my family treats my child from second marriage differently - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 10-26-2010, 11:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know he's the youngest. My only boy. Third child. All reasons why, sometimes, he might get left out. But it's more than just a little obvious that he is less well regarded among my family (my mom, my dad (they are divorced...so not a unit), my sister, my last living grandparent). It really makes me sad. For his second birthday, EVERYONE forgot. Just completely forgot. And I had seen my grandmother and dad about a week before, had traveled very far to where they live (Chicago, I'm in Florida), and had even said multiple times how excited we were about his birthday coming up. No one said, Gee, he's in town now, can we celebrate it early? (I would have jumped at it). And his birthday came, and not one card, present, not even a phone call. Then they sent some late presents, because I pointed it out, but it's so ridiculously unfair. For my other children's birthdays, some of these same relatives had come to town from far away to be there...my dad and sister were there for my middle child's birthday in March, and mom and sister came for my oldest child's birthday in July (son's birthday is in September). My dad traveled to both my oldest children's second birthdays, really treating them as a big deal, not "They're too young to remember" but "They'll be so excited, I can't wait to see it". They never ask to talk to him on the phone.

Now, and this just blows me away, my grandmother just sent a present of some clothes she'd picked out for the girls. She had 3-4 outfits each, plus a check for one of them ($50!) because she felt she hadn't found enough in her size. The note was addressed just to the girls. And as a post-script she put "These are just for the girls, not [son], for school clothes as he's not there yet." WHAT??!?! She usually will include little gifts for the other kids when she sends a birthday present for one. And come to think of it, I don't think she's ever bought any clothes for him, even though she has bought a lot for the girls over the years (it's gone in spurts, she's been mad at me about homeschooling for a while and we just enrolled the girls in public school, so now I'm "good" again, especially since the girls are getting straight As and doing wonderfully, just like I always knew they were doing).

I know this is a rant. But I'm looking for experiences and suggestions. What I really fear is this continuing to the point where my son notices (he's three now, and almost aware enough to realize he's being left out). For what it's worse, my grandmother really dislikes my husband for no reason, so we really don't visit her anymore, she's just mean to him and it's not worth it. She's disliked him since she first met him. I've never really confronted her about that, though, as my husband is a grown man and the way we've chosen to deal with it is to just stay away. She did stop by our house for my oldest child's birthday this year and it was miserable, gave us less than 24 hours warning, we had a weekend already planned and had to change it around at the last minute, and again, she was mean to my husband, this time in his own house.

I'm also very torn and sad about this because I used to be really close to my grandmother, she was more like a mother to me for a number of years, and I miss her and am sad that my kids are missing out. She's getting older too (83) and there's probably not much time left to build bridges and not a ton of use to burn them, unless my kids are getting hurt, which I fear they will be soon.

I feel like sending this check back to her and saying no thanks, not unless it's for Cypress too. I just don't know a polite way to handle it. I also really feel bad about how she's treated my husband and wish I could address it in some way as well.
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#2 of 12 Old 10-27-2010, 12:11 AM
 
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Just wanted to offer and to let you know I am dealing with a somewhat similar situation, but all my kids are with the only dh I've ever had.

My oldest dd gets to go and do things with my mom ALL THE TIME, gets treats, clothing etc. My second dd is basically non-existent. I used to wonder why, and my dad and maternal grandmother pointed it out...dd1 looks like my twin as a child, dd2 not so much. I have told my mother she needs to be more even in her approach, but I've gotten the same excuses, L is in school, K is not. L is older, more mature (which honestly, if she was to ever spend some time with K she would realize that is just the opposite of reality) It is sad because K calls my mom "the mean grandma" and that in turn only makes things that much harder to get grandma to want to spend time with her. K has just become used to it and she is now 100% a grandpa's girl (same family unit, my parents are together) where as L is not really into spending time with grandpa. It is so sad that she doesn't get the same attention from grandma that her sister does especially knowing it is not because of a choice she made, but rather the fact my mom is not overly fond of my dh. The only consolation I can take from it is knowing that at least grandpa more than makes up for it with all his loving he shows her (I was always closer to my dad anyways, and come to think of it, maybe my mom is more attached to L because she looks like me and she thinks she is getting a do over?)

Sorry if I hijacked your thread OP with my rambling thoughts toward the end, but my intention was to let you know it does happen even in intact family's and it sucks just as much. But somehow it will work out, I don't know how yet, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed and trying to tell myself it will!

Oh, and I forgot to add, I'd keep the $ and spend it on ds! If she asks what you bought with it tell her clothes! You wouldn't be lying, you just don't have to tell her who the clothes were for! I've personally done that quite often...in fact I have a $25 check on my counter waiting for my to do just that for dd2!

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#3 of 12 Old 10-27-2010, 01:27 AM
 
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I haven't had to deal with this just yet but I can see it happening in the future. I have 2 DSDs and I am pregnant with my first child. My family loves my DSDs, they are the only grandchildren in the family right now. But this baby will be their first blood grandchild. Plus it'll be a baby and my family (aunts, uncles, ect) is crazy about babies since there haven't been any (me and my sibling are the only children in the family, no cousins, and we are adults now). Everyone would compete for our love when we were little.

I've already decided that as much as it will hurt, if they don't treat them all the same way, I will have to have a talk with them first. If it doesn't change then I will send back presents and not let them see the kids. I'd rather do that then have my DSDs feel unwanted because they aren't related by blood. They'll have enough trouble with their Mom reminding them that we and the baby aren't their 'family'.

The DSDs are already old enough to notice their Mom prefers one over the other. I'd hate for them to have to deal with that with us too.



Regardless of kids being in school or not, they all deserve the same attention. He needs clothes as much as they do, he can't wear girl hand-me downs lol.
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#4 of 12 Old 10-27-2010, 10:42 AM
 
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I haven't had to deal with this just yet but I can see it happening in the future. I have 2 DSDs and I am pregnant with my first child. My family loves my DSDs, they are the only grandchildren in the family right now. But this baby will be their first blood grandchild. Plus it'll be a baby and my family (aunts, uncles, ect) is crazy about babies since there haven't been any (me and my sibling are the only children in the family, no cousins, and we are adults now). Everyone would compete for our love when we were little.

I've already decided that as much as it will hurt, if they don't treat them all the same way, I will have to have a talk with them first. If it doesn't change then I will send back presents and not let them see the kids. I'd rather do that then have my DSDs feel unwanted because they aren't related by blood. They'll have enough trouble with their Mom reminding them that we and the baby aren't their 'family'.

The DSDs are already old enough to notice their Mom prefers one over the other. I'd hate for them to have to deal with that with us too.



Regardless of kids being in school or not, they all deserve the same attention. He needs clothes as much as they do, he can't wear girl hand-me downs lol.
Maybe you could talk to your family about your concerns beforehand, that you don't want the girls to feel left out or unloved, etc? I, too, have 2 stepdaughters and wanted to make sure they were included from the beginning. On the other hand, my DSDs also have their mom's, stepdad's, husband's and my family, whereas son only has DH's and my family. Still, I don't want any notable differences made in either of our families and I wouldn't stand for it. I know just where you are coming from. It was very important that my DSDs be accepted into my family, and they have been. Other than new baby things and hand-me-downs they don't really give gifts, save each family buys for one other family at Christmas (we have a very large family). I did ask that they if they do something for the girls that will be mailed to their home, they either include DSDs younger half sister, or let me know so I can do something for her so she isn't left out when gifts come in the mail. I was sensitive to this because DH would mail packages for his daughters and never included anything for their little sister. I talked to him about it and he asked his older daughter how she felt. She said that it made her sad to see her little sister left out. We've been including her. I know we don't have to, but I feel it's the right thing to do.

Maybe you could arrange for a member of your family to spend some quality time with DSDs after the baby arrives, so that they still feel special? Just a thought.
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#5 of 12 Old 10-28-2010, 12:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Crystal, thanks for sharing your similar experience. I was a victim of favoring by my aunt as a child, and it really did feel uncomfortable to be the favored, just as I saw my sister be treated poorly. I really don't want to let that happen for my kids. My sister and I were also given much less than our half-sister was, and that felt painful as well. I know sibling rivalry is somewhat silly and it drives me batty in my kids (she got more than me, I want one too!) but still, I think we should all get a fair shake and equal treatment. My family can be somewhat dysfunctional so there's not really good ways to say things, it will always be taken the wrong way. I'm sort of torn between saying something (which will stir the pot) or just subversively trying to counteract it, but a lot of me sees it only getting more painful as time goes on.

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Regardless of kids being in school or not, they all deserve the same attention. He needs clothes as much as they do, he can't wear girl hand-me downs lol.
So true! I actually don't need much at all for the girls, they have so much and can share a lot of things as well, and both have three families who have bought for them (their dad's, mine, and my husband's). DS, on the other hand, has no one giving him handme downs and goes through clothes rather quickly. I'd love someone helping buy him clothes! (I'll admit, though, that girls are more fun to shop for...boy clothes just don't quite cut it on the cuteness factor). Thanks for sharing your perspective, jstpmm. I'm leaning towards a "talk" and then implementing restrictions on visits. It just sucks to deprive my kids of family because adults can't act like adults!!

PoetryLover, what a nice touch! We've tried to be sympathetic to how DS doesn't have as much family as the DDs do, and so his little family is all the more important (DH has a very small family, where has ex's family is quite large). We have a somewhat similar crossover where the DDs have a younger half-brother on their dad's side who is 6 months older than DS. The two boys are actually quite interested in one another, and sometimes talk on the phone! It's cute and for now we're just trying to make it all as normal as can be.
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#6 of 12 Old 10-28-2010, 12:36 AM
 
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Is there some reason that your grandmother doesn't like your husband?

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#7 of 12 Old 10-28-2010, 12:37 AM
 
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I have dealt with this a lot. It is a very hard situation. With my inlaws, I would play dumb and say stuff like "oh, you meant this for XYZ." But if the grandma outright said not for Cypress, I would send it back. I am assuming she is not quite elderly and if you send it back, that might be the last time you speak to her due to age. My grandma is 84 yrs old and her mind is going, I can see it. I would not send anything back with her. I set the rules down with my own parents years ago, so they know not to do this. It led to us not speaking for months and then once we started speaking again, they didn't do what they had been doing ever again. That was over 10 years ago though. With my inlaws, things are so rocky that we are rarely speaking.
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#8 of 12 Old 10-28-2010, 01:41 PM
 
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Is there some reason that your grandmother doesn't like your husband?
:this

I don't know the whole backstory, but what really stuck out is that for whatever reason (you left husband #1 for husband #2--or your family "loved" your first husband and were hoping you'd get back with him, or, if you were a widow, that you'd remain single forever in memory of him, and this new husband and the resultant child are a reminder that you've moved on and there is no hope of you and h#1 getting back together, regardless of his current marital status. For all I know, you split because he came out as gay.) Or, grandma just doesn't like little boys. They are rambunctious, messy, loud bundles of energy. And the family goes along with the matriarch. Whatever. Your son should not have to pay for their "hangups".
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#9 of 12 Old 10-31-2010, 02:42 AM
 
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My mom is notorious about favoring girls. My oldest is her "angel child", and I have had to lay down the law with her about obviously favoring her. But she still does it. R goes to her house for two week visits, and the others don't even want to. But just talking about it has made her aware of her actions to some extent. She would never dream of doing what your family has done, pretending your ds doesn't even exist. And I always talk to her about what the others are doing. It's gotten better over the years, to the point where now my sons will run up and hug her when she comes to visit, and that kind of stuff just helps things snowball in a positive way.

It might help for you to put your son "out there" to the family, just going on about his activities and such on the phone. And I would say something to your grandma about how you appreciate what she sent for the girls so much, but you have a sad little boy on your hands who loves his great grandma. I don't know- does that kind of hinting work in your family?

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#10 of 12 Old 10-31-2010, 11:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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:this

I don't know the whole backstory, but what really stuck out is that for whatever reason (you left husband #1 for husband #2--or your family "loved" your first husband and were hoping you'd get back with him, or, if you were a widow, that you'd remain single forever in memory of him, and this new husband and the resultant child are a reminder that you've moved on and there is no hope of you and h#1 getting back together, regardless of his current marital status. For all I know, you split because he came out as gay.) Or, grandma just doesn't like little boys. They are rambunctious, messy, loud bundles of energy. And the family goes along with the matriarch. Whatever. Your son should not have to pay for their "hangups".
Oh, WOW. No, not at all. In fact, I'm kind of shocked that you would suggest ANY of those things. My ex left me when I was pregnant with number 2 because HE was having an affair and he has since married her...it had NOTHING to do with me and nothing I could do anything about (not that I don't now accept the decline in our marriage was something I should have realized, but really, it was his choices, not mine). And my grandmother, among her own children, really favors the boys...they can do no wrong.

When I met DH I was in law school, putting myself through as a single mother. We met and very quickly fell in love, and did have a surprise pregnancy, our child. But I'm not the first in my family to have this happen, and we did "the right thing." No, Grandma's dislike of my husband is irrational and for whatever reason, she really hates any spouse who marries into the family, male or female (and I think this is why every one of her children got divorced. Every one. And NONE have remarried. It's rather toxic.) She treats them poorly, makes snide comments, etc. It's been worse with DH, where she's actually said some things to the kids about him. She doesn't like that he homeschooled our children last year because he wasn't "educated enough" but her dislike started before that, so I'm not sure that would carry over to DS, as these things have been ongoing. It's kind of hard to convey how she manages to be unpleasant to anyone who marries into the family...Actually, that side of my family has somewhat unhealthy relationships across the board. (Grandma and Grandpa, on the other hand, were happily married until he passed away in his mid sixties, but that was 21 years ago...It was probably different when he was around). Wow. I'm sorry, I haven't even really read through the other responses because I just had to respond to this...it really threw me off.

Quote:
But if the grandma outright said not for Cypress, I would send it back. I am assuming she is not quite elderly and if you send it back, that might be the last time you speak to her due to age. My grandma is 84 yrs old and her mind is going, I can see it. I would not send anything back with her.
Yes, that's exactly where I stand. I can handle my family other than grandma and have told them there actions are completely unacceptable. But for her, she really is old and somewhat losing it. To be honest, I've been so glad she finally was happy with me again, becuase she used to be like a mother to me, and then right after to get that letter from her just hurt horribly. Maybe I just need to accept it and work around it...shelter the kids and try not to let it get to me. Then watch, she'll live to 95!

I wish a hint would work. I wish just making a big deal out of it would work. I'm sort of stuck because at this point, we don't even go visit her because of how she treats DH, and to have her mistreating DS from a distance is really sad. This time, the kids had no idea, but I'll have to see how it goes in the future, and maybe pre-open presents, etc.
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#11 of 12 Old 11-08-2010, 06:45 PM
 
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So, your daughters need school clothes and your son doesn't it and so grandma bought some for them. I don't, honestly, see the problem with that. Yes, she might have included a little something but her goal was specific. I buy gifts for my nephews of school clothes sometimes and one year one was homeschools and one required a uniform. I only bought the uniforms because that was needed; I wasn't buying goodies. (And I mean needed, my ex-SIL is horrible about this sort of thing.) Everything doesn't always have to be equal. Could I have bought the other a book or a fun shirt or something, sure? But I was buying something that needed.
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#12 of 12 Old 11-08-2010, 08:54 PM
 
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I don't have this issue with first/second marriage kids, but we DID have a big problem with this with girl/boys. I have one DD and three DS's and *everyone* showed massive favoritism towards DD. She got gifts, "treats" and outings that the boys were never included on.

I finally confronted my family with this. My parents both denied that this was going on. I think in a way they were truly blind to the intense favor they showed DD. But the pile of toys/clothes/etc. and many, many outings... plus the "when are grandma and grandpa going to take *me* out" from my boys made it pretty obvious.

I stressed things to them pretty consistently, and flat out said "NO" to things several times. For instance, we moved away from my parents. My mom came for a visit and wanted to plan a little "girl party" for DD and friends. I put my foot down and told her that wasn't going to happen - that the boys really do notice being left out.

Now things have gotten a lot better (with my parents) - they make effort to include everyone and they don't favor her so much. I am still very, very guarded about it, however. I don't care if she's the only girl, the boys deserve attentions just as she does. I'm not against children getting gifts/outings... but it should be a bit balanced and not exclusive.

JudiAU - I homeschool my children and still like to have them dressed nicely They don't wear school uniforms but I would find it a bit offensive if someone implied that my child didn't need "nice" clothing while say, a cousin attending public/private school did, just because they "weren't in school." My children are in school (our homeschool) and they appreciate looking nice, too. Children need new clothes seasonally - the season is actually called "Autumn" not "School."

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