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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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I wonder if your GS acts out more in your presence because he senses the discord between you and your DS. People know when we disapprove of their parenting, kids pick up on that stuff up, too, and they will exploit it if they can. This also makes me wonder if because of your disapproval, his Ps parent him differently when you are around in response to how they perceive your reactions to them, their DS and their parenting. Could be they go out of their way to show you that their parenting works and this just makes the situation worse.

In response to my parent's disapproval, I parented by committee, which was the worst parenting mistake I ever made. I wanted to please my Ps and all I ended up doing was pleasing no one. They had no problem voicing their disapproval to me and to my children. This undermined my confidence as a parent, and my children's respect for me as a parent. They both exploited the situation, especially DS and at age 26, it still has a negative impact on him. He was the one who truly paid the price.

I think it probably is best that you don't see your GS for his sake. In the mean time, try to look at yourself and be honest with yourself about if maybe your disapproval leaked through despite your best efforts and if maybe that might have contributed to the situation. Try hard in the future to hide your disapproval and your dislike. Your GS deserves better from you.


I've been thinking about this thread a lot. My parents were pretty strict, they rarely if ever spanked but they expected and got excellent behavior from us. I'm not sure how they did it, actually. Somehow, without a lot of lecturing or punishment, we got the message. They could stop any beginning shenanigans with "the look."

Alas, I wasn't able to produce the same results. However, my kids were always complimented on their good behavior when we were out in public. At home they had more freedom than I had had, for example they were allowed access to the pantry and fridge, they could enter my office, run up for a snuggle, etc. I feel my style was still effective on the big issues but more loving than my P's.

He's never said a word, but maybe my DF didn't approve of my style and saw my kids as out of control hooligans? Compared to me and my sib I guess they were.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


Ah, yes, "The Look". My mother could be sitting reading and she could look up over her glasses and we would freeze in our tracks. (Remember both my parents were born in the late 1800s.) When I replicated that, my kids (obviously with frayed patience from having to put up with me, ) said "Now, what's your problem?" LOL!

It's tricky. The years of "Children should be seen and not heard" are far behind us and yet for their safety little kids have to obey to some degree and for their safety older kids have to listen. Kids who aren't protected even from themselves and society at large feel unsafe when they deserve so much better than that. Making decision they aren't ready to make must be terrifying.

We didn't question authority. We had no TV, no computers, no iPods. We didn't know we could question authority. We read "Little Women" and "The Bobsy Twins" series, went to Girl Scouts and took piano lessons. As a family, we sat around the radio listening to "Amos and Andy" and didn't know it was politically incorrect. My mom read out loud to us..."We Took To The Woods" and "Kon Tiki." Then we went outside and played "Hide and Seek." I didn't grow up in the sticks. I lived in an upper middle-class suburb of Detroit. That's just the way it was.

And now that's the way it isn't.  It looks so much harder to me...the job of parenting. Mothers out working, kids in daycare, TVs teaching values and beliefs. So much more difficult. Outside influences so much more pressing. Everything offered by parents diluted by the media. My grandkids were proficient on computers before they started school...my great grandkids were raised on computer games...and now that they are in high school and college. Their kids will be bombarded with what? I have no idea. I just know that their boundaries and knowledge base will be extended even further.

It boggles the mind, challenges the emotions and threatens the hearts of those who want to nurture and protect but not stifle and limit. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


My mother did not want to be around my son. Heck, no one wanted to be around him except perhaps my sister. He was a handful to say the least! He was our first. He cried all the time, couldn't sooth or play by himself and was very clingy. By the time he went to nursery school the teacher told us to have him evaluated by a professional. He didn't play well with the other children, and was destructive.

By the time he was in second grade, and with the help of professionals, we found out he had special needs. Although very intelligent, he was socially immature. He seemed incapable of following simple instructions. I could go on but let me say he ended up being labeled things...ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder, separation anxiety. He did very well in a special education program for behavioral disorder students.

Some of the techniques we used were never acceptable to my parents. Give a child choices? Ha, that would be the day. I pray that your grandson is happy and healthy. If he does have special needs I hope they are temporary. The final diagnosis we received was Bipolar disorder for our son. He struggles with relationships, has never held down a job, and did not finish school although may have a genius level IQ.

To this day I occasionally get phone calls about his depression and how he wants to commit suicide. He's had a tough life, most of it his doing as he refused medication. Now that he is willing to try medication he is self employed with no health insurance.

I just wanted to share another view of different parenting techniques. We were happy when he was safe. If he swore at us, it was the least of our worries. By the way, his first son was born with a form of Autism.


Joanna, you bring up a lot of good points. 

Before I had DD I read a lot about parenting and I can't remember if this was something discussed but it's just something I did with her from a young age.  I'd ask her questions, "ready for bed?" and start getting her ready.  My grandfather would bellow "Pamelaaaaaaaa, the answer is going to be NO every time you ask!" 

Well now, his face was priceless when she would answer yes to bed lol.
People throw rocks at things that shine - Taylor Swift


Our 3 year old gs is so much enjoyment when it's just dh and me taking care of him by ourselves.   When he throws a tantrum or refuses to take his nap,  we can do a short time out or simply reiterate what we want and he complies, sometimes it takes a while!, but he complies...... we try the same techniques we used on our children who also weren't always easy to raise. 

Of course our son/dil ask what do you want to wear, are you ready for bed, do you want to take a nap, what do you want to eat, etc.  Like Pam1 said, when you always ask a child what they want, I mean always, not just given some choices, you are asking for a battle on your hands.  As Luise said, children need boundaries and our dil/son give fewer than we would like..... but my mother thought dh and I were too easy on our children, too!

DS did say once that gs is better behaved w dh and me, unsolicited!  He was having trouble getting gs to comply.  We don't give any advice bc they are as many young parents, "We know it all."  DH and I are out of touch and too old to know the "new ways" which we understand they feel that way so we know to zip up our opinions.  When gs is w his parents and us, he cries and throws more tantrums; bc he can..... so we just don't handle discipline when the parents are there bc gs will get more leaway w his parents and knows it.

I'm afraid that if the so-called "spoiling" continues, I, too, may find gs to get.... uh, obnoxious..... hope if so, it will be a passing phase!

i'm not saying dh and I could raise the child and he would turn out well; could very well be a disaster; times and methods have changed and we can't go back 30 years when it seemed there was less permissiveness.  I do like, however, that dil and ds do the time out and don't allow hitting and "much" bossiness from gs..... so of course he will turn out fine bc he is being loved.

yep, I have my opinions but I keep them to myself bc unlike OP, I'm sure if I wrote a letter (not saying it's wrong!) I'd see very little of gson!  I think this child-raising difference of opinion between grands and parents is as old as time; nothing new!  I surely remember my mother's saying, "When your father said to do something, you kids did it!"  Of course I bristled..... and so now I keep my opinions to myself.  And my mother really lost patience w our kids and her great grandkids bc they didn't mind as we did.

Not a new conflict by any means!


Good point. I hadn't thought of it that way. Thanks!
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


I don't know if this is going to be read as no one has posted for a while, but after being w 3 year old gs for several days at his parents' house, the concept of "inductive" or "gentle" reasoning is not working! GS had such a sweet nature and still can, but is totally spoiled by ILs (I like them very much but they tend to spoil all the children and young adults and they don't outgrow it!  Most are still living at their parents' homes ((as adults)) and/or helped out a lot financially; and still the boss....)   

I know many undisciplined children turn out great but some don't...... and asking gs, "Do you want this, do you want to go to bed, yes, you can have such and such to eat if you don't like what you have on your plate, tell us what you want/what is wrong bc we can't help you if you don't tell us (he doesn't;  he's just crying bc that way he gets his way!)   When children cry/throw tantrums,  we walk out of the room when parents are trying to talk to the child as though he is much older!  "Use your words" must be a now-used expression; when it's just a trantrum to get attention, there are no words!

As someone said, children are wise; they know parents hate to hear them cry or sulk and are great "negotiators."  GS became more difficult, progressively, to deal with (won't get in the car, shouts, just acts like a little dictator) bc he is a smart little fellow! 

When he is alone w dh and me, he knows he can't get by w much and is a delight (I'm not saying we are perfect w him  by any means; it just doesn't upset us when he cries for no reason bc we raised 2 children who did that!); at his parents' or when parents' or other gparents are around, he knows to whom to go to get his way, so we get more cold shoulder from him.....  he's never spanked which I don't disagree with, but the time outs are used less and less..... they were effective..... he is the boss!

Now..... a gd was born and he is much more difficult bc he is so attached to his mother and doesn't have her full attention; he wants only her most of the time and it just isn't possible.  DIl is pulling her hair out w frustration!   Now dil I am defending bc she is w gs all day and tells ds, "Child is driving me crazy!  Take him!" when he gets home from work.  DS is such a softie and hasn't realized that a firm hand is needed; he gets frustrated, also, w gs, but doesn't realize child is running the show.

The day care providers have reported his willfulness/lack of sharing but ds in particular is in denial...... when he mentioned gs's behavior to dh, dh tactfully tried to explain that child needs some more discipline.  After gs threw a few fits while I was there (we don't do much disciplining bc ds in particular doesn't want anything said so we back off), I broke my vow of silence and said that ds needed to use a firm hand w gs.  Told him of day care people's reports.

I know better than to give advice bc I didn't like my parents telling us we were too lenient!  (Each generation seems to be less strict although our kids were pampered much less than gs.)  DS was unhappy w ole Mom, of course, so later I apologized for the uncalled for advice and we hugged it out.  DH said he thinks ds was upset bc he knows my brief statement was right on.  DIL would agree that gs is unruly but is frustrated......

We realize that a baby in the family upsets a toddler and allowances have to be made; however, too much leniency has been granted, even before the new daughter was on her way.  GS is simply being spoiled and I will use duct tape on my mouth if necessary bc speaking my mind is just not kosher and my son is frustrated enough the way it is; my "words of wisdom" aren't welcome and it's up to the parents.....

I know dil and ds will work out ways to deal w the behavior; I am upset w myself for telling ds what I did (a brief statement but something I'd wanted to say for months.)  Irreparable damage has not been done and we are valued as helpers and babysitters and future visits and holidays are already being planned, thanks to dil!

I guess this is in solidarity w OP who said she can't tolerate 4 year old gs's behavior!  We still are eager to see the family and w more sleep than I had had my patience will be greater and I'll keep my mouth shut..... the parents will figure out what to do when frustrated enough!  (Trouble is, most of the playmates gs has are quite spoiled so there are few role models for the parents to use.  Thank God for the day care people bc they don't tolerate bad behavior!)

Just had to get this all out..... as I said, my parents were free as well as my dh's parents, to reprimand our children and also to make comments on their behavior.  There was no "negotiation" and children being the boss...... ah, well, perhaps the pendulum will go back the other way..... I do know teachers and restaurant workers, etc., recognize that many children are not given proper discipline.....

Till then this ole grannie will keep her mouth shut to preserve family unity..... sigh


Hey -

I just found this thread and also realize it's an old one but wanted to contribute.  I'm not in this situation but can imagine having a GC that wasn't pleasant to be around, like other relatives who are children. 

I can also imagine laying some ground rules for the GC when he's around you.  Say to him: "Are you trying to be annoying because you're doing a good job." just matter of factly.  They need real feedback from the real world.

But I do feel that when a kid is being a pill, that he's suffering from lack of attention, lack of admiration.  Finding some good things to admire about him might work some magic on him.  That is, if you do decide to have him over again (which I think is your decision, no judgement from me).


My sister has said she does not want to be around her gc because her dil and ds are very disorganized, not attentive. She does not want to see how the children are in the middle of the chaos. Hurts her too much. 

Children with special needs can be difficult, but if not to severe, behavior can be modified.  I wonder if they are seeking professional who is expert with behavior management? 

I think one-on-one, chldren can be managed better.  When a crowd develops, there are too many distractions, and a special needs child can lose focus.

Interesting posts.


IMO all children, special needs or not, need to know that the grown ups are capable of taking care of them! If the grown ups are constantly deferring to the children it's very unsettling and possibly frightening. Maybe those kids have to act like tyrants to feel secure - like whistling in the dark?

If a preschool teacher is mentioning the behavior, it's probably worth following up on. They see a lot of kids and know what is normal acting out due to a new sib or other family issue and what may be a deeper problem. It is too bad that many GPs cannot mention these concerns to the parents. The older the child gets the more difficult it will be to turn things around.

I hope for the best for everyone, especially the children.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb

lancaster lady

My Gd is reaching those terrible 2's !
I think kids do need guidelines , of course they do .They learn by example , the way forward is teaching them what
is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour .Yes they're going to kick up ,but they get the message eventually .
It's the bits in between that can drive you crazy , and they will push you to the limits , also the way you
implement the rules is also a key factor .
Distractions and alternatives seem to work , rather than an a distinctive NO , explain why a certain thing is unacceptable.
Praise also will work when a good job is done , it's hard to be wrong 24/7.....awww give these little guys a chance
and they are wonderful !


Oh, we all find plenty of good and wonderful things about gs; he gets plenty of "good job!" and attention and hugs, etc.  His parents and us have been working on the "thank yous" and "please" and when not upset, he realizes this is a lot better way of getting whatever than throwing a fit.  He's not a special needs child in any way; he can behave very well when he knows he is around disciplining people.  He catches on very fast to whom he can go to!  As someone said, it is hard for us to enforce good behavior when others (sometimes his parents when indulging him) are around; so it's best for us to let them handle any reprimands (unless they aren't around to handle things.......)

We love having gs in our home and seeing him in his home, esp. when there isn't a crowd.  One reason for my post was that no way will I jeopardize not seeing him and the rest of the family by giving advice bc the parents will come to it much sooner by themselves.

His behavior at day care isn't that unusual; he isn't destructive; his behavior isn't anything they haven't dealt with before.  The structured environment is very good for him.  I'm glad they can make comments on his day so that the parents can see his progress in dealing w the other children. 

He's the apple of our eyes (in addition to gd!) and didn't mean otherwise.  Love him to pieces.   Although we can set guidelines at times w other adults around, other times he knows if he objects loudly enough, some other adult will give in to him to avoid "upsetting" him. 

He is acting out more now than before bc of the gd getting attention...... the parents feel torn bc before, he was getting all the attention.  He still gets a lot of attention and love from everyone now; far from neglected.....

It'll work out; I just need to go into another room when he is being indulged and let the parents handle it; when he's in our care (dh and mine) our guidelines work fine.....

Short visits are easier but we love being w the family and want the gc to know us.  Just was venting there; have gotten some rest and perspective!

lancaster lady

Got myself one of those big 'ole zips too ...mine has a padlock in place !!    :-X :-X :-X


Good one, LL!  My tongue does get sore from biting back the advice!  I have to have some time in between visits to let it heal up!