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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone else had this issue?

My husband and I have been together for 10 years, married for 6. We don't have kids together (I can't have kids), but he has 2 kids from a previous marriage. They are 18 and 20 now, but were 8 and 10 when I met them. I have constantly struggled with my parents accepting his kids into our family. When we do "family" outings or events or holidays, they are never invited and we have to ask if we can bring them. Most of the time excuses are made as to why they "can't" come or they reluctantly say yes.

The issue I am running into right now, is that my parents recently started renting a house for my side of the family a week or 2 before Christmas to celebrate "Christmas" with each other since we are all so busy and have our own SO's families to do Christmas with as well. My husband asked if his kids were invited and in fact they weren't. I asked my mother if they could come out after we opened presents (since no one thought to get any gifts for them)and hang out. Her response was "would I be a bitch or selfish if I said no?". At this point, I feel caught in the middle. I don't know how to respond to my mom and I don't know how to handle the situation with my husband - he is upset with me because they weren't invited. I agree that my family should make it a point to be more inclusive of his kids, and I mentioned that to my mom, but her response above was her response to that suggestion as well.
 

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How do your step kids feel about this?

If you are basically their mom and they're deeply hurt, that's one thing.

If they like you well enough but have no interest getting to know your family and have enough trouble juggling the holidays with their bio family, that's something else.

If this is important to your step kids and you consider them your kids and they consider you their mom, you should stand up and say so. Demand your kids be treated like your kids.

If this isn't important to them, or if it's even an inconvenience to them, then your husband should back off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
How do your step kids feel about this?

If you are basically their mom and they're deeply hurt, that's one thing.

If they like you well enough but have no interest getting to know your family and have enough trouble juggling the holidays with their bio family, that's something else.

If this is important to your step kids and you consider them your kids and they consider you their mom, you should stand up and say so. Demand your kids be treated like your kids.

If this isn't important to them, or if it's even an inconvenience to them, then your husband should back off.
I haven't really discussed this with the kids directly. Their mom had full custody of them when my husband and I got married, so we only had them on the weekends for the most part. I have never felt like they considered me a "mom figure" (I'm not acknowledged on Mother's Day). I feel like this (accepting his kids into the family) has definitely been my husband's agenda since he and I got married. I always assumed that he was advocating for them because they felt left out. I can only imagine though, that it must hurt on some level for them to be excluded by my family. If I tell my husband to back off the subject, he just gets more upset with them and me. He has always had a chip on his shoulder thinking that I too don't make an effort with them or I exclude them.
 

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They're old enough that you can ask them outright. Do it tactfully of course, but you can find out if they feel excluded by your family and if they'd like to be accepted as part of your extended family. If they don't, pushing could alienate everyone.

Don't assume your husband is working off what his kids have said unless he tells you. He may feel torn in two about going to "family" events without his kids- even if his kids don't mind.

That said, in case the kids do want to be included- can you ask WHY your family is so opposed to them?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
They're old enough that you can ask them outright. Do it tactfully of course, but you can find out if they feel excluded by your family and if they'd like to be accepted as part of your extended family. If they don't, pushing could alienate everyone.

Don't assume your husband is working off what his kids have said unless he tells you. He may feel torn in two about going to "family" events without his kids- even if his kids don't mind.

That said, in case the kids do want to be included- can you ask WHY your family is so opposed to them?
Good advice, thank you. With regard to why my family is so opposed to them - I have been wondering the same thing myself. My SD is a good kid (my SS not so much). My family likes my husband now, but were opposed to me marrying a man that had kids already. Maybe they have had a hard time accepting them into the family because the kids were older when we got married? Or maybe they are resentful because I will never give them any "real" grand kids?? I really don't know..
 

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I'm the bio mom and have been lucky that my husbands family welcomed my kids. His mom right off the bat said "I'm your Nana and you have 5 cousins that can't wait to meet you and two uncles and aunts up here, too!" She was awesome for that.

That being said, IF my husbands family rejected my kids, I would have eventually expected him to prioritize us over them. I would rather spend my holidays with my spouse and kids than my mom, if I had to choose between them, and if my husband didn't share that opinion I would definitely feel betrayed.

They are older now, so I'm not sure how I'd handle the situation with your kids. With my kids, my philosophy is to always invite them to participate and let them do the rejecting. A lot of people assume teenagers aren't interested in family time but if you're consistently inclusive you catch moments where they didn't have anything better to do (ha ha) Or you catch them at a nostalgic moment and they like the idea of doing that kid activity. You can't force your family to change their minds, but talking about it with them might be helpful.
 

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Mummoth;19160433That being said said:
You don't always have to choose between them, and all families are different. The important thing isn't pushing your views on someone else or trying to condense all situations into the same thing, it's taking a serious look at the situation and figuring out if everyone's needs are met.

If my partner wanted to visit their parents for Christmas instead of spending it with us, I'd have no problem with it and try to find a way to make it work. I actually suggested it this year and worked really hard to figure out if we could make my partner visiting the ILs without me work because I can't afford to take that much time off work. If I wanted to spend any time with my parents instead of my partner and child- my partner would probably have me committed.

This case certainly isn't a "choose". The celebration she listed is hosted a week or two before Christmas, super easy to schedule that AND immediate family Christmas. Which was probably the idea.

They are older now, so I'm not sure how I'd handle the situation with your kids. With my kids, my philosophy is to always invite them to participate and let them do the rejecting. A lot of people assume teenagers aren't interested in family time but if you're consistently inclusive you catch moments where they didn't have anything better to do (ha ha) Or you catch them at a nostalgic moment and they like the idea of doing that kid activity. You can't force your family to change their minds, but talking about it with them might be helpful.
I'm not young adults (because 18 and 20 is "young adult" territory to me) aren't interested in family time. I'm questioning if the kids consider it family time. If they don't want anything to do with her extended family, trying to push it on them will only cause more friction. And even invitations can feel like pushing, depending on the personalities and dynamic.

It's one of the ways that blending is a tightrope act. You need to make it clear the invitation is open- but if they don't want the extended step-family in their life, as adults they have that choice and it should be respected. I think it's valuable to make sure the kids want this first. It makes no sense to me to potentially cause a family rift over including two adults who don't even want to be included.
 

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Yeah, that would bug me. I imagine you husband may also feel like he is a little rejected by the family if he isn't allowed to invite his kids for Christmas. Frankly, even if the kids weren't as upset, I would still be hurt in that situation.

But I would also be asking why. What is the reason for now allowing the kids? Is there a logistical problem that is quite reasonable? Or is your mom actually being what she asked if she was being?

If it were my mom, I would ask why. And if she didn't have a reason, then I would say, "Yeah, mom, that's not okay." But that's the kind of relationship I have with my mom.

And I can relate because my parents don't fully accept my kids. They try, and I have to give them credit for that. But it's a forced effort.
 
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Yeah, that would bug me. I imagine you husband may also feel like he is a little rejected by the family if he isn't allowed to invite his kids for Christmas. Frankly, even if the kids weren't as upset, I would still be hurt in that situation.

But I would also be asking why. What is the reason for now allowing the kids? Is there a logistical problem that is quite reasonable? Or is your mom actually being what she asked if she was being?

If it were my mom, I would ask why. And if she didn't have a reason, then I would say, "Yeah, mom, that's not okay." But that's the kind of relationship I have with my mom.

And I can relate because my parents don't fully accept my kids. They try, and I have to give them credit for that. But it's a forced effort.
I look at it this way. I am married. My family unit includes my husband and any children we have and care for together.
If my family did not accept any of my family unit, then it would be natural for me to choose my husband and children over those who do not have hearts large enough to accept others into their lives.


I may occasionally join in on family things, if I missed them, and it did not contradict with or take away from time with my family unit.
Or I may not. To be honest, your parents are displaying ungracious behavior. And I would personally take affront to that, if it were me, no matter the level of my children's interest (and yes step children are my children when they are with me.)


I don't understand why people can't be more arms open in life. vs arms folded.
 

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I look at it this way. I am married. My family unit includes my husband and any children we have and care for together.
If my family did not accept any of my family unit, then it would be natural for me to choose my husband and children over those who do not have hearts large enough to accept others into their lives.


I may occasionally join in on family things, if I missed them, and it did not contradict with or take away from time with my family unit.
Or I may not. To be honest, your parents are displaying ungracious behavior. And I would personally take affront to that, if it were me, no matter the level of my children's interest (and yes step children are my children when they are with me.)


I don't understand why people can't be more arms open in life. vs arms folded.
 

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Unless our entire family was invited to a family function I wouldn't go. I understand somw things like weddings are adults only vut if everyone else was welcome to bring their bio children but step kids were excluded I would refuse to attend and I'd make sure they knew why. I find excluding step kids extremely petty
 

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Wow. I'm sorry you have to deal with this from your mother. I'm finding that it can be very hard to figure out your role as a stepmother, as you are essentially expected (and expect yourself) to love your stepchild like he/she is "your own", when they're not, really; and the child may very well not want to be "your own", etc. However, the roles of extended stepfamily seem a lot easier. How hard can it be, to buy a couple extra holiday gifts for your step-grandchildren, attend their birthday parties, make it clear they're invited to family functions, and give them a hug and say "I love you" on your way out the door? Many grandparents don't know their biological grandchildren terribly well, or don't get much time with them, yet they make the effort to do these things because they're appropriate. It's not like grandparents live with their step-grandchildren and are forced to navigate the sometimes-awkward realities of step relationships on a daily basis!

The grandmother, mother, aunts, uncles, and cousins of my older sons' stepmom embraced my sons like they were the stepmom's biological children. (She married their dad several years before she had any children of her own.) That was great for my kids; great for their dad's and stepmom's relationship, and I never felt competitive or resentful about it. I did have some expectations of my kids' stepmom, but none really of her extended family. So any warmth they show toward my kids has always made me happy.

My husband and I both brought children into our marriage. Both of our parents are closer to their biological grandchildren (whom they've known since birth, and helped care for) than their step-grandchildren. But all of our parents make all the appropriate gestures, to treat their biological and step-grandchildren as though they're equally important to them.

Both of my brothers were childless when they married women with kids. One brother has gone on to have a biological child with his wife. The other brother probably never will. My parents, siblings and I all invite the stepkids to everything, attend their birthday parties, tell them we love them and call them our grandkids/nieces/nephews. If nothing else, we'd feel disrespectful toward my brothers, if we didn't. My brothers chose to make these kids part of their families - or, really, to join the families these kids already had. What right do the rest of us have, to treat my brothers' chosen children as anything less than family members?

I'm not saying all this to make you feel worse, but to affirm your sense that your mother's attitude is not right - that's it's not you, having unreasonable expectations/disappointment.
 
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