I have a poor relationship with my five-year-old granddaughter. I’m 64 and always had a good relationship with my daughter, the child’s mother.
Factors that may’ve contributed to the poor relationship:
Although my husband and I live two hours away from them, we tried seeing our granddaughter every two weeks when she was first born. The other grandparents have always lived close by.
At age one, she and her parents lived with the other grandparents for six months. We didn’t get to see her on her own. Also, until this year, my husband and I have gone to Florida for six months, returning home at Christmas.
Once in their own home, we went to their place to babysit her for a day. Two years ago, they had another child and once again we spent time there.
This last year with the pandemic, we babysat both children when my daughter returned to work in May. The baby was good, but I couldn’t get the then-four-year-old to do anything.
After three weeks, I couldn’t do full time anymore and went to three days. My daughter arranged in-home child care for both children. It didn’t work out for the baby, so back I went for two days a week.
This lasted until the end of August when the day care centre for the baby re-opened. Also, the in-laws moved into my daughter’s home for several weeks while their house was being built in the same subdivision.
This child started JK last fall and I’ve provided childcare for Parent Association days and while she had virtual learning.
I don’t think she likes me. The other grandparents spoil her. She says what she wants and they buy it, immediately.
We have both children enrolled in an RESP and contribute monthly. Naturally, she wouldn’t understand this.
She has a very close relationship with the other grandmother.
When I’m there, the child will say things which I don’t hear, but my daughter will tell her not to be rude. I’m fed up. I’m on the docket for babysitting during some of the April school break and summer vacation.
Some insight, please.
She’s a difficult child with you but the other adults including your daughter and her in-laws aren’t helping. They should be, because this little girl will turn her “gimme” desires on them in many ways if she’s left with this much power.
Her mother needs to help her learn what love, kindness and family are all about - meaning she gives as well as takes.
Of course, you as the “rejected” adult have to be bigger and smarter than the others, with a steadfast purpose of showing this child that you care about her as well as for her.
If she has skills (besides the early manipulative kind she’s learning), compliment her. Join her in using them. If you do buy a gift, relate it to something that reflects her skill at, say, singing, dancing, colouring, etc.
Tell her a special story of “her and you” - describing when you first saw her when she was born, what she looked like and what you felt... repeat it. She’ll gradually learn that you’re a part of her life, not just someone called in to take on the babysitting job.
It’ll take time to build a better relationship. Your six-months’ absence every year calls for regular FaceTime contact, including sing-a-longs and other fun exchanges and games.
My 10-year marriage is great except for my husband’s attachment to his cell phone.
Immediately after dinner, he’s on his cell phone until bedtime.
I say that he’s addicted but he denies it. He doesn’t have other addictive behaviours.
When he’s on the phone he’s secretive but he’s not cheating. He’s a loving man. How do I get him to realize he’s phone-addicted? How do I get him to stop or reduce use?
His hyper-use is very annoying, but so is being ordered to change a habit he enjoys, especially if he is addicted (harder to stop).
Tell him you both need time to stay connected and loving. Suggest deciding together on a phone-free zone before bedtime.
Also, tell him that his behaviour is considered by some medical/mental health professionals as addiction while others call it lack of impulse control i.e., a weakness. Suggest he look into it on his own. Then back off.
Tip of the day:
Children given too much power in early relationships lose more than they gain. Adults must demonstrate the give and take of love.