3-1/2 year-old suddenly doesn't like grandparents and aunt...? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 10-19-2005, 11:33 PM - Thread Starter
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My ds, 3-1/2, has always loved his grandma and grandpa and aunt (my mom, dad and sister). Suddenly, as of the past few weeks, he says he doesn't like them anymore, doesn't want to see them, and is downright mean to them.

They have always been really good to him, and in fact, grandma has always been "his favorite". I can't figure out why he is not liking them now. DH is a sahd now, and I'm sure my family thinks this dislike is *his* suggestion, but I know for a fact that it is not.

Has anyone ever had this happen with a child about this age? Any ideas why, or what to do about it? I feel awful when he says to my mom "I don't like you" but then is looking for whatever crap she might have bought him...

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#2 of 4 Old 10-20-2005, 05:54 AM
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((hugs)) that is really hard
my DD (3.5) did a simmilar thing. my parents were visiting, although we speak daily on MSN with video, and that goes well, when they came she was mean, said they were old and fat even it was so hard. she had the extra burden of having to speak english which she isnt used to, and that they were with us 24 hours, she kept asking when it would be 'just us' again.

i try to respect her feelings, let her know she doesnt have to play with them if she doesnt like, but she isnt allowed to be mean to them. also tried not to make a big issue out of it, i dont want her to learn to use it to get a reaction from me.
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#3 of 4 Old 10-20-2005, 09:40 AM
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Well, seems my DD did similar things at around that age. I suggest you take him seriously. Don't invalidate his feelings by saying "you don't really mean that" or things along those lines. Don't force him to hug and kiss anyone if he doesn't want to, or sit on their laps, or even talk to them. Respect his personal boundaries. Maybe you can sit down and talk to him about his feelings, let him do the talking, don't ask him leading questions, and don't try to tell him how he feels or how he should feel.

Why in the world would your family think your DH said something to make your son dislike them? Seriously. His behavior is rather typical 3yo stuff. Anyone who has ever spent any amount of time around small children would know not to be offended by it. Is there more to this issue than you are letting on? Has your son overheard conversations or arguments between you and your husband about your relatives?
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#4 of 4 Old 10-20-2005, 10:42 AM
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My 29 month old DS did this with his paternal grandparents. He would say "No! Bad Granny! Bad Poppa!"
and tantrum when he saw them. They would make a big show of it, acting all hurt and offended, which just made it worse. The more they tried to engage him, the worse it got. Now, if they just basically ignore him when he first comes over, or are very subdued in their greetings, he will come to them, and be very happy to see them. He is just a guy who needs his space for a bit, just like his mama .

I remember being like this as a child, it was almost a power/control thing for me, also, I didn't like a lot of fuss with being greeted by relatives. It made me feel shy and self concious.

I don't know if any of this helps, but I think your son's behaviour while unpleasant is pretty normal, and maybe if your family didn't greet him right away or gave him his space for a while things might turn around. Tell them this is a normal phase and it will pass, just don't give it a lot of attention.
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