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Comment: I felt the answer to my question was reasonable and helpful. I feel my daughter will benefit from this information and will not feel so hopeless as she understands more how to deal with her daughter in an appropriate way. Thank you for your help.
Subject: 3 year old's reaction to grandmother
Question: My granddaughter recently visited her other grandparents, along with her parents, for a week vacation. She usually sees them 3 or 4 times a year and during the previous visit at 2 1/2 showed an obvious dislike of her grandmother but it didn't turn into a totally unhappy visit for the family. The recent visit to their home when the child is now 35 months old was a disaster. She refused to have anything to do with her grandmother, was very rude to her, said things like "don't do that" and "I don't like you" when she tried to touch her, would not sit beside her in the car and cried and screamed about everything she tried to do for her, tried to kick and hit her and was very defient. My daughter and son-in-law were embarassed and all attempts to talk to her and decipline her failed. It was a terrible week for all concerned and they are at their wit's end to know what caused this and how to handle her in this situation. She has her moments, but basically has a wonderfully enjoyable time with me and her grandfather and is loving and usually cooperative. Could this just be a clash of personalities? Please advise on what to do if this happens with the next visit.
Answer: Dear Gloria,
I don't know why she took a dislike to her other grandmother however she did so. Children are people too and making them overide their likes and dislikes of other people regardless of whether or not the adult gets hurt feelings is not a good idea under any circumstances. Obviously trying to make her like grandma did not work.
I highly encourage reading some books on this topic. I have several listed on my blog under Recommended readings, (especially protecting the gift).
It is by valuing children's reactions to other adults that we help them protect themselves from unsafe situations. Whatever her reaction to her grandmother she needs to be allowed to work through it in her own time in her own way.
M Kay Keller