Grandma can't handle when my 3 year old is being mean

Wendi - posted on 06/17/2013 ( 4 moms have responded )

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Practically every day my 3 three year old is mean to Grandma (my mom). When he first sees her each day he usually responds to her with a fold-of-the-arms-over-the-chest and a pouty face followed with a NO (sometimes very loudly). Grandma gets her feelings hurt by him and will usually walk away and not come back to the same room as he for the rest of the day. He will on occasion even do this to me (mom), to Mommy, or to Nanay (his other grandma) when he's sees them. I will tell him that he cannot be mean, (rude, disrespectful, etc...) and that he when he is mean he will have time out. . Timeouts are 1 minute per year, so he gets 3 minutes. After time out he is asked to apologize for being mean. I am trying to teach him that if he doesn't want to say "hi" that instead of being mean then he is to say "no thank you" to people (Grandma and Nanay included). Again this will hurt Grandma’s feelings if he does this to her initial greeting. Should I be expecting more of my 3 year old? My household is in a constant state of emotional upheaval between my mom and son…..help, opinions and/or advice would be welcomed!

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I agree with Denikka--your mom really shouldn't be getting her feelings hurt, after all, he is only 3.
That said, he does need to be taught what is appropriate, and time outs and forced apologies are not really going to work.
When he is rude to grandma, she shouldn't have to leave the room, he should leave. When J was 3, and he was rude, I sent him to his room. I said, this is my house, and we do not like that behavior. If you want to be rude, you must do it alone, in your own space. He was free to come out whenever he wanted to, but he must be nice.

A forced apology is pretty much meaningless. He's not really sorry, he's just saying it to please you, and everyone knows it. Later he will think he can act however he likes and it will be okay as long as he says "I'm Sorry" afterwards. Instead, have your mom work toward doing nice things for him--like playing blocks together or drawing or reading a book. At the end or during the activity she should start a conversation about how she is doing something to make him happy because seeing him happy makes her happy.
Mom "Are you having fun drawing with me?"
kid "Yea..."
mom "I'm having fun too. I like seeing you happy. Do you like to make me happy?"
kid "yea..."
And so one. Be very careful not to turn it into a guilt trip, and never bring up the stuff she does to make him happy when he is being rude, just send him away.
Soon, he will start to see that grandma loves him no matter what, and that she wants him to be happy.

Another reason kids are often rude to grandparents is to test their love. He wants to make sure the adult will love him no matter what, and by leaving the room and not coming back, she is shaking his faith in her love. He's not sure she loves him, so he is not willing to invest emotionally. By sending HIM away and allowing him to come back at anytime, you are letting him know that you don't like the behavior, but you do love HIM.

Denikka - posted on 06/17/2013

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I think your mom is overreacting. He's 3. Yes, he should be encouraged to be polite and whatnot, but to leave the room and not come back to the same room he's in all day, that's more than a little excessive.
Not to mention, that it's teaching him that he can get what he wants. He grumps and she leaves.
I think she needs to just ignore it when he's rude. And instead of just giving him a time out, make him fix the situation. He can go over and give a polite greeting after his time out and apologize for being rude. Respect his personal boundaries (maybe he doesn't want to be hugged or kissed on a particular day. That's okay and should be respected), but *good morning Gramma* or *hi Gramma* is not infringing on him.

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Kate - posted on 06/24/2013

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I agree that he shouldn't be rude; but why does he dislike grandma? Is she not playing with him? Is she talking to you and taking your attention away from him? Is she sending him to time out? None of those things justify being rude; but the answer might help you solve the problem.

If he just wants your undivided attention: be mean to grandma- she goes away. I sit for three min then I have mommy all to my self. Win.

Grandma isn't nice to me. I'm mean to her. She goes away. Win.

Grandma sends me to time out all the time. I'm mean to her. I go to time out once and that's it. Win.

Once you know why he's doing it you can fix the real problem. Let him and grandma do something fun if she usually isn't involved with him. If he just wants you, make sure he knows that you love him all the time, but being rude isn't the way to get mommy all to yourself, and so on...

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 06/18/2013

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At 3, he can be taught that polite response is expected, so a greeting is "protocol" if you will.

He can learn to politely respond to greetings from others, and then politely convey that he is not interested in further play/contact at this time

But grandma also needs to learn how to STOP acting like a petulant 3 YO as well! She should be the example, not the one throwing the fit.

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