My Adult Daughter Tells Her Children She Doesn't like Me.

Updated on June 28, 2010
S.H. asks from Olympia, WA
7 answers

How do I find a way for my daughter to allow me to spend time with my granddchildren? The youngest one told me, "Mommy doesn't like you because you lie & you are snippy." Both untrue, but even if they were true, I am a loving grandmother who misses her gradchildren immensely. The situation is very odd, & my daughter treats me like I'm her enemy. We used to be closer than most. I am puzzled, hurt, crushed, & I even went to a Ph.D. to see what I might do, he told me I may never know what the problem is. I have spent so much money trying to help them have a better life, & I still can't have alone time with the children. HELP!

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So What Happened?

Oh my! Such wise & wonderful advice from everyone of you. My relationship with my Mom has always been close & loving. I never dreamed my relationship with my only duaghter would be anything else. Yes, I have many things in my past that I am still dealing with. My husband committed suicide when my daughter was 15, she & I had moved away from him before this happened. He was the love of my life, a wonderful man with manic depression. My only son died 10 yr later from a drug overdose, then my Dad. These were all the important men in my duaghter's life. I know this has caused her much sadness, she has been in counselling for many years. She has 5 children, her husband was arrested last summer for domestic violence. She lost her job in March, but just started another last week. I know money doesn't buy time with my grandchildren, I think I worded it wrong. But, I have gone in debt more than once to help them out, bought furniture, clothes, paid for auto repairs, & the list goes on. The only time I really see any of them is when my wallet is open. That is my own fault! I have made them dependent on me. But, they irresponsible with their money. They have every kind of new "toy" on the market, but can't make their house payments, & I believe they will soon lose it. I have jumped in & bailed them out many times, this time I cannot afford to do it. My husband & I don't have any retirement, per se, I've been on disability since 1995 for a chronic illness. We must take care of ourselves, too. I haven't minded helping out, but it has gotten to be "expected." I do see the children when I take all of them to plays, dinner, holidays, etc. if there are gifts involved, or money. I was treated like the plague when my oldest granddaughter graduated last week. I was ignored, made to feel very uncomfortable & my daughter was very rude to me. She wasn't raised that way, so I just don't get it. My kids adored their grandparents, loved being with them, & were taught to respect them. I know I am whinning, I am just so miserable, I can't even sleep. I do invite my duaghter to do things with me, sometimes she does, sometimes she doesn't even answer my request. They don't answer their phone when the caller ID says it's me or someone else they want to avoid, the children can't answer the phone or the door when they are home alone (although their father works from home)even if it is me. I am told it's not personal, but it sure feels that way. It's OK if a boyfriend is there, if he come before my daughter leaves. I would be happy with that arrangement. When the kids were younger, I babysat them, they often spent the night. But now that they are older, they haven't spent the night a few years. I know she made fun of me & my Mom in the past, I suspect she still does, because I once accidently heard the oldest child on the phone telling her Momma she couldn't stand the way I said something about it being cold in the grocery store. If my duaghter would have done that to my Mom she would have been told to "get over herself, that's your Grandmother!" My daughter has a vicious tongue, & it has carried over to her children. It is sad, the youngest one keeps asking why she can't come over to make cookies & do crafts. I tell her the same thing everytime. I would love to have her come over any time Mommy says it's OK. Some of my family says they feel she is jealous of me, but I have no idea why that would be. There is nothing to be jealous of. I love my daughter with all my being. After her Daddy's death we were joined at the hip, like the son goes, "You & me against the world." It was very difficult, there wasn't money for things she was accustomed to. But, we made it thru. My son was adopted, my duaghter has told me he got all the attention. I n many ways he did. He was a very sick child we were at the emergency room almost weekly, he has chronic, severe asthma & we nearly lost him on 2 occasions when he was younger. He had learning disabilities & emotional problems, as well. She was our biological child. He was raised in hospitals & doctors offices, often my daughter had to come along. I am nopt by a long shot a perfect Mom or human being. My kids didn't come with a manual, I did as my parents did, & I often asked for their advice. They never helped me out by giving me money, nor did I ask. I went without or figured it out myself. My mistake is that I didn't want my child to have to go thru the same hard times that we did. I think I enabled her/them. I did go seek soem counselling, he told me I may never know why she treats me this way, but to stop giving money. I do praise her, I am her best friend, I've got her back! I even planned to buy her home for her after her husbands arrest becasue she told she was in an abusive relationship & I didn't want to see her & the kids out in the street. But, when she took him back, the deal was off. I don't think I want to "buy" a husband for her. Her oldest kids wanted their Dad gone, too. She tells me they are now seeing a psychiatist, & that their realtionship is better than ever. I told her I was so glad to hear that. (I wasn't, but I "try" not to criticize.) I have offered to go with her & pay for my time, to try to figure out this vendetta against me. Here I sit writting this when I should be doing laundry, bathing doggies, eating, cleaning, or doing something enjoyable. Instead I get up, check my phone & email in case there might be a message from my daughter or one of the kids, do this off & on all day & even stay up past midnght just in case a message might comne from her. Then I go to bed & can't go to sleep worrying if she is being abused mentally & that is why she is so distant, or if her husband might do something even worse, or she might go off the deep end & do something horrible. My pst experiences are programed. I told her once that now that she was the only child, I might spoil her, need to be closer to her, & that I might become a pain in the rear because once one loses a child, we tend to hang on for dear life to our surviving children. (sigh) This is so hard. I've asked my daughter out to lunch on her day off, she won't even respond. I call, she won't answer the phone, if I go over they won't answer the door. My husband (of 15 yr) does not want her husband in our home. He feels any man that lays a hand on his wife isn't welcome here. He also now says he is through trying to help my daughter because of the way she treats me. Family politics! Yes, I still grieve for my son, husband, father. I will be spending the 29th with my son at the cemetery as I do every year. No one else has ever gone. I sing to him, bring flowers, balloons. I want people to see he is loved & that someone cares. My Dad is buried a few feet away, so I am a mess on the days I visit. I go alone, my daughter has never gone, my Mom gets too upset, so I don't take her, my siblings don't go, either. I know they really aren't there, but I need to remember them on special days. Sorry for going on & on. Now, maybe I can do something worthwhile, today. Thank you all for listening & for your kind words & terrific advice. I think I m going to start a rent a grandma & give my time to children who don't have a grandma & need some uncondtional love & fun. I have so much to give, I know I am fun to be with. Thank you, all of you who sent me this great advice.

More Answers



answers from Seattle on

I am so sorry foryour pain, S.-- my relationship with my youngest is similar - though I do have time with my grandchildren and here is what has been '''the key''' -- I am her biggest fan and I am the LAST one to critisize her. I was given that advice 9 years ago when her youngest - my first grandson - was a year - I wailed to a family friend who is a CPS worker '''what in Heavens' name do I do??''' - he said ''' be her soft place-- never critisize her--- praise her whenever there is a chance- however small''' I looked at him in horror and said ''''Bill! - that's NOT in her best interest'' - -he replied ''' no, it isn't --but it IS in the interest of your relationship with the little boy- you need to chose''' - and so I did .
People sometimes critisize me for being co-dependent ( I help her whenever I can- sometimes to my own detriment- but I do get to see my grandchildren-- ) I'm not co-dependent at all--- I am determined to be able to be a really active person in those little guys lives-- and you know what??--- it has also improved my relationship with my child- come to find out--that she felt very different from me and her siblings ( she has a different father) and felt that she didn't belong- and much of her rage is that she felt ''so different'' - as I've been able to deal with the real issue- my relationship with her improves - and we all benefit.

aka- Old Mom

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Wow, S., I can hardly imagine how hard it would be to be cut out of my adorable grandson's life. I would probably go nuts trying to figure out what I had done to cause the change.

And I'm also a daughter who has serious issues with her mother, and have found it necessary for my own emotional health to have as little contact with her as possible for years at a time. I did my best to "idealize" her for a number of years when my daughter was little, but I honesty couldn't maintain that "perfect" relationship that was never completely real for me. I know she has felt a lot of hurt over this, and while I can sympathize, she has NEVER asked me what my issues are, or suggested in any way that she'd like to be part of the solution. She has never, ever, actually apologized for her f-d up parenting. All the healing in our relationship (and there have been a few "slow" leaps forward) have come through my own heart-wringing efforts.

You ask about how to connect. Look up Non-Violent Communication techniques online. If you like what you learn, get a book, or take a class, and start practicing. It's all about addressing the very deep needs we all have. It will teach you to recognize the difference between needs and your ideas about needs (your own and others') – an important distinction. It will teach you how to look for/ask about the other person's needs, and how to genuinely respect them.

When you feel confident that you can talk to your daughter about her needs without getting emotionally hooked (and expressing yourself in ways that she apparently has problems with), you might be able to initiate contact that you both will find satisfying.

I should mention that because I know how painful it is to be the daughter whose needs go unrecognized, I have told my adult daughter on several occasions and in several different ways that I am sorry about times in which I must surely have failed or disappointed her. I have invited her, should she ever discover that she has issues with me, to be honest and tell me about them. I have promised that if she's every angry with me, I want to hear about it from her. I do my best to attend to her unique and lovable self on her terms.

She has given me honest feedback that has hurt on a few occasions. And even if I find myself crying with my own heartache, I have listened for the deep needs she has expressed. The hard feelings have always passed quickly, I believe for both of us. We have a fine adult-to-adult relationship, and I am so proud of her.

I'm confident that everything I'm suggesting can be done by others as well.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Medford on

Hi S.,
I have to tell you how moved I am that you care so much. As a mom of a 11-month-old and 3-year-old I have similar issues with both my mother and mother-in-law. Though I have never said anything explicitly around my 3-year-old, he told my mother-in-law while on a visit with my husband, "Mommy doesn't like Grandma." Children tend to oversimplify feelings. It sounds like your grandchild had some pretty specific reasons for your daughter's dislike, but I thought you might consider the possibility of some liberties being taken with the words chosen. I also wanted to say that I wish my mother and mother-in-law would take some advice from Judy! Her advice to offer only praise for her daughter would be welcome by all moms! I think the hardest thing for new moms is the constant doubt they have about their parenting. The voice in my head is all I need to make me a good mom. I don't need outside opinions or judgements unless they are asked for.

Also, you mentioned lack of alone time with the grandchildren. My mother-in-law only wants alone time with the grandchildren since they are her blood relations, not me. Since you and your daughter seem to have a strain on your relationship, make sure she knows that you would value time with her as well, and that it is not just about the children. She may need to feel wanted and needed as well.

In any case, know that because you care and want a reconciliation, anything is possible. Don't give up!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I'm sure there is more to this story. I think going to a professional to get help is a great idea. I hope you understand that while giving money is probably appreciated, it doesn't buy you access to your grandchildren. Whatever the issues are, I hope they can be resolved so that your grandchildren can grow up knowing who you are and how much you love them. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I'm so sorry. I have been through something similar yet different. Maybe even worse since both of my daughters knew I was ill, had lost my job, my husband was ill and they didn't call, send cards, even changed their phone numbers. They are both sociopaths and through months of counseling it all became apparent. One was diagnosed as bipolar but wouldn't take her medicine. So, 3 weeks ago, I was actually in tears because my heart was aching from missing them but not the "them" that exists now--the "them" they used to be and will probably never be. The eldest married into a bad situation and it breaks my heart - so I would sit and remember the night I had her. I was worrying about the younger one whom is bipolar. I was torturing myself. I decided I couldn't live this way any longer. So, I put away all their pictures and good memories and now I think of how shameful they have treated me. I wouldn't have hurt my parents ever or anyone else and I raised them that way and to follow the Golden Rule.But mental illness runs in their father's side (we divorced 15 years ago because of his mental illness) so I thought this could be coming. I think a lot of us don't realize narcisism, sociopathic and biopolar but they are so real, dangerous and hurtful. For your daughter to tell your grandaughter that she doesn't like you is extremely wrong and immature. You need to stay away from them. Don't call them and if they call don't answer the phone. The one day after a few months have gone by ask your daughter if you can meet and you two can clear the air. See how it goes but be prepared to listen and don't agree because you feel you have to - you don't. Keep your confidence up and stay strong! We will stand behind you and hold you up - all of us mothers whom have been unappreciated. Take care ....T

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answers from Portland on

My mother hasnt spoken to me in about 4 years and has seen her only granddaughter once. My mother and I never had a close relationship - she has anger issues that I could never really get close to her because of. After the birth of my daughter I decided I didnt want that energy around my sweet baby girl and opened up to her about how her behavior made me and others feel. She exploded (as predicted) and well that was it. Never has called, written or anything since. Not even at birhtdays/holidays.

I am saying this because it is the extreme of what can happen if you dont tend the realtionship well. I think there needs to be open communication of needs and feelings on BOTH sides. You might not always agree with each other, but you ALWAYS need to talk about it.

Maybe you shlould start first - open up to her with love. Tell her how much you love her and care for her and the kids. Tell her how much you want to be there for her. Then be there for her without advice. Try doing something just with her. Spend a weekend together. Get to know her as an adult mother and not just the daughter you raised.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

It sounds like you've gotten some wonderful advice already about ways to approach your daughter. There were a few things that stood out to me about your post that made me feel like it would be very hard to give you advice because it sounds like there are a lot of unspoken issues happening.

1. You said, "...both untrue, BUT EVEN IF THEY WERE TRUE..." I'm confused by this. If my mother lied and was snippy, even if it WASN'T to my children, I still wouldn't want them around her very often. Why would I want my kids to deal with that, or learn those behaviors?
2. "We used to be closer than most." There is obviously more to this, and you need to take a look at when things started to shift.
3. Finally, when you said "I have spent so much money trying to help them have a better life, & I still can't have alone time with the children." THat just seemed like a bizarre correlation to make. Money does not equal anything in this scenario. It is almost as if you are saying that since you gave her money, she should give you alone time with the kids. Maybe that's not the way you meant for it to come out, but it certainly read that way. If this is something you bring up with her, she may feel like your love/attentiveness is based on how much she acknowledges the financial help you have given her, which may make her feel awkward, especially if she knows there is no way sh.

Ask (don't demand) for her to be specific when she won't let you have alone time with the kids. Do NOT address anything she says, just ask her for her reasons. Acknowledge that she has these reasons and tell her you are willing to try to understand them, and work WITH HER to find a solution that works for all of you. You also need to accept that they are her kids and that she has every right to make the decisions she has made.

As an adult daughter of two children, I think as the years go by I realize more and more that my own mother is not as "perfect" as I once believed. She does have quirks and issues that sometimes bug me, but I have taken the time and thought to understand that we ALL have these imperfections, including me. Perhaps your own daughter is dealing with "disillusionment" in some way. It might not even be anything you can fix, and it may just be something SHE needs to get over.

I cannot stand my FIL, and he talks about $$ nonstop (how much he helps out my husband's two siblings and then he wants to know why we never ask him for anything--because money = love to him), but I still realize that family is important and my children NEED to know their grandparents. I hope your daughter can come around and realize that her kids need to know you in their own way.

Best wishes for you to find a peaceful solution to your situation.

1 mom found this helpful
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