Do you have children without an extended family? - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-12-2008, 06:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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(long)

Growing up, we were not very closer to my mother’s side of the family. We would visit them (aunts, uncles, cousins) maybe once every 6 or so years but that was it. I didn’t grow up knowing my grandparents at all. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I would see my mothers farther before he died at the age of 86 from lung cancer (he passed in 2003). My grandmother is now 83 and I see her every now and them. The reason for the separation was because my grandparents divorced in the mid ‘50s and my grandmother remarried a child molester who sexually abused his children, step-children and some grandchildren. (He is not 94 and separated from my grandmother).

I’m not close to my mother and my father is a severe drug addict. Though he’s functional academically, still attends Universities and ranks at the top of his class year after year , he is pretty socially stunted, live in slums and doesn’t relate on a real level with anyone. I’m not close to my brother either. He’s 35 and will not have children - ever.

I’ve only met three members of my father’s family: grandmother, and two aunts. My grandmother and one of the aunts passed away 11 years ago. He has 8 other living siblings (out of a total of 12), but I never met them, don’t know them, and only spoken to a few on the phone maybe twice as an adult. They are total strangers.

My DP is the youngest member of his entire family and he’s well over 40!; is parents are in their 80s and he has one older sister who was never married and never had children. Everyone else (aunts, uncles, etc) has passed.

With that said, our children will not have much (if any) extended family at all. If you’re in that situation, how do you compensate from a lack of extended family for your children? Is it a big deal in your lives? Or is it something everyone is used to?
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Old 02-12-2008, 08:32 PM
 
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My DH grew up on the other side of the country from his extended family. He saw them maybe once every few years. It didn't hurt him in any way, except for the fact that he thinks it is bizarre that I grew up seeing mine every weekend.

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Old 02-12-2008, 09:04 PM
 
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I grew up seeing mine a lot (tons of cousins), but none of us are now in touch except the maybe 2X/year email... DH's family are all on another continent, so yes, we are raising DD with very limited extended family. We see my parents regularly, but they are older and I'm an only child.

It's the main reason I want a 2nd child, so that they will at least have each other, especially as they get older (adulthood).
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Old 02-12-2008, 09:10 PM
 
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We have a large extended family...but, we very rarely see them. It's one of my biggest heartaches and biggest sources of resentment. I hope to do things differently with my children...but, we all do the best that we can. Parenting without extended family around is more difficult that I ever imagined...and I don't want my own children to have to go through that when they have kids.

Anyway...not sure if that's what you were asking or not...
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Old 02-12-2008, 09:18 PM
 
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I am in a similiar situation, both my Mom and MIL are deceased, I only have 1 sibling dh is an onlie. So that does not make for much family, me, dh, ds and dd.. then there is my brother (almost 10 years younger than me), my Dad and FIL, none of them are near us, the closest is 1100 miles away.

We do have extended family, in my case I never knew them and when my Mom passed almost 4 years ago I tried to reach out but after 30 something years of not knowing them, there was no connection.

I will say that I create a sense of family, my ds is from my first marriage and I am still close to my ex-MIL, she views my dd (not her grandchild) just like she views my son and she never forgets a special day and visits. I will admit as dd gets older its hard not having family but we cope. With my eldest we had extended family (my kids are almost 14 years apart) and looking back I totally took family for granted then, back then I had my Mom and Granny.

Thankfully we are putting down roots where we are and making good friends. Which is funny because when we moved to New England almost 6 years ago we hated it and while we would love to go back to Chicago the fact that we have made some deep connections is the biggest factor keeping us here.

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Old 02-12-2008, 10:29 PM
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Our family is dwindling away and we are now down to One grandmother, me my sister. on my side
My kids see my mom and sis every couple of years.
On Dh's side we have only one sis we know and she has two teen boys. We see them maybe 6 hrs a year, for a holiday meal.
So my kids have no extended family to speak of, it's really just the 5 of us.
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Old 02-12-2008, 11:12 PM
 
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we have a few extended family members out there, but dd only sees a handful once a year (my parents, my sister, and dd's 2 half sisters). So basically no deep relationships. We're all over the country and no one but us (Dh, dd, and me) are willing/able to travel, so that just makes it hard. no one ever wants to talk to dd on the phone so most of her knowledge of her relatives come from the stories I tell her.

Yeah, I wish it was more. dd hates grandparent's day at school. Many of her classmates have relatives that are close (relationship and/or distance) that she's often asks why her's aren't.

mom to 14yr dd and 4yr dd
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Old 02-12-2008, 11:38 PM
 
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Yes.

Both my parents are dead, died before I had children. I grew up with a weird situation between my mother's and father's sides of the family. Each side hated the other, and no one spoke of why (except that my mother was the focal point). As a child I was close to my mother's family (maternal grandmother and an aunt), but I later learned they fed me a lot of bull regarding my dad's family.

After my mother passed (when I was 14), I had more contact with my dad's family, but the damage was already done. Plus I was not close with dad so I blamed him for a lot of things he probably had little to do with. He was one of five children, so there are quite a few aunts and uncles around. My paternal grandmother is also still alive, but attempts to maintain contact (on my part) have been met with weirdness.

I have a brother, and would love to be closer with him, but he's over 2000 miles away and is just unmotivated. He's never met his nieces (my girls), and for no particularly good reason.

My kids' only known extended family is on DH's side - almost exclusively his mother's family. Luckily they're local and one or two are occasionally interested in their lives. The whole thing makes me a little sad, and I very much want things to be different for my girls.
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Old 02-12-2008, 11:40 PM
 
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We don't live anywhere near any of our families. It hasn't been a big issue except when something bad happens and your miles and miles away. So far they are really appreciative when they do get to go see them.
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Old 02-13-2008, 12:52 AM
 
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I can somewhat relate to your post. Although I come from a large family, dh and I will be older parents (whenever, if ,it happens). My family is local and very close but all of my nieces and nephews are older teens or young adults. My future child will be much younger than all of them and it is highly probable that this kid will be an only. My parents aren't likely to be around to see my child grow up. My dh's family all live abroad. Honestly, I question the fairness of this and wonder if I should just let go of my dream to have a child. I don't know. I have friends, but my dearest of friends live states away.

I'm certain that children open doors in many ways and will challenge us to be creative in finding ways to connect with others; it's the only hope I have that my kid won't be lonely and resent us for having him/her so late in life *sigh*

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Old 02-13-2008, 01:00 AM
 
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I grew up without an extended family and it was fine. In fact, I'm sort of wishing that we didn't live close to extended family. It's not always greener on the other side.
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