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Now that the holidays are here, my kids are going to be bombarded with family members who haven't seen them since they were new, or in some cases, they've never seen them at all. My dd is now almost three and she is shy around strangers, and my son (now one) is just getting a touch of stranger anxiety, too.<br>
So, when the out-laws go to hug them and the children cry/shy away, or the cousins, or the aunts and uncles who can't bother to go out of their way the rest of the year come around and EXPECT my kids to be all kisses-and-hugs, what is the very best thing I can say?<br>
I want to say: well no wonder they don't want to (fill in the blank) kiss/hug/smile at you/play with you, etc., because you can't bother to see them at all until it's time for us to buy you something (in this case Christmas). :LOL<br>
But that's not exactly polite, and the holidays are stressful enough.<br><br>
What's your best <b>TACTFUL</b> approach (maybe a one-liner that isn't too rude) to family who are strangers but expect your kids to treat them like they are close and loving, when in actuality they are virtual strangers?<br>
"They don't know you" is what I am using now--but then I get: "Of course they know me, I'm Aunt Idiot!"<br>
So that isn't working.<br><br>
Any ideas?
 

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Bran's like this too, and usually I just say "Brandon's a little shy. Please give him a little space and allow him to come to you when he's ready. He usually just needs a little time to warm up to people he doesn't see every day".
 

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Aunt Idiot! Bwa-ha-ha-ha! :LOL<br><br>
How about: "Even though dd has seen your picture, she really doesn't remember you from the last time. I bet if you play with her and get to know her that she'll want to hug and kiss you when you leave."<br><br>
How is that? It's two sentences, not one, but...maybe someone else is pithier.<br><br>
My SIL, who has two children herself and really knows better, kept hoping that by giving a lot of nice presents to my son, at the time 21 months old, that she could get a hug in earlier. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rolleyes"> It was sad.<br><br>
I encourage my son to get to know visiting relatives and friends by saying, "Auntie could read you that book, she knows how" etc. He really does warm up to new people as he gets to know them, as many people do!
 

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I would just stand there ready to say "___ is feeling shy right now, I think she needs some space." I find this works as a polite buffer between my dd and children at the playground as well as distant relatives who are too touchy feely for her comfort.
 

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I always say "Give them a few minutes, they don't know you." That pisses MIL off as she thinks by virtue of having given birth to their father, they should automatically know her! Uh, no, they are more familiar with the lady at the post office....grrr.
 

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My kids are like this too, and man does it aggravate my in-laws. I usually talk to my kids instead of the adults. I just say, "I know, look how many people here want to talk to you. Let me introduce you." Which starts something similar to what pp's said, like my MIL muttering (loudly), "Introduce us?!?!? We're her grandparents!" And then I say, "Yeah, but it's been six months, to her you're a stranger. She's not like this with people she's comfortable with."<br><br>
I make it a point to re-assure my daughter that it's ok to be shy, and I'll stay right with her until she's comfortable. It usually gets the point across, without me sounding too pointy. Unless it's my IL's. Then I'm lethally pointy. But with well meaning aunts, etc.,. I try to be nice. And if I'm with her, and we talk to people, it doesn't take her long to warm up and then she's off and running.<br><br>
Aren't the holiday's stressful when you have kids? Wonderful, but stressful!
 

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This is a great topic... I have nothing to contribute, but a lot to glean from it. My ILs are about a half an hour away and can't really be bothered, 'tho they like to act like they try/care/whatever. DS doesn't fall for it - they make me uncomfortable because they try so gosh darn hard...<br><br>
I've had my MIL make comments like, "Oh - we need to see him this weekend. It bothers me that he's more comfortable with (fill in the blank friend) than with me." Not an exact quote, but close enough. I just answered back, "Well, he sees her more frequently and is familiar with her so he's more comfortable with her." I don't care if that piece of (true) information bothers her.<br><br>
BUT - she does wear a lot of makeup, has the hair all done fancy, the long nails, and lots of perfume - then she comes in all squishy-faced talking baby talk in a high pitched voice to a kid she maybe sees once a month. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">: Then she wonders why he turns to me. Duh!<br><br>
Those are some good things to say - thanks.<br><br>
I DO think that kids are sorta like cats in this arena. The harder you try to get them to like you, the harder it is to get them to like you. KWIM?<br><br>
Laura
 

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We used to have this anxious dog that would pee on the floor when people gave her too much attention. It was easy to convince people to give her some time and let her relax and get to know them. Too bad we can't have our kids just pee on rude family members. We can't do that... can we? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/innocent.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shy">
 

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Hi Hope'smom! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wave.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wave"><br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br><br><br>
Trent will not go near anyone other than us and my other sons. He is affectionate with his brothers. I have been able to ask him to please give a hug, once in a blue moon, and believe me, I owed him big, LOL. I did feel bad when my FIL wanted a hug, so I bribed Trent. (FIL with cancer, now gone)<br>
He doesn't even give his Daddy kisses, only me. He hugs and high-fives daddy, kisses and hugs me. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug"><br><br>
So, I just tell the truth. He doesn't like to give out hugs, and I don't make him. I do not say it in a mean way, and people seem to understand. And being shy and needed to warm up to someone is normal. A child's feelings need to count too, and a child needs to be allowed their voice. I know you do know this, now how to get it across to the "family" ? I read that you should not label them as "shy" in front of the relatives, but tell each relative in private that your child needs time to warm up to people and ask them not to make the child feel pressured. Your children are still so little, but I try to prepare Trent ahead of time. I say that his grandmother or whoever will probably like it if he told them about something he did that day or a new game he likes to play, or about his cats or dog. That way, when he doesn't show affection to them, at least he could maybe say a few words to them.<br><br>
Hope this helps~
 

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I just say "Rei tends to be a little shy around people she doesn't know or see very often. Maybe later." or just "Rei is feeling shy lately."<br>
I don't make her hug or kiss anyone.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>MsMoMpls</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">We used to have this anxious dog that would pee on the floor when people gave her too much attention. It was easy to convince people to give her some time and let her relax and get to know them. Too bad we can't have our kids just pee on rude family members. We can't do that... can we? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/innocent.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shy"></div>
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oh <b>can</b> we ? please???? :LOL<br><br>
Fern outright cries if a "stranger" picks her up, and she pushes them away too (its so funny) so she gets handed back pretty quick, she's very social and frindly from my arms tho, which makes people feel better.
 

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I usually just go with something like 'ds hasn't seen you in a little while and will need some time to warm up. It's a normal stage, just hang out near him and he'll come to you pretty soon.'<br>
DS is a year old(almost). Luckily most of the people we're around are good about giving him space, as we have zillions of kids around all the time at all stages and ages....but there's always at least one! I like putting the blame on normal development stages, that way it's not personal to the person who's getting ion his face and doesn't label him either.
 

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<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">"Give them a few minutes, they don't know you." That pisses MIL off as she thinks by virtue of having given birth to their father, they should automatically know her!</td>
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You are sooooo singing my song. I just tell them to back the hell off, they're scaring her. Rude, I know - but they don't take anything short of a smack in the head as a hint.<br><br>
My IL's live about 1/2 hour away as well - and love to pretend they are involved, caring GP's. Hmmm, welcome to reality. Seeing dd once a month or every six weeks (by THEIR choice) does not indoctrinate them into sainthood.
 

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"Please give "insert name here" a couple of minutes. He/She gets overwhelmed easily at a new place, with lots of new people. Let's give him/her a chance to get comfortable"<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>wawap</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I DO think that kids are sorta like cats in this arena. The harder you try to get them to like you, the harder it is to get them to like you. KWIM?</div>
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ITA- My MIL is like that. She gets mad if DS would rather play with his cousins instead of her. It cracks me up :LOL
 

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We either hold our kids up in our arms or keep an arm around their shoulders while they're at our side because the physical contact helps them feel more comfortable and discourages people from trying to just "grab and hug" (why do people think it's okay to invade kids' space?). We also say "C is feeling quiet right now and needs a few minutes to herself before she'll be ready to play/talk/give hugs." Usually works. We avoid the word "shy" because then people think the kids need to be "cured" and/or tell the kids NOT to be shy, which is not fair-kids are entitled to refrain from interacting with people they don't know, don't like or need time to get comfortable with.
 

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<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>MsMoMpls</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">We used to have this anxious dog that would pee on the floor when people gave her too much attention. It was easy to convince people to give her some time and let her relax and get to know them. Too bad we can't have our kids just pee on rude family members. We can't do that... can we? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/innocent.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shy"></div>
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<br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/ROTFLMAO.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rotflmao"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/ROTFLMAO.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rotflmao"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/ROTFLMAO.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rotflmao"> That would be great!!!<br><br>
I don't have anything useful to add. I too talk to dd and say "Are you not ready right now?" or something like that and just give the awaiting person a shrug as if to say "You'll just have to wait." It works with the "Hello" but goodbye is another story since there is no other chance. Oh well!
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> I have a slow-to-warm-up child, too. Takes after her mother!<br><br>
We see the inlaws probably twice a year, if that. They live on the other side of the country. We visited for Thanksgiving this year and while my mil and fil were fine, dh's grandmother (who lives with inlaws) was not. Nana held it together for the first few hours than, apparently, felt that enough time had passed and Boo "knew" her now. So when Boo brought her a toy Nana snatched her up for a hug and a kiss. Well, it had NOT been enough time and Boo starts to cry. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">: As soon as her face scrunched up I was off the couch and across the room grabbing her right out of Nana's arms. Probably pissed her off but I don't care. I told Nana that Boo was not ready yet and will come to her when she is. Boo is very affectionate with people she knows.<br><br>
It's a matter of personal respect. No one in their right mind would grab an unwilling adult and pull them in for a hug and kiss, let alone keep doing it while that adult cried! Yet for some reason it's okay to do to children.<br><br>
If you know in advance that this is going to be a problem I would announce to whomever needs to hear it that "Our children decide for themselves who (whom? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hide.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hide">: from the grammar police <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> ) they will hug and kiss, so please ask them first then wait for them to come to you." Then don't be shy about enforcing that. If a relative has too little respect for your and your kids to abide by that rule than they don't deserve much from you.
 

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My family is pretty understanding about this, but we get it all the time when well meaning strangers (or acquaintences) try to talk to them. I will either make a joke, and say, "She's three, so she can't talk to someone she doesn't live with. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"> ", or, if I'm being more serious, "She's a little shy." and just leave it at that. I don't owe most people an explanation. And most people also understand what that age is like. I've even had people guess her age remarkably accurately by the way she has reacted. :LOL<br><br><br>
Bec
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Hope'smom</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">"Of course they know me, I'm Aunt Idiot!"</div>
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:LOL<br><br>
Watching this thread with interest. This is a BIG problem in my family. I have one set of grandparents and a great aunt who will not allow my daughter to adjust before trying to grab her. No matter how many times I say it, no matter how many different ways I say it, they persist. I have to spend a lot of time holding her. Sadly, as soon as she gets comfortable enough to walk away from me, and gets out of my sight, they often swoop down on her. Consequently, she's NEVER adjusted to them, because they keep proving to her, over and over, that she can't trust them.<br><br>
She's not fearful with <i>anyone</i> else; she'll usually wait a while before interacting with people directly, but it doesn't stop her from exploring and playing nearby. She only holds back if a new person seems <i>too</i> interested, which seems to be a pretty healthy response, imo! I find the whole situation sad, because since they refuse to modify their behavior, we basically just avoid them as much as possible. She'll probably never really get to know them, but seeing how they usually are, that's probably not a bad thing.
 
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