WWYD: Christmas Gift

(56 Posts)
tony61 Tue 03-Dec-13 12:30:51

Would appreciate your advice or ideas on the following…

… it’s a wwyd about giving child a gift for Christmas…

Background:
Husband and I had our second child earlier this year, after announcing birth etc to family and friends oldest (step) child (22) went "ape", saying dreadful things to their dad, very hurtful things eg feckless father, you have too many children already, shouldn’t be allowed more, you’ve abandoned your older children, only care about your new family, have never helped me or mum, Mums the best she’s done everything and been to everything (you get the general idea)!

So on the evening of our youngest child’s birth my husband was up at the hospital (with me) in tears.

Apparently this started off in the afternoon as a series of texts, and then husband called sc and tried to talk but was told all of the above, he said at the time he didn’t interrupt just listened and tried to discuss but no joy. Told child he loved them and was there for them. Attempted to call the following day but it was the same. There has been no reconciliation since, and my husband is reluctant to call as he doesn’t want to be abused again, he has said if his oldest child calls he will chat as if nothing ever happened (but that hasn’t happened yet). I do understand these feelings and thoughts are coming from somewhere, but I don’t pretend to know where.

Husband has always supported his child and their mum, has always been at the end of a telephone [and the week before they were chatting about changing jobs, new home etc (so on this occasion this all came out of the blue)]. Has attempted to get to; every event/occasion possible but we live 2 hours’ drive away so it hasn’t always been possible, but he certainly isn’t feckless or anything else that was said.

We had a similar falling out (several years ago) just before the birth of our first child and it took a year for father and child to be reconciled. SC had no interest in their new sibling on that occasion and hasn’t shown any towards their new sibling on this (but that’s something else).

So with Christmas a couple of weeks away husband and I are working out what presents we’re getting for family etc, but we really don’t know what to do for oldest sc. My heart says to send a gift but my head says, you can’t hate someone else and their family (me and the kids) but still say Ill happily expect/ take your gift!!

But I think if we don’t send a gift they would take it very personally, but I feel are there not consequences for saying hateful things to people. I appreciate that things were said in the heat of the moment and I’m sure some will say my husband should call, but I think he feels it’s happened twice now and actually on the birth of our second child what was supposed to be a joyful occasion ended in tears.

So if anyone has gone through this, please any ideas would be useful, I was thinking of a token gift (possibly from their siblings but not sure). Just wondering whether to go with head or heart...

Head is a small token gift
Heart is a sum of money

Mumallthetime Fri 06-Dec-13 17:16:27

I have so say I'm struggling with forgiving their behaviour for a second time.

And that's totally understandable. There is no reason why you HAVE to rebuild a relationship with her at all. Forgiving someone sometimes means no longer having them as a part of your life - you have been very badly hurt by your DSD, twice, and it's not unreasonable to protect yourself from being hurt again.

You might also need to consider the damage your DSD behaviour will have on your DCs in the future - if she is willing to cut off her father when she feels pushed out then there may be other situations in the future that lead to a similar reaction - when your DCs are old enough to be hurt as well.

littlejosh Fri 06-Dec-13 17:20:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

paperlantern Fri 06-Dec-13 18:52:34

*"I'm struggling with forgiving their behaviour for a second time. My husband will."
"when your DCs are old enough to be hurt as well."*

Your DH already has a child who is hurting hence the reaction.

You might not realise it but its comments like this that make step children feel second best and in their eyes, you the wicked witch. You will encourage your DP/H will be there for your children together whatever. "His" children only in so much as it doesn't, in Your opinion hurt yours (and that's in your opinion of hurt).

is it any wonder she feels second best?

FWIW she might have any number of feelings about your children, I sincerely doubt any of them are hate. but they may be difficult and as confused as yours are for her.

a small token gift ...I think its the right thing to do

I think this is an awful idea. a small token gift because you have to? Don't be surprised if all you get in return is small token visits because she feel she has to or nothing because she is an adult and has worked out she doesn't happened.

It will be your DH who suffers most from that.

Petal02 Fri 06-Dec-13 19:02:08

Paperlantern, we're talking about a step adult, not a step child. If she were 8 years old, your advice would be valid.

Mumallthetime Fri 06-Dec-13 19:05:27

You will encourage your DP/H will be there for your children together whatever. "His" children only in so much as it doesn't, in Your opinion hurt yours (and that's in your opinion of hurt).

WTF?!?

paperlantern Fri 06-Dec-13 19:11:56

You never stop being a parent.

It actually becomes even more true when you are an adult. There's no court order to force contact, a relationship has to be good for it to happen. Both sides need to work to see the other's perspective, even if they don't agree.

All that has happened is is that Stepchild has got upset and expressed an opinion that the parent didn't like or agree with. There is no attempt to aknowledge those feelings exist. They are simply unacceptable.

The OP states there is no attempt to apologise last time this happened. Did anyone try and talk it out? I'm sure someone once said the definition of insanity is doing exactly the same thing a second time and expecting a different result

As an adult I wouldn't bother with someone who had no respect for my feelings, a sentiment that I think the OP expressed but never realised might be applying to her DSD as well.

Petal02 Fri 06-Dec-13 19:16:20

Paperlantern - are you serious?

paperlantern Fri 06-Dec-13 19:25:35

Mumal - sorry that was badly worded.

You might also need to consider the damage your DSD behaviour will have on your DCs in the future - if she is willing to cut off her father when she feels pushed out then there may be other situations in the future that lead to a similar reaction - when your DCs are old enough to be hurt as well.

What I meant is you will encourage your DP/H will be there for your joint children whatever.

But you will only encourage a Partner to be there for your step child as long as you don't feel it is not to the detriment of your own children.

Essentially you will deal with her feeling pushed out by pushing her out first. confused

Mumallthetime Fri 06-Dec-13 19:27:19

All that has happened is is that Stepchild has got upset and expressed an opinion that the parent didn't like or agree with. There is no attempt to aknowledge those feelings exist. They are simply unacceptable.

Her behaviour was certainly unacceptable - feelings are not right or wrong, they just are, but as an adult, it is her responsibility to moderate and curb her behaviour in reaction to those feelings.

It's possible that OPs DH is reaping what he sowed if he was a Disney Dad - his DD was abusive to him to the point of reducing him to tears and the parenting that the DC received as a child received plays a big role in that - but, a DC has two parents who contribute to creating the adult their DC becomes.

Mumallthetime Fri 06-Dec-13 19:32:32

you will only encourage a Partner to be there for your step child as long as you don't feel it is not to the detriment of your own children.

You're having a laugh, aren't you?

What kind of parent supports their adult child to hurt any child - particularly another child of their own?

A decent father to the OPs DCs will put boundaries in place with his adult daughter to prevent her hurting his younger children - you know, the ones who are dependent on him for protection?

Cluelessat30 Fri 06-Dec-13 19:34:53

Can't you buy a gift, tell SC that it's under your tree and wait for her to come get it? Or is that a terrible idea as you're 2 hours away? Usually people with a new baby wouldn't be expected to travel so much anyway, so it's not totally unreasonable I think!

paperlantern Fri 06-Dec-13 19:35:40

and what if it was the final outburst of years of hurt? Hurt can be unintentionally done but be there all the same.

We won't know as there has been no attempt to talk it out.

There won't be the opportunity to with talk of token gifts, which to me is quite deliberate and thought out hurt.

paperlantern Fri 06-Dec-13 19:37:59

Clueless - that's what I suggested at the start, a well thought out present didn't matter whether it was big or small but the kind of present that says you still matter to us.

not a token present because you have to

Mumallthetime Fri 06-Dec-13 19:41:49

"Final outburst of hurt?"

It's the second time it's happened. It's not the responsibility of an adult child's parent to seek the therapy they believe the DC needs.

After the first outburst and rejection if her Dad, an adult who truly wants to make amends will self reflect and seek to address the issues.
An adult who is selfishly expecting everything their own way and doesn't care what pain they cause their parent will continue to lash out in anger.

paperlantern Fri 06-Dec-13 19:43:19

Mumal-Oh I quite agree. only my definition of hurt doesn't include someone getting upset because they feel left out.

paperlantern Fri 06-Dec-13 19:46:30

sorry not left out wrong word second best

Mumallthetime Fri 06-Dec-13 19:46:55

What?!? You've lost me.

mameulah Fri 06-Dec-13 19:56:22

Could you send a present to her Mum for their Christmas meal, so everyone gets something. A hamper, or wine or something? Definitely send something.

Mumallthetime Fri 06-Dec-13 20:01:01

mame surely that just reinforces the DSCs dependent behaviour?
She doesn't live with her mother - why would her dad send her mum a gift for her?!?

Petal02 Fri 06-Dec-13 20:22:19

There are some very bizarre posts this evening, I think someone's started the sherry a little too early ....

Mumallthetime Fri 06-Dec-13 20:25:04

petal I certainly have !! wine

noseymcposey Fri 06-Dec-13 20:45:24

I cannot believe some of the advice on here! Your DSD is upset/hurt and behaving badly because she feels replaced/excluded and your response is to err, exclude her further. I don't think her age is that relevant here, she is in her 20's isn't she? Not 40's or 50's! Children in their 20's still need their parents.

I honestly think if the approach you encourage your DP to take is to distance yourselves in response to her behaviour you will make the situation much worse.

Are there other step-children?

Mumallthetime Fri 06-Dec-13 22:04:36

I don't think her age is that relevant here, she is in her 20's isn't she? Not 40's or 50's! Children in their 20's still need their parents.

Well, that answers my question on another thread - stepmums should tolerate, excuse and make allowances for their DSC appalling behaviour well into adulthood, even once they are living independent lives of their own and possibly until the DSC are old enough to be parents and grandparents.

Never mind the damage they do to other, younger DCs - be they step siblings, half siblings or even their own DCs.

No matter what their age, their feelings in response to their parents choices justify behaviour that would be considered unacceptable, if not arrestable, if it were directed at anyone else.

Petal02 Fri 06-Dec-13 22:11:54

Well said mumallthetime

paperlantern Fri 06-Dec-13 22:59:41

I'm sorry but I really struggle to see this as appalling behaviourconfused

I've had some barneys with my mum, my daughter has had some barneys with me.

you get over it because you want to have fun together more than argue.

This to me just isn't to the stage you cut contact with a child.

That's all that's happened. not going to stop me buying my mum a Christmas present.

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