6 yr old recently uncomfortable with elderly grandparents...is this typical?

Rebekah - posted on 11/29/2012 ( no moms have responded yet )




My 6 (almost 7) year old son has just recently been more avoidant in interactions with his grandparents and great grandmother. He has seen them all regularly---my mother sees him several times per week, has had him for several sleepovers...they've always been close and comfortable. (She's an active 75 yr old) My inlaws don't see him as often, but still a couple of times per month and have babysat. (They are both pretty active in their late 70s) They always shower him with gifts (perhaps too much!) and show a vast amount of pride and interest in him. He sees his great-grandmother (104 yrs old!) several times per month and always has. (She is not active, but mentally sharp and interactive) She too shows interest and tries to talk with him. However, lately, he has been very distant from all of them, not making eye contact, giving one word answers when they try to ask him questions and seems not to want to give or receive affection when they initiate it. I had to push him to respond to them at Thanksgiving! What is going on? I had a frank talk with him, and the only answer he can give me is that he's "used to talking to kids, not adults." Simplistic answer, but my only guess with that is that for some odd reason he doesn't know how to relate to these adults anymore. It used to be ok...but now that he's older and more immersed with his peers at school and more self-conscious in other ways, is he at a loss with what to do or say? Does he look at them differently as he gets older?

Has anyone had this with their kids, changing how they interact as they get older?

If it matters, he's an only child, so he had always been "used to" talking with adults. He's bright and very social. He's in first grade now, so he's really engaging in the peer community in a way that he hasn't had before.

Also, he doesn't have any real specific complaints about his grandparents (other than maybe not liking the big bear hug that grandma comes at him with), no bad situations or issues that he can come up with.

I recall being shy with adults as a kid, even my beloved grandparents, so I don't want to punish him for how he feels. But I do expect him to be respectful and kind. I won't insist he give hugs, but I had to explain to him that he needs to respond to them and take a bit of time with them in conversation. I feel bad...all of them love him so much and give to him, materially and financially for his education. I feel guilty when he doesn't treat them well and am not quite sure how to fix it. Hopefully my talk with him will help...

But I'd appreciate other input...anyone else see this in your kids? Thanks.... (and sorry for the lengthy post!) :)

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