Stepchildren and extended family

(19 Posts)
Strongertogether Tue 14-May-13 10:11:12

I have two DSC. My parents have always got them Christmas presents and Easter eggs in the past, not birthdays though.
They have known them for ten years but my DSC do not think of my parents as grandparents, they are just Strongers Mum and Dad, they call them by their first names. They already have their own grandparents from their mum and dad.

BabyHMummy Mon 13-May-13 21:14:53

My family have all accepted my dsc's as part of famil. Before even meeting them my sister asked them to be page boy and flower girl at her wedding. My parents treat them like their own grandchildren and I can't see that changing when our own child is born in august.

I would just talk to your family and explain. It may be that as u don't live together they are unsure how to behave regarding it and are waiting for your lead?

EvilEdna2909 Sun 12-May-13 23:06:28

My family were a bit wary at first but the more they see the kids the more bond they have with them. They buy them presents and cards and have bought them toys to play with while at their house so they see them as part of the family cos they are part of my life.

matana Sun 12-May-13 19:52:04

Dsd (13) is always invited or there is assumed attendance at family occasions at weekends when we have her. In fact she's coming for a weekend at the seaside next week for my sister's birthday and is bringing her friend. They've known her since she was 4 but mostly don't buy her presents because they haven't seen her frequently enough to have that relationship. That said, if they knew they were seeing her over xmas or her birthday they would get her a little something or a card. She sees a lot of my sister, bil and niece so they treat her very much like a full time member of the family and have brought her presents over the years. She loves them to bits and treats them like a proper auntie, uncle and cousin.

We no longer see my other dsd who is 15. Her choice, aided and abetted by her mother. But when she did see us my family treated her the same.

My family treat DSD as one of their own. She gets cards, Christmas and birthday presents, treats from my mom and dad for other holidays, and they chat with her sometimes on Skype/phone. She comes with me and DH when school holidays allow on visits to see them all.

My husband's family treat SIL's stepkids more as stepkids. They get birthday presents and cards if they are in the area to celebrate their birthdays, but I don't think this is a regular thing. DH and I have given the kids Christmas presents too, but not sure if other relatives have.

I think the difference, in my case at least, is partly to do with how frequently the kids are around. DSD is in my house every other week for a week at a time. Unfortunately, my BIL does not enjoy the same access to his kids - partly due to distance, partly due to the kids being allowed to say, "I don't want to see Daddy today, I want to play Xbox." I don't think anyone means for them to be an afterthought, it's just that everyone gets used to Christmases and their birthdays going by without their presence.

gallicgirl Mon 06-May-13 22:30:35

We have a few step children and parents around my quite large family.
Generally step children are treated exactly like other children. My step niece comes to all family events and joins in and receives cuddles and discipline in equal measure.
However, I don't buy a birthday and Christmas present. Partly due to cost and partly because I don't see her frequently enough to build the same relationship I have with my sister's children. I did query this once with my sister as I felt bad but she reassured me that her DSD's family gave her plenty of gifts.

My parents buy ss Christmas presents a d an Easter egg, but not a birthday present. I'm not sure why that's what they do, maybe because they're the celebrations that ss shares with ds so it would be obvious if they didn't include ss, or maybe they don't remember when his birthday is.

brdgrl Mon 06-May-13 18:03:56

Just to add...As always - there is no one way of doing this. You'll have to figure out what works for your family, which means thinking about what all the individuals involved want or expect.

I don't think anyone has mentioned it here, but I suppose there is also the issue of the kids' actual grandparents on both sides, and how they might feel to share that status with another set. (In my case, the DSC's maternal and paternal grandparents are all now deceased - so mine are all they've got, really.)

Have you, or will you, speak to your parents about it? They may just not have even thought of it, or they might not want to 'overstep'...

brdgrl Mon 06-May-13 17:42:23

My family live in another country and have only met/seen DSCs a few times. They always send birthday/Christmas presents. When asked how many grandchildren they have, they include the DSC in that count. They have one of those frames with slots for separate photos, and there is a photo of each grandchild, including my DSCs. However, they'd never expect to be called 'grandparents' or thought of that way by the DSCs - they are quite happy to let the DSCs decide what they are comfortable with in that direction. (I wish the DSCs would be more thoughtful and send birthday cards themselves, or even thank you notes.)

My DSCs were already teenagers when they came into my life. I think that makes a huge difference.

Fairy130389 Mon 06-May-13 16:29:38

If anything mine have been a bit too far the other way and are DESPERATE to be nanny and grandad (this has been much worse since I've been pregnant)... I think it is lovely that they treat DSD completely like a grandchild and she gets spoilt just as I expect soon to be DS will!
My only gripe is the obsession with being called Nanny when DSD is clearly not comfortable with it.

I think (but can't be certain) that they would be the same even if dsd didn't live here full time.

Machli Sat 04-May-13 21:51:14

Someone I know treated her dd's stepchild as a her real grandchild. He called her Nana and her husband Grandad. Her dd split up with his dad. Within days she said he wasn't to call her Nana anymore as he wasn't her REAL grandchild. He was 10 at the time and had been calling her Nana since he was three.

needaholidaynow Sat 04-May-13 21:41:12

My dad treats my DSD as if she is his granddaughter. I know technically she isn't but he still treats her the same as his two biological grandsons. He takes her out to places, buys her treats and presents for her birthday and Christmas etc.. He loves her.

My mum is generally the same however the love my dad has for DSD isn't there. She buys her a present at Christmas and is nice to her, but doesn't see her as a granddaughter.

My mum's family aren't used to the whole stepchildren thing, so although they are nice to her when she is around and will talk to her, they have told me that DSD is nothing to them and won't buy her any presents or Easter eggs. To them my DSs are family to them but DSD isn't. It might be old fashioned views I don't know, but like I said they aren't used to the whole stepchildren thing soci think they find her very hard to accept.

My family have been brilliant, I have a DSD and they always buy her Christmas and birthday presents, Easter eggs, that sort of thing. Always invite her when they are planning days out. Couldn't have asked for more smile

They really try to make her feel part of our family as she is now a major part of my life and it's really important to me that she feels just as much a part of my family as she does DH's.

purpleroses Sat 04-May-13 10:49:15

Mine don't buy birthday presents for DSC and tend to send something just for everyone to share at Christmas (eg big box of chocolates). DP's parents haven't acknowledged my DCs birthdays yet either, and not entirely sure they know when they are.

I think it depends how much your extended family see the DSC tbh - ours are all quite far away so don't see them very often. We've been trying various options out in terms of visiting extended family - sometimes I take my DCs to mine, and DP takes his to his. Sometimes I go along with him and his DCs and leave mine with their dad, or vice versa. And sometimes we all go as one big family, but that's hard logistically as there's too many of us for anyone to put us all up.

Think you have to see what works really, and not have any fixed expectations of extended family - I feel I'm still on a steep learning curve with all this stepfamily business - so can't really expect the extended families all to be up to speed. The kids don't seem to have any expectations that they'll suddenly be treated like grandchildren, etc anyway and seem just to take things as they come. I think mine see the DSC's grandparents much as they see their cousin's grandparents (ie my BIL's parents) - not really someone directly connected with them.

Can see it's hard if you've got two boys having birthdays very close together who are being treated differently - you could try saying to your parents how very nice it is that DP's parents have got your DS a present and see if they take the hint. Though it's not a very subtle one I guess hmm

DizzyCow63 Sat 04-May-13 09:21:47

My family have been fantastic with DSD, have always treated her like one of the family, included in days out, Xmas/birthday presents, even before she lived with us. Couldn't have asked for more.

Branleuse Sat 04-May-13 09:15:35

dps family treat my ds1 the same as the other two. even though they dont see him as much

FrauMoose Sat 04-May-13 09:13:19

It varies. My younger brother who visits regularly understands that my stepchildren are part of the family. He always asks after them. My older brother doesn't really get it, though he occasionally remembers to ask after my stepdaughter who is currently living with us. I don't think my parents really get/got that my life was/is bound up with that of my stepchildren. My mother will occasionally ask my husband after the stepchildren because she understands they are important to him. She seems to have almost no awareness that they continue to play an important role in my life.

smilingthroughgrittedteeth Fri 03-May-13 21:56:47

My mum is nice to my dsc when she sees them and will buy them sweets etc but she doesn't buy them birthday or Christmas presents, it makes me feel a bit sad but the truth is she barely sees them so doesn't have a relationship with them and she doesn't really approve of my relationship with dp because he has dc.

My nan gives them pocket money when she sees them but doesn't buy them Christmas or birthday presents, I have no idea why.

Over the years and as they have developed their own relationships they have started to treat them more like family instead of dp's children iyswim, dp and I decided not to push the matter, I think my family find it hard because dsc live the other end of the country with their mum so only see them once or twice a year.

My lovely aunt treats them like family and
never leaves them out.

MsColour Fri 03-May-13 21:37:41

Just wondering how your families treat your stepchildren - do they treat them like members of the family?

Me and OH don't live together but are planning on it later in the year. I have two children and he has one. It happens that my ds and his ds have birthdays in the same week. My OH's dad has sent money for both of them saying that now we moving in together he considers my children to be his grandchildren. He also got them Easter eggs. I think this is great.

Only thing is, don't think it's even occurred to my parents to be doing the same for OH's son and feel a bit awkward about bringing the subject up.

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