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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.

Footface Mon 13-May-13 20:05:31

You don't need to buy for nieces dh's son.

My aunt never brought a present for my ss, and I would never expect her too. She hardly ever meet him so why would she.

The only time she did was when we were all having Christmas together, so everyone who was there did

MummyBurrows Mon 13-May-13 20:16:47

Let me get this right-basically your great nephews/nieces get nothing from their step-relatives but the new dh fully expects his in-laws to buy his kid something despite his side of the family not doing so for your nieces kids?! I'd tell him to feck right off! He's incredibly rude to assume that you should get his son something-not only that but even more so to actually tell you exactly what to buy and therefore dictate how much you're expected to spend on a kid you've only ever met once and will probably never see again!

I'm guna take a guess and say his son is a spoilt little shit if the father fully expects him to be lavished with gifts from relatives that have actually got nothing to do with him and have only met once briefly at a wedding!

I'd send a card and even at that the kid-or more to the point his father-should think himself lucky that you even remembered or bothered to do that! I certainly wouldn't go buying any presents or sending any money! Especially seeing as the fathers family don't feel the need to buy for your nieces children!

I do think all kids should be treated the same but only if both sides of the respective families are willing to do so and it should only go as far as the grandparents and perhaps the brothers and sisters of the mother and father of the step-kids,not include great aunts and uncles,cousins,the neighbours cat ect! Why should every member of one side of the family be expected to buy for step-kids they've never met-or as good as-but the other side get away with not bothering?!

Plus to be fair,you're the great aunt,not the kids aunt so I'm impressed that you even buy your nieces kids presents,I know my great aunts and uncles have never once bought me or my sister anything in our entire lives (despite being the only 2 great nieces-no nephews in our family at all),the best we ever get is a card at xmas and on our birthdays and even then it doesn't happen every year. Actually to be fair my actual aunts and uncles have never bought us anything but cards either despite us being the only kids (obviously now adults) in the family as none of them have ever had dc of their own,and we're not even step children,we're direct blood relatives!

Seeing as you're technically a great step-aunt to this boy I personally wouldn't expect anything more than a polite card,even then I wouldn't be bothered if one didn't turn up,you're nothing to do with this boy really and if he has a large family on his fathers side then I doubt he would even notice if you didn't buy a gift or send a card anyway!

Talk to your niece and explain to her that despite what the boys father said to you on facebook,you will not be buying his son anything and you found it incredibly rude of him to assume you would and even more rude that he dictated exactly what it is you should buy and therefore how much he expects you to spend on a child you have only ever met once and generally have nothing to do with! Tell her that you're happy to send a card to keep the peace if need be (and if you're feeling generous!) but you will certainly not be sending a present or any money along with it and he-or should I say his father-will just have to be grateful and think himself lucky you even bothered doing that as I bet his side don't even bother doing that for her kids smile

OrangeLily Mon 13-May-13 20:23:46

Treat all kids the same, otherwise it's horrible for the child as you don't feel accepted. Iv been on the receiving end of this and it's heartbreaking.

The Dad has gone about this the wrong way but its very awkward.

exoticfruits Mon 13-May-13 20:44:53

They are now a family of 5 and you are treating them as if they are only a family of 4, with one member being second class.

" This child's uncles and aunt don't buy for niece's children and niece seems happy with that."
Well, if he EVER raises the subject with you again, I would smile sweetly and respond that I would buy presents for his son when his family bought presents for niece's children. 'Do let me know when that starts.' Cheeky fecker.

Morgause Mon 13-May-13 20:53:26

Back from shopping to more replies. Thank you.

Niece's step son lives with his mother and spend every alternate weekend with his dad and my niece. Plus usually one evening in the week.

All the children were at niece's last Christmas Day and sis told me step son had a lot more presents to open because he has more uncles, aunties, cousins etc than my gt nieces and nephew. So I know his side of the family don't buy for my niece's children.

If I ever saw him then I think I probably would buy him presents but I don't. I thought we'd worked out who bought for whom but it seems he thinks we should also buy for his son - or maybe he was joking. But if I did he'd have even more presents than the other children in the family.

We aren't any wealthier than the same generation in his family but we are, perhaps, over-generous with presents for children. We "spoilt" my niece, with the permission of her parents. Every girl needs an aunt who spoils her with unsuitable things. smile

We were also quite generous with a cash gift when they got married, so maybe he thinks we're loaded. We aren't but we are comfortable, as my Mum would say.

I'll raise the subject when I see sis later in the week. He deleted his comment so he must realise he was out of order.

deleted203 Mon 13-May-13 20:58:43

I think it's a bloody cheek. Whilst agreeing that children should be treated the same it is not as though this child lives with them and you know him at all. You've met him once, at their wedding.

I would phone niece, personally, and say that you feel embarrassed at being put in this situation and feel it's odd that you are expected to buy a present for a child you have only met once.

starfishmummy Mon 13-May-13 21:21:04

He's rude.

But I would probably get the child something small anyway, it isn't his fault he has a rude father.

GladbagsGold Mon 13-May-13 21:25:41

Its a shame he's deleted it. You could have replied 'Didn't realise he has TWO Aunty Morgauses, what a lucky boy!'

Purple2012 Mon 13-May-13 21:45:55

I would buy in this situation. Although the dad was very rude.
I don't think whether the child lives with your relative or not matters.

I have a step daughter. She is treated as one of the family by most of my side -- my side is better to her than her dads--

My mum and dad are nan and grandad, my brother and SIL are auntie and uncle, she doesn't live with us but is here a lot and she us part of my family. I provide for her, financially, practically and emotionally.

When we got married, abroad just the 2 of us we had a family BBQ when we got back. I invited friends of the family, who were 'aunt and uncle' to us growing up. The 'uncle' spoke to my SD, was interested in what she had to say, the 'aunt' pretty much ignored her and looked at her with disdain. They gave my nephews a fiver and completely left out my SD. I was furious and very upset about it. They don't have a relationship with my nephews, have maybe seen them twice and the oldest is 10.

I will never feel the same about them now, especially her. She got annoyed when her husband was talking to my SD about her interests and made it so obvious that she thought my SD was insignificant.

Luckily I don't think it really registered with my SD and she is very lucky with how good my family are with her, but it still grates on me now even though it happened 2 years ago.

thegreylady Mon 13-May-13 23:24:41

I do think you must buy something for the child. He is now one of the family. When I remarried I acquired 3 step dc and my mum always bought presents for them as well as for my dc. I wouldn't get something big but you must buy something I'm afraid.

pigletmania Mon 13-May-13 23:37:24

Yanbuat all, how rude and cheeky. I would ignore it. I would not buy for a child I have never met. You bought your nephew a present be us it was his birthday, not just a random gift

pigletmania Mon 13-May-13 23:38:32

For your nieces dh son get him something small next month when it's his birthday

IrritatingInfinity Mon 13-May-13 23:50:20

I think the suggestion to move to getting 'family' presents is a good one.

SconeRhymesWithGone Tue 14-May-13 01:35:50

I am a stepchild (beginning at the age of 5), a stepmother, and a step-grandmother, and I have a great deal of experience with this issue.

I think, especially given your closeness to your niece, you should seriously consider treating her step-child as your great-nephew. I don't think it matters that you don't see him much; DH and I rarely see our step-grandson (and this is the only context in which we even use "step," when the relationhip is relevant to the discussion. And even then we refer to him as our "bonus grandson.") But we get emails, texts and phone calls in response to the presents (he is 12; he was 8 when he came into the family), and I know that it means a lot to him to be treated the same as his half-sisters. Also anyone on our side of the family who gives presents to our grandaughters, his sisters, gives presents to him.

I also don't think it is relevant what the other side of the family does; that is really not part of your relationship with your niece and her family. Hopefully your generosity would set a good example for them.

The dad was out of line with the facebook post, no question. But having been down this road so many times and in so many ways, I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that maybe he is just trying to strengthen the ties in his new blended family.

exoticfruits Tue 14-May-13 06:50:51

I agree with scone. Your niece now has 3 children and you seem unwilling to acknowledge it and are insisting that she has 2 children and a visitor- not very nice for the family member who now as to share his father and isn't even counted as belonging 'properly'.

Morgause Tue 14-May-13 07:28:44

My niece has 4 children. 2 by her first husband, who we have known all their lives and see regularly, one by her new husband who we also see regularly and one who is her DH's from his first marriage who we met once briefly 3 years ago and have never met since.

Her DH's son has lots of relatives who buy him presents and don't buy for her children from her first marriage, despite seeing them regulaly and living in the same village.

When he gets more presents at Christmas than her 2 from her first marriage she can console her older 2 by saying that they get presents from us and he gets presents from his aunties and uncles. If we buy him stuff as well they are going to see that as very unfair, I'd have thought.

Some may not agree but the feelings of children I know and love matter more to me than those of a child I don't know. If all new DH's family bought for all the children then we would as well.

I'll talk to my sis later to see what she thinks but until now everyone has been happy with the status quo. Niece's first 2 children already get far less at Christmas and birthdays than their step brother. Niece's DH has never shown any indication that he'd like us to get to know his son, her own parents hardly know him and see him rarely. We only get invited over on weekends when they doesn't have his son there. I get the feeling his ex doesn't want her son to get to know the extended family but I could be wrong.

pigletmania Tue 14-May-13 07:44:26

Give the op a break. She said she bought her nephew a birthday present. It's not this boys birthday yet! It's not like she bought them all presents and left him out, that would be cruel. Op I hope if your going to buy Christmas presents for your nieces kids tan you also buy for this boy.

Altinkum Tue 14-May-13 08:16:41

Its buy for all children or none in my opinion, the boy is your nieces son (step) so if your buying for his sister (step) the rules should apply to all children.

SpecialAgentTattooedQueen Tue 14-May-13 08:32:20

I'd buy the boy a small gift and card Lego, it's expensive enough! The bloody cheek

I'd talk to niece about his family leaving out her DS1&2. To the point where they get upset and need reassurance they're just as loved as their stepbrother with his mountain of tat.

All children should be treated the same. But if one family side don't acknowledge their new grandsons/DN's etc, that would worry me more than Disney Dad already trying to bully wrangle more presents for his son.

WHY is't he standing up for his DSS?? Is he just weak as piss when it comes to extended family, event at the detriment of his family.

needaholidaynow Tue 14-May-13 08:57:50

I actually think the OP has got a very good point. The fact that her DH's son has lots of relatives that buy for him and not her niece's children just reinforces OP's reluctance to buy for OP's DH'S child.

I think her niece being able to console her older 2 with the fact that their own family will be buying them presents after they have watched their stepbrother open presents from his family and they get not a bean, then I think this is fair. It sort of, "balances it out".

Why should her nieces's stepson get presents from his own family and step family, whilst OP's great nieces only get presents from their own family and get disregarded by stepfamily?

OP, YANBU!

Midori1999 Tue 14-May-13 09:03:50

I don't understand why you are justifying this by saying that your nieces stepson's family don't buy for your niece's DC? Just because they behave like arseholes, doesn't mean you have to.

My DH's family don't buy for my DC, despite seeing them as often as they see their Grandchild/niece. It is only because DH has up until now not wanted to rock the boat that he has never said anything to them and they probably think that I/we don't think it's a problem. It is.

However, my Grandmother (who has only met my stepchildren a few times at most, who don't live with us and DSD is in fact grown up) always sends money at birthdays/Christmas for them and so does my Mum, who has only met them once. They don't see someone else's poor behaviour as a model for their own.

I just can't imagine one of my DC getting married to someone who already had DC, who became my step grandchildren and sending presents to some DC in the household, but not others, it seems utterly alien to me.

Midori1999 Tue 14-May-13 09:07:06

Also, growing up, my Grandparents always bought my half brothers presents and treated them the same, in spite of the fact my half brothers were no relation whatsoever to them, as they are my paternal grandparents and my brothers are the DC of my Mum and stepfather.

I am glad they did, as to me my brothers were just my brothers growing up, the same as my sister was and I would have hated them to be treated differently by a relative I loved and cared for greatly. However, my Grandparents always were/are (my Grandfather sadly passed away this year) extremely generous and kind people and also when they talked about a family cruise for their 60th anniversary, as they had done for their 50th, they talked about including my DSC. I admire them greatly.

sweetmelissa Tue 14-May-13 09:10:26

I am a foster parent and therefore relatives/friends are often faced with the problem of buying for a child they don't know and actually may only be with us a short time. However, without exception all have included the foster child/ren and acknowledged them at Christmas/birthdays/Easter in the same way as our own children. Even if with us for only a short time it has always been very important for them to be treated as part of the family. I'm not sure what I would do if someone did not include them because everyone in my life has always believed you cannot leave a child out (even if you do not know that child).

I saw someone had written about not buying "unless the child is going to be regularly in your life" and (pathetically) I almost cried as I imagined any of my foster children being left out and being aware of the other children opening gifts while they did not.

DeskPlanner Tue 14-May-13 09:42:14

Op, I agree with you totally. This man is very rude. I think your doing the right thing. It must be tough for the biological children watching the Dss open far more gifts than they have, without you making him have more.

As an aside, do most people receive gifts for there dc from there own aunts/uncles ? Mine never have and when we where children we never received anything from my parents aunts/uncles. Not complaining in the slightest, we have more than enough toys in this house.

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