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#31 of 48 Old 04-18-2009, 08:58 AM
 
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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.
I would be interested in knowing what the other parents' reactions were to this.

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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.
Personally, I think it might be more effective to help the children learn to share and be more thoughtful of one another's feelings, rather than simply taking things away/sending them back/banning them.

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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.
I don't understand why DS was sad that the girls brought bday presents home. Does he not get presents on his bday? Do THEY get presents for HIS bday? For a 14yo to get upset and sad about other children - especially younger children - getting gifts for their bday is something that would concern me greatly if it were my child.

Also, why should their family (who are. apparently, unrelated to yoru kids) buy them gifts? I don't buy my ex's stepkids gifts (although I ensure that my kids have gifts for them and will help them out if they need some extra money to get something they think the other kids will like).

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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.
In all honesty, there seems to be way too much focus on who has what, who gets what, and all that stuff... And I don't think it's going to serve any of the children involved well as time goes on. There will always be circumstances in life that "aren't fair". That's how life goes sometimes. It might be wise to try focusing on how things tend to balance out in the end.
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#32 of 48 Old 04-18-2009, 10:40 AM
 
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I think issues like this should be addressed only parent-to-parent, and never by making a child to take the gift back.

I'm also with others on 14 being a bit too old to be jealous of an easter basket a little sis brought home.

I can't say I understand the muffin example either. Although, I think the level to which you are trying to equalize things is a bit too much, and the breakfast incident is a demonstration of it. If a child can't even have a muffin they just walked through the door with, because other siblings will get jealous, something is off-balance in the family, don't you think?

I don't like the expression "life is not fair", because life is what you make of it. I think it IS fair for a child to keep a muffin they got from their mom they see 12 hours a week, and it IS fair for them to keep an easter basket, even if the other siblings didn't get one. And I think reminding other siblings to be happy for each other would be of more value, than reminding one child how inadequate their parent is by sending their gifts back.

I know it's not easy on any of us, and we just try to do the best we can. But sometimes I guess ideas of how it should work take over reality.

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#33 of 48 Old 04-18-2009, 10:57 AM
 
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"For a 14yo to get upset and sad about other children - especially younger children - getting gifts for their bday is something that would concern me greatly if it were my child."

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IMHO, this is the real issue here. You've obviously had some experience raising toddlers and seeing how they want everything in sight, so it seems to me that it's your 14-year-old's age-inappropriate behavior that is throwing you for a loop. There are all kinds of things he might reasonably resent about his stepsibs - like if their dad favors them hugely, or if you have had to cut back unduly on the things you can do for him in order to provide the care they need. Is any of THAT going on? Because whatever this is really about, it is probably NOT about the envy of a teenage boy over presents and candy given to little girls by a woman he is in no way related to.

Oh, and I throw out cheap plastic crap and unused toys/games at least three times a year. If it's worth donating, we do that as a mitzvah (fulfillment of a religious commandment) along with outgrown clothing, and we do it as a family. Nobody is suggesting that you stop decluttering!
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#34 of 48 Old 04-18-2009, 03:04 PM
 
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IMHO, this is the real issue here. You've obviously had some experience raising toddlers and seeing how they want everything in sight, so it seems to me that it's your 14-year-old's age-inappropriate behavior that is throwing you for a loop. There are all kinds of things he might reasonably resent about his stepsibs - like if their dad favors them hugely, or if you have had to cut back unduly on the things you can do for him in order to provide the care they need. Is any of THAT going on? Because whatever this is really about, it is probably NOT about the envy of a teenage boy over presents and candy given to little girls by a woman he is in no way related to.
And I can see how his Dad's walking away could be an issue - but it's one apart from the littles bringing stuff back from *their* other parent(s). So thinking that making them keep that stuff out of your home is fixing the problem is, well... delusional.

If this were my 14yo, I would likely be looking at counseling to help him come to terms with his Dad's abandonment. Then, I would look at finding him a solid male role model - be it a grandparent, an uncle, friend, "big brother". And lastly, I'd make sure to carve out some regular one-on-one time with him.
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#35 of 48 Old 04-18-2009, 07:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I would be interested in knowing what the other parents' reactions were to this.
DSD1's dad was fine. he wanted it anyway b/c his step kids were eating there candy that night anyway. i did tell him it was b/c we had too much candy. i did not make DSD1 take it back herself. i did ask DSD1 if she wanted to take it with her so she could eat it that night. she did say yes. i did not send DSD1 and 2's basket back to their mom's. we talked about how much candy it was, and they looked through it and tossed the stuff they wouldnt eat anyway, and then sat down and shared. like i said, their mom's baskets werent too bad. i havent had a chance to talk to their mom yet but she was more than understanding of the no room for large and many presents here. she was also more than understandable about my not wanting toys with a million tiny peices here. in my trailer there is absolutely no way to keep them out the reach of DD. this was after the kids complained about not having any toys there anyway. i never said they couldnt bring anything home. i have all the kids to think about. not just the 2. DS made sacrifices for the DSDs, the DSDs made sacrifices for DD, and DD will make sacrifices for the safety of the one on the way.

i do understand where you are all coming from. i have been thinking about it too. and maybe i am harsh sometimes. i did not make these rules without discussing my concerns with the other parents.

i was angry about the easter baskets. mostly b/c i had just gotten them over the dang candy urge, and they were back to whining for yogurt and cheese sticks instead of gummies and suckers. that frustrated me.

and i limit what my parents buy my kids as well. knowing DSDs will bring home clothes and a toy for xmas etc, my parents only buy clothes and 2 toys for DD, and give DS money (the same amount they spent on the other kids). then DH and I buy every kid a toy they wanted then a toy that is a surprise. and we keep it within our meager budget.

i thought we were doing a good thing by keeping it pretty fair.
guess i was wrong. sorry DD and one on the way, you will always feel the sting of jealousy. and kids do feel jealousy no matter how well you try to teach them to be happy for the other ones.

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#36 of 48 Old 04-18-2009, 07:38 PM
 
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It sounds like you handled it pretty well, actually. Good for you! I'm sorry if I was too harsh myself. It would drive me stark raving crazy if I didn't control what foods came into my home. (Not that my MIL doesn't drop off junk constantly, but it's not the same thing because I can put my foot down when it's really important to me without having anybody call me a UAV.)

Kids do feel jealousy, for sure, but 14 is a time to start growing out of that IMO, at least where purely material things like presents and candy are concerned. And probably your son IS starting to, and will have a direction next Easter!
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#37 of 48 Old 04-18-2009, 09:58 PM
 
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Sounds like you have food for thought not (but hopefully not too much candy )

I think you are right. Kids will be jealous, no matter what. But it can be either insignificant as they grow older - ie just a little envy - or it can become a monster that consumes them and influences their future lives. It is up to us to try to navigate to keep it within reasonable bounds.

My personal view is that it is best to pick your battles, and let a lot of stuff go, even if it wouldnt' be your preference. And to find each child's love currency, and keep them filled with that. I recently read The Five Love Languages of Children, and it really helped me work out how to ease the sibling rivalry that my kids feel. The book does have a Christian edge, but I just ignored the bible references (there are only maybe six or seven in the whole book), and read on. But it was useful for me to try to work out what currency matters to each child. Some kids are more attached to 'stuff' than others. Some prefer acts of service, others are more in need of physical touch. Of course, they all need all manner of demonstrations of love, but they do have preferences. It sounds to me that you need to work hard to find out what your ds's are, and fill him up with those, rather than focus on trying to keep level a playing field that in itself is grossly uneven.

Even in a traditional mum-dad-kids family, you can't keep all things equal, and nor should you want to. I used to worry that my older kids had a very special relationship with a retired friend/neighbor, but my youngest was ignored. Then last year we made a new friend, also a retiree, who simply lights up when he sees ds. Just yesterday he came around and had a gift for ds and not the other kids. The others helped him open it, and played with it for a few minutes, then went off to do their own thing. It was no big deal to them. If it had been, I'd have reminded them that friend #1 often pays little attention to ds, and lots to them.

In blended families you have little control over these factors, and you have to stop trying to control too much, or you'll go crazy. I agree that all the kids will need to make sacrifices at some stage for one another, but I'd try to keep those to a minimum - ie pick your battles and only expect a sacrifice if there is no alternative.

Good luck!
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#38 of 48 Old 04-19-2009, 04:03 PM
 
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Look at it this way- your bio children are always with both their parents, your step children are not.
I know your ds doesn't have both parents, and that is a sad reality. I truly believe that each of us has a certain amount of negative things to deal with in life; this is one of his. Other people have both parents, but deal with a health issue or learning difficulty or something else.

So ds deals with the fact that his dad walked away. DSDs deal with the fact that their parents divorced, and they go back and forth between two homes. DD deals with her sisters getting Easter baskets when she didn't. It isn't possible to make things fair in any family - blended or not.

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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.
I don't understand who is who in this. #2 is your biological dd? SS is her stepsister? SS got a computer from her biological parents. These same two people (who are not #2's parents?) gave her a gift card for her birthday. I don't understand how that is a problem unless #2 and SS have the same two parents who got them wildly different gifts. Why would SS's parents give your dd an expensive gift? I'm confused...

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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.

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?
This is a good point. It isn't up to your dp's ex to buy YOUR kids Easter baskets or NOT to buy them for her own kids. I think that is an unrealistic expectation. If you choose not to do Easter baskets for your kids, that doesn't mean she can't for hers.

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sorry DD and one on the way, you will always feel the sting of jealousy. and kids do feel jealousy no matter how well you try to teach them to be happy for the other ones.
I think your DSDs get the shorter end of the stick in ways that really count, and your DD will understand that when she is older. It sounds like you are really focused on fairness and jealousy in regards to material things. I'd try to step away from that and see if it helps the kids follow suit.

And if the "they got Easter baskets and they didn't" bothers you, I'd do simple Easter baskets for all four kids at your house. I found really cute playing cards shaped like a bunny head in the $1 section at Target. Every month, there are $1 and $2 books in the Scholastic flyer; mark the form "gift - I will pick up". I put things like cute (but practical) socks and undies in my kids' baskets. Hair ponies. Art supplies. Things they like but that you'd have to supply at some point anyway. I keep a box on the high shelf in my closet with items I find on sale that my kids would love - that I use for Easter baskets, Xmas stockings, etc.
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#39 of 48 Old 04-20-2009, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So ds deals with the fact that his dad walked away. DSDs deal with the fact that their parents divorced, and they go back and forth between two homes. DD deals with her sisters getting Easter baskets when she didn't. It isn't possible to make things fair in any family - blended or not.
just explaining. DSD1 and 2's mom lost custody per CPS. DSD2 is DH's bio. DSD1 is neither mine nor his. she has 3 homes. she gets 3 times the amount of stuff and is very very rub your face in it. she will be moving to her bio dad's house next month.

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#40 of 48 Old 04-20-2009, 02:33 PM
 
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just explaining. DSD1 and 2's mom lost custody per CPS. DSD2 is DH's bio. DSD1 is neither mine nor his. she has 3 homes. she gets 3 times the amount of stuff and is very very rub your face in it. she will be moving to her bio dad's house next month.
I'm not sure having 3 homes is such a great thing at that age, or any age. Don't get me wrong, I don't think any child should "rub it in", especially when it comes to material things. But when I hear about a kid who has three homes, I can't help but to feel sad for her.

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#41 of 48 Old 04-20-2009, 03:05 PM
 
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I agree with Oriole...and I can see a child in that situation showing what "stuff" (materially) she has to people because perhaps she doesn't feel as if she has security in other areas? Maybe that's what she holds on to to show herself that she has value? Not that that is something that you want to see in a child in general, but maybe it would help if it made sense as to why she was doing it.

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#42 of 48 Old 04-21-2009, 02:59 AM
 
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just explaining. DSD1 and 2's mom lost custody per CPS. DSD2 is DH's bio. DSD1 is neither mine nor his. she has 3 homes. she gets 3 times the amount of stuff and is very very rub your face in it. she will be moving to her bio dad's house next month.
It sounds to me like her bragging is a symptom of feelings about her complex living arrangements. Poor little thing. I'd try to focus on how she must feel with this shunting around rather than worry about the material stuff or her behaviour about it.

More is not always better, and I'm sure that deep down she knows that. But the material 'stuff' probably gives her a feeling of being loved and attached. Children need attachment, and it looks to me that she is finding her attachment through material items that prove to her outwardly that she is loved. And that is sad.

Honestly, again, I'd try to examine your tone. I would never, in a million years, describe my children in that way - ie "very very rub your face in it." Not even when my kids are at their most obnoxious. It just is not very gentle or sympathetic. It would all speak volumes more if you expressed it like this:

"DSD1 has a more complex living arrangement. She's been through a lot of changes - right now she's living in three homes, and next month she moves again to her bio-dad's. The adults in her life seem to want to compensate for this difficult arrangement by buying her excess material 'stuff'. DSD1 finds it hard to handle this appropriately, and seems to latch onto this stuff as proof of her own importance and worth. This means that sometimes she brags about the amount that she has to her siblings, and at times this can come across as quite obnoxious. It sometimes makes the other kids feel resentful. I really want to help her feel secure and loved, and am unsure how to handle her bragging behavior."

What a difference that would make. If you could reframe this in your mind, I think that you could help improve your other kids' responses to dsds, and also help her in managing this very difficult, sad situation your dsd is in.
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#43 of 48 Old 04-21-2009, 10:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not sure having 3 homes is such a great thing at that age, or any age. Don't get me wrong, I don't think any child should "rub it in", especially when it comes to material things. But when I hear about a kid who has three homes, I can't help but to feel sad for her.
it is not a good thing, and it is at the bottom of her behavior. CPS was going to have us and bio dad share custody with mom getting visits. we said no. bio dad is a good dad and wants custody. give it to him. she will have his home as a main home, visit her mom at whatever home she has, and then once a month come visit us if it works out. she will see her sister when she visits her mom. but 3 different homes, and she spends equal time at them, is ridiculous.

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#44 of 48 Old 04-21-2009, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Honestly, again, I'd try to examine your tone. I would never, in a million years, describe my children in that way - ie "very very rub your face in it." Not even when my kids are at their most obnoxious. It just is not very gentle or sympathetic. It would all speak volumes more if you expressed it like this:

"DSD1 has a more complex living arrangement. She's been through a lot of changes - right now she's living in three homes, and next month she moves again to her bio-dad's. The adults in her life seem to want to compensate for this difficult arrangement by buying her excess material 'stuff'. DSD1 finds it hard to handle this appropriately, and seems to latch onto this stuff as proof of her own importance and worth. This means that sometimes she brags about the amount that she has to her siblings, and at times this can come across as quite obnoxious. It sometimes makes the other kids feel resentful. I really want to help her feel secure and loved, and am unsure how to handle her bragging behavior."

What a difference that would make. If you could reframe this in your mind, I think that you could help improve your other kids' responses to dsds, and also help her in managing this very difficult, sad situation your dsd is in.
i have described it that way, to social workers, her therapist etc. but for you guys i wanted to make it short. let's not beat around the bush here.

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#45 of 48 Old 04-21-2009, 10:55 AM
 
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I am actually OK with the no-beating-around-the-bush, as long as YOU understand the the obnoxious behavior stems from terrible insecurity. Which you obviously do.

On behalf of the entire human race, thank you for taking in this child when her mother dropped the ball. I hope that her move to her biodad's home is the best thing for her, you and all the kids and adults involved.
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#46 of 48 Old 04-27-2009, 07:22 PM
 
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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.
I think that this is a good way to handle it...let the kids and the other parents know that if it is brought home, it will be divided and shared. If that's not wanted then keep it at the other house maybe...?

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#47 of 48 Old 04-28-2009, 08:33 PM
 
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On behalf of the entire human race, thank you for taking in this child when her mother dropped the ball. I hope that her move to her biodad's home is the best thing for her, you and all the kids and adults involved.
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#48 of 48 Old 04-29-2009, 12:01 AM
 
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I think I finally understand what is going on... that was hard to follow!

Sounds to me like so long as you keep talking, the other parent's involved are listening. That's awesome! Hang in there when it's frustrating, seems that the adults involved (you included) have the kid's interests at heart and are listening.

I TOTALLY would have sent the baskets "home" - I'd also have done it the same way, "Hey, wouldn't you like to take this to your mother's house?"

We do that trick all the time with the obnoxious toys she buys them

Blarg, blarg-blargity- BLARG!!!

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