Dad Confession: My Son Is Afraid of His Grandfather!


Xavier and DadLet’s get this out of the way: My dad is a great guy. He doesn’t meet strangers. He has one of those laughs you can hear even in a roomful of laughing people.

Naturally, my 15-month-old son is terrified of him. On our last trip to visit my parents--unlike all the other times they'd met--my now15-month-old son shrieked every time Granddad drew near.

Admittedly, my little guy looked warily at everyone. He has only met them a few times in person. But he saved his loudest yelps for the 6’2” mustachioed man who I look a lot alike. Dad took it in stride, but I was at a loss. For the briefest moment I considered covering my father in my son's favorite food (strawberries) to see if that would break the ice.

But I’ve studied up and discovered that I’m not alone. Here are some things I’m going to try:

  1. Video chat: My son looks at pictures of his faraway family all the time. But hopefully seeing and hearing Granddad regularly will help break the ice.
  2. Ease in, repeat: I’ll hug my father first, to show my son that he’s a friend. Then hand one of his favorite toys to Granddad as a lure. I’ll repeat this step as needed until my son is comfortable.
  3. Be prepared: My son smiles at strangers on the subway, so it never occurred to me he would have trouble warming up to my family. But next time, I’ll know better. Also, I’ll stop telling people that he smiles at strangers on the subway.
  4. Have hugs ready: When he’s scared, I’m his oasis. Nothing solves a problem like Daddy Hugs, right? And yes, we can leave the party for a while so you (and I!) can regroup.
  5. Chill: My son is 15 months old. It’s natural for toddlers to be leery, especially of those with deep, booming voices. This too shall pass.

Hopefully the next time we see my folks, my little guy will warm up to Granddad’s embrace. But I'll have some strawberries with me. Just in case.

What relative did your little one fear? How did you help him or her overcome it?

toddler development


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nekoy... nekoyukidoll

my nephew shies away from his paternal g-ma alot, of course she smokes so she smells of cigerettes.  on the opposite end he's a complete papa and gram (my parents) boy and he does see them more too.

nonmember avatar blh

My son used to be afraid of my dad but now he LOVES him. He talks about "paw paw" all the time.

nonmember avatar Jessica

My son was scared of his great grandma every time she would get close he'd scream and cry. Then one day at a family event she gave him candy now he just loves her. My son loves food and anyone who will give him some lol

tuffy... tuffymama

Good LAWD at the cheeks on the baby in the picture! I bet those cheeks are kissed all the time. They are irresistible! My boys were both chunks when they were babies, and I squeezed and kissed their little faces constantly.

My LO is still afraid of my grandmother and it breaks my heart. She loves him so much, but I think she was too enthusiastic in her affection when he was tiny.

youth... youthfulsoul

We are about 6 hours away from my father in law but he Skypes almost every weekend with my 2 yr old son. It really seems to have helped because we only see him in person a few times a year but my son seems to recognize him when we do.

nonmember avatar Karri

I remember when my little sister was about that age and was TERRIFIED of our grandfather. It was hilarious but kind of sad too because he loved kids. He was in a wheelchair and I think that's why my sister was so scared. My sister was scared of anyone she didn't know though, and would even be nervous around people she did know if they so much as cut their hair or wore sunglasses.

corri... corrinacs

Just like you said on your last point.  Chill and this too shall pass.  When they realize that granddads are famous for spoiling them, no matter how silly they look, theyiw ll become good friends :).  Both of my kids were afraid of one grandparent or the other.  Now they lvoe them to death :)

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