23 answers

3 Year Old Grandson Says Hurtful Thinks to Grandma.

My husband and I frequently babysit our grandson who will be turning 4 in August. Lately he has been refusing to hug me. He adores his grandfather and sticks to him like glue. They play all the time. When my husband is not around we are fine and also play together. Yesterday we all went out and he would only hold his grandfather's hand. We bought him a sucker and when he was tired of the sucker he would only let his grandfather hold it for him and not me. That night when I was taking him home, I was zipping up his jacket and asked for a little hug and again, he would have no part. I was feeling really bad and then I asked him, "why don't you like hugging me anymore." and he replied, "Grandfather is sweet and you are not sweet." I was shocked and hurt. I went upstairs and cried. My husband had to take him home. What should I do. Today he is with us again and I am feeling so rejected by my little 3 year old grandson.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I want to thank everyone who responded. You all made me feel a whole lot better. It's been 35 years since I had little ones and one forgets about how they behave and how their little minds work. All of your responses were really helpful and I useful. I decided to ignore him for awhile and then took out a new game and started to play by myself. He immediately was interested and asked to play. After that we took a walk to the park and had a great time and ending the day with a trip to the ice cream store. I think the biggest problem is that I tend to be cleaning up, making food and disciplining him, whereas my husband just plays with him. It's the end of the day and he will be going home soon -- a much better day then yesterday. I pretty much took everyone's advice and again I want to thank you all again for your time and inspiring words.

Featured Answers

Aww, I'm sorry, Grandma. I think kids do this quite regularly, esp. when they are little. My daughter thinks her grandpa is more fun than her grandma; I think it's because my dad plays more and grandma is more of the disciplinarian. It really is just a phase -- and I really like what Andrea C said below!

2 moms found this helpful

reminds me of a story about my own childhood. Apparently, when we were little, my brother would close the door on my grandmother, and try to blcok her from entering the house. in his case, we can only assume, that he resented my mom's attention being divided. i don't know how she won him over, but I can attest that they grew to have a strong relationship.

maybe if grandpa (his now favorite person) acts like being with grandma is the cat's meow, it might help to sway him.

good luck

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers

I know it hurts, especially since he's 3, but remember he's only 3. Give him some space, don't set yourself up for him to test your reaction like putting him on the spot about hugging you. He doesn't understand the emotional side, and he's probably picking up on your hurt. Try to be fluid about the affection, make it like a game, Grandma's gonna hug you here I come, boys love to be chased. Then pretend like you're not going to hug him and sneak in for a hug, instead tickle him. Just make it playful, he'll come around. If he's a Grandpa guy right now, give him some space. Don't you worry, he'll come to you in time.

6 moms found this helpful

It's a normal phase for kids to go through at this age, preferring one parent (or grandparent) to another. My own kids went through it and my step-dad was sooo hurt for a long time. They eventually grew out of it.

The biggest thing is to not react. Just go along with it. The more attention the behavior gets, the more it will continue. And don't take it personally - it's just a phase! (As far as what he said, don't read much into it; you put him on the spot and kids say crazy things; again, don't take it personally).

4 moms found this helpful

My son was the same way with my mom. Pap was all about fun & Grammy was the one for "work"--making lunch, etc.

Let me tell you a secret--he LOVES her the most! (Cue song: "You always hurt the one you love...")

Not saying it's correct behavior but sometimes little boys are like that.
My son is now 8 and he & my mom have an incredible bond.

Here's an idea--kind of ignore him a bit. He'll wonder what's up.

4 moms found this helpful

My 3-year-old told me that, "he wants a new family" and that he doesn't love me...and frankly, I am pretty darn good mom; I'm loving and infinitely patient if you ask me. But, he's 3 and is entitled to his feelings. I would try and actually have a little conversation with him; "why do you think grandfather is sweet?" of course, they also say very weird things when you ask them these questions. Honestly, my son is extremely close with his dad, they play together by the hour and as a consequence he is also obsessed with his "Opa" rather than his "Oma"--he's coming around (it's my in-laws so it feels awkward for me too :). I know it's impossible, but try not to take it personally and perhaps try and arrange a special outing just for the two of you...ice cream? My experience is that 3 year olds are pretty fickle little people, but fun nonetheless!

3 moms found this helpful

Please don't cry over what a little child says to you!! Didn't you survive raising kids? Teenagers? This is normal for little kids. My older daughter favored her dad for years. It's nothing you should take personally. And for goodness sake, never let him see you cry.

3 moms found this helpful

He's being a 3 year old. As hard as it may be to not take it personally, try not to. Continue to do your best enjoying your grandson. He'll come around eventually.

3 moms found this helpful

I'm sorry your are feeling hurt. My son does this every once in a while with his grandparents and my husband and myself. When your grandson responds like that, don't let it be the end of the converstaion. If he says that you aren't swete say something like "Oh yea, you wouldn't believe how sweet I am. I am so sweet I'll get you a tooth ache." Then snatch him up and give him tons of kisses. At this age they are just trying to get a reaction. He doesn't mean it. He loves you very much I'm sure!

3 moms found this helpful

It's a phase. He's a child and has no idea how what he says will be taken. You're the adult... you need to ignore it and continue to love him and play with him. My girls did this too - and not just to their grandma, but also to their awesome dad as well. It hurts, yeah, but the more you push him to hug you or play with you the more he'll push back.

3 moms found this helpful

Lol-familiar story...my daughter will sometimes reject me for my MIL--I think it is funny because in general she can be so clingy to me. Try a grandson -grandma date without the distraction of grandpa. Mostly for a while stop asking for a whole lot of affection from him and don't show your disappointment when he is clingy to grandpa--the more attention you give it the worse it will be.

2 moms found this helpful

Don't take it so personal, he's only 3. He has develop a close bond with grandpa. My youngest is like that towards my mom, he took a long time to warm up to anyone other than hubby, kids and me. It's just his personality and it's taken some time but slowly he's opened up to a lot of people. He will be five in September and for him he's came a long way. It took 2 1/2 years before he gave my parents hugs and really you gave them to him, he just stood there. Now he will hug Papa and Grandma. Your grandson may be like my son who's a little on the introvert side. My youngest son has always liked males better than females, besides me of course. My son has stayed home with daddy while I went to work, so I think that may have something with the male vs female association he has.

I know it hurts, but try not to take it personal and just love him, he'll come around. He loves his grandma too!

2 moms found this helpful

Aww, I'm sorry, Grandma. I think kids do this quite regularly, esp. when they are little. My daughter thinks her grandpa is more fun than her grandma; I think it's because my dad plays more and grandma is more of the disciplinarian. It really is just a phase -- and I really like what Andrea C said below!

2 moms found this helpful

My little girl only likes her daddy. When I pick her up from the sitter she runs right past me to him. My son only likes me. He tries to make dad stay home when we go places because "dads no fun." We just laugh it off. I'm sure at some point it will flip flop and I'll be her favorite and he'll want his dads time. Just like at some point you will be your grandsons favorite. I'm sure the little fella wants to be just like grandad. It's kind of sweet if you remove the hurt feelings from it.

2 moms found this helpful

Just a normal phase and will pass. Ignore it or just tell him something like "well I love you" and let it pass. My 4-year-old tells me things like that on and off all day: "Mommy, I don't wants you, I just wants daddy," "Mommy, I don't want you and daddy, I want to live alone," "Mommy, I don't like you anymore," "Mommy, you're a fat mommy," "Mommy, I don't like it when you put me in time out. You're mean," etc. He'll turn around and want to snuggle up with me with a book.

He also loves his grandparents but has ALWAYS had a distinct preference for grandpa. When he was a toddler he would refuse to let anyone but grandpa change his diapers on a visit (which was fine with the rest of us--I think grandpa would have preferred a bit less love). I would not push the hug issue, but you can also tell him that it makes you sad to hear that, but again don't make a big deal out of it. Thankfully I'm not as hormonal now that I'm not pregnant or some of my son's comments might get to me, but I can see how they would make someone really sad. It will pass...

2 moms found this helpful

reminds me of a story about my own childhood. Apparently, when we were little, my brother would close the door on my grandmother, and try to blcok her from entering the house. in his case, we can only assume, that he resented my mom's attention being divided. i don't know how she won him over, but I can attest that they grew to have a strong relationship.

maybe if grandpa (his now favorite person) acts like being with grandma is the cat's meow, it might help to sway him.

good luck

2 moms found this helpful

Yes, this is normal, yes, this is a phase, and yes, you should not take it personally, but I think it is up to us to calmly explain to children that it's rude to say such things, and that it hurts people's feelings. Having Grandpa talk to him about this might have the most impact.

1 mom found this helpful

It's so normal! I can't tell you how many times my nieces and nephews wanted papa over their own mom. Right now I'm in the mommy only phase, so glad we aren't there yet. It happens. I wouldn't over evaluate it. One day he'll do the opposite.

1 mom found this helpful

Is there any way you can go to his house to watch him and leave Grandpa at home? Kids can be mean little people sometimes and it's so normal for them to give one parent or grandparent the cold shoulder. It happens all the time. A little forced time with him alone for a few weeks might help.

1 mom found this helpful

Really, you cried? He's three. A grandparents job is also like a parents job, you still teach him right from wrong. I seriously doubt he meant what he said, heck he probably didn't even know what it meant. I think your reaction is too extreme and you are being too sensitive. Again he's only three and you should'nt let your feelings get hurt by a three year old. You should be the strong one, you are the adult.

1 mom found this helpful

i agree with everyone, I;m sorry you feel hurt, I would just say hes 3, my 4 year old does the same, pop pop doesnt punnish her, she tells her grandmom I love pop pop more, than mommy, then you, I respond with, I don';t care what order you love people in, all that matters is we all have a lot of love and love eachother, lets not try and measure it up, we love everyone in diferent ways, her grandmom responds how u just describded and it adds to it, it puts guilt on a 4 year old, and they shouldn't have guilt at that age, she will tell my daughter, fine then I'll see my other grandbabies, or fine I'll hive catie your tooys, or she gets upset and leaves, my 4 year old loves her to death and always wants to visit but does act off of these reactions..I would say respond how you would if it was your kid, you wouldn't go crazy when they say I dpn't love you anymore, because you love them for them, thats what unconditioal love is, we are responsible for teaching them that, at that age they dont even know what love is....they cant measure it, he's measuring who'se more fun....so big deal pops a little more fun....but he will rely on you more....

1 mom found this helpful

My son did the same w/ my mom. He was afraid of my dad when he was an infant - he's really tall, muscular and has a deep booming voice. My son was very comfortable with my mom and would shy away from my dad - but once he got older and started identifying that he was a BOY not a GIRL he was all about playing with Poppa and would push Granma away.
I think it's normal. I had some "issues" with my mother and noticed that my son was picking up on my tension so I learned to breathe it out and let it go.
At age 4 my mom was diagnosed with leukemia and my son apparrently overheard phone calls and wouldn't hug his grandma - I asked him about it and he told me he was afraid of her germs.
SO, don't be afraid to ask what the little bugger is thinking - you may be able to fix the problem. ;)

since you have recieved so may answers I thoght I would just take a minuet to share with you a common thing in our home. My son is adored by all his neices and nephews. I have one grandchild every Saturday and he comeswith me to pick up. last week we stood there at the door and she saw him and yelled for joy "ON" since she can't get out Jon- it was nearly 10 mins before she noticed me and threw her arms aroundme. I have seen this time andagain it is wonderul that the Grandfather has their hearts and has a special relationship with the child. you will also but let him enjoy these moments. Littleguys/ girls can have a special relationship with grandpa that sometimes is fun play in the dirt or in the garage and just talk many grandpa's never do it so you are lucky. Your time and turn will be just as special so feel jelous or left out. Our older grandchildren were very cose to there grandfather before he pased away and now they have the stories to teach the younger ones about him A time an a season fo everything an ty are little s short atime. Treasure each kiss and hug.

B.,
I know it hurts he is playing in to you. I would just say back to him if he doesn"t want to give you a hug, I didn"t want to hug you any way. He will want to give you a hug when you deny him of one. Do one on one things with him so he gets closer to you. Take him to th park and play catch with him and take him to the zoo and play games he likes. He likes grandpa because he does boy things with him thats all. Get on the floor and go to his level and play with him. He will be all over you with hugs and kisses.

Don"t get upset. Be a kid again.

Hope this helps you.

Have a great day and have fun don"t be so serious all the time.

N. Marie

Hi B.,

It has been a long time since you were around 4 yrs olds. Find some fun activities to enjoy together. Sounds like you have it under control for now.

Here are some other ideas he might like: Making cherrio necklaces, playing with playdough, bounce and catch ball, Giant floor puzzles, painting with water colors, bubbles catch, making water baloons, sidewalk chalk art , coloring books, Board games- Snakes and Ladder, matching game with a deck of cards etc

Enjoy your time with your gradson.

NP

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