I stay at home with my 3 year old. We spend our days together. He is also very social, involved in activities, likes playing with others/being apart from me or with a babysitter etc. He's very social/independent and also very attached in a good way, so nice balance there.
My Mom and sister live around here and we see them weekly. He's known them since birth. He loves hanging out with my mom at her house or with my sister when she babysits. Recently whenever he sees my Mom or sister, he doesn't want to greet them, tells them to go away right when they have just showed up, or says things like "I'm not sharing with you" or "You need to go away" or "No Grandma" etc. in a very insistent voice through out our whole time together. He just acts like he doesn't like them and says 'rude' things.
At first I didn't really take note of this or do much to correct it because I'm so used to different moods/stubborness as the mom of a 3 year old, and I don't like to force issues (that usually gets me nowhere). I just figured, eh, he's three.
However my mom and sister get very offended when this happens, and they say that I allow him to act "like a brat" and they even tell him "You're being a brat." This really affected me because a) They think I'm raising my kid wrong and b) I don't want them to feel so insulted and c) It makes me feel like I am raising my kid wrong!
I've started reminding him before we see them how we treat our family "Greet them, give them a hug, tell them you missed them." This has mixed success. If he says a rude thing when they are around, I have started saying "That's not how we talk to Grandma, you need to be nice" or "We're not doing x until you apologize to [Aunt]." This doesn't really change his attitude, it just gets him to say one quick nice phrase.
My family says I don't discipline him enough when he acts like this -- I don't know what they expect. It seems extreme to put him in time out or something over this, and beyond what I'm doing I don't really know what 'discipline' would work/be appropriate. They seem to think that I need to just *make* him act polite/good.....I don't think they realize it is not that easy.
Last thing - my son came up to me when they weren't here and said "[Aunt] says I'm a brat." It made me wonder if the fact that my Mom and sister call him out on being rude and have such a strong reaction reinforces his behavior.....i.e. he believes he's a brat to them/sees how upset they are and so keeps doing it.
Is this developmental?? Advice/similar experiences? Is my child really a brat with no manners?? How do I get him to be polite and loving?? So frustrated with myself, my child, and my family members......