's doing it for attention, or the fact that a fuss has been made and the grandparents are taking it personally makes him feel uncomfortable in some way. At this age some children are very attuned to adult's emotions, and can feel a bit pressurised.

Different situation, but my dad had a period of depression/anxiety when it became very important to him that his grandchildren show him affection. DS1 is very sensitive, and my dad's neediness had a paradoxical affect on him. He became a bit wary of my dad

Try and get your parents to play it cool - they should try not to panic - he's only 4 and they are the grownups, and can control their emotional reactions in a way he can't !

chocolateshoes Sun 12-Jul-09 21:05:48

Thanks - agree totally about the fact that they are the adults - and said that to them last week when they got all upset. I am thinking that the pressure made him act so bodly towards them today. I wonder if me & DH went on a bit much about how he neede to be nice to them etc that when he got there he couldn't cope. Am going to say nothing about them picking him up tomorrow & see how it goes. Thanks for your help. Am feeling mega crap and very caught in the middle!

screamingabdab Sun 12-Jul-09 21:11:50

Don't beat yourself up - it's a tricky one.

secretskillrelationships Sun 12-Jul-09 21:14:26

When my DCs were smaller they went through phases of shyness which were made much worse by people trying to encourage them. Interestingly, the people they never had problems with were my aunts who never had children. They treated them the same way they treat their animals - basically left them to themselves until they were ready or willing to engage.

It made me think a lot about how we treat children and the pressure we can, often unwittingly, put them under.

I got round a lot of the problems by recognising my role as protector and saying something along the lines of 'DD wants to stay with me for a bit and she'll play a bit later' and making it very clear that the subject is closed. This had the effect of giving her some space and letting hosts off the hook (as hosts we want people to feel comfortable in our house). I would then let DD stay with me as long as she wanted while I chatted and carried on as normal (ie not ignoring her but not adding to her stress either).

2rebecca Sun 12-Jul-09 23:45:56

My kids hated being fussed over at that age. I agree re talking to your parents about their fussing and getting upset making things worse. Next time you're there take something for him to play with and just chat and leave him to it, pretending he's behaving normally if he starts the leg holding thing.
If he keeps not liking them picking him up from nursery then I'd stop that for a bit unless it's an essential childminding task because you are working and just see them with you until he's more relaxed again.

QueenofSpleen Mon 13-Jul-09 00:16:14

He is feeding his fear with your worry.

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