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WWYD, unfair to my other kids?

post #1 of 48
Thread Starter 
DSD1 has a bio dad and a bio mom. she goes to both houses for visits (until she moves to her dad's house). DSD2 just goes to her moms (she is DH's bio kid). then i have 2 more kids.

every holiday, like easter just hapened, and sometimes just b/c, these other parents send home stuff for just their child. DD is more jealous than DS. we are adding another child and i am sure when that child is old enough they will be jealous too.

last week DSD1 brought home a muffin for her to eat at breakfast. she was going to eat it in front of DD and DSD2, not even caring that it wasnt polite. i said no, you can have the same breakfast they have and then later after school, you can eat it when i have something fun for them too.

for easter DSD1 brought home a huge basket from her dad's and both brought home baskets from their mom's house.

my kids DD and DS got nothing. we didnt do baskets this year. even if we had, DSDs would have 2x as much.

i want to tell the parents to stop sending crap home that is for only their child. DSD1 has a visit with her dad today and i will be sending the basket back to his house and explaining why. is this rude of me?

on fri when their mom comes i plan to do the same with her.
post #2 of 48
Not a step-parent here, but from a divorced home. I see nothing wrong with asking them to keep the stuff they bought for the kids at their house. I never minded having stuff that I had only at my dad's house. I thought it made it even more special.
post #3 of 48
Why are they bringing them back? Do they not spend much time at the other parents' houses? We have dsd standard visitation, and stuff like that stays here. Her mom does have a rule that she is not allowed to bring ANYTHING from our house over to her mom's house, which I do think makes life for dsd harder than it needs to be. However, I think it is perfectly fine to say that treats, gifts, etc. need to stay at the other parents house. I wouldn't send stuff like easter baskets etc. over to her mom's anyway, and wouldn't appreciate it if it was sent here either, especially if it was being flaunted in front of dd.
post #4 of 48
We have asked my step-daughter's mom not to send meat with my step-daughter when she comes to our house as our house is vegetarian. She has asked us not to send sugary treats to her house (she didn't give a reason-- her house isn't "sugar free", so my assumption is that it causes some sort of issue with when and if she can eat it). We both respected the other person's wishes-- we were not saying "don't give her meat," we were just saying "don't send it here, please."

On the other hand, when she is at her mom's we often send her things in the mail-- little things like cards and stickers, as well as bigger thigns like holiday gifts. Her mother does the same when she is here with us. Both of us sometimes send things for, or to share with, siblings. It isn't something that was discussed-- I set the example a long time ago to include something for her little brother in bigger packages (like a Halloween-themed package of goodies), and mom began reciprocating a few months ago.

So, I guess I think you should pick your battles-- no to the big basket of candy... but it seems a little unreasonable that the kids never get to bring home anythign from the other house unless they have enough to share. So, the way you handled the muffin, for example, is probably the way I would have handled it (and, thinking back, the way I have when she arrived with a left-over snack from the plane ride, for example). She has learned that if treats come to our house, it is sometimes a choice of either sharing or not having it until she goes back to mom's... and sometimes I can figure out a way to provide an alternative to the other kids, but that's not the expectation.

Did that make sense?
post #5 of 48
I see nothing wrong with explaining the situation to the other parents and asking them to keep the Easter stuff there. As a kid I also had stuff that couldn't go to the other parent's house, and I hated it. It's one of the many aspects of divorce that is simply unfair to the child but I can see that it is necessary in a situation such as this because it's rude to bring treats and eat them in front of kids that didn't receive any treats.
post #6 of 48
I agree we have DSD and DSS a large majority of the time (only visitation is 2x a month for 8 hours) when the biomom tried to send home a garbage bag of dollar store christmas presents the kids got to pick one to keep at home and one to go back to biomoms room(she lives in a friends house in a single bedroom so the kids dont have much to play with there). I can see how it would be hard with your own children missing out on some stuff, and i think that saving for an alternative snack or treat would be fair. its a rough situation and its so hard to sort all this stuff out. I think that giving treats to the other kids when you send your SC presents is a great way to welcome them, and you're lucky the other parents have reciprocated. Keep doing what you are comfortable, even if its hard its important to keep equality in your blended house.
post #7 of 48
i dont know, i never followed that type of policy with my bio kids and i dont expect that everything will always be 'fair' for my step kids either. i dont feel that everyone has to have the same thing for breakfast or otherwise. or that everyone in my household celebrate things the way i do or want... there are just too many factors i dont have control over.
i would more likely tell my own kids that the skids mom or dad sent that for them, i would also encourage my skids to share with the other children in the house if the items were appropriate. i just dont see it as fair that the skids other parents not be able to send whatever they want, as long as it is safe and age appropriate home with them.
i would try really hard to teach the kids who arent getting whatever treat it is that there is no need for jealousy or envy, that every one gets things once in a while and we dont always get the same things at the same time..i want them to feel happy for others when others are getting, not to look at it as though they are somehow missing out. i would try to teach my kids to be happy for the receiver and not feel left out when it isnt their turn in the sun, kwim?
it is the same at birthdays... i dont expect that my other children get presents etc when it isnt their bday kwim...
i would definately try to teach the kids who are getting things to be generous and kind and want to share and not gloat about what they have received, and i would really try to teach my own kids to be happy for someone else when they receive a gift for whatever occasion...

hth~
post #8 of 48
For Easter baskets/holiday gifts in particular, I really think it makes no sense to set up the expectation what your kids get from you will be similar/equivalent to what their half/step siblings get from the other households they belong to. I mean, my kids have cousins who get equivalent presents from the aunt and uncle they share, but nobody expects the various grandparents to be providing gifts to kids they aren't even related to!

And really, a child who gets shuttled from house to house should be able to bring along whatever possessions they desire. If your kids are jealous, OP, I really think that that's your issue to work out with them.

Not bringing meat, etc. into a vegetarian home is an entirely different thing. That's the courtesy line IMO - you don't send things over to a household that is 100% free of them, especially for ideological reasons.
post #9 of 48
I have to say that it would never occur to me to even think (or encourage my kids to think) that it was "wrong" for their stepsibs to have something different or extra from their own Dad. They get stuff from their Dad, and their Mom/my ex. My kids get stuff from their Dad/his wife, and from me. None of it is coordinated.

IMO, this is not a hill to die on.
post #10 of 48
Is it just they end up with different stuff, or are they deliberately parading it in front of the other kids and rubbing it in?

I'd have a bigger problem with the latter than the former. If that's the case, I'd get my partner involved in telling the kids to knock it off (same as it would be with biological siblings)--it seems to be more of a discipline issue than purely a step/biological issue.
post #11 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post
For Easter baskets/holiday gifts in particular, I really think it makes no sense to set up the expectation what your kids get from you will be similar/equivalent to what their half/step siblings get from the other households they belong to. I mean, my kids have cousins who get equivalent presents from the aunt and uncle they share, but nobody expects the various grandparents to be providing gifts to kids they aren't even related to!

And really, a child who gets shuttled from house to house should be able to bring along whatever possessions they desire. If your kids are jealous, OP, I really think that that's your issue to work out with them.

Not bringing meat, etc. into a vegetarian home is an entirely different thing. That's the courtesy line IMO - you don't send things over to a household that is 100% free of them, especially for ideological reasons.
I have to say I agree with this. I mean is your home not fully their home? If you say they cannot bring certain things home then you are really sending a message that the step-child is not fully a family member, imo. Life is not fair and your younger children can learn this. Look at it this way- your bio children are always with both their parents, your step children are not. Even if they do not say it they miss their other parent when they are not with. Being a step child has its own stresses. It is HARD going between two houses. It s not fair but it is life. A child needs to feel they are full family members of both. Please do not send the basket back. As a child I would have been crushed by this.
Best of luck. I know it is hard.
post #12 of 48
My kids get the latter. #2 and her SS have bdays within a week of one another. #2 is the elder of the two by ~3 years. Last bday? SS got a new laptop from Mom & my ex. #2? A $50 gift card. I can tell you that it stung her.

But it is what it is. I told her that whenever someone gives you a gift, you should be grateful, no matter what.

She got an awesome gift from me & #1, though.
post #13 of 48
I guess I see it differently. If something is given to a child, it is theirs. Theirs to take where they want, including to their own home(s). If your children are jealous, then I think you need to work in their own love currency to make sure that they feel equally valued and important, but of course, that is to you and their dad, not to their step-sib's parent.

I honestly think that life is tough enough for kids of divorced parents, without being expected to keep certain items out of their home. What you are saying, in effect, is that your home is not 100% their home.

Look at it this way. Your kids get to spend all their time in one home, with both parents. What a gift that is. Sure, it's not candy or easter baskets, but I wonder what all the kids would say if asked to swap?

As for the muffin, I'd have said, very nicely, "Yes, isn't it nice, dsd's mom sent her the muffin!" Then maybe I'd go carry on with "yum, that looks delicious! How about this afternoon we make muffins and save some for all of us to have for breakfast tomorrow?" But I'd not try to make things 'fair' every time. I'd just treat it as I would if we met a friend at a park and they had a muffin and my kid didn't. Sometimes I'd suggest going home and baking some, other times I'd just agree that it would be nice to have a muffin, then that would be that. No biggie.

Equal does not mean the same, and for children in blended families, it cannot possibly be even close to the same. Equal means equal love and consideration and attention, and it is up to you to maximise that for all the children. Love can't be measured in candy and that is what is truly important to children.
post #14 of 48
I really agree with the other posters who are saying let the step-children have there stuff. I just wanted to add that even with full bio sibs not everything is always going to be totally even-steven. One child may get invited to go to disneyland with a friend and the other siblings won't get to go. Or one child's class gets to go on a cool field trip that the other kids' classes don't go on. Or a kid in a child's class has a b-day and the kids get sent home with stickers or candy that the other children don't get. As parents you should make the best effort to treat you children as fair as possible (not always exactly even though), but the world outside your home can not be expected to do the same. In this case that also means your step-children's other parents.

I was a child of divorced parents, and yes I did get more presents than my (half) sisters at christmas, and was usually sent home with extra easter candy from my dad's house. It would have been very upsetting if I had been told I couldn't take something that was a gift to me from one house to the other.
post #15 of 48
I can't imagine not allowing a child to have something that their parent gave to them (aside from something inappropriate, but then that is another story). You can't make everything fair between all the kids anyways. Someone will always get invited to a birthday party, bring home a treat from school, do a baking project at a friend's house and bring home a muffin, etc, and the other kids won't get the same. I think it is a good chance to teach them all to be gracious about it - teaching the child who has the extra treat not to flaunt it and the child who doesn't get an extra treat how to deal with disappointment, but also realize that at a different time, they will be the one to get a treat. I think trying to limit bringing treats into your home will only serve to create a wedge between you, DSC and their other parents.
post #16 of 48
"Last bday? SS got a new laptop from Mom & my ex. #2? A $50 gift card."

Well, that seems like a very different issue. If your xh and his new wife bought a laptop for the child of one, and a gift card for the child of the other, then THEY, as a parental unit, are showing a crazy amount of favoritism. In some blended families, the discrepancy would not even have been noticed because the two girls would not know each other, but I am guessing that "SS" lives with your xh and his wife, and "#2" lives with you and visits the other household, and thus got full opportunity to experience the unfairness. She saw her dad give his stepdaughter a much nicer birthday gift than he gave to her. That really sucks

But when you have kids with no relationship to the adult members of another household, then I don't think they should expect to get any gifts from that other household. Although it is certainly nice when all the kids feel loved and appreciated by all the adults in their blended universe!!!
post #17 of 48
We had this issue come up over Easter too. DSD2 is always looking for whether the situation is fair or not. Prior to us being a blended family dsd2 would always throw tantrums at dsd1 birthdays so her parents always bought her something on dsd1 birthday too. Over the years we have changed this, and now that the girls live with dh and I full-time their mom often sends them special things in the mail (she still sends dsd2 a gift on dsd1 birthday but not dsd1 on dsd2 birthday). Anyway, dsd2 gets things quite often. DD does not get things often from her dad, but this year her dad sent an Easter basket and dsd's mom did not. Dsd2 thought it was unfair that she did not get a basket and that dd should have to wait to have hers until dsd's mom sent her one (dsd says that mom is going to send something in 3 weeks). I reminded dsd2 that sometimes their mom sends them things and dd gets nothing. That is just how it works sometimes. She seems to deal with it better now and does not usually expect anything on dsd1 birthday from dh and I anymore.
post #18 of 48
Thread Starter 
i did send the basket back. she took it with her when she went for her visit. i will be talking to their mom as well.

only DD lives with both parents. DS's father fell off of the face of the earth more than a year ago. he wasnt much of a parent before then anyway.

when i was a little girl, my parents were divorced and my step mom had a baby boy. i didnt even want to take my stuff over there. i knew they had their own stuff and i didnt want my baby brother being sad that i had something he didnt.

the amount of crap they bring is ridiculous. i mean DSD1's easter basket was huge and full of stuff i dont want to feed her. i am so sick of them sending candy over all the time. i dont want my kids eating candy every day. they will beg and beg if it is here. DSD1 and 2's baskets from mom house was a little better but still.

this house belongs to all my kids. and yes DSDs rub their faces in the fact that they have more parents and stuff etc. it burns DS as his father issue still stings. DD just wants there stuff and they dont want to share, so i have to listen to fighting unless i take it away.

why cant all my kids feel equal in their own home? why do my DS and DD have to feel shafted all the time b/c DSDs other parents want to spoil them.

for xmas and bday (DSDs bday are right before xmas) they brought home tons of crap. DS was sad. DD was too young but she will understand soon enough. the other parents have enough room for this crap. we buy them their own stuff for xmas. my entire family buys for every one of my kids. their family does not buy for my kids, but their kids bring home 4 times the amount my family bought. i told them last year. they can bring home one toy, and clothes. per bday etc. i dont tell them to not ever bring anything back, just limit it.

DSDs live with me. they see their mom 2x week for 6 hours each day. fri and sun.
DSD1 goes to her dad's house every weekend from fri to sun.
i have been their primary caregiver since DD was 6 weeks old.

and for the people who say my child has to live with it. i think DSDs need to live with it too. DD will get over it, if it is jept to a minimum. DSDs will get over not being able to bring every thing home.
post #19 of 48
I guess I don't understand why you asked for input, then.
post #20 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by LionessMom View Post
i did send the basket back. she took it with her when she went for her visit. i will be talking to their mom as well.

only DD lives with both parents. DS's father fell off of the face of the earth more than a year ago. he wasnt much of a parent before then anyway.

when i was a little girl, my parents were divorced and my step mom had a baby boy. i didnt even want to take my stuff over there. i knew they had their own stuff and i didnt want my baby brother being sad that i had something he didnt.

the amount of crap they bring is ridiculous. i mean DSD1's easter basket was huge and full of stuff i dont want to feed her. i am so sick of them sending candy over all the time. i dont want my kids eating candy every day. they will beg and beg if it is here. DSD1 and 2's baskets from mom house was a little better but still.

this house belongs to all my kids. and yes DSDs rub their faces in the fact that they have more parents and stuff etc. it burns DS as his father issue still stings. DD just wants there stuff and they dont want to share, so i have to listen to fighting unless i take it away.

why cant all my kids feel equal in their own home? why do my DS and DD have to feel shafted all the time b/c DSDs other parents want to spoil them.

for xmas and bday (DSDs bday are right before xmas) they brought home tons of crap. DS was sad. DD was too young but she will understand soon enough. the other parents have enough room for this crap. we buy them their own stuff for xmas. my entire family buys for every one of my kids. their family does not buy for my kids, but their kids bring home 4 times the amount my family bought. i told them last year. they can bring home one toy, and clothes. per bday etc. i dont tell them to not ever bring anything back, just limit it.

DSDs live with me. they see their mom 2x week for 6 hours each day. fri and sun.
DSD1 goes to her dad's house every weekend from fri to sun.
i have been their primary caregiver since DD was 6 weeks old.

and for the people who say my child has to live with it. i think DSDs need to live with it too. DD will get over it, if it is jept to a minimum. DSDs will get over not being able to bring every thing home.
I have had 2 step moms, and a step dad. My parents divorced when I was 5, so I have been in the situation ALOT, all step parents came with other kids.

I think they should be able to bring their stuff home. Not candy, if you dont feed you kids that way anyway, then haveing 5 lbs of candy is pointless. If it is soley because you dont think it is fair, so you dont want them having it, then no, I think that is wrong. Maybe put it in a big jar so everyone can have a peice.

What gets me is the comment about bday/christmas. Your son was upset. You need to find out why, and not only because step kids brought stuff home. I would be heart broken if I couldnt bring the stuff my mom bought us for christmas back to my dads house where I lived full time. I JUST got it, and I wanted to play with it! YOUR children will have to learn life is not ALWAYS fair! Yeah, I got jelous a little when my step siblings would get something I didnt, but thus is life, I am an adult now, no anamosity to them, still hang out with them, and I mentally healthy It wont kill them, but denying your step kids their stuff is wrong imo.
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