9 answers

3 Year Old Daughter Tells Her Nana She Doesn't like Her

My daughter just turned 3 years old. She has a loving Nana and Grandma. I work full time so my mom "Grandma" takes care of my 3 year old along with her 1 year old brother 4 days a week and Nana "mother in law" takes care of them 1 day a week. Both Grandma and Nana do fun things with the kids. My daughter always asks me each morning if she is going to Grandma's? On the day she is going to Nana's I tell her no, you are going to Nana's today. She always tells me she doesn't want to go to Nana's and she wants to go to Grandma's. When she is with Nana she is fine and always seems to have a good day when I pick her up. They usually go to the park or the library or somewhere fun! My daughter recently has told Nana she doesn't like her when she has been with her. She has also told Grandma several times she doesnt like Nana. This past weekend Nana and Grandma and my daughter and I were all in the car together. My daughter did not want Nana in the car and told her she didnt like Nana but liked Grandma. Grandma and I have both told her that you dont say things like that and it's not nice and it hurts Nana's feelings. My husband and I decided we would put her in time out next time she does this. Nana called and told my husband that my daughter hurt her feelings and she doesnt think she likes her and was crying. Please help me with this situation. I know my daughter is 3 and does not realize the magnitude of what she is saying, but not sure what else to do in this situation or what else to say to her Nana to help her realize that she is 3 and they sometimes say things they dont mean.

What can I do next?

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My three year old does this, just with her dad. It's awful, but I can't get her to stop. Some days she's totally the other way where she can't get enough of him. I think it's just a three year old thing.

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My three year old does this, just with her dad. It's awful, but I can't get her to stop. Some days she's totally the other way where she can't get enough of him. I think it's just a three year old thing.

update..sorry, I personally dont think there is anything wrong with a child not liking someone. Manners is a different story. When they tell you this, or start not wanting to be left somewhere, it is your job to find out what is going on and protect your child. Something could be wrong, and if your child is afraid to be honest with you, you may never find out.

sorry, I would look to your mom and make sure she isnt feeding her this? My experience with this has been it is the other Grandma telling her that all the time and they will start believing what they hear. You will usually hear it too at some point.
"you don't have fun at nana's house do you?" You don't want to go to nana's house, she is not fun like I am.

Now, on the opposite side of this, could nana really not be nice when you aren't there, even if just in your daughters eyes? This one gives me cookies, this one says no and no tv...?

simply ask your daughter where she heard that or why would she say that?

My 3 year old went through something similar. He would tell his Gigi that he didn't like her, he only liked his Mimi. We just try to tell him how much we love both Gigi and Mimi and point out fun stuff that Gigi does and tell him that Gigi loves him, even when she is not around. He spends more time with Mimi so I think it is just that he is not as comfortable with her. Of course he says he doesn't like a lot of things and then 5 min. later will tell us he loves whatever he just said he hated so I think it is just his age and something he will grow out of.

Hello E.,

Hmmm...that's a tough one...Have you asked her why she doesn't like Nana? she may have a very simple explanation that you can clarify. and whenever she tells Nana that she doesn't liker...Nana's response could be a big smile and say: and I Love YOU. We keep forgetting that just because we're family we don't have to like each other. Your daughter is trying to express something. Just get to the bottom of it. You can also tell her the reasons you like and love Nana. I know this can be just a shot in the dark...but it's worth asking her why. You may be surprised by the answer.
Good luck and I hope Nana's feelings don't get hurt again. ~C.~

Check out the Louise Bates Ames book -- Your 3 year old, friend or enemy. The title says it all, doesn't it?

It is very common for 3 yr olds (and especially 3 1/2 yr olds) to say things like this. They don't necessarily mean it either. It's a stage that many go through. That doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt others feelings or that you should let it go unchecked. It sounds like you're handling it as best as you can. Maybe if you talked to Nana and tried to reason with her (she's 3, she doesn't mean it, it's a stage, we're trying to take care of it, etc.). Nana is a grown up and should know better imo but I know grandparents often forget what it was like. I'm sure we will too to some degree.

I have an almost three year old and yes they do say not so nice things at times, but she is old enough to sit down and get a little lesson on manners. I would just remind her of something that hurt her feelings. Tell her how did it make you feel (she will say sad). Then tell her that is what you do everytime you say you don't like your Nana. Explain to her how said Nana gets and how much Nana loves her. She does not want to hurt peoples feeling so she should not say things like that remind her that God loves everyone and so do we. Go to the Christian book store and buy a few books on hurting feelings and caring for one another hopefully that will help.

Your mother-in-law should know that kids say things without realizing how much it hurts and also, not really meaning it. Not that it doesn't hurt, but she needs to not let it get to her. Your daughter is only 3. I would suggest that you and your mother-in-law, say that's okay if you don't like Nana right now, but she loves you very much, whether you like her or not. Have you asked her why she doesn't like her? It's probably something silly, but there might be something. Also, little ones aren't real big on change...so it might just be because that 5th day is different?!? Just make sure your mil knows that she's just lashing out - for whatever reason and to just show her love and that it doesn't bother her and it'll probably stop!

Good luck!!!


Do you think maybe she is confused? Maybe she is afraid she is hurting Grandma's feelings by not staying with her all 5 days? And that Nana is being mean by making her leave Grandma. Because she spends more time with Grandma she might be more attached to her. Therefore feel like she is hurting her more. She may think she has to choose one and not both. Could both Grandmas start doing weekly things together? That way she knows it's okay to love both at the same time. Sometimes they get confused at his age. Also could Grandma take her to Nana's house? That way she knows Grandma is okay with it. Maybe Grandma could show Nana her routine. That way she feels more comfortable at Nana's house. She may not like her routine being broken up. A lot of kids don't like that.

While agree she is only 3, now is the time to start teaching her that saying certain things is not nice and this is one of them. You can't let her get a way with saying that, just continue to tell her Its Not Nice To Say We Don't Like NANA....we say we LOVE Nana! I can still understand Nana feelings being hurt becuase Grandma is getting all the love. Its a phase that will pass, but you have to stay on her about saying such things...especially if Nana is in no way being mean or mistreating her. You may have to start taking away something she really like to get her on the road to understanding.

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