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Step-step children

(26 Posts)
Silverlining47 Tue 21-Nov-17 16:03:04

When my husband and I married 13 years ago he already had 3 children (from 2 previous marriages) plus 2 step children from his second marriage. I have 2 children. They are now all adults and they are all friends except one step daughter. She has not been part of the 'new' family group for various reasons (geography, different personality etc) but is very close to her own mother. I have only met her a couple of times. She now has 3 small children.
Over the years we have always sent her children christmas presents and my husband (her step father) has been in touch occasionally.. She rarely contacts us. There is no animosity, just no real connection.
This year we have been looking at our finances in relation to all the children's christmas and birthdays. We are both happy to be equally generous to all our birth children and, indeed, have always been generous for birthdays and Christmas to these children and their partners and/or gc.
For no particular reason we have never sent birthday presents to the step-step daughters or their children (who incidentally have a birth father and a new step father/step grandfather on their mother's side).
My husband now thinks, after 13 years, that we should treat them all the same but I feel oddly resistant to this. Mainly because I love all our birth children but feel removed from the other 2 so it seems strange to treat them all the same. On the other hand the 'steps' and the birth children on my husband's side naturally see themselves as equal brothers and sisters.
We have suddenly grown to 7 adult couples and 5 step-step gc. Plus 2 birth gc from my son.
Even writing this it sounds confusing!
I would be very interested to hear of other people's experiences.

Luckygirl Tue 21-Nov-17 16:06:39

Step-steps - now I'm getting really confused!

Ilovecheese Tue 21-Nov-17 16:14:34

No experience of step-steps, only steps, who we treat all the same. But your husband sounds like a lovely generous man, so I would go with him.

suzied Tue 21-Nov-17 18:46:18

I agree treat them all
The same. Don’t buy Christmas presents for the adults just the children, or do a secret Santa for the adults, buy the adults a present on their birthday. Spreads out the cost. Let everyone know that’s what you are doing, makes life so much simpler.

Jalima1108 Tue 21-Nov-17 19:23:30

suzied's idea is a good one - just buy for the children until they are 18 - but let them all know that. If you are going to see them at all you could take a bottle of wine or chocolates.

M0nica Tue 21-Nov-17 21:58:42

With a far less complex family, we sent presents to God children until they had children then to their children until they were 18. After that just cards. But the 'step/God/step-step children and their children until 18' is a good rule in many more complicated situations.

tiredoldwoman Wed 22-Nov-17 05:34:42

Silverlining , what a lovely warm family you have . Your story filled me with delight , I'm sure what you and your husband agree on will be great .
I've never had a warm family , the generations are all a bit prickly - send me your magic formula !

downtoearth Wed 22-Nov-17 09:07:52

I have always believed in treating the little ones all the same wether biological steps or halves, I am a surrogate nanny to one of my sons ex's...the child isnt his I still look after her and see her because we have a bond..her mum is now with a man who has one step and 3 children so all 5 will get a present ...just a small one...grin

downtoearth Wed 22-Nov-17 09:09:27

I had plenty of practice when my brither remarried and so did his ex and each produced other children grin

Greyduster Wed 22-Nov-17 09:12:16

We decided on the ‘presents up until 18’ rule for DS’s two stepsons. It usually takes the form of a generous cheque. But one is still at uni, and the other, having left, is job hunting so both of them could do with a bit of cash, so I think we should still do it, at least for this year. DH is not so well disposed to it. Impasse.

Hm999 Wed 22-Nov-17 10:11:31

In October I heard a lovely Trevor Nelson R4 short programme on blended families. Well worth a listen, it's no.1 of 3

And I agree, presents for all the little ones, little presents for the ones you rarely/never see. My family stopped giving kids presents once they started earning.

Silverlining47 Wed 22-Nov-17 10:23:30

What lovely and heart warming replies. I feel much more relaxed about it now. Yes, Ilovecheese, my husband is very open hearted. I will now happily keep it all simple and equal. Thank you x

Jalima1108 Wed 22-Nov-17 10:26:49

You may want to give presents all round this year - then announce in the New Year what your new plans are for the over 18s, if they all normally buy presents for you.

W11girl Wed 22-Nov-17 10:32:28

Go with your husband on this one. My step children always send their father, my husband, a Xmas present....they've never sent one to me in the 25 years I have been married to their father. I used to think it was mean of them, and now I think it is just downright right rude, but I didn't dwell on it until now, you have just reminded me where a step fits in on the present giving ladder! Bottom rung, or not at all! Ho hum!

moobox Wed 22-Nov-17 10:52:51

My DD has my step step GS in the household. He is 19 now, so I think can do without any extra grandparents

NotSpaghetti Wed 22-Nov-17 10:59:23

So pleased you have decided to go with your husband on this even though the finances are a bit tight. I’m sure this simple act of kindness will be remembered. How lovely to have someone so generous to share your life with. The biggest gift is clearly yours!

Skynnylynny Wed 22-Nov-17 11:06:45

I have 6 children and with partners and grandchildren Christmas presents were beginning to become a nightmare so a few years ago at one of our family gatherings we decided that a Secret Santa for the adults was the way to go. We set a limit of £30 and each year someone different organises the list. As the grandchildren reach 18 we stop buying individual presents for them and they’re invited to join the Secret Santa group and so far they all have. It works well and it’s fun buying a Secret present.

Silverlining47 Wed 22-Nov-17 12:15:03

NotSpaghetti thank you for your kind message. As it happens I am having quite a despondant time at the moment for various reasons and your simple comment has shone a light on my day.

Bluebell59 Wed 22-Nov-17 12:39:16

We each have brothers & also have a number of nieces & nephews. We agreed with our brothers families that we send Christmas & birthday presents until they were 18. Then they got a cheque for £50. Then we only sent them another cheque when they were 21 for £100. We called it a day then. It worked well.

thecatgrandma Wed 22-Nov-17 12:59:29

Why bother with any of the ones you are never likely to see or have any kind of relationship with? They won’t bother with you. Life’s too short for agonising over these dilemas.

jimmyRFU Wed 22-Nov-17 15:08:01

Treat all under 18 alike as children. All over 18 alike as adults.

We concentrate on under 18's. their parents get gifts but not as much is spent on them.

Under 18's - two we've never seen. Three we've not seen for a few years. Two not quite so long but they all get treated the same.

NfkDumpling Wed 22-Nov-17 16:04:54

I too recommend the secret Santa for over 18s and also have a £30 limit. It helps them too, only having to buy for one and not worry so much about the money side. It alleviates some of the commercialism of traipsing round shops looking for inspiration.

Silverlining47 Wed 22-Nov-17 16:12:50

Thanks everyone. I like the sound of Secret Santa but assume it only works if you have all met up for Christmas? We are spread far and wide so not sure how that would work. Any ideas?

icanhandthemback Thu 23-Nov-17 00:43:54

My step-father was forcibly removed from ‘family’ life by his new wife and we were replaced by her children. He was allowed to keep in touch with his biological daughter as she was considered to be acceptable yet my ‘Dad’ and I had had a much closer relationship. My step-sister who I had grown up with died when we were 23 and the new wife wouldn’t let me go to see her before she died or to her funeral. 30 years on she has fallen out of love with my Dad and now I can see him again. On one hand I would have given up presents just to have had that relationship I’d always had but on the other, it would have made me a little sad. I’d treat them equally and avoid them feeling a lesser part of the family.

suzied Thu 23-Nov-17 06:52:16

silver there are 12 of us in our family secret Santa and we aren’t all together at Christmas. A couple are going away, others at in laws etc. Someone has to organise it (me) we use you have to put everyone’s email address in and it invites everyone to join the group. When everyone has joined it randomly allocates a person you have to buy for. You can set exemptions - so we don’t draw partners for example, you can set a budget and everyone can post a wish list. We collect everyone’s gifts so those who aren’t there on the day either get theirs a bit later or could take them away with them. If you don’t see them at all I guess you could post their gift, but that complicates matters. Maybe you should send a group email to all saying something like “there’s so many in our lovely family we are thinking of organising a secret Santa this year for the adults so we only buy one present. We think the budget would be £x per person. This would save money/ shopping/ stress. Would you be interested in joining the group? “ Give it a go.