What do you do when your grandchild doesn’t like you? Most Liked Hot Conversation

I waited so long for a grandchild and we finally got a beautiful little girl 2 years ago.  But her first year was full of disappointment for me.  We live 300 miles away and I tried to get there as often as possible but “scheduling” and a difficult temperament made visits tense.

Now she’s easier to be around, but she doesnt like me.  She will happily sit on anybody’s lap but mine.  She will hug me at her mother’s command, but at the same time turns her face away and pushes me away.  She always looks at me warily as if I’m going to hug her.

I give her her space, but it kills me to see my sister-in-law carrying her around, or her happily giving a hug to my husband. 

I’m not sure how to win over what may be the only grandchild we’ll ever have.

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Posted in family & relationships.

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17 Responses

  1. ageless ageless says

    I had a grandson like that and I know hurts like hell.. I started sending him things in the mail like books and cards with money in it to go to McDonalds or by a toy just stupid stuff it reallty helped. When I would visit he would run and get a book or toy he bought and it really broke the ice I think it is called a bribe haha

    6 like

    • ageless ageless says

      By the way I should have mentioned he is 18 now and calls grandma on a regular basis I even seen one time in his fb he put need G advice. Better then winning the lotto 8-}

      3 like

      • jbfox jbfox says

        OMG, this is so priceless. I couldn’t imagine an 18 year old posting on his FB he needs G advice. You must have done something right. This story should be told the world over.

        9 like

  2. Generic Image KGrandma says

    Ignore her to the extent possible. Be polite. Hello, how are you? Then move on. Bring something along (maybe a toy that was once yours or a new one that you could have had or might use now as a decoration?) and play with it yourself while talking to other adults. Give her little or no attention. If the toy doesn’t work, just continue to ignore her and play down your disappointment. Eventually she will wonder why you aren’t focusing on her like all the other adults in her life & her curiosity will get the best of her.

    7 like

    • Generic Image dillin257 says

      I have used this approach, and it works. Staying relaxed too, like llacey200 says will help. Just carry on with the visit. She’ll become curious. Let her come to you, I think they are like young animals, if you chase they run away, if you run the other way they follow. Wait for the behaviour you want.

      I also don’t like parents to tell their kids to hug me, that will come when they want.

      4 like

  3. llacey2001 llacey2001 says

    Please do NOT take this the wrong way…I am in NO way calling your granddaughter a dog or horse….BUT there are similarities in the relationships with them in one way.


    I worked with horses for 18 years of my life and I know this fact to be TRUE. When you are nervous or frightened around a horse, dog or any animal they KNOW it. Their reactions to you are in response to your fear or misgiving’s. Children are so much the same way on this front.  She may still be feeling your anxiety, fear of rejection, caution, etc. around her and responds with that same anxiety.


    Maybe the next time you plan to be around her you need to first take a deep breath (or as many as you need) and do whatever it takes to psyche yourself out of the anxiety you have. It also may take a few times for her to start warming up to this new feeling coming from you.  But it never hurts to try something new.


    I use to teach a 4 year old class for 1 hour every Sunday. I would come home from there totally ‘wigged’ out. I would have a migraine for the rest of the day. For a long time I inwardly blamed it on the yelling kids. But then I caught on. It wasn’t them giving me the  migraine it was the stress  I had mentally put myself under because I was so worried I wouldn’t teach them the right things, I wouldn’t be able to handle them in the class room and which parent was going to come to me and scream at me for the bad job I had done. The day my migraines stopped was the day it hit me that I was the one doing it and if I changed my way of reacting to the situation I wouldn’t feel stressed. It was interesting to me …I also noticed that when I wasn’t so uptight & stressed the kids were calmer, listened better and I never had a mad parent come after me with a shot gun…LOL



    1 like

  4. nikotyme nikotyme says

    My daughter had an aversion to her grandfather.

    It wasn’t that she didn’t like him, it was because he loved anything with garlic and he smoked cigars, which made his breath not so nice. 

    She would always turn her face away if he tried to hug her.  Another reason was that he had a great booming voice and we’d often see her cover her ears whenever he would laugh or talk excitedly, as if she couldn’t stand to hear him.

    He was really hurt by it and sadly he passed on before she out grew the terrors she perceived he represented.

    1 like

  5. Deanie Deanie says

    I feel your pain.  I only have the one grandchild too.  She is now 3 and is going through a difficult stage.  I was only seeing her two or three times a year and I think she was forgetting me between visits.  They lived clear across the country, but now are moving much closer.  I am planning to spend as much time as possible with her.  I really want to know her and for her to know me.  I talk to her on Skype every once in a while too. Just take it slow.  I like KGrandma’s advice.  Give her time and she will come around.  Try to see her as often as you can.

    2 like

  6. Lynnette Lynnette says

    Your grandaughter doesn’t know you as well as she probably knows the others.  She is only 2.  I agree with another poster, do not give her so much attention and the toy idea is excellent.  But make it a very bright colored toy, a doll would be good, one with dresses like a Barbie.  Start dressing the doll and changing the outfits and saying things to the doll.  Name the doll like Krystal or something sweet.  I bet u she will like you then!  Kids know more than u think. 

    0 like

  7. basykes basykes says

    Thanks to everyone for great suggestions.  I’ve decided to go with the “send her stuff” idea and have spent the day thinking of things I can do.  I can make videos for her, “Grandma reads to you” or things like  that, I can make a card for her,  when she gets older, I can write her notes. 

    And yes, I agree with the angst.  The problem was that her first year was so terrible, her mother (my daughter in law) so wanting things to go perfect that she tried to push it.  My husband has spent more time with her since he makes frequent trips to help with his 96 year old mother while I stay home with the dogs (my choice). 

    I’m kind of jazzed about trying to come up with interesting ways to interact with her at a distance.  We do have Skype but they never seem to have time to have a Skype conference (we’ve had 3 in 2 years).

    Thanks for a wonderful welcome to Vibrant Nation!

    2 like

  8. Generic Image pmc says

    Im sorry thats happened. But,thank GOD she is so young!If you can later as her

    to vacation t your home.Maybe do outings she don t get home !

    .Or from her other grammy.Is she your daughters child?

    We had an aunt that TOOk us to get curtains for ,a lovey room .She put a pretty b/sperd 4 me too.

    we ate out.SEWED ME A PR. OF P.CASSES,TO TAKE HOME!And some for my parents!

    I had all my friends asking how to sew.My AUNT SAID NEXT TIMEwed make something else.

    2 MONTHS LATER,A SEWING MACHINE CAME 4 MYB/DAY! We were on the phone daily!

    And she ordered SEW NEWS(MAG.)sent mine to me & hers to her .SO she knew what I was talking about etc.

    GOD Bless.Goodluck,fromFL

    1 like

    • basykes basykes says

      She’s my son’s daughter…and her other grandmother is one of her babysitters, so I really have to work to establish a relationship.

      2 like

  9. Generic Image KatherineDancingww says

     I have two beautiful grandsons in  the same town where I live. One is very happy around me and has a sociable temperment and the other is not so happy with me unless we are alone,then he opens up! His internal thought life is very active. They are just babies and only know who takes care of them. They are in the very long process of learning about the world in which they live and the people in their lives. Yes, grandkids love little gifts!! That and silly funny stuff (translation: goofy grandpas) I have had all the same feelings that you have had, but here we are, full grown adults expecting automatic adoration from an infant!! Lol!! Play it cool and sweet. Play peek-a-boo and  just play. Babies want to be entertained and they watch you to learn. Just keep giving what you know. You ARE Grandma!

    PS: both of my little grandsons are taken care of by their other grandmothers while their parents are at work, so naturally, there is a greater bond with them than with me. I sometimes felt envious, but mostly, I am thankful that my grandbabies are always with family members who love them!!!

    4 like

  10. Generic Image nli1 says

    Children are very different at different ages. At 2, they take at face value everything they experience.So giving her things is a good way of saying, “I like you and I am your friend.” There are several books on grandparenting from a distance that have ideas. I also like the advice of letting her come to you. Try to stop her parents from forcing her to hug you or be near you. Be good to her parents, and she will see that they are positive toward you. Relationships with kids are a long term construction, as we know. Good intentions and absolute positive regard are the basics, and they always always prevail. 

    4 like

  11. Generic Image mimistiggers says

    I can remember disliking my grandmother when I was little. It was so sad, because I was her only grandchild, and my parents adopted me after years of trying to conceive. I really did not warm up to her until I was an adult, and thankfully we became very close until she passed. Now that I am a grandmother I have thought about it, and I know why I did not like her as a child. She would simply overwhelm me during her visits, 3-4 times a year. She would grab me and hold me tight, and if I tried to get away she would act hurt or sometimes even a little angry. My mom and dad would force me to kiss her or hug her, and as I grew older they would lecture me on “why didn’t I love my grandmother, she loves me sooo much”. I never had a chance to warm up to her on my own. My grandmother’s visits were constant stress to me when I was little, and I can remember wishing I could love my grandmother the way my childhood friends loved theirs.

    I’m not saying that is the case with you and your grandchild. I think my relationship with my grandmother was her smothering and me rejecting her in the extreme, and it left me with many regrets as I grew older. I also felt very guilty when I was a child that I could not warm up to her. I think if she had ignored me like some of the posts advise, it would have worked and I would have been able to get to know her and appreciate her love on my own schedule.

    6 like

  12. Generic Image MizMaude says

    I’m raising two young relatives. When I planned to move to the same province where one of their grandmothers lived, I started telling them bedtime stories about a silly dragon who would bring them to visit their grandma that they hadn’t met. The dragon lived in a tree house in our back yard and I would create elaborate stories that always ended up with us packing rootbeer and peanut butter/ jam sandwiches and climbing on the dragons back and “flip-flap, flip-flap, flip-flap, up we went into the beautiful blue sky. We flew over the island, over the ocean, over the mountains, over the prairies flip-flap,flip-flap.flip-flap all the way to Grandma’s house and landed KER-PLOP right in Grandma’s back yard!”  The story would describe something of what we’d see and do at Grandma’s, and Grandma would say how much she loved us all. Then we’d climb back on the dragon’s back and off we’d go home again. By the time we actually got to meet grandma (I hadn’t met her before either but I knew a bit about her) the kids were beside themselves with excitement. Their aunts had prepared a family dinner, and Grandma had a present for each child. A couple of years later grandma was in an car  accident and got a brain injury. We went to visit her in the long term care where she was and the kids sat by her and held her hand as we talked to her. She smiled and smiled but I couldn’t tell from what little she said whether she actually knew who we were. When it came time to leave we were standing in the doorway, having said our goodbye, and I prompted the older child to run back into the room …  ” tell grandma you love her.” When the child did that, Grandma looked up with the sweetest smile and said, “I love you too,” and called the child by her proper name. She did know! That was the last time we saw her and although the kids have outgrown the gifts she gave them on that first visit, they refuse to give them away, because they came from grandma.

    I think the advice people have been giving on this site is good advice. One of the two kids I’n raising was a contrarian when she was little. If I said black, she said white, if I said up, she said down. If I said for her to stay in, she HAD to go out. I used that by joking with her. I’d put something like cookies on the table and say, “Now don’t you DARE try to sneak one of those cookies while my back is turned!” Then I’d turn away, then quickly look back with a smile and say again pretending to be fierce, “Now don’t you DARE!” It became a fun cat and mouse game and then I’d say, Now don’t you DARE try and give me a hug! No way!”  It always broke the ice and she’d run to give me a hug and I’d pretend to try and get away from her.

    Absolutely do NOT allow anyone to encourage the child to kiss or hug you. She has to do it on her own. In horse training it’s called “join-up” when the horse CHOOSES to become part of your “herd.” (Read about Monty Roberts, the “Horse Whisperer”, or the Perelli Method.) I’m a firm believer in bribes for little kids. When I was small I once overheard my mother talking to a friend of hers about my fondness for my godfather. She said it was just “cupboard love”, the fondness that you have for someone who gives you things …  but that was only part of why I liked him, and I felt ashamed that my mother told her friend that.  My godfather  listened to my little stories and problems and gave me good advice. He always made me feel special (I grew up in a big family and just felt like one of the herd … except with him.) I stopped visiting him for a time because of what my mother said. I felt embarassed that he might think I was visiting just for what I could get. Years later I told him about this, and his response was that cupboard love is perfectly natural in children, “But we were good friends too.” he said, “Don’t mind what she said, it has nothing to do with us.” As always, he had made me feel special once again and we stayed “good friend” until he died…

    Give your grandaughter some little gifts, and mail her cards and short letters with some colourful stickers or something in them. Write her and let her know that you’ll be coming to visit so she can look forward to it. And phone her house and ask to speak to HER, getting phone calls and letters is really special for a little one.

    4 like

    • Generic Image mimistiggers says

      Beautiful story, Maude! As I said, it took me years to become affectionate with my grandmother, simply because it was such a “thing” in my family, and I know I was a little contrarian in my own way!

      I have 5 grandsons now, and a few adore me, a few others like their other grandmother better because they live in the same town and they see her more. I do all the fun things I can, like getting them all together a few weeks a year, sending books and cards, plus I do make an effort to see them every few months. But I know kids are different, some are more affectionate than others, and children change as they grow older. I know that it will become harder to get them to my home for days at a time, as they become more involved with sports and other scheduled activities. I take things as I can, try not to get my feelings hurt when one (especially the youngest 6-year-old) run away from me when I arrive at their home, or one or the other will not talk on the phone when I call, etc. That very same little one that ran away may become my traveling partner during their teenage years, or ask my advice when they are adults.

      It helps that I am a teacher and I have trained myself not to take the reactions of fickle children personally!

      4 like

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