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Don't want to be around my 4 y/o grandson

Started by Gmom, June 12, 2011, 08:57:02 pm

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any more.  Especially if he's with his parents.  I use to be with him but he has gotten so horrible and there's nothing I can do to work things to be alright if his parents are there.  He doesn't respect parents or grandparents and every little thing is such a big problem.  They debate with him and stuff.  He is exceptionally bright.  His parents have no idea what normal is.  Like you ask a kid four y/o to do something and he is suppose to do it.  The kid only does that way too little of the time, and frankly I can't handle all the wierd talk and convincing that goes on to get him to finally oblige.  Where in the world are his parents coming from??   They are very intelligent people. Both of them had normal respect for adults and were never allowed to be like him when they were kids.  They have ruined him so far and I can't handle it.  It is just a mess and I see no reason to hang out.  A kid who is a pleasure to be around is not him.  My plan is to just kinda skip trying to be with him.  Just do a token thing here and there.  And wait.  Surely this has to pass.  Surely his parents will eventually see that this mess needs to be cleaned up. 

I actually felt that it was my responsibility to try to get them to see what was going on.  I felt I had nothing at all to lose, so I wrote them a letter telling them that I felt I had a responsibility to tell them the good, the bad and the ugly.  That perhaps they were too close to the situation and could use the help.  I know they weren't all that thrilled with the letter, but I feel that I have done my part.  I told them I loved them also, and so I let the chips fall where they may.

So.......of course I'm on here wanting, definitely not needing, but wanting affirmation.  To be exact, I would like to know if any people here have not wanted to be around their own grandchild and have questioned themselves on that.  I never, ever would have thought that I would avoid my grandchild.  I wanted to have a close relationship with any I would have.  Maybe I was just so wrong on my own character and acceptance level.  Somehow I just assumed that the kids would be like the parents were as children.  A real pleasure to be around.  As it is, I question that any purpose would be served to be with him.  It seems like I'm enabling a bad thing.

You been there?


Welcome - IMHO - Parents can create monsters. Childhood isn't a debate forum. Children need direction, limits, boundaries and a firm hand to feel safe. The brighter they are the more they need it. Brightness doesn't replace wisdom and can be a liability not an asset. I don't think writing was a good idea. It's a one-sided communication that can be misunderstood and can come back to haunt you. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


It's a one-sided communication
My son answered the email basically saying that he didn't see it that way and that when I'm not around, the kid is different. Which is just so not true.  My presence is not even related to the way they live their life with the kid, and what is accepted by them as normal interaction w/ him.

But I replied that if things are actually not the way that I observe them to be whenever I'm not there, then I was mistaken in my conclusions.

Anybody not wanted to be around their grandkid before?  Or am I the first on here?

lancaster lady

GNOM .......hello and welcome ......I wish you had got here sooner ....First thing is ,he's not your son ,you are not the parent .I say this with the utmost respect but we grandparents have to accept this quite early on I'm afraid .How they bring up their son is their business . Now this is not to say we have to like it but its a fact .Modern attitudes are totally different  , don't know if you read about the case of allowing children to decide what gender they would like to be,and how bizarre that was .It's like giving a child  a French food menu and asking them to chose .How on earth a small child is supposed to know how to act in different circumstances is beyond me ...... in my experience they learn by example ,if not.given guidance they become confused and mixed up and hence the bad behaviour .... saying all this might not help you , just want to explain  that you have to stand back and let them get on with it . Rightly or wrongly,he's their child ,their methods .I think new parents read too many childcare books ,in my own experience anyway .Don't give up on your grandson,after all he's just a wee chap learning the ropes .


I believe that I had responsibility to tell them what I saw going on.  In years to come it will be known that I cared and that my motivation truly was to help my grandson.  My first responsibility isn't to be sure they like me or that we hang out.

I'm wanting to hear if anyone else can confess that they truly do not want to be with their young grandchild, albeit temporarily.

lancaster lady

I appreciate what you're saying , however on this forum you may find that many G/Moms are forbidden from seeing their grandchildren not the other way around .


If you insist that you are right and the parents are wrong you take the chance of never seeing them or your grandchild again..is this what you want? Sometimes you just have to let things go. Let the parents raise their child and handle problems when they come up. It is not your responsibility unless they are abusing him.

I really feel that a 4 year old acting bad is probably just a phase.

I would never, ever..Not want to be around my grandchild.


Gmom, welcome. As LL said, your situation is a switch from the usual GP complaint of never getting to see the GC! I do understand your desire to say something, and I hope you spoke more from the standpoint of observation rather than criticism. Even so, it's a tricky subject as you obviously know.

Parents these days have more concerns than simply facing criticism of their childrearing methods, such as seeing signs of autism, abuse, ADHD, fetal alcohol syndrome, etc. Not that those things didn't exist when we were growing up, but that we are more aware of them now. A savvy childcare provider or pre-school teacher will surely speak up if she/he feels your GC's behavior is unacceptable for his/her age group and developmental stage, and it may be easier for his parents to hear it from a professional. If there are issues that need to be dealt with they can get the resources they need through the school district or a health care provider.

IMO we all have the right to avoid people that make us uncomfortable, which means you as well as your DS & DIL, who may or may not want to continue a relationship if they feel judged. Perhaps you could state your reluctance to be around your GC more as a personal issue (Gran's high blood pressure, Gran's low tolerance for noise these days, Gran's lack of energy to deal with youngsters, or whatever fits) rather than a criticism of the child or parents. The parents will (we hope) get the point without feeling you think they're incompetent parents or that their child is unlovable. Once broken these relationships are very difficult to mend, as most of us here know.

Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


Welcome Gmom :)

Please read the Modified Forum Agreement under the category Open Me First if you haven't already done so.  We ask all new members to do so not b/c there is anything wrong with your post.

I tend to think feelings are feelings and it is difficult and unhealthy to deny a feeling, the best you can do is not act on it.  Like Pen said, in these types of situations it would be difficult to mend fences someday.  Not everyone has to know our opinions or feelings and this would be one of the times I kept it to myself.  Just my thoughts
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


Not only is writing a letter a one-sided communication but so is the answer. There is no exchange back and forth that involves body language, tone of voice or facial expression. It's sterile and without the human qualities that can soften it and maybe even save the day. There's no opportunity to change position...to shilft perception. No room for the visible warmth of human empathy and understanding. 

That said, I think what you are finding here is that no one would dislike a little grandchild to the degree that you do for any reason.

I am the exception...to date. I do not love all children, related or not, any more than I love all adults. I would not want to be around such a child. I agree that it is the parents' right to raise a child as they see fit and to not listen to anyone or see their error. However, it seems to me that you told them what they didn't want to hear (and already know) and their defense is that it's you. Give me a break.

I wouldn't have written the letter...but I would distance myself and not be part of their lives. I just wouldn't be able to stomach it. It would be heartbreaking for me to know how much the child was going to be disliked by anyone and everyone that crossed his path and what his future teachers were going to be up against and the unspoken rejection and contempt he was going to have to face and live with. I simply wouldn't be able to get past it myself when his response ot me was consistently hateful. He is being allowed to "drive the car" at age 4 and he wants to be stopped because he is on a crash course.

It's not your grandson's fault, on that we all agree. How much any one of us could or would want to tolerate it is about us. I'm with you.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Hey Gmom.   I only have one GC that I don't get to see (not my choice) so I can't answer your question.  But I will tell you that I have had relatives children or friends children that I absolutely don't want to be around!  They drive me bonkers!  In my case, it's obviously the parents' fault because they don't discipline them or watch them at all, and it seems everyone else is always trying to make sure they don't run out in traffic or break things.  I don't say anything, because it's not my place, to the children, but I have said something to the parents when they will not stop picking up breakables or things.  Doesn't seem to help past that one moment in time, but then I don't feel so bad when I avoid them.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


I can't say about not wanting to be around my grandsons, as I, too, am kept from seeing them. I do know when I was part of the oldest gs life, I enjoyed being with him, but found it so exhausting my max was 2 days...and would have preferred 1 day. DS pushed each time he asked us to watch him (due to distance, this included overnights) for 2+ days. I had him for 10 days once while they were out of the country. Little guy was only a year old. He was a very active and temperamental little one and didn't sleep well at night.
My sisters mil refused to babysit her middle daughter, because she was such a terror. She grew into a lovely young woman though.
Hugs and there isn't anything wrong with you. We all have our tolerance levels for stress.


QuoteHe doesn't respect parents or grandparents and every little thing is such a big problem.  They debate with him and stuff.  He is exceptionally bright.  His parents have no idea what normal is.  Like you ask a kid four y/o to do something and he is suppose to do it.  The kid only does that way too little of the time, and frankly I can't handle all the wierd talk and convincing that goes on to get him to finally oblige.  Where in the world are his parents coming from??  

Gmom I am not a grandparent.  But I am quite curious about the type of exchanges you see between the parent and child?

There is a type of discipline called "inductive discipline" or "positive discipline" where parents listen to their children and invite the child to explain why they did what they did.   I wonder if this is what these parents are practicing? 

It's different than traditional "authoritative parenting" (ex: "Because I said so, that's why," "Because I'm the mom and I make the rules.")  It's all about Discussion.

You mentioned your grandson does do what he's supposed to do, eventually, after a lot of talking. The keystone of "inductive discipline" is Discussion.  Parents are understanding of the child's point of view, but they're also supposed to be consistent in their enforcement of the important rules of the house.   It's encouraging your grandson does eventually oblige.   

For "inductive discipline" the idea behind the Discussion is because children are naturally curious.  They always ask "why," about anything.  Including why are they supposed to do this or that.  By answering the why? about discipline with a clear explanation, children are supposed to come to understand that there are clear rules for them to follow, good reasons for the rules, and grasp the natural and logical consequences that follows behavior that is consistent with the rules, in violation of them.  It's supposed to teach them the information they need to have these conversations internally with themself, eventually.

They've been doing studies that came out that children whose parents practices inductive discipline have better self-regulation later in childhood and adolescence than children whose parents rely on less positive styles of parenting.   The children are supposed to internalize what are reasonable rules of conduct and their rationale.  The idea being they teach principles for the child to use in their own decision-making.   It might be annoying to watch, but the long term results are supposed to be good. 

I don't know if this is what the parents of your grandson are doing?  But I wondered if it was possible, and that is how it looks in action to a third party.


Wow guys.  Thanks for all the replies which Is a lot to think about.

Luise, I agree that is the perfect exchange.  I just believed that nothing close to that would have happened.  Seems all of us are pretty touchy about people challenging our parenting.  I thought there was a better chance at them analyzing things for themselves this way.  I know them, and I know myself especially and I communicate way better on paper.

In regards to other replies, the parents themselves seem somewhat undone and upset at their experience with him at times.  At times.  And not enough to think it warrants much concern.  Even though he has gotten two slips sent home from preschool this year (he attends two mornings a week) that he has spit in a child's face.  I believe the preschool and myself and other MIL are the only outside comments they receive.

My guess is that this will pass and the very realistic, negative things that Louise mentioned that will occur in his life will be minimized.  I believe in God and so do his parents.  And I believe that they will eventually find His mercy as they acknowledge their need for his help; that doing it their own way didn't work.

Thanks for all the replies.


I express myself best on paper, too. But oh, the corners I have backed myself into.  :-\
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama