Grandparenting/Grandparenting

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Question
My daughter is extremely shy and has real trouble conversing with adults. Unfortunately her grandparents take this as a personal affront. They feel she should call them regularly and volunteer all sorts of information about what is going on in her life when they see her in person. The grandparents live less than ten minutes away and the grandmother sees her almost daily because of a family business. When the grandmother greets my daughter she demands a greeting, she demands the greeting must be a certain loudness also. (which makes her retreat even more).
Yet when other people walk in GM often does not acknowledge them at all, or behaves in a surly unfriendly manner, even though she says she is a stickler for greetings. GM never hugs GD, asks her how she is, shows interest in her activities, or interacts with her in any sort of a warm manner.Once, after an incident on the school bus GD came in crying HARD, GM did not even notice (or so she said, even though she opened the door)She never even asked her if she was ok. Last year for her birthday GM opened our house door with her key and put GD bday present inside the door and left(she said no one was home, we all were and the cars were outside)The year before she couldn't find her to say happy bday(we ALL have cell phones)This year she walked past her, in our house,on GD's bday and said nothing even when GD's friends made LOUD hints. (she said GD didn't say hello loud enough). Well as of recently GD has opened up enough to say she hates her GM. She said no one elses GM treats them like she is treated. And that's true. To her credit GM does give GD money for schooling and trips etc, she will give her a ride when needed which is not often. But NOTHING by way of love or kindness. I have articulated all of this to GM year after year with the response being 'she won't talk' or 'she won't talk loud enough'. Well, honestly, I wouldn't want to talk with her either and I don't feel right trying to force GD into anymore of a relationship with GM. Yes, she is like this with most everyone else. No, this didn't develop with age. No, she doesn't listen to anyone else(me, my husb or my father, and she has no friends to speak of) who might intervene. She was like this with me also.This stuff really hurts my daughters feelings, she feels so unloved. But I had a different 'kid-personality'...I always knew she was kind of an unloveable jerk and did my own thing and didn't worry about her and her criticisms until I was grown and realized how ugly and hurtful she really is. Ex:She called me a slut in high school (I was not at all sexually active) and when I told her I was pregnant with my first child (at 27, college grad, engaged to be married) her congrats were 'well at least you don't have aids'. I want to explain to her WHY my daughter hates her. I want to explain to her that I am not mad at my daughter for hating her and standing up to her. I'm trying to find the courage to just say, "You're mean, your nasty and critical and we don't want to be around you." She could nurture and love her shy GD and maybe help her to be more outgoing and confident but instead she's chosen to alienate her completely. Can you offer any advice? We aren't doing holiday get togethers anymore because her arguing makes everyone tense and my daughter deserves to have good memories and happy holidays. She will complain bitterly and for years if people turn away from her at the table or don't smile at her enough. She has demands on who is in family pictures (no boyfriends/girlfriends need to join in), and she tells people what they should and shouldn't eat. It's horrible...help.

Answer
Hi Camille,
I'm sure it hurts your feelings to see your daughter treated this way as well.  I was a shy girl also so I can relate to some of the things you talk about.  I had a mother the same way as the GM!  I learned many things NOT to do as a mother and our family is totally different and  loving.  I have learned from hard knocks and many disappointments, that this type of personality is impossible to please or have a true relationship with.  Help your daughter get through the years she has left at home and let her know that one day she will have the ability to decide what type of relationship she wants with GM. You can help your daughter role-play how to joke or start a conversation or just kiss GM on the cheek to help her gain strength to control her own destiny.  Encourage her to solve her own problems and use you as the practice model. Pulling away can be difficult, especially if money is attached to the relationship, but peace of mind and a healthy self image was more important for me and my family.  I have chosen not to have a relationship with my family and my children made their decisions when they left home.  Some have chosen to be part of GM life, to their detriment.  You do your best to build up and help your daughter overcome her shyness.  You didn't say how old your daughter is, but I found taking a class in public speaking helped.  The sure fire thing that really made all difference is prayer and Prozac!  

Grandparenting

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Debbie Preece

Expertise

I answer all kinds of grandparenting questions, give ideas on how to interact and be a positive influence with grandchildren ages 3-12.

Experience

I have raised three children who are now raising 11 of my grandchildren. Everyone should have the experience of being a Grandparent before they are a Parent,it is so much more fun! I live in the area of 5 of my grandchildren and I have experience teaching them how to cook, clean up after themselves and give happy, first time obedience. This flows over into their own homes and often helps with relations between the in-laws. I have experience using The Happy Face Token System and offer ideas for variations and adaptations with the token economy concept.

Publications
From Combat Zone to Love at Home: The Happy Face Token System http://healthappy.com http://desperatemommy.com http://foxholeparenting.com http://biblebasedparenting101.com http://happyfacetokens.com http://floridabestmom.com

Education/Credentials
Raised three happy and healthy children who are now raising children.

Past/Present Clients
"I've listened to the [CD]and read the book,and really got a lot of ideas. I already use sort of the same system but I call it "Nana Bucks". The kids get paid for good behavior, chores, etc. Seems to work but I'm incorporating some more of your ideas in it."

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