Making presents fair when you have a merged family

(29 Posts)
MichelleDJ Thu 06-Aug-15 23:04:49

I have 2 step children, 2 daughters from a previous relationship and 2 young sons with my husband. At Christmas the older children get 2 sets from presents, one from us and one from their other parent, but the younger boys only get one set of presents from us. The older children also get presents from Grandparents of the other children too so get even more presents.

As they get older the younger ones are going to realise that they get less than the others and I'm not sure how to handle that.
If we spend more on the younger children, the older ones will get jealous (this is a major problem anyway), but I feel it is unfair that they get less because their parents are together. How do other people deal with this situation?

ArmfulOfRoses Thu 06-Aug-15 23:33:14

I have a dss, a dd, then a ds with dh.
The same is spent on them at Christmas and birthdays (roughly that is), as they are all our children.
It is up to dss where he keeps his stuff, in fact some of his presents are specifically for his mums house. We will get him an x box game for example, when we don't have that particular console in this house.

I think it is fair that the dc see us treating them equally in our house, regardless of what happens in their other homes.

yellowdaisies Fri 07-Aug-15 06:34:56

How much younger are your DSs? If there's a reasonable gap you may find they're not really aware of how much things cost or don't compare presents because they're getting different types of things.

But the best solution is probably to make sure that the extra presents your older DC/DSC get are opened and preferably kept in their other parents' households. There may be some things they genuinely need more of if they're spending time across two homes. If you do want to give any extras to your younger two, the time to do it is also when the older ones aren't with you if possible.

Also, if your DSs are young and its simply a number of presents under the tree issue, get them several small things and wrap them separately.

MichelleDJ Fri 07-Aug-15 07:28:02

At the moment we do spend the same on them all but it is in the future that I am worried. My older kids get £50 from their grandparents twice a year for example and also presents from my younger kids grandparents who aren't related to them, for example. It seems very unfair that the older ones will have more just because of the circumstances of their parents relationship.

Reginafalangie Fri 07-Aug-15 07:53:49

As they get older the younger ones are going to realise that they get less than the others and I'm not sure how to handle that.

How will they realise? Do the SDC open all their gifts at your house including those from their mum?

All you can do is be fair and spend the same amount on all the children, you cannot penalise them because their parents split up so now they get two sets of presents. I am sure the SDC feel it is very unfair that their new siblings get to see their dad everyday and be the family they once were and extra presents are not that great of a trade off.

If your children ask/complain when they are older then you just say it how it is, there is nothing to "handle".

Neverenuff Fri 07-Aug-15 07:54:18

Surely its your job as their mum to help your children understand the family dynamics.

I assume you mean the girls Mims family is giving them the extra presents and cash?

That way the kids will know why they get so many presents. It's not your fault or theirs that their mum's family give more presents.

Also no amount of gifts and money will make up for haviing seperated parents. At least you kids have their mum and dad together. Surely that's more important and you should be making sure your children understand this.

SoupDragon Fri 07-Aug-15 07:59:03

How do presents work? My children get presents from my family when they are with me. They get presents from their father's family when they are with him. They don't get twice as many presents in one place, they are entirely separate.

caravanista13 Fri 07-Aug-15 08:09:28

As others have said, your youngest DC get the benefit of having their parents together. I'm sure they'd prefer that to extra presents their step siblings get because of the separations. Really important for you and your DH to treat all of them the same.

Neverenuff Fri 07-Aug-15 08:11:46

My DSC get gifts from my family bit it is just a tocken gift. Whereas if and when I have my own child they will undoubtably get more than the dsc (from my family)my dsc never expect from my family so it's nice when they receive a gift from them. Like I say though it's usually only about £10 that gets spent on the dsc.

MichelleDJ Fri 07-Aug-15 08:33:20

The older children get presents of much higher value from their other parents. They tend to bring them here and show the others or talk about them. I can't stop them doing this (I have tried). I know that having their parents together is something more valuable but I don't think young children appreciate that. We feel it is so unfair that the older children get two Christmases and two birthdays and have more than twice as much money spent on them.

Reginafalangie Fri 07-Aug-15 08:41:29

So don't buy them any presents that'll solve it hmm

You are worrying about something that hasn't even happened yet and tbh I think this has nothing to do with your DC finding it unfair when they are older I think YOU feel it is unfair now. "Why should those kids get more than my own DC " suck it up OP you cannot expect these children to get less from their father just because you feel it is unfair and you cannot expect them not to talk about their gifts.

I suppose you will be telling your own DC not to mention family days out or holidays that the SDC don't go on with their father or the fun things you all do together when they are not there dos you know that would be unfair to them.

SoupDragon Fri 07-Aug-15 08:42:42

We feel it is so unfair that the older children get two Christmases and two birthdays and have more than twice as much money spent on them.

Well, you could split up so that your younger two also have two homes and two sets of presents and have to spend time travelling between the two. You seem to think more presents is better than a single family unit with both parents together. (No, I'm not really suggesting you split up)

Clearly your children haven't noticed so you are, currently, inventing a problem which doesn't exist. You simply explain the set up to the younger ones and how people get gifts from any different people.

Georgethesecond Fri 07-Aug-15 08:46:40

It's really hard to see the younger kids who live with both their parents in one place all the time as the disadvantaged ones here.

TeaMakesItAllPossible Fri 07-Aug-15 08:51:57

We have this situation. We spend the same for Christmas and Birthday. As we have four boys we have even designated certain years for presents so there isn't the 'that's not fair I didn't get a DS when I was 6' type comment. Our oldest children get four sets of grandparent presents. Youngest two. We make it fair by not drawing attention to it as parents and by making it fair when they are in our home. In my case I have gone as far as balancing up childhood bonds I have made for my DS at birth for my DSSs because I want to save for DS4.

The only thing that isn't fair is our will. We have split according to the money we both bought into the marriage and our birth children, and the number of parents each child has. This is because if we died whilst they're children, DS who is product of second marriage would not have a parent to look after him and would, we feel, need more financial support until he is settled as an adult. There is a letter explaining this.

The benefit of having all children feeling like they are equally loved by everyone in our family outweighs the 'fairness' of the presents, holidays or whatever. You need to let how you feel go about this.

If there is a massive disparity when they're older, and they start to care, you can buy them stuff not as presents but because they need them. Or buy things for the house like consoles which youngest use but aren't theirs specifically.

JeSuisMoi Fri 07-Aug-15 10:40:31

Feeling loved and secure is IMO so much more important to a child in the grand scheme of things. Yes they may seem a little bit put out that their older siblings "get more" than them, but this will only be temporary. They will move on. They will even sometimes "get things" that their older siblings won't (eg when they are with their other parent or even from their own grandparents).
I would say that a child whose parents are together is in a much better position as they get to see their parents every day in most cases. I can imagine a lot of children looking at their younger half siblings and wishing they could have what they have. Double the presents and double the holidays is of course "a perk" for them if their parents have split, but going by my own experience I would still rather have had my parents together.

lunar1 Fri 07-Aug-15 10:49:12

I second separating from your husband, then it will be equal. It's fucking fantastic having to go between two homes carting your belongings with you, watching your younger siblings not have any of the same hassle. Divorce is well worth it for the extra toys.

MichelleDJ Fri 07-Aug-15 10:49:17

Thanks Teamakesitallpossible for your really useful reply. We already have jealousy among our older ones as when my girls get something from their dad, my stepkids think their dad should do the same for them, because it is a present from a 'dad', so although I am hoping this won't happen with the younger ones, it is difficult to believe that it won't. I have already bought premium bonds for my one daughter as the eldest got them from her grandparents and the same grandparents didn't do it for their other granddaughter as I think fairness is really important (I think it is due to me being an identical twin).

ToTheGups Fri 07-Aug-15 10:56:43

We had this with my ex, he had a child, I had two and we had one together. So spent the same on each child, reasoning being they are all our children and we love them all the same. We have no control over what they receive outside of out home but we could make sure they all felt equal in it.

However you do it though, someone will think it is wrong and dispute it.

Reginafalangie Fri 07-Aug-15 10:57:25

Hang on so your older DDs get two sets of presents also, from their dad and you and your DP? Yet you are only bothered by the extra presents your SDC get and the affect that will have on the younger DC!

Double standards much OP. You don't think it is fair that your step children get 2 sets of gifts yet with your own daughters who I assume get gifts from their father and his family it doesn't seem to insight the same unfairness. confused

Reginafalangie Fri 07-Aug-15 10:59:33

Oh hang on just re-read it when you are saying it is unfair are you meaning all four of the older children including your DDs?

CerealEater Fri 07-Aug-15 11:04:40

You should spend the same on them all, it's only fair.

The younger ones already benefit far more as they get to see both of their parents all the time where as the others don't. A few extra presents doesn't make up for them having their parents split.

SoupDragon Fri 07-Aug-15 11:20:19

The only thing you need to do is to make sure that you treat them all fairly.

What other people do is out of your control and you can't make up for other gifts or "penalise" a child (in their eyes) because they've got gifts from other people.

hoobygalooby Fri 07-Aug-15 11:33:43

Surely the younger DC get taken out and about with you when the dsc are at their other parents as that evens it up.
I wouldn't worry about it until they do really- you might find the younger kids aren't bothered!

JeSuisMoi Fri 07-Aug-15 11:56:17

Surely the younger DC get taken out and about with you when the dsc are at their other parents as that evens it up.

Exactly. It's not a competition, but the point is the younger children will inevitably end up doing things when their older siblings are at their other home. So it sort of "evens it up".
And I also made the point about grandparents too. Last year my dad bought my DS a bike because he wanted to buy his grandson one. Now he didn't buy one for my DSD as well because she has her own grandparents who could do the same for her. And when it comes to Christmas and birthdays, he will buy all of the children presents, but always buys my children a few extra to open on a day that dsd isn't with us. If dsd is with us when he is taking the children out, she will be more than welcome to go with them. If she isn't then they go without her and she goes with them the next time she is here and he's taking them out.

Point is, on both sides there will always be situations when each child "gets more" or "gets less". But in end, with all all their extended families and with both children being in different family set ups, it will all equal out the same (usually anyway. One child's extended family might be wadded whereas the others might not be, but in my example nobody is wadded!)

LoloKazolo Fri 07-Aug-15 13:43:34

My older brothers have their own grandparents etc and probably got more Christmas presents then me and my sister. But so what? We had plenty. (Probably too many, frankly.) We are all very close and happy as adults so it doesn't seem to have done us harm.

Life isn't fair. You should be fair to your kids, of course, but you can't make the world fair for them and it's probably better to teach them to cope with it instead.

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