Need help with...

my "grandson to be". He is 3, turned 3 in Dec. We have him for the weekend so that easy child 2 and his fiance can have a weekend away. Yesterday, he was here, just him and "Grammie" all day long till Aly and Jayme got home from school. He was a Grandma's dream. All snuggly, wanting to play with his Thomas the Train set, we watched "Flushed Away" (funny movie by the way!!) Had a little attitude about what I served him for lunch, nothing major.

When "Grandpa" got home with the girls late in the afternoon, he went ballistic. Total difficult child to the first degree. Within 10 minutes was throwing train track pieces at Jayme, pulling her around my her shirt, shoving her to the floor. He had 4 time outs in about an hours time.

He called G'pa "stupid" told me to "shut up" countless times. Yanked Aly's braids hard enough for her to cry. Basically a major difficult child!!

I took the girls into their room and read stories to try to calm the situation, while husband had a "talk" with "g-son". Again, he told Gpa to go away and shut up. We don't talk like that in this house and it was really affecting the girls.

I finally called his mom and he wouldn't listen to her. Got her all upset, hates to be the cause of trouble and this was their first LONG time away from him. He is not easy child 2's bio son, but easy child 2 is thrown into father figure since they live together.

I know how to deal with difficult child's, especially ones that are only 3. My dilema is, his "real" gma said to call her if he is a problem and she would come get him. I hate to do that, but he just took him fingernails to Jayme's face, drawing blood and almost got her eye.

He is an only child, is used to being "prince" but his mom is doing awesome with him, granted she is only 20 yo. I don't know if this is going to work, they won't be home till late tonight so he won't be picked up till tomorrow.

As long as husband and I are totally focused on what he is up to, he is "nearly" typical toddler like. But if one of us is busy, he is hitting, shoving, throwing toys or whatever at Jayme with scary accuracy.

Don't get me wrong, I love this little guy. He is one smart cookie. I think he likes being part of a bigger family and we treat him as such, no special treatment.

This is new territory for husband and I, and we are wondering what our "job" as "grandparents" is. Are we supposed to be disciplining him the same as we do Jayme and Aly? We are right now and he is not responding well.

Not sure really what I am asking, just not sure if we should call up his bio g'ma and ask her to take him for the rest of the weekend or keep up with the nonstop vigilance of stopping him from beating up on Jayme?



Well-Known Member
Yes, I would discipline him, but the main thing is getting his parents to buy into it so there's consistency. They wouldn't fault you for doing the right thing, would they? Clearly his young mom was upset but did she have any advice?
difficult child acted up with-my Dad once, and Dad, then 81 yrs old, grabbed difficult child by the arm and shouted in a deep baritone, "Cut it out!" Gosh, how I'd love to have a voice like that! We all jumped when he did that to us when we were little. Yes, difficult child behaved after that. He pouted, but he behaved.

You said, "He is an only child, used to being prince." It sounds like he was fine with-you because he was alone, and he didn't like the competition of Grandpa and the girls and he has no other way to express it.
When he gets like that, you have to remove him from the situation and remove yourself, too... otherwise he's getting attention, and he doesn't care whether it's negative or positive attention.
(Sheesh, this is so easy for me to say... wish I could have been consistent with-my own advice when my difficult child was that age! :grin: :blush:)
Good luck.


Well-Known Member
Okey dokey You asked for advice and I will give you my two cents worth...

We have been in this exact situation as you are probably aware. Keyana's big brother is 3. We have kept him before though not for an entire weekend. He can be a PITA. He has acted out towards Keyana when in our care and we refuse to allow it at all.

We dont hurt him or anything but he gets treated the same way we would any of our kids. Just because he isnt a blood relative doesnt mean squat to us. We actually like the little guy. He is just a bit on the undisciplined side. We dont let him get away with his antics. So who cares if he gets upset? We punish him. He screams and yells but he gets over it and is Papa's buddy in no time.

My advice would be to try and find some activity that can be extra special between your husband and "grandpa's boy" alone. Make sure it doesnt involve the girls at all. It can be as simple as feeding an animal outside, cleaning out a car, checking something outside, but make it a "boy" thing. Make it something that they do everytime he sees Grandpa.

For instance, whenever Cameron sees us, he has to go out and feed the chickens with my husband. Doesnt matter if they have just been fed, they go out anyway. Even if its dark, they go out with a flashlight and look at the chickens. He always talks about the chickens and his Papa.

Stella Johnson

Active Member
I would discipline him. He was left in your care.

He is probably really testing his limits in this new environment where he isn't the "prince". Sounds like a little terror. :slap:

Is he around other kids very often? Does he go to day care?



New Member
my parents are raising an 11 year old and when my kids act up she disciplines them all the same. Some times if you discipline the other diferent than your own kids will wonder why is it diferent for them.


New Member
Stella asked a good he going to daycare, or preschool where he has an opportunity to interact with other children on a regular basis? All children this age, but especially "only child's" are at a point in their lives where they need to start getting involved in activities with other children. There are lots of preschool programs for kids when they reach age three. Even if your son's girlfriend could put him in a program for a few hours, two or three days a week, I think that would drastically improve his ability to deal with situations where he isn't the "only child" and having to share the attention of the person caring for him.

I have a 3 year old easy child who attends a special preschool program by one of the private schools in our area, and she is developing wonderful social skills and in my opinion, it is the ONLY thing that has saved her sanity since our difficult child moved in with us in January. Our difficult child takes a lot of our attention and she has been wonderful dealing with "sharing mommy's attention and affection". Don't misunderstand, she is not neglected or anything like that, she just doesn't get as much attention as she used to since there are three of them now instead of two.

Just a thought. Good luck, as for whether to call the other set of grandparents, if you are comfortable and you think that your son and his girlfriend would be comfortable with you doing so, it may be best, especially if he is getting violent with the other children. My parents have an arrangement made where when our children go over to their house to spend time, they try to take them only one at a time so that they can give them each the attention they desire from grandma and grandpa. There are occasions when they have all three, special events or rare nights out for mom and dad, but most of the time if they are just doing it to spend time with them, it is one at a time.


Active Member
It really does sound like he's used to one on one attention and acts up when he doesn't get it. He also sounds insecure, as if he's afraid that having to share is going to mean he misses out either on attention or other things. Kids go through this stage, always. Those with siblings usually get through it faster; only children CAn take a lot longer, it all depends on how much social exposure he has. If a kid is like this they need a lot more than people around them can usually tolerate - you take a kid like this to play group, for example, and go home early because of their behaviour. This teaches them that acting up will lead to removal of the interlopers. Not good.

Janet had a great suggestion - provide an activity that is just Grandpa and him. When Grandpa arrives, he takes the boy to his workshop, or the garden, to do 'boy' things like using a hammer. They could make something for his mother, like a soap dish for washing hands in the garden (use old fence palings) or a bird feeder. All sorts of very simple exercises.
I used to 'help' my father in his workshop. There was one particular hammer only, that I was permitted to use and I always had to put it back. There was only one drawer of nails I was permitted to use and I had to tell dad if I had used a lot, so he could buy more. I could use the hand-cranked grinding wheel only. Often I would be pottering, making arrows by sharpening sticks on the grinding wheel and a bow from a green willow branch and some kitchen string.

Similarly, with the others - find something they can do together. difficult child could read him a book, for example. Keep easy child 3 away from him as much as possible, for now. She's definitely going to be seen as a rival. I do think that if you and Grandpa divide your energies so you have one of you with this boy always, in a one-to-one situation, you will begin to break this pattern. At first you need to give him the attention but knowing the others are around somewhere, just not in sight. He should get used to the idea that having others around needn't mean he is missing out on attention at all. In fact, it should eventually lead to MORE possibilities since there are more people to spoil him!

A game that worked for us when difficult child 3 was little - we would all sit on the floor (our kitchen is big enough) and roll a ball to each other. It teaches turn-taking and also teaches that the ball WILL come back to you, but if you want the ball rolled to you, you first have to roll it to someone else. It can also teach counting - if he is getting impatient because the ball doesn't come back to him immediately, point out how many people have to get it before him, and count with him.

If it's difficult getting him into this game, begin with him and you. Roll the ball back and forth. Then introduce ONE other person. Show the different ways the ball can be rolled (1 to 2, 2 to 3, 3 to 1 and all back again - 6 different ways). When he can handle this, introduce another person. But don't take it higher until he's handling it well at that level.

To begin with he sounds like he will be very labour-intensive. But it should pay off in the long run because underneath it all he sounds like a great kid. Just insecure, with all the changes in his life.

Also, these kids do get horrible and "cranky-tired" by mid to late afternoon, it's when they need you MORE, but you need to get on with chores and meals and so you tend to push them aside a bit.

Awesome suggestions everyone!

To answer a few questions, Yes, he is in daycare 4 days, nearly all day a week. girlfriend goes to full time college, works part time for my easy child 2 either takes him to school or picks him up or his other Gma does. So, there are alot of changes in his little life. He has a dead beat bio Dad who shows up to visit when HE feels like it, not when the court order times/days are. girlfriend is afraid to fight him as his family has alot of $ and are the type to try to take him away from her. Believe me, even with all his issues, being with bio dad anymore than an hour or two at a time would be a disaster.

girlfriend signed him up for PeeWee soccer this past fall. Had to take him out because he was NOT going to be sharing that ball with ANYONE!! I asked her if she would let me take him, he behaves better with me alone, but she was hesitant.

What I am most worried about at this time is that, like yesterday when they picked him up, girlfriend was shocked that "R" would do something so violent as to scratch up Jayme so badly in the face. "That is SO not "R" We had a house full and I really didn't feel it was the appropriate time to state the fact that, well yes, it is! He has bit Jayme, shoved her (knocking her down since she is not super coordinated) slapped her, etc... I feel like I am in such a rock and a hard place as R will be in our family, but I think girlfriend needs to get tough on him NOW before it becomes an even worse situation. He has been asked to leave 2 preschools, and she removed him from another because "the other kids were picking on him".

My son corrects him when he is here more strongly than his girlfriend does. Not sure if she is embarrassed to correct him in front of us or if that is just not her thing. Her mom is the same. Very soft, cuddly, etc and not too consistent with the discipline. I am trying hard to slip little things into conversations about how I had to handle certain circumstances with Aly, etc. Also, I am really reading alot of Dr. Bryan Post's books and sharing that info with son and girlfriend.

My mom said to correct him if girlfriend won't, reminded me of our house rule, "absolutely NO violence allowed in this house!"

Jayme's face looks horrible this morning. I have been putting Neosporin on it and washing it regularly, but one scratch is really close to her eye, so I can't put the Neosporin on it. School about flipped out when they saw it this morning. I had to explain a very shortened version of what went on! This is the 3rd time she has went to school with some sort of bite mark, scratches or bruise from R. CPS please do not show up! We are trying to keep them apart as much as possible or do cooperate play. Yesterday was better than Saturday as we were working out back cleaning off all the play equipment and he got to use the hose to squirt everything off. He actually asked Jayme if she wanted a turn!!!

Well, thanks for listening!



New Member
It sounds like mom has her hands full. Maybe you could check in your area to see if they have a birth to 3 screening program. Then provide the mom with the information. They have alot of supportive programs they can connect themt to if they qualify. Some communities also support pre-k programs starting at age 3 through the school district. Ours was wonderful. My son (Asperberger's) attended which led us to getting the support we needed in school.

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
Well, hmmmm. My parents had children wandering in & out of their home on a regular basis along with their own 5 children. My mom insisted on house rules - if you couldn't follow them you weren't welcome.

On wm's second visit to my parents I remember my mom taking wm's face in her hand & stated very firmly "We don't do that here". Boy did wm clean up his act at grandma's house.

Having said that, your 3 y/o grandson to be needs to learn the rules of your home. If easy child & girlfriend want to leave R with you then they need to support the rules in your home. This will be a learning process.


Active Member
She can't deny that Jayme was scratched, when her face shows the evidence. I think at some stage you need to sit down (when you haven't got a house full!) and explain that you really love the little guy but yes, he IS like that and you are concerned for him. Make it clear that you feel this probably goes way beyond parenting, but in your house you will expect him to abide by the "no violence" rules. Since girlfriend says he's not like that, then there should be no problem, surely?

And yes, I agree with passing on to girlfriend (maybe via your son) some info about evaluations in your area.

You said he's in day care 4 days, "nearly all day a week" (I'm not sure what you mean there). I know, from our own experience, that having such a great exposure to day care makes it most unlikely that this is a parenting issue, although it does sound like girlfriend & her mother are a bit namby-pamby in their handling of R. Day care instils really good, positive discipline in kids who are regulars, they work well in groups and are as socialised as it is possible for them to be. So what you see, given the level of day care he gets, is a real worry. He should be much better at sharing, for example. It's a very early concept to 'get', in day care. Just as you have certain strict standards, so does day care. So if he still hasn't 'got' some of these very basic ideas, there is something very wrong and the sooner it's known, the sooner he can be helped.

(difficult child 3 was also in day care, but not long day care like his siblings. Despite this he couldn't socialise appropriately and had delayed language development. At first the various authorities tried to tell me that I wasn't communicating with him enough, that he wasn't talking or responding to words because he hadn't been exposed to them. Then I pointed out the high exposure to language from an early age and they said, "Maybe he's not able to get a word in edgewise" - sometimes you're set up for failure with these people! But the point is, difficult child 3 still showed extreme social isolation, even though he had not been socially isolated. By sending him to day care we did him the best favour we could have. What we saw was what was left, that this early social exposure simply couldn't reach.)

From girlfriend's point of view, she could be scared that if her child is found to be not perfect, that will cause the prospective marriage to go out the window. As many of us know, it's bad enough to have kids when you're looking for a partner; to have one turn out to be a difficult child kills what faint hopes you might have. She needs to be reassured on this.
Plus, she wants him to be acceptable to you. To hear from you that you have problems is perhaps the worst thing she fears, after possibly losing her fiance. She's probably very good at denial and won't accept the possibility that there is a problem. If it gets too distressing, you may need to back away and simply accept them both as unconditionally as you can, until she feels more secure about it all.

A worry. A big one.


Great points! He goes to daycare M-Th 8am-3pm or whenever easy child 2 or the other gma can pick him up. I just found out this is his 5th daycare, and he already has a warning at this one.

So, mom is in major denial, or like you said, she wants him to be the perfect little guy so my son doesn't hit the pavement! I am really close with girlfriend, but she is soooo insecure that whenever I have brought up possibly talking with Pediatrician, she gets all upset. I have offered to go with her, as I have been there done that, still am in fact. I have offered to pick her up (she doesn't drive) and take her to "really great seminars" to continue her education as I am with parenting. Through my son I have heard that it really hurt her feelings that I suggested it.

And yes, we do have awesome programs for little difficult children to be, my easy child 3/difficult child? is in one now. I subtly suggested that R be evaluated as he might get into one of these programs that are FREE.

Tomorrow evening ought to be a good test. girlfriend's mom is throwing her a surprise 21st b'day party and so there will be lots of people and kidlets there. We shall see how R does with me, other Gma, Gpa, mom and my son all busy with other people. Needless to say, I will be sticking to Jayme like glue!

Thanks for the suggestions, as this continues to be such a sticky situation.

Thanks and hugs,