Keeping in touch - whose responsibility is it? - Mothering Forums
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 17 Old 11-15-2009, 10:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
Barefoot~Baker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 762
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My mother and SF complain that they never hear from SS and SB. Strangely, my DS, DB and I seem to be closer to my SF than his bio children. We call all the time. My mother says that they used to call my SB and his gf and invite them over, but rarely got a phone call back, so now they don't bother calling anymore.

I remember when my SS and SB were in their early teens and lived with their mother, my SF would complain to me that they never called him. I told him that I thought it was too much to expect his children to be responsible to make the phone calls, and that since he was the father and the adult, that he should be the one initiating contact. He hadn't thought of it that way, and said "really? you think so?" I'm not sure what happened after that but I do remember that conversation.

So now it's 15 years later and all of the children are adults. Who bears the responsibility? Is it 50/50 now? Are my parents right to give up on calling my SS and SB? I kind of feel bad for them.

I know it's not all black and white, but I just wanted to know what you all would think.

Single Mom with a BF  stillheart.gif  Mommy to 2 girlsphotosmile2.gif blahblah.gif & 2 boys jog.gifsuperhero.gif nocirc.gif

 wash.gif banghead.gif Using the Law of Attraction candle.gif om.gif Loving my Family  cat.gif 

Barefoot~Baker is offline  
#2 of 17 Old 11-15-2009, 12:22 PM
 
BetsyS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: world of craziness
Posts: 5,387
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My dad is remarried (for almost 15 years--all of my adult life). I don't talk to him and SM very often, either.

Honestly? It's awkward. There isn't a very deep relationship there, just very superficial. I wonder if sometimes he thinks that we should talk more, but we don't, and I'm okay with that (we talk on the phone about every 2 months; we see each other 3-4 times a year; we live an hour away).

If it was this great, close relationship, it'd be different. But, it always feels like it's just duty to see them/talk to them, so I don't put forth a lot of effort.

I'd say that if one party (the SB or the SF) feels the relationship isn't as close as they'd like, then it's that party's responsibility to do the calling/connecting to try to change things. Otherwise, it's working for both parties, and there's not a lot of motivation to change things, you know?
BetsyS is offline  
#3 of 17 Old 11-15-2009, 01:15 PM
 
noobmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,053
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think it's sad that your mom and SF call and invite your step-siblings over and they don't even return the calls. That's pretty rude.

In general, I think adult children have more responsible to keep up with their parents than vice versa. Not hugely more, but I do think it's the respectful way to treat your parents. But that's not true for children separated from their parents in divorce situations. I think the non-custodial parent should be making all or most of the effort. So it may be that their history has set them up for this level of interaction.
noobmom is offline  
#4 of 17 Old 11-15-2009, 02:29 PM
 
jeteaa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Out there
Posts: 907
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I agree with BestyS.... but I would add that NO one is responsible for the communication. Because that would imply that it is expected that they communicate. Its simple, if your SF wants to chat w/ his kids, then he should just call or e-mail them. If his kids don't call him or e-mail him, it means that they don't want to talk with him, and there is NOTHING wrong with that. They are adults after all, and can have or not relationships with whom ever they choose. BUT, if a FORMAL invite has been made by SF to his kids, then yes, it is rude for them to not respond, but I thinks its still OK if they say no to visiting. EVERY time we see my MIL (who we don't especially like), she says "bring the kids over sometime". We do not interpret that as a formal invite so we just smile and leave, not feeling we have to say yes or no. So the invite issue kind of depends of how you SF is inviting them to visit.
jeteaa is offline  
#5 of 17 Old 11-15-2009, 02:38 PM
 
Alyantavid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 7,724
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Well with my mom and mil, it's pretty equal. We call as often as they do and we go to see them as often as they see us. Same with fil and dh, they call each other.

With my dad, it's all me. I keep trying to get my kids out to see him but he's always busy or something. He never calls me. At this point, it's getting to where I don't have much desire to keep pursuing a relationship with him when he has other priorities.
Alyantavid is offline  
#6 of 17 Old 11-15-2009, 03:28 PM
 
eepster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: growing in the Garden State ............
Posts: 9,510
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I don't think it's a question of who's resposibility is it to call in a relationship that everyone wants.
Quote:
My mother says that they used to call my SB and his gf and invite them over, but rarely got a phone call back, so now they don't bother calling anymore.
If they have called SB and SS, and SB and SS choose repeatedly to not call back, then it's a good sign that SB and SS don't want a relationship very much. If your SF were to simply keep pressing them at some point it would cross the line into harassment.

SF has made an effort, the ball is now in SB and SS court, they can choose to either return the volley and play the game or they can walk away. Continuing to pelt balls at them though isn't going to achieve anything.

Timmy's Mommy WARNINGyslexic typing with help of preschooler, beware of typos
eepster is offline  
#7 of 17 Old 11-15-2009, 05:35 PM
 
gbailey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 1,498
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think it's rude to not return phone calls and if after repeatedly calling someone nad not getting a call back, I don't call anymore. Some people are really busy but I personally believe we make time for what we want to make time for.

I personally prefer email to the telephone but I always return calls when someone leaves me a message. Communication is a two way thing.
gbailey is offline  
#8 of 17 Old 11-16-2009, 07:22 PM
 
EnviroBecca's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 5,131
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Gah. My only sibling and I mildly have this issue with our parents. Each of us moved 1000+ miles away at age 18.

In college, we'd talk on the phone with our parents once a week or more, with them making about half the calls, and the only time it got problematic was when they repeatedly called while we were out and started to worry and call every hour until they reached us. Once I got an answering machine, I'd return their calls ASAP.

Well, once I (the older sibling) was out of college, my parents started calling me less and less often. The one time I made a really serious direct effort to discuss this with them, they said it was because of e-mail...but they don't e-mail me all that often either and especially not to "just talk" and tell me all their news; most of their e-mails are brief "check out this link" or "What's a good date for us to visit?" type. By my late 20s, my parents were calling me only on my birthday and Christmas (if we didn't spend it together) and for emergencies, and if I call them any time other than their birthdays, Mother's Day, and Father's Day, they act surprised if I don't state an urgent reason for the call. They're happy to just talk, and we'll often talk for an hour or more, but it's something they rarely think of initiating.

Meanwhile, my brother noticed they were calling him less often after college and decided he was going to call them every weekend anyway. I'm glad they've never said to me, "Why don't you call us like your brother does?" but irritated that they once fretted to me that he might be insecure or lonely because he "always" calls them and maybe he didn't have enough friends to talk to...so then whenever he's busy and happens not to call them one weekend, they call him on Monday all worried that something is wrong!!! He can't win! Worst was when he went on a long bicycle trip and got a cell phone and they fretted at him that they might not be able to reach him if he was out of range...and then throughout his trip, they hardly ever called him!

Thanks for the opportunity to vent.

Anyway, it seems to me that the responsibility for INITIATING contact rests with the person who wants the contact. Once the contact has been made, the person contacted is responsible for following up. For example, if A leaves a message on B's answering machine asking for a call back, B should call A at his earliest convenience. If A then invites B to come over next Tuesday at 6:30 and B says he'll have to check with his girlfriend, then B should get back to A with a yes or no. But if A says, "Why don't you come over sometime?" and B says, "Gosh, I'm really busy now," A should not expect to hear from B in the near future and should check in again in a week or two. IMO, these rules hold for parents and children, regardless of which one is A, just as they do for friends and such.

Mama to a boy EnviroKid treehugger.gif 9 years old and a new little girl EnviroBaby baby.gif!

I write about parenting, environment, cooking, and more. computergeek2.gif

EnviroBecca is offline  
#9 of 17 Old 11-16-2009, 11:26 PM
 
SweetPotato's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 911
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I guess I'm not really comfortable with the idea of it being any one party's responsibility. My father and stepmother don't initiate contact with me/my family nearly as much as I'd like- I definitely seem to put the most effort into maintaining the relationship. It hurts my feelings a bit, but it is important to me, and so I keep it up. I don't feel that I'm harrassing them in any way (we live far apart and I call every week)- I'm just trying to create opportunities for us to stay up to date on eachother's lives, because I don't want us to drift apart and I want my dd to know them, etc. Unless there was some sort of abuse, I think that it's sad and rude of the grown children to not at least respond when the parents try to initiate contact. The parents are certainly allowed to give up, if that's what they choose to do-- but that is still making a choice to abandon the relationship. Only they can decide if the relationship is important enough to themselves to be worth pursuing (and just accepting that they might end up doing most of the "work" of keeping them together)
SweetPotato is offline  
#10 of 17 Old 11-17-2009, 09:44 AM
 
manamakeri's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Space Coast, FL
Posts: 120
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I rarely talk to my family, maybe once every couple months. I love them, but I rarely have anything new or interesting to say so I simply don't call. On the other hand, they never call me. Whenever we talk it is always me calling. Sometimes I can hear the guilt trip about not calling more often in my mom's voice, but if she wanted to talk to me, she should call me. It is as simple as that. It definitely shouldn't be one-sided. I should not always be the one to call.

Mom to one amazing little girl (32 months now!), 3 cats and 2 dogs. Wife to my hardworking hubby of 4 years. belly.gif again after 2 losses.  fly-by-nursing1.gifcd.gif  familybed1.gif

manamakeri is offline  
#11 of 17 Old 11-17-2009, 07:04 PM
 
aniT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Oregon, by way of Cali.
Posts: 16,520
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Maybe there is a reason the Step Siblings don't call your parents back.
aniT is offline  
#12 of 17 Old 11-18-2009, 12:08 PM
 
Quinalla's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Ohio, USA
Posts: 2,354
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Well, a relationship is a two way street, so if both people/parties are interested in keeping it going, both should reach out to each other. But if one party thinks there is not enough contact and the other is fine with the amount of contact, it just makes sense that the party that wants more should initiate. I think people tend to make this overly complicated when it usually is simple. If you feel like talking to X, then call/e-mail/write them

Now I do agree it is very rude to not return calls, but again I see that as a common courtesy thing. If someone calls me and asks for a call back, unless there are other extenuating circumstances, I call back as soon as I can. And it is very discouraging when a friend hardly ever responds, so I can understand why your family member were discouraged, but if they want the relationship, they are going to have to initiate as the other party seems content to let things be.

Katie trekkie.gif - Married to Mike 06/02/01, Mom to Sydney Anne born 11/21/09 and Alice Maeryn & Oliver Thomas born 04/24/13  hug.gif 

 

 

Quinalla is offline  
#13 of 17 Old 11-18-2009, 03:41 PM
 
Storm Bride's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 27,300
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by BetsyS View Post
I'd say that if one party (the SB or the SF) feels the relationship isn't as close as they'd like, then it's that party's responsibility to do the calling/connecting to try to change things.
This. I'm sorry your (OP) SB and SS aren't returning calls, though. I wonder if they just don't feel any real relationship with their dad?

Lisa, lucky mama of Kelly (3/93) ribboncesarean.gif, Emma (5/03) ribboncesarean.gif, Evan (7/05) ribboncesarean.gif, & Jenna (6/09) ribboncesarean.gif
Loving my amazing dh, James & forever missing ribbonpb.gif Aaron Ambrose ribboncesarean.gif (11/07) ribbonpb.gif

Storm Bride is offline  
#14 of 17 Old 11-18-2009, 10:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
Barefoot~Baker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 762
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Everything you've all said makes sense to me. I think that the lack of contact on the part of my step-siblings is probably due to childhood issues and problems with their relationship with my sf, and my mom. It is rude not to call back though. If there's a real problem, I don't know, maybe they should discuss it.

Single Mom with a BF  stillheart.gif  Mommy to 2 girlsphotosmile2.gif blahblah.gif & 2 boys jog.gifsuperhero.gif nocirc.gif

 wash.gif banghead.gif Using the Law of Attraction candle.gif om.gif Loving my Family  cat.gif 

Barefoot~Baker is offline  
#15 of 17 Old 11-18-2009, 11:25 PM
 
aniT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Oregon, by way of Cali.
Posts: 16,520
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs. Turner View Post
Everything you've all said makes sense to me. I think that the lack of contact on the part of my step-siblings is probably due to childhood issues and problems with their relationship with my sf, and my mom. It is rude not to call back though. If there's a real problem, I don't know, maybe they should discuss it.
Maybe they have tried and stepfather/mother can't grasp the problem or don't care. I wouldn't call my MIL back. I wouldn't call my "father" back. There is nothing to discuss. They live in their own reality which unfortunatly isn't the same one the rest of the universe lives in.

Seriously there is no law that says you must return calls of people you are trying to cut out.
aniT is offline  
#16 of 17 Old 11-19-2009, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
Barefoot~Baker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 762
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by aniT View Post
Maybe they have tried and stepfather/mother can't grasp the problem or don't care. I wouldn't call my MIL back. I wouldn't call my "father" back. There is nothing to discuss. They live in their own reality which unfortunatly isn't the same one the rest of the universe lives in.

Seriously there is no law that says you must return calls of people you are trying to cut out.
I see what you mean, but they don't actually want to cut my parents out. My parents recently got an email from ss (last week) which asked if they were ever going to hang out again. My parents were pretty miffed about it since they were the ones calling all the time and being rejected. This is the first time they've heard from ss in months. And my sb shows up for holidays and dinners (free food!) without rsvp'ing or calling any other time, unless he wants something.

Well it's not my problem, I'm not getting involved unless my parents ask me for my opinion. I just had been thinking about it and wondered what you all thought You all always have great perspective

Single Mom with a BF  stillheart.gif  Mommy to 2 girlsphotosmile2.gif blahblah.gif & 2 boys jog.gifsuperhero.gif nocirc.gif

 wash.gif banghead.gif Using the Law of Attraction candle.gif om.gif Loving my Family  cat.gif 

Barefoot~Baker is offline  
#17 of 17 Old 11-19-2009, 09:39 AM
 
BetsyS's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: world of craziness
Posts: 5,387
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs. Turner View Post
This is the first time they've heard from ss in months. And my sb shows up for holidays and dinners (free food!) without rsvp'ing or calling any other time, unless he wants something.
I "show up" for holidays with my dad and stepmother, and yes, I do eat their food, but trust me, it's not about free food. I let him cook, cause it seems like he wants that one thing to do for us, more than he wants us to help with the holiday meal. It's about obligation and family and hoping that this year, somehow, a deeper connection will be made, and he'll be more interested in my family and and and.... You get the idea.

So, yes, it might look like we just show up for the free food, but if things were different, I'd happilly pay for my own food. LOL
BetsyS is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off