Birthday dilemma - Step kids only bother with half brother and not step brother

(26 Posts)
Bananasinpyjamas1 Thu 22-Sep-16 12:34:10

I have a bit of a dilemma. My DSCs are now mostly young adults and not living with me and DP. However they did live with us for about 6 years, including my now teenage son, their step brother.

I had a DS with my DP who is their half brother (and who will be 3) and it is his birthday next month. They don't really have a relationship, DS doesn't know them very well, but they would want to feel part of his birthday.

This year however all my DSCs didn't do anything for my other DSs birthday (which was last month). Not a card, a text, anything. He was pretty upset. Admittedly I didn't do the big 'reminder', and DS didn't have a big 'party' as he's a bit teenage now, but still. I used to practically do everything for DSCs, buy the cards etc, but phased this out as they are young adults now, however they did hear about it afterwards and still made no apologies or well wishes. We always remember their birthdays.

Of course I will invite everyone for half brothers DS birthday, but it feels bit rubbish for elder DS for his little brother to be made a fuss of and him virtually ignored. I don't want every year from now on to be only the DSCs recognising their half brother but not their step brother. I even thought about whether I could make it a joint celebration, but that just feels a bit strange. What to do?

TTAoD Thu 22-Sep-16 12:48:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TTAoD Thu 22-Sep-16 12:54:39

Apologies op i bum dialed and have reported my post while dealing with the baby i dont have any advice but im sure someone will be along soon you are doing a great job and have someflowers

swingofthings Thu 22-Sep-16 13:03:46

I feel for your DS, not very nice really. How many DSC? Do they live together? Is it a case of them being self-absorbed/busy young men who forget birthdays unless drummed in their mind (maybe their parents at least?) or do you think there is some sort of resentment towards your DS and they made a point of not wishing him a happy birthday? Or maybe your DS didn't remember their birthday either and they consider he is old enough to do so?

Bananasinpyjamas1 Thu 22-Sep-16 13:16:03

I have four DSDs, one lives with her BF, the others live with their mum now. Half of them used to live with us until recently.

Yes there is a certain amount of just being absorbed in their own lives, as is fairly normal. However they have just stopped caring about their step brother since they've spent less time here. This isn't true with their half brother, which they at least ask about.

As an example, they would be very put out if they weren't invited for their half brothers birthday, but didn't care that they'd missed their step brothers. They don't dislike him, but they are growing up to be quite callous and distant with him. They see him every day still as they all get a lift from my DP to college or school.

It's quite sad as my DS tried so hard with them and called them his sisters, was warm and affectionate with them for many years.

swingofthings Thu 22-Sep-16 13:29:51

I expect it is nothing to do with blood vs non blood brother but the fact that young adults are more comfortable with little kids than teenagers. My kids do remember their step-sister's birthday and will at least wish them a happy birthday, although I do suspect my DS relies on his older sister, but they certainly make a much bigger fuss over their half sister because she is little and gets more excited.

Still doesn't excuse having forgotten, but didn't your DP say anything if he sees them every day? Was there no mention of the birthday coming up? Just realised that it was probably during the school holidays, so not when they were picked up. Still I think your DP should have said something to them about it.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Thu 22-Sep-16 16:13:21

Yes there is the age difference, and that may well be a factor. Except they also call my youngest DS 'their brother' but not their step brother, even though they've spent years together.

I'm just conscious that I don't want this to be set in stone. I don't want every birthday of youngest DS to have everyone making a fuss but oldest DS ignored. I'm struggling to think of how though!

Bananasinpyjamas1 Thu 22-Sep-16 16:14:45

P.s. Me and oldest DS always make a fuss of their birthdays, even regularly having the party at our house, organised by me for youngest DSD who is 16.

2014newme Thu 22-Sep-16 16:19:23

So basically the stepbrothers don't do anything to wish your dcs happy birthday. I have to say I think it's normal for young adults. My siblings in their 20s never bother with birthday greetings, cards or gifts and they aren't interested in receiving these things in return.
I wouldn't bother inviting them to a three year olds party, they may cone out of duty but seriously they won't mind about not going!

needsahalo Thu 22-Sep-16 20:00:05

If it bothers you and your DH, why not mention it to them beforehand? I don't know of many teenage boys who would remember this kind of thing. You are quick to be upset but from the outside in, looks to me that the refusal to remind is simply a setting up to fail.

Somerville Thu 22-Sep-16 20:10:36

I'd send each DSD a card and small gift from your DS this year. Teach them, by modelling it, how to show thoughtfulness on a step siblings birthday.
And then at a convenient time near to his next birthday get your DH to invite them all for a family birthday tea. If they say the can't make it, he can ask them, politely and kindly, whether they would mind sending him a card as he loves them and would like to hear from them on his birthday.
Worst case scenario then your DH can buy a card and get them to sign it, or sign their names.

thepurplehen Thu 22-Sep-16 20:28:02

Your dh should be reminding them. He shouldn't have to, but as they aren't "remembering" themselves, then they need to be prompted.

What's the relationship with their mother? Any chance she could have encouraged this dismissal of "non relatives"?

My DSC have been very clingy to my ds over the years but having grown up, now don't really seem to want to know him.

I also know they have been encouraged to concentrate on their "real" family by their mother.

HormonalHeap Thu 22-Sep-16 22:00:09

This would really annoy me. I also think your dp should be reminding them in no uncertain terms that you and your elder ds make an effort to remember their birthdays, so they should do the same. I'm not sure your ds remembering their birthdays will have the desired effect.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Thu 22-Sep-16 22:48:51

Thanks everyone.

I did start in the last year getting cards from 'both of their brothers' to them on their birthdays. I will have a word with DP, he can be ultra defensive about his daughters so I often say nothing, but it's worth a try.

I may even leave inviting the DSDs to their DP, and not make a big deal out of it. Possibly just make birthdays about other than me making a big gesture to invite and include everyone at big family gatherings in our house, as it is increasingly just feeling a bit uneven and awkward. In the past I've done it all and bought the cards 'from' all the kids to each other!

Bananasinpyjamas1 Thu 22-Sep-16 22:51:11

P.s. Oldest step daughter is 25!

WhatTheActualFugg Thu 22-Sep-16 22:56:18

Some people are just self-absorbed arseholes. My DB doesn't remember any of our bdays unless he's been invited to something bday related!! He's nearly 40. hmm

Bananasinpyjamas1 Thu 22-Sep-16 22:59:51

They do remember each other's birthdays though. Some more than others - there are definitely 'favourites' who are more popular amongst the siblings. They can be a bit crap about their Dads birthday too, last year was the first year I didn't remind them and none of them remembered. But when they realised at least most of them did do something, unlike with their brother.

PippaFawcett Thu 22-Sep-16 22:59:54

This must be hard, however you can't force a relationship between them. I would try to minimise it to your oldest DS but he will inevitably draw his own conclusions and you will all have to adjust to that dynamic.

I stopped reminded, inviting and prompting my own adult DSDs years ago and I leave it to DH now.

I will sometimes remind him about key things, like the fact we hadn't got anything for his DD for her birthday and it was fast approaching, he wasn't bothered so he gave her a cheque which she was happy with.

For years I would buy thoughtful and expensive gifts for them on his/our behalf but I feel much better for giving up.

And with my DSDs they get invited to things and sometimes they come, sometimes they don't. Sometimes they remember their half siblings birthdays, sometimes they don't. I think some of it is the nature of being in their twenties and wrapped up in their own lives.

PippaFawcett Thu 22-Sep-16 23:01:11

Banana, I don't remind them anymore about DH's birthday/Father's Day etc - I decided that I wasn't doing anyone any favours taking on the 'wife work' in this area.

DH was very bad at reminding them to get me a card so sometimes it ended up with me being the only one who was forgotten, fuck that!

Bananasinpyjamas1 Fri 23-Sep-16 00:23:23

Yes Pippa - you are probably right. I think that I am struggling with letting go of the 'last remnants' of any good feeling or connections between DPs first family and our 'step family'.

Last year I continued to make the effort to invite for birthdays, to remind, I had them all for Christmas, I took them on holiday. Yet this year, as I step back, there just seems to be a complete black hole. It's really marked when I see how cynical older DS is, he just feels a bit crap about being forgotten and completely left out now of 'the family'.

I don't want a future where they only acknowledge that younger DS is part of their family but not older DS. They got on for years living together. Perhaps I should just back out completely but say to DS if he makes a big deal of reminding them he has to also do that for older DS too.

PippaFawcett Fri 23-Sep-16 07:29:20

Banana, I think you have to step back it is the only way to stay sane! My DSDs sometimes remember one half siblings birthday and not the others! And the same for their GParents too, it sucks but I try to shrug it off because we have lots of other lovely people in their lives and it is healthiest to accept that you can't make adults be considerate.

Starryeyed16 Fri 23-Sep-16 07:32:26

It's difficult sometimes people get so wrapped up in their own lives they forget about the ones who have been right there. My DH younger DSis who's 21 does not bother with her niece or nephew. She hasn't made no effort to even go round to see her baby nephew since he's been born, he's five months now! She never get so much as a card for any birthdays or any acknowledgement, I now make no effort back inregards to her birthday or Christmas and if DH wants to do it then that's up to him. I would just leave it to your DH to deal with them and don't go out of your way when it's not returned.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Fri 23-Sep-16 20:42:57

Yes. I do struggle with the stepping back. I've seen how quickly any gains in relationships with step kids/siblings can just vanish. It has now got to the point of no return for my DS I think - their relationship has just gone.

I was going to invite/remind all the DSCs about their half brothers birthday, but now I'll also just step back. DP can do whatever he feels is right.

PippaFawcett Sat 24-Sep-16 08:35:38

It is sad and I totally agree about the 'gains' with DSCs. It can all disappear so quickly. But, I feel in a much better place since I detached and I hope you do too.

franincisco Sat 24-Sep-16 09:02:16

Whilst it may seem very sad you cannot force relationships. Even though they lived together for years it doesn't mean that they consider each other as siblings. I have 3 step siblings and I am only close to 1. My own sibling I actually see less of; he has never acknowledged my birthday nor any of my childrens. That's life really!

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