Post # 1
I know that the majority of bees are not encore brides but you may have experience being the adult child of divorced/remarried parents. Hopefully an outside perspective can shed some light on this situation and help me to better manage it.
Since I met FI, his family has been very kind and generous to me. I enjoy spending time with them. They are very financially secure and extremely generous. Most of the time.
The piece of this situation that I don’t enjoy is holiday gift giving with his family. FI’s parents are very generous to me, him and his daughters. They are not toward my 3 children. It was very awkward and uncomfortable yesterday when everyone but my children received numerous gifts. My girls got two bottles of lotion from the dollar store and my son got a puzzle. Prior to Christmas, FI’s mom kept asking for his girls’ wish list. FI, knowing the situation and disliking it as much as I do, kept saying….we will give you the wish lists of all 5 children. You do not need to buy anyone gifts but we do have five children and if you’d like to get them something small, here are their lists. We even said not to buy for us. If you want to do anything, do for the children. We thought the situation would improve after this conversation.
Leading up to Christmas, FI’s parents would attend my children’s bday parties. They would not even give a card from the dollar store but the rest of us would get generous gift on our birthdays.
I don’t want future holidays to be filled with stressful anticipation and awkward gift giving. I’d much prefer the company and holiday cheer over any material item/gift giving.
Have you been in a similiar situation? How did you handle it or how might you handle this situation?
Thank you for letting me vent…
Post # 3
I would talk to his parents and say “hey – it’s OK if you have a preference for FI’s kids, they were your grandkids first. We get it. But it’s really NOT ok to flaunt that preference in their step-sibling’s faces. These are children, and it’s a very obvious thing when you’re giving gifts to some children and not others. We want our kids to learn to treat each other as equals. If you can do it for anyone, try to make an effort for the kids.”
The other thing I would do is to offer to buy the gifts and all they need to do is put their names on the labels. I.E. if all the kids are getting pajamas, you will buy your kids the pajamas and it can “come” from FI’s parents (or Santa, in which case you don’t need to ask a damn person whether you should/can bring them… just sign it “from Santa” and bring them with you)
Post # 4
This is a complex and sensitive situation. Do your children receive gifts from their other grandparents (their father’s parents) that your FI’s children obviously would not receive?
Post # 5
@CakeyP: Thank you for your response! I was thinking today that we could easily buy the gifts and give them to the kids from FI’s parents. I’d have no problem with that.
@Brielle: My children’s father and step mother are in my children’s lives 100%. My children receive gifts from their dad & step mom, their dad’s family and step mom’s family but FI’s daughters also receive from their mom and her family as well. You are correct –this is a complex and sensitive situation.
Post # 6
It’s tough because you can’t make them buy for your children. I would ask your FI to talk to them again and say how uncomfortable it was for you and the children. If they can’t understand it I would say you shouldn’t exchange big gifts with them anymore so no one is left out. I hope they will “count” them as his children once you get married.
Post # 7
@AlwaysSunny: Great suggestions!! My mom is also optimistic that things will improve once we are married. I hope she is right. My mom has treated FI’s girls as her own grandchildren before she even met them so my family is coming from a different place then FI’s but we’ve also experienced divorce in our family and his family has not.
Post # 8
In my retail years at a toy store, it was not at all uncommon for grandparents to give money to the parents, and the parents to handle the shopping and tag the gifts for the kids. Depending on how they are best communicated with, I would either talk to them and give them a year to right their behavior, or just go straight to implementing that policy.
Post # 9
Unfortunately some people are just really thoughtless and unkind, which is what usually happened every year we spent christmas with my stepfathers family. For some reason, even my sister did not get great gifts from stepdads parents, but our brother would and the other kids would. There would be holidays where the other grandkids would have piles of gifts to open, they would get video games, and nerf guns, and new sneakers. I would get one sweater and lotion. It became a real problem when we were older and would literally beg my mom to not make us go or open gifts because it was so uncomfortable for us to sit and act like we were thankful for clothes that didnt fit and had the tags ripped off so we couldnt return them. I don’t know why they choose to act that way but they did, and I don’t know if my parents ever actually confronted my grandparents or just apologized about it.
I am sorry your children have to go through this and there is some good advice in this thread! But be assured that no permanent damage was done in my 20 years of blatant favoratism of the holidy season!
Post # 10
@Brielle: I am curious where you are going with this point. It reminds me of when I was younger and my stepdads sistee tried to explain to me that they favored my stepsister(their biological niece) and it was ok because I had my dads family. Which just completely ignores the fact that she had her moms family. I see now as I’m older how some people would think that way, and it’s interesting how many people new to that type of situation do feel that way.
@85kym13: if that were my kids I would wait to see if anything improves after marriage first. If it didn’t I would simplu stop going. I just remember how terrible and awkward those situations were for me growin up. It made me resentful of that entire family.
Post # 11
I was part of a blended family and my step-moms mother (my dear Grammy) always treated me and my brother just like her own grandchildren (there were 4 of us kids in total, 2 being her bio grandchildren) . It meant so much to me that she never treated us any different. I think it would have broken my heart if we went to her house and she had only gifts for them or obviously lesser gifts for us.
If your in-laws have never dealth with divorced/blended families before, they may just have no idea how important it is. How old are all the children involved?
If they really refuse to buy for your kids then i would do as has been suggested and buy the gifts yourselves and get hem to give them. Hopefully after you are married they will do better.
Post # 12
I have a daughter from a prior marriage and then DH and I also have a daughter together. From the minute we got serious his family included my older daughter as one of the grandchildren and never showed any difference. There were just as many presents for her yesterday as all the other kids. My MIL even takes her out to dinner every year for her birthday and then to Toys R Us afterward. So I call BS. They need to treat all the kids the same- it is the kind thing to do.