Step children and how much integration into other family(30 Posts)
Without drip feeding as this is a very specific set of circumstances I'll try and explain.
A male member of my family has been with a woman for about 4 years, always a bit 'off and on' as he won't fully commit by moving in legally (she would lose her benefits and he would then have to 'keep' the family) she has two teens from previous relationships. He does live there but not legally, he does pay his way food and bills wise but not as much as his GF would like and this causes tension which blows up into arguments every few months, hence the 'on / off' thing. He leaves, then realises that he's not really got anywhere to go so patches things up and she takes him back only for the cycle to rinse and repeat.
As a family the rest of us can see the situation but feel he's a grown man so needs to sort out what he wants for himself.
So, that's the background, the issue at the moment is a family event has been planned by a member of the males family - the male and his GF have been invited but her children (who aren't actually related to any of us) weren't thought of. This has caused the shit to hit the fan as the GF has taken great offence to this and made a fuss saying she felt her children weren't welcome in the family - in truth nobody really considers them part of the family and so they simply weren't thought about - none of us see them very often. The male in the family is now caught in the middle of the situation, in fact the GF has kicked him out until he stands up for her kids.
Is this common in step families? Do all the children from previous relationships need to be invited to events or is it usual that some families just keep to within their own family? Whilst I believe the problem is down to the fact the male has never really set his stall out in regards to the GF and kids, I'm finding it hard to believe the fallout from this and I'd like some perspective.
I would have invited them. You say to all intents and purposes they live together, and I'm not going to get into the whole benefits system and avoiding losing out by not registering living together, so they are effectively a family unit.
He's hardly behaving like they are a family though is he?
And she's letting him. If she's upset she should be taking it up with him to either commit or split up.
Do all the children from previous relationships need to be invited to events or is it usual that some families just keep to within their own family?
Well how much would this kindness cost? Really? I mean, invite two people and make them feel welcome or don't and make them feel excluded. Why on earth wouldnt you invite them unless to make a point? Is the cost of having them there going to break the bank?
No, not at all, it's a small event, not a big party. I honestly don't think they were even thought about - unfortunately because the GF has issues around the males level of commitment it's lit the touch paper and off its all gone again.
I think they should be invited. But they should know his family more after 4 years. Does anyone ever visit him at that home or does he have kids with him when he calls around. Sounds like it's not a great situation for those dc. But at the end of the day it's always better to include rather than exclude especially when it comes to children.
If you are the males mother l think you sound cold towards those children. Forgive me if that's not your relationship to him.
Oh well they can be invited now, apologies made for the oversight and annoy made to include them in future.
No, I'm not the males mother, I suppose I do feel cold towards the children as quite honestly we don't see them for months on end, the person who arranged the event has never met them at all hence them not being thought about.
Oh well they can be invited now, apologies made for the oversight and annoy made to include them in future
It's hard to form a relationship with children if you feel they could drop out of your life at any moment. I know the OP isn't the man's mum but if she was could you blame her for holding back a bit - if the man himself won't commit properly then why would his family. They take their lead from him.
Tbh I think this is all his fault. The woman is lashing out at the family but this stems from him having one foot in and one out.
I'd tell her to sort her relationship - either he commits fully or she leaves him. She is doing her kids a disservice by allowing him to come and go but it is easier to blame his family than him.
If he is your brother or other close relation, I think you should tell him to shit or get off the pot and stop making his lack of real relationship, your problem.
I suppose it comes down to the event and whether other family children are/would typically be invited.
Thinking back to when I was just boyfriend/girlfriend with my (now) DH... I was invited to his single sibling's party and also to one of his friends weddings. These were both child free occasions so of course I didn't take slight at my children not being invited. As it was, I couldn't make the former because of childcare issues but I could make the latter and had a nice time.
But occasions to which other family children were invited, mine were. For example, going to stay with his sibling who has children for a weekend and a family lunch for one of his parents birthdays.
If my children hadn't been invited I wouldn't have gone mad at them or anything - but I would have been a bit hurt, and I wouldn't have organised childcare so that I could go along to a family occasion where there were other children but mine weren't invited.
And it makes no sense for someone to say they didn't think to invite the children because they don't know them - they would get to know them by inviting them and making them welcome.
BTW your relative and his girlfriend are commiting benefit fraud if one of them is claiming benefits as being single and the other one doesn't pay their own rent because they mostly stay over there.
Aderyn has it spot on. And yes, the 'shit or get off the pot' conversation will be being had as its upset older members of the family quite badly.
If you're having an event where all children are invited except the ones you feel shouldn't be because "they're not family" then you are being incredibly unreasonable..
His relationship with her is irrelevant here, he is in a relationship with a woman who has children, and as such those children come as part of the package. Added to which, if you have invited the woman and all other girlfriends/partners and the family children and have deliberately excluded her children then it sends out a very deliberate message that her children are not welcome in your family.
It really wouldn't be that big a deal to invite them would it? TBH I can't get my head around someone deliberately making the point of excluding two children purely because they're not biologically related.
There aren't any other children in the family except for two direct descendants of the person whose event it is. Naturally they are invited. It wasn't so much they were deliberately not invited, they simply weren't thought about - probably due to the fact the male has never considered the children as his.
I can understand why she is cross. Its really sad they weren't thought about.
But his girlfriend has been invited and the children are hers. That's the point you seem to be missing, OP.
Not inviting his girlfriend (because the event is for family members, or because they're so on/off, or whatever reason really) is one thing. He could then decide whether or not to come. But at the point someone has decided to invite her, her dependant children haven't been thought of. Lots of parents would consider that to be somewhat hurtful.
Well for us it's invite us all or none of us go.
Everyone who knows us knows we have 4 kids between us and even if they haven't met all of them they are all our kids (we have 2 each)
I didn't go to my cousins wedding because she just invited me, DP and my kids and similarly we aren't going to a wedding next year because my two aren't invited.
It's easier and kinder to invite two extra guests than to exclude them.
I can fully understand girlfriend was hurt, I'd have been too. I just wanted a feeling for how other step families did things, whether they drew lines around family events or not. For the person that the event Is for is adamant they aren't part of the family and so that's where the lines are drawn. That person is very elderly and somewhat stuck in their ways.
I think it boils down to the fact the male has always said they aren't his kids so the family have taken the lead from that. Like Aderyn said earlier he needs to either step up and take them on or walk away. At the moment it feels like he's having the best of both worlds.
For the person that the event Is for is adamant they aren't part of the family and so that's where the lines are drawn.
So why did they invite the girlfriend? If she is part of your family then so are her children.
And no, I don't know any blended families who 'draw lines' around family events. Because what this actually means is excluding children - who are not the ones who have made the decisions about the new relationships, but who live with the consequences nonetheless.
I came from a family where family parties didn't include non family members. Boyfriends and girlfriends weren't included, they weren't family yet. Fiancées probably were. I didn't know anyone living with a partner who wasn't married to them. It sounds bonkers now, but that is how it was.
I can see how an older relative would still see the world that way. Does she invite his family to her parties? To their birthdays, or anything else?
I am stealing that.
It is difficult but mainly, as you've pointed out, because he's not making a firm commitment either way to his GF.
In all honesty I'd have been insulted if I were her
and would probably cut my nose off to spite my face and avoid the whole thing it really should follow that if she's invited her children are too.
I would have invited them all and let them decide if it was appropriate to attend. I cringed reading about it as i would take it as a clear message that no one sees their relationship as secure (regardless that it doesn't seem to be) and it's obviously a complicated relationship.
Wilting, that's exactly how we see the relationship- he's not happy in the relationship really but lacks the maturity to either leave or stay and do it properly. It's difficult to take it all seriously.
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