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AIBU to feel upset that my kids are ignored by my husband's family?

(30 Posts)
AnnamJ Sat 10-Jun-17 00:36:42

My husband has 2 kids in their twenties. A daughter (will call her N to make things easier) 22, and a son 26 (will call him T). T and his fiancé have a 3 year old and a 5 year old together.

N, T and T's fiancé are all very close. They don't live together but might as well do as they spend each day at each other's houses. Me and my husband are a few miles away. My kids are similar ages to T's kids, 4 and 2. We feel repeatedly cut off by them. My husband suspects N and T resent my kids because they grow up in a stable environment, whereas my husband divorced their mum (who cheated on my husband). I could understand that but even after the divorce, my husband was always heavily involved in their lives even after he met me.

The issue is that I feel my kids receive no affection from their older half sister. T doesn't bother with them either but I understand that as he has his own kids to think about. For example, I invited them all to a soft play centre for my daughters 2nd birthday, and none of them turned up on the day. I eventually managed to contact them (they were all going together as they live so close to each other) and they said T's 5 year old saw a Nando's on the way there and wanted to go there instead, so they did.

N completely spoils T's children. I understand they are her nephew and niece, but my 2 little girls receive nothing from her or T. No birthday presents or even a card. But T's children are given absolutely everything. N spends over 200 in presents for each of them on their birthday. They're off to Applejack's tomorrow, as always me, my husband and kids aren't invited. I don't expect them to invite my kids to everything for free, nothing of the sort, but I wish they'd at least ask us to accompany them along to things occasionally for the children's sake as they are similar ages. Of course T and his fiancé have no problem wanting us to babysit when they go out.

Me and my husband's parents are both dead, and neither of us have any siblings so it's not like my kids have any other family to bother with them. Whereas T's kids have me and my husband, N, and their mum's side of the family.

DJBaggySmalls Sat 10-Jun-17 00:38:16

Thats shocking - does your DH challenge them?

AnnamJ Sat 10-Jun-17 00:45:42

DJBaggySmalls The day after they didn't bother turning up to the soft play centre, he did ask them to give half of the money we paid for their tickets back. T and his fiancé did but N refused. My husband didn't push it anymore as he didn't want to fall out with them.

It just feels like my kids are missing out. We always get T's kids something because they are my husband's grandchildren, despite never being invited to the extravagant parties they hold for them. If they do resent us for whatever reason I wish they'd tell us why.

rolopolovolo Sat 10-Jun-17 00:47:22

Look, I'm not sure they have to have a relationship with you if they don't want to. I would just accept this is the level of relationship they want with you and that you're not close.

rolopolovolo Sat 10-Jun-17 00:48:24

Stop giving them gifts and leave the relationship in their court. I feel like they aren't interested and that's their right. But they don't have any right to gifts or you bending over backwards for them.

user1468352691 Sat 10-Jun-17 00:55:50

This is a tricky one as I don't think you should continue to waste your time on them if they don't give anything back, but then again I'd want my kids to be close to the only kids their age in the extended family.

I'd make it clear them that you are done being treated like dirt (them not turning up to your daughter's birthday part just because they found something else to do is appalling) and stop bothering with them until they reach out to you. No more presents for the kids, and no more free babysitting. It's up to them if they want to rebuild bridges.

emesis Sat 10-Jun-17 01:08:55

Look, I'm not sure they have to have a relationship with you if they don't want to. I would just accept this is the level of relationship they want with you and that you're not close.

This.

I would let go of any rosy expectations, this is the reality of blended families. Sometimes you just can't force it. I say this as a child of a blended family, nothing would have made me feel tender affection towards this other family thrust upon me. You can try but sometimes it just never happens.

Having said that, their behaviour about the party was beyond rude and that in itself is enough evidence that they don't respect your family and aren't worth bothering with.

Picklepickle123 Sat 10-Jun-17 01:13:42

Maybe your husband needs to have a frank and honest conversation with them both. I can appreciate there may be some bitterness against you and your DC due to the reasons mentioned so probably best for you to avoid this particular conversation.

I would be asking my DH to understand why his kids don't like spending time with their half siblings, and to have the common courtesy to RSVP appropriately to social invitations. If I'm honest, I don't think it was a wise move to ask for reimbursement of costs from soft play, because that makes the issue focus on finances, rather than social etiquette - which for me is the bigger problem.

I'd also ask DH to revisit the babysitting situation with T. This should probably be a discussion between the two of you after he's spoken to his older children. If they offer to make more effort, then I see no reason to change what you currently do for them. If they are resistant to spending more time with you, then perhaps you need to be more firm with your time. DH will need to lead this decision because it may detrimentally affect his relationship with his GC.

I'd like to think that his older children have perhaps formed their own 'family unit' because of the disruption experienced in their childhood. They perhaps don't see the stability their DFand yourself can offer in their lives, and perhaps see you as a threat/awkward. My advice would be to keep the conversation honest rather than accusatory and focus on the benefits of having a closer family relationship.

AnnamJ Sat 10-Jun-17 02:26:04

@Picklepickle123 My husband has tried several times to discuss things with them but they get very defensive so he backs away. We enjoy babysitting the kids when asked as they play with our 2 and my kids love having them over, however T has outright told us he'd rather his mum babysat because she's "nearer", but she has a chronic illness so is unable to. Unfortunately I get the impression they only ask us to babysit because we're the only option as they can't afford to hire a babysitter.

I think you're spot on about the 3 of them forming a family unit. I understand why they wouldn't want us (or at least me and my kids) involved. If they don't want to bother with us (I've realised that they clearly don't) then I wish they would be upfront with us.

I suppose I'm upset on my children's behalf. I don't want them to grow up feeling rejected by their siblings. My husband wants to keep planning to meet up with them, me and my husband are going to Scotland for a week in the Summer and he's asked them to drive up and meet us there and stay with us for 1 night. They haven't replied to his message of course. I'm tired of making the effort with them but he still wants to be close to them so I feel it isn't my place to interfere. My husband is upset that they are ignoring him but is persistent in trying to stay in contact.

Chloe84 Sat 10-Jun-17 03:33:14

They sound extremely childish.

I can understand that they may resent your kids having the stable environment they didn't have, but not turning up to a party and not inviting you to T's kids' party is rude. The Nando's excuse is nasty.

I think I would also stop giving presents and stop invites, and be less open to babysitting. It may make them realise they are unfair.

FrancisCrawford Sat 10-Jun-17 07:19:38

Let your DH continue to make plans, just don't expect them to turn up.

Hard as it may sound, what you have here is a group of three very self centred adults, who don't care about your family. None of them sound as if they have an ounce of empathy or compassion.

You can continue on buying presents, babysitting etc and accept this is a one-way street, or you can devolve the responsibility for present buying to your DH and only chose to accept those requests for babysitting that suit your family. Stop making the effort because it is going to be rebuffed.

Westray Sat 10-Jun-17 07:28:38

What else may be going on here?

A 26 year old with a 3 year old half sibling is quite unusual- is there a big age gap between you and your OH?

Did you get on with your OHs kids before you started a family of your own?

rizlett Sat 10-Jun-17 07:36:10

Francis has it spot on.

This happens in unblended families too.

What are your children missing out on anyway - if their half siblings are so disinterested?

Maybe they feel they would be disloyal to their mother, who knows?
Maybe they just aren't very emotionally mature.

It's just the way it is. Let your feelings about 'how it should be' go and accept how it is. Put all the effort you normally put into this into something where you will appreciate the benefit.

Captainj1 Sat 10-Jun-17 07:47:08

I'm in a similar situation with my dad; he spends all of his time with his wife's children and grandchildren. They are at his house every day, they babysit daily for at least one of he grandchildren, usually there are at least two of them there overnight. There are pictures of the 6 grandchildren from his wife's side literally ALL over their house and not a single one of my two or my siblings children. Whereas I saw my dad twice in the whole of last year and he has just completely missed my DDs 2nd birthday. He is retired and lives 30 miles from me (and less than 10 miles from my siblings...). I've given up wasting any energy on it.

He has a doormat that says 'grandchildren spoilt here' 😞My son read it and asked me what it meant, and why there aren't any pictures of him and his sister on the wall. That was the day I decided, despite it being my old family home, I'm never taking my kids there again. At least I won't have to remind him who my dad actually is before we visit.

I'm not particularly sad for the kids as my DHs parents are fabulous. I'm a bit sad for me but as I say, not wasting energy.

pilates Sat 10-Jun-17 07:47:23

Op, was there friction when you and their dad got together?

It seems to be a bit of a one sided relationship and your children may not notice it now, but they will start to soon. I'm not sure I would be prepared to put my children through that rejection.

Mysterycat23 Sat 10-Jun-17 07:49:11

I suppose I'm upset on my children's behalf. I don't want them to grow up feeling rejected by their siblings.

OP, in the nicest possible way, you are the one who is feeling rejected. Don't put that onto your DC.

Your DC will grow up not feeling rejected at all, IF you don't cause them to by talking about it to them and making an atmosphere etc. DC may ask questions in due course at which point you can give an age appropriate answer. Please seriously consider just dropping this issue and enjoying your own family and DC.

StillDrivingMeBonkers Sat 10-Jun-17 07:57:01

You expect a 22 & 26yo to have sibling relationship with a 2 and 4 yo? It's not going to happen is it? There is a whole generation gap.

FWIW there is a generation between me and my full blood siblings. We get on but we certainly don't socialise much, other than weddings, funerals and other celebratory events and I have no idea when my niece/nephews birthdays are.

Relationships break down. They were left without a dad. Seeing him play happy families with a new set of half siblings must be hard. It reinforces what they didn't have, so they have created their own family unit. Personally, I would leave your DH to his relationship with his children and not get involved.

Westray Sat 10-Jun-17 07:58:03

I agree with mystery.

I have lots of family members who don't engage.
Even my sister has never sent my kids a birthday card.

My kids are not growing up feeling rejected or left out because we take the energy to make their birthdays special and they feel surrounded by love.

OP this is as big a problem as you want to make it. Your kids won't actually give it a second thought. Don't make it an issue for them.
They have half siblings that don't engage with them. So what.

It won't stop them feeling happy or secure or able to grow up in a loving environment.

I don't have a brother.

I have no brother shaped hole in my life.

Your kids are not missing out and your attempt at playing happy families will only start to highlight your disappointment to your children, who may end up feeling let down too.

At the moment your kids don't care and t hey are happy.

Let them keep this attitude.

Dishwashersaurous Sat 10-Jun-17 07:59:23

They are being childish, birthday party thing.

But maybe they struggle with their dad having children same age as his grandchildren. They did not ask for half siblings and therefore do not have to have a relationship with them if they do not want to.

How well did you get on and how much did you see them before the children were born.

Does your husband spend any time with them without his young children?

Young children are pretty all consuming and may be they are upset that their dad can't do much for them or spend time with them

witsender Sat 10-Jun-17 08:04:30

Sadly, they don't owe you anything. It would be great if they wanted to be involved, but they don't and that is ok. Your husband still needs to maintain his relationship with them as their father and grandfather, so shouldn't cut off presents etc just because they don't treat their half siblings the way you like.

How far away is Scotland from you? Driving up to stay over for one night doesn't sound very appealing but it depends where you are!

witsender Sat 10-Jun-17 08:06:14

How involved with them was he when they were younger? It must be quite odd for them, him having a second family the same age as theirs as the expectation that you all play happy families.

Westray Sat 10-Jun-17 08:08:39

OP you have to let go.

FrancisCrawford Sat 10-Jun-17 08:09:17

They did not ask for half siblings and therefore do not have to have a relationship with them if they do not want to

The same could be said about any relation.

Of course it is true, however life is not about only getting what you want.

Did they ask OP and her DH before having grandchildren and expecting them to provide babysitting? Of course not.

Clearly they have emotional issues. But there is also a nasty streak of selfishness and entitlement.

Coddiwomple Sat 10-Jun-17 08:10:48

It was always going to be tricky, if your husband has grand-children the same age as his own children! (If I am getting that right). It's not right, but I can imagine the resentment on the side of the eldest one.

The rudeness is unacceptable, and it's tempting to refuse any further babysitting, but you run the risk of completely breaking the relationship, which would be a shame.

Put yourself in you DH's kids shoes. They grew up with split up parents, and things rarely go smoothly. Then one of them has children of his own, and reasonably imagine their dad in his grand-father's role, when bam, a year later he has a baby himself! (I re-read the OP several times, so I am hoping I got that right). The grown-up children should behave like mature and reasonable adults, but sometimes it's not that easy.

They are not right, but I wouldn't push it. Hopefully when the kids grow up they will realise how much better it would be for them to have a large family around them, but there's is nothing you can do. Stay polite, don't blank them, don't tolerate rude behaviour, and keep your door open.

Dishwashersaurous Sat 10-Jun-17 08:11:23

Also the Scotland thing.

So you said to them we are going on a lovely family holiday for a whole week. You come for one day. Of course they are not going to come and are probably naked at the whole suggestion.

I repeat how much time does your husband spend with them and his grandchildren without you and the kids.

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