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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.

DeskPlanner Tue 14-May-13 18:08:11

You sound lovely and thoughtful and your niece sounds very sensible. I like the sound of your sister too. grin

CSIJanner Tue 14-May-13 17:01:05

Morgause - I really like your niece. She sounds like a star

dufflefluffle Tue 14-May-13 16:56:50

Your nieces children are your relatives - not your neices stepson. I don't think adoption is the same as step children CSI. But that stepson has his own set of relatives. I have a sd and would not expect my relatives to buy for her (well when she was younger - she's an adult now).

pigletmania Tue 14-May-13 16:50:48

That's great op, good outcome smile

think I would send a card saying 'welcome to the family' or similar and see how things pan out. If you establish a relationship progress to a gift but if not keep it to sending a card to show he is included, perhaps a letter with a bit of 'getting to know you' stuff in it or a photo?

IrritatingInfinity Tue 14-May-13 16:14:54

That sounds like a good result. I am glad everyone is happy.

expatinscotland Tue 14-May-13 14:43:39

I would delete his comment. And not buy the Lego set.

SingingSilver Tue 14-May-13 14:37:03

Right decision! You don't need to say anything in your defence OP, you sound like a lovely and thoughtful great-aunt.

I don't understand why anyone would be concerned that a child who doesn't even know who you are, having only met you once three years before, would be upset to not get a present from you!

If there is ever a decision made that everyone on both sides of the family buys for all the dc, fair enough. But you are very generous to provide as much as you do!

Morgause Tue 14-May-13 13:10:08

Thanks for all the replies. Have spoken to sis this morning.

She spotted what he'd posted and told my niece who made him delete and gave him a right telling off. He says it was "just a joke" and has also messaged me earlier to say sorry for his lapse in manners.

Niece doesn't want me to buy her DSS anything ever for birthday or Christmas, and her OH now agrees.

Her parents buy for all the children and she feels that that's enough, given that all DDS's family buy for him and not her 2. Her 2 like that they a have a great Aunt and Uncle who always remember them and know they are as special to us as DSS is to his family.

She has promised to let me know if the situation ever changes.

I say, in my defence, if we were ever going to see the family and DSS was going to be there we wouldn't dream of taking anything over for the other DCs and nothing for him.

needaholidaynow Tue 14-May-13 11:01:01


I really do agree with you. DSD doesn't do all that bad with presents and treats, she has all of her family on mum's side, then on DP's side, then she gets loads if presents from family on my dad's side too. So she has a lot of people who love her and think very highly of her. My mum's side of the family are the only people who give DS1 and DS2 a bit of special attention and to be honest it's kind of refreshing to see someone think very highly of just them. DSD has a whole other family on her mum's side who think the same way about her, so sometimes it's nice for my DSs to not have to share that attention with DSD.

QuintessentialOHara Tue 14-May-13 10:48:19

Yes, if you feel you must send a gift, send this book

VenusRising Tue 14-May-13 10:42:33

Not so nice a chap then.

Buy his son a book on manners, or a set of stationery stamps, of "thank you", so he can make cards.

Or just tell him that your budget doesn't extend that far, and that Santa visits at Christmas.

MerylStrop Tue 14-May-13 10:37:09

I would send a token gift.

To be nice.

It's not the kid's fault his father is so rude.

exoticfruits Tue 14-May-13 10:33:30

What anyone else does is irrelevant. I am very pleased that all our extended family treat all my DSs as equal and don't have a narrow minded 'they don't really count because they are not blood relatives.'

QuintessentialOHara Tue 14-May-13 10:25:45

I cannot believe that so many of you condone a Cinderella like situation where the step child in the family matters most of all, out of "political correctness".

Why should not the two oldest children born to the niece receive some special attention from an aunt? The other two children get both their mum and dad and presents from dads relatives. The two eldest dont? So what is so wrong with these two children having ONE aunt who especially remembers them, and give them presents? How is this unfair on that one other boy who gets plenty of presents from lots of other aunts and uncles?

If anything, the op will teach the children that DSS matters more if she now start sending gifts to him! Then it will be a situation where everybody bestows gifts on that one particular child, and the two eldest dont have anybody special who sends them presents.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?


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.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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.

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.

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'.

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