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Relationship with a step-grandchild / niece.

(12 Posts)
TheWickedWitch Tue 22-Jan-13 13:34:42

I have recently become a "Step-Aunty". The child in question lives with her mother most of the time and with my sister and new husband every other weekend and some holidays. They also have their own child together.

I was wondering how the extended families act in this situation. I see my "Step-Niece" very rarely - maybe twice a year and yet I am expected to treat her the same as my sister's child.

I have received some right telling-offs for forgetting this other child when sending cards to the family - genuine mistakes, no malice. I do send her birthday and Christmas presents although it doesn't feel right. I hate to say it but this child will never feel like my "proper" niece. I know my parents are finding the Step-Grandparent role equally confusing for similar reasons.

I am expecting to be flamed on this but I want to hear how others deal with similar situations. I am not being nasty I am just trying to be honest and admit that this child will never feel special to me.

millie30 Tue 22-Jan-13 13:53:41

I have a step-nephew and I have a very close relationship with him. I think there are specific reasons though, he is the same age as my DS and they are best friends. Also his step mum is my closest sibling so we see each other quite alot and so tend to arrange things when they have him with them. My parents also treat him as one of their grandchildren. I am from a step family where we were all included and treated the same so I think my parents would find it hypocritical not to do this too.

That said, I can imagine it's very hard to have feelings toward a child who you only see a couple of times a year. Personally I think all children in a family should be treated the same, even if adults don't feel the same about them all. I say this as a step child too. I'm sure others will disagree though!

theredhen Tue 22-Jan-13 14:38:51

I think every family is different. I think most step parents don't feel the same way for their step kids as their own so it's not surprising to hear grandparents/aunts feel the same.

Some will point out that these children will get presents from their "other" side of the family that the other kids in the family don't get.

Others will say you will cause ill feeling and resentment by not treating all kids the same even though you don't feel the same.

Not sure there is a right or wrong way to be honest.

SPsFanjoIsAsComfyAsAOnesie Tue 22-Jan-13 14:43:42

My son is closer to my step dad then my own dad. He calls my step dad Gan Gan and he gets absolutely spoiled

I guess it depends on the situation. My mum and stepdad were only together a few month when I git pregnant and he was as chuffed as my mum when he was born

DemonChild Tue 22-Jan-13 15:46:04

I guess for me the issue is not how it feels to you, but how it feels to the child. Put yourself in the child's position. My parents and brother are step-grandparents and step-uncle to a child they rarely see as well (my DSD) I absolutely do not expect them to feel the same for DSD as for my DC who they see weekly and are full grand parents to. However, on the occasions we are all together, I do expect equal treatment from them to all the children present. If they want to spoil my DC especially (and sometimes they really do!) then they can wait until DSD is not with us.

I think no one expects you to love this child as much as your niece who you've known from birth but her step sister shouldn't have that thrown in her face IYSWIM?

TheWickedWitch Tue 22-Jan-13 15:59:56

Thank you for the comments.

I think the difficulty is that as she does not live with them and as we are a long distance away, contact with her is rare. Of course, on the occasions that we are together, I treat her the same as my blood-niece. I just find it hard getting my head round the expectations that I should put myself out for a step-niece the same way as I would my proper niece. She doesn't know me, its not her fault, but I find it it a strange position to be in, (maybe this is because there are no other step-families that I have anything to do with). I have no issue with step-families, they just get a bit complicated!

FedupofTurkey Tue 22-Jan-13 17:21:37

I think its up to you to do what you feel is right. The fact that you buy b'day and xmas says to me that you treat them the same.

I'm in a step family and my dd's aunties on my ex's side buy her but not my step kids. The same goes for my step kids aunties on their mothers side, they buy them but not my dd. However my sister buys for all.

What i found upsetting (to me - my ds didn't notice) was my step kids nan made an issue of the step kids aunties buying for my dd and how she hoped they had and should all be treated the same, then she spent loads on her grandkids and one present for my dd sad

Ultimately I've said to my family and friends to do what they feel is right and want to do.

NotaDisneyMum Tue 22-Jan-13 17:22:32

I have a step-niece/nephew who I've met less than a handful of times, they live with my DSis/BIL and their DCs 50% of the time; I send a token gift at Xmas and that's about it!

My DD is a step-niece and step-granddaughter; and she is treated similarly by DPs sister; but DPs parents have been wonderfully warm and welcoming despite only seeing her occasionally smile

My DSS is here EOW and has never met my DSis or my parents - so they don't send him anything really, mainly because it would be weird for him - he has no idea who they are!

Many NRP families are striving to create an environment in which the NR child is 'part of the family' so eXnt the NR child acknowledged in family cards etc - but for extended family like yourself, that is difficult to understand, because the majority of your contact with them is as a family without the NR child!

purpleroses Wed 23-Jan-13 13:46:23

Neither DP nor I expect our extended families to treat each other's children the same they treat the real neices/nephews/etc. I might be a bit put out if they failed to income their names in a Christmas card, (though tbh - most of the cards we received this year were to me, DP "and family" as the more distant relatives and friends fail to remember everyone's names!) But I don't expect them to start giving presents or treating them the same as their own really.

I think our kids find the whole step-extended family thing a bit confusing too tbh - there's whole load of relatives out there who aren't theirs. Obviously children always like getting presents, but I don't think my kids would expect to get them from DP's family, and nor his kids from mine.

willyoulistentome Wed 23-Jan-13 13:55:37

I have a 4yo step-grand-daughter, and my 2 Ds have a (half?) niece. We hardly ever see her or her Mum, my SDD) . She lives 2 hours away. I don't really have any more feelings for her than I do random kids at school. We send her Birthday cards / presents etc.. but she doesn;t feel like part of our family to me. The boys rarely talk about her. I dare say DH feels otherwise.

Xalla Thu 24-Jan-13 14:06:38

It is tricky. My parents see my DSD several times a year, spend the occasional holiday and every other Christmas with her. They try and treat her the same outwardly when they're physically with her - buy her gifts at Christmas when their with us etc but I don't really expect them to otherwise and nor does my DH. I don't expect them to send birthday presents for my DSD - I just buy her an extra something and write their names on the gift-tag. That way DSD thinks she's got something from them but I'm not expecting them to remember another kid's birthday. I mean she's not their responsibility is she? I made the decision to become a step-mother, they didn't choose to acquire a step-grandchild Hence if I want my DSD to receive a birthday present from them, I'll sort it out.

Eliza22 Fri 25-Jan-13 08:54:40

I think this is a difficult one but really, this child is nothing to you (and that's not meant in any unkind way). Step-aunt??? Where does it end? If you said you see the child every week/comes around often with your niece/do holidays together as one big family, THAT would be different. But really.... You see her twice a year and you're expected to be an auntie?

I'd treat her as any other child. Enjoy and time spent with/ get involved when you do see her but I think it's unreasonable to expect more of you.

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