to think I shouldn't be expected to buy presents for niece's step child? (turned out long, sorry)

(90 Posts)
Morgause Mon 13-May-13 15:56:30

I've always been very close to my niece, having no daughters of my own. We used to spend a lot of time together as she was growing up and I used to take her out for treats. Our families have also always been close and she has always loved our sons - her only cousins.

She married 10 years ago and she and her DH moved away to live but they used to come "home" regularly and we got to know and love her two children. We always buy them something nice at birthdays and Christmas

Time passes. She divorced and is now married again and they have a child between them and, of course, we have got to know the new baby, although we don't see them as often as we used to as they live quite some distance away.

Her new DH (nice chap) has a son from his previous marriage who we have only met once, at their wedding.

They were visiting her DPs a couple of weeks ago so we went over to see them with a present for her oldest child whose birthday was in a fortnight's time. Her DH said it was also <his son's name>'s birthday next month. I felt a bit embarrassed because it's never crossed my mind to buy a present for a child I don't know and who doesn't know me.

After they had gone I asked my sis if she thought I should be buying presents for the child. She said no because none of niece's DH's family buy for her children except his parents who bought them a little something at Christmas birthdays and sis does the same for niece's step son.

Today niece posted a thank you for the lego set message from her son on my FB page. Her DH added as a comment that <his son's name> would like a specific lego model from his "Auntie Morgause" next week.

It is a monumental cheek, isn't it? Or could he be joking? I haven't replied yet, not sure what to say. Seems such a trivial thing to worry about but I don't want to upset my niece.

sparechange Mon 13-May-13 16:25:36

That is just plain rude!

I think there is a distinction on the way step children are treated. It is one thing not giving them a present on Christmas day when seeing the whole family.
It isn't 'unfair on the stepson' for him not to get a present in the post from a total stranger. It seems very entitled to think the son should get bought presents from strangers, especially if the parents aren't making any effort to introduce him to the wider family.
Family is two way, so if the cheeky father was suggesting all getting together for Sunday lunch, or coming en masse to visit 'Auntie Morgause' on her birthday, then fair enough. But for it to just to say 'you technically count as family, that gives you a duty to buy presents' is just grabby

Alwayscheerful Mon 13-May-13 16:25:44

Very rude, I hope he is more pleasant to your niece.

You did the right thing, you had a quiet word with your niece and she assured you it was Ok.

Most children these day get far too many presents and I notice the parents struggle to find space for them.

Personally I am happy to buy things for family "step" children especially if I have a relationship with them and they are polite.

I was sad when my DM said the "they are nothing to me" comment, I think its vile, never a card or a present for any of my three DSCs.

AmberSocks Mon 13-May-13 16:25:55

he was being rude doing that,if it were me i would just ignore it,and i wouldnt be buying the stepson presents either unless i was going to be seeing him a lot as part of the family.

Nanny0gg Mon 13-May-13 16:28:19

Normally I would agree that you treat all children the same. However, I am in the same boat, having never even met the new other half, or the step-child. So I really don't know about sending presents and cards.
If I had met them then there would be no question, but I don't know them at all, so sending something would be weird.

Mother2many Mon 13-May-13 16:30:50

Hi. Well, it was rude of him to suggest anything. Your sis said it was okay.

If you seldom see this child, then I wouldn't worry about it. If you seen this child all the time, and got to know him, then yes, it would be rude not too.

However, don't feel guilty.

This child ALSO has an extended family beyond you, and will not be short of gifts.

needaholidaynow Mon 13-May-13 16:31:47

I was sad when my DM said the "they are nothing to me" comment, I think its vile, never a card or a present for any of my three DSCs.

Alwayscheerful, my DSD never gets anything from my grandparents and aunts/uncles. This Easter DSD was with us and they came round with Easter eggs for DS1 (DS2 is a baby so need to give him any!) and nothing for DSD. She looked like she was going to burst in to tears.

MammaTJ Mon 13-May-13 16:32:59

I would I'm afraid.

Morgause Mon 13-May-13 16:33:23

Well, the message has disappeared. He must have deleted. I suspect my niece saw it and made him delete. I shan't mention it unless she does at some point.

It's made me think twice about her new OH being an upgrade from the old one.

Thanks to everyone who's taken the trouble to reply.

cozietoesie Mon 13-May-13 16:40:42

I buy for all the children in our family on the same basis - whether they've come into it or have been born into it. Children need to feel appreciated.

I admit that I would feel that his message was a bit off but I'm just wondering (as you originally said you thought him to be a 'nice chap') whether he sensed something on your part when he mentioned his son's birthday and thought to emphasize it - albeit in a completely ham fisted way. Maybe his son is feeling sensitive about the situation in some way and he was just trying to prevent any problems?

PicaK Mon 13-May-13 16:44:26

He's rude.

But you need to treat your neice's children and step children the same.

MrsKoala Mon 13-May-13 16:45:52

I think the way step children are treated depends on the family situation. My half sister is my mum's step daughter - yet she has never met my nan, granddad, aunts, uncles etc. She never lived with us, and has never been with us on xmas day or birthdays. My nan/aunts would never have sent a present or card for her. My sister had gifts from her nan/aunts etc on her mums side.

However, if she'd lived with us and been here at present swapping times then i'm sure they would have brought a little something.

If his son is feeling sensitive about it all, it's up to the father to explain to him, that he has different relatives than his step-siblings who buy for him, and he shouldn't be put out by not getting gifts from his SMs family. Everyone is different and treated differently, it's how we handle it that makes it into a problem or not.

cozietoesie Mon 13-May-13 16:50:51

Yes - but much depends on the age of the child. (Which I don't recall.) Things can smart dreadfully when you're - say - 8 or 9 despite all the wise words of grown ups.

Tabliope Mon 13-May-13 16:59:52

How rude of him. I would say I'd expect your sister to buy for her step grand child but not you as the great aunt. Even with your DSIS a lot depends on how often she sees him and what relationship they have or whether he has a full set of other grand parents buying for him. If she's part of his life then I think yes she should. I'm astounded at your neice's DH.

Kneebeefjerky Mon 13-May-13 17:00:56

I suspect that your sister may well have got it wrong about his family not buying for the other children. From that post and the way he brought it up it sounds like this is something that has been festering for a while and he is getting cross about it. It all sounds a bit sarcastic.

The only possible reason I can think of for him acting this way is that he thinks his child is being treated unequally and that there have actually been presents forthcoming from his side of the family for all the children but not from yours. Are you sure your sister is not mistaken? Or that they're unhappy both sides of the family are doing this?

Also, are your side of the family significantly wealthier than his? Are your presents more extravagant than his son would be receiving?

Because I guess it would be quite hurtful for a child to always see their step sibling come home with big gifts if they don't get much from their family.

DontMeanToBeRudeBut Mon 13-May-13 17:03:25

I would have bought him a small present but his dad's message was extremely rude and presumptuous.

2rebecca Mon 13-May-13 17:14:17

I think it's different if the stepkids don't live with you like this boy. My aunt buys presents for my kids but not my stepkids, but she has never met my stepkids who rarely visit us these days staying with their mum or on their own. My sister buys my stepkids cards, and a present on "special" birthdays but she is my kids aunt not a great aunt. I no longer get any presents from my aunts as we don't bother now we are all adults and just exchange cards. My kids have never had presents from my husband's aunts and uncles, but they have rarely met my kids and my husband only exchanges cards with them, unsure if they buy my stepkids presents.
We treat all kids and stepkids equally, they are all our kids, that doesn't apply to the extended families on either side who really just have a relationship with one set of kids, especially if the kids spend more time with the "other" parent.

exoticfruits Mon 13-May-13 17:16:08

He is rude, but I think you have to treat all the DCs of the family the same.

Peenoweeno Mon 13-May-13 17:20:08

Rude.

He's probably just trying to feel his way through a "step-" relationship, for himself and his son.

A bit too enthusiastic. Not right to assume the blended family thing extends beyond your own immediate family.

Booboostoo Mon 13-May-13 18:06:57

Very rude. I also agree that you should treat the DCs the same, but if your buying a present was circumstancial then that's life. That is, if you always buy a present for DC, you should always buy a present for DSC, however if you only buy a present when you happen to visit and it so happens to be DC's birthday then bad luck for DSC (as long as in reversed circumstances you buy for DSC and it's bad luck for DC).

MrsBungle Mon 13-May-13 18:26:04

He was unquestionably rude!

However, personally, I would always buy for all the children in one family or none of them. Wouldn't matter to me if I knew them properly or not or how recently they'd joined that family.

Saski Mon 13-May-13 19:02:49

The dad is an ass. However, I'd treat all kids of the same family the same - whether you know them or not, whether you're close with them or not. You're an adult and they're children and it's your job to make them feel welcome.

The dad would test my goodwill. I'd also not be pleased to receive a thank you note via FB, but that's besides the point I guess.

He is rude.

But, does the stepson live with his dad and your niece and her dc?

If not, it seems pretty grabby and totally insane to expect the aunt of your wife buy presents to a child that is a virtual stranger. Especially if his family is not buying for nieces children.

LouiseSmith Mon 13-May-13 19:50:49

I think all children should be treated fairly, its cruel not to.

Reverse the situation how would you feel if it was your child being left out by your DH family because biologically the child isn't his.

You don't have to spend loads, but something.

In my view, the children are treating fairly if OP does not buy for step son, because step sons family does not buy for nieces children. It is fair the way it is, when none of the step families buy presents.

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