Jump to content

Menu

WWYD, when some of your kids are not invited...


Recommended Posts

We have a blended family. I have 2 stepsons who are ages 10 and 12, like my own boys the same age. These stepsons have grown brothers, ages 20 and 24. One of the older boys is friendly, one not so much. The not so friendly one has a wife and a 2yr old boy.

 

This older brother comes and gets the 2 stepsons and takes the to the waterpark for the day while my boys stay at home. They get invited for sleepovers and my boys stay at home. They buy them gifts and it's as though my boys do not exist. Last Christmas they came over on Christmas Eve and brought several cool presents for their young brothers and my boys just sat with nothing. It's not like I can just go out and buy extra things to compete or even it out... I have babysat his son a handful of times, many times late into the night, even an overnight once. I buy his baby gifts.

 

The friendlier brother will often stop by and take out the two for an ice cream or out to eat and will once in a while (like once a year) take one other of my boys along.

 

I got an invitation for the less friendly one's son's 2nd birthday, which the party is today. Last week the mom tells dh that they want their two brothers to come spend the night and be there for the party and then I get a message from one of the boys that the party is just a "small" party and I shouldn't bring my kids. !!!! I never heard that they were supposed to spend the night last night. The brothers forgot to come pick up the boys and I never knew about it. So, today we were getting ready to go to the party... their two brothers, my 10 yr old and myself, with gifts that I picked out and got for the little one. I called to get directions and got a call back saying "^&*% is on his way to pick up the boys now."

 

So, I feel like my children and I were uninvited. And the holidays are coming up. I feel hurt and raw and just want to be done and not care.

 

I do care. I love people. I am that kind of person. I feel hurt.

 

What message is this sending to my stepsons? What would you do? I just told dh that I am done... if he wants his sons involved in this, fine... if he wants to do something about it (talk to the older brothers) than he can do that, but I am done. But, how can I be done? The brothers are still going to want to come pick up these two. They are still going to do something for the holidays.

 

????

 

Thanks,

Bee

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am sort of on both sides of this issue. The older boys have a longer bond with their own brothers. You know, memories and love that extends further back than with your two boys. At the same time, it isn't nice to exclude people, especially children.

 

I do think their unique bond and private time should be respected. I also think you should explain that to your boys to help them understand. It would also be nice if they made sure at times to include your boys.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

and invited to family get-togethers, parties, etc.

 

My dh and his sibs mostly no longer go to those things. The step kids were not close with them when they were kids, despite living in the same house, and to be honest it creates situation where my SIL, for example, feels she cannot have a birthday party for one of her own kids without inviting all 3 step sibs and their children. If they are not included, she gets grief from her mom and step dad.

 

In my family's situation, my dh and his sibs felt forced into a new family situation that was not comfortable or pleasant for them. Rules changed drastically, step dad was not always a very nice person. To this day, their feeling of being betrayed by their mom in order to keep peace with step dad is played out in these little family dramas. You can insist people invite others but you can't make them be friends.

 

If it was me, I would do my very best to be kind and friendly toward the step sibs, and allow them to choose how to handle it. My ds is hurt when he's not included in all kinds of things, but it's a fact of life.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am sort of on both sides of this issue. The older boys have a longer bond with their own brothers. You know, memories and love that extends further back than with your two boys. At the same time, it isn't nice to exclude people, especially children.

 

I do think their unique bond and private time should be respected. I also think you should explain that to your boys to help them understand. It would also be nice if they made sure at times to include your boys.

:iagree: I also think it would be nice if your dh could have a talk with them and ask that they try harder to include you and your sons in "family" events. I'm in a blended family too, although I was grown when my mom got remarried, and it would just seem really odd to me to have family gatherings where 1/2 the family was excluded. Does this young man expect your husband to come to the party and leave his wife at home? It doesn't make sense and they need to see that.

 

:grouphug:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can honestly see it both ways. I understand your frustration, but they're 20-something boys with brothers they're trying to stay connected too; that's a good thing. I don't see that they'd be expected to build relationships with two boys that aren't their brothers (sounds like all the boys have never lived in the same home?). Sure they could, but they're not and I personally would try not to hold it against them.

 

I am of the opinion that your boys' attitude about the whole situation will largely come from your attitude -- so you can either show them to be upset about it and let it bother them, or you can be cheerful and teach them to not take it personally.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Were the older boys out of the house by the time you and your DH married?

 

On the one hand, I think it is great that 20 and 24 men are voluntarily spending time with their 10 and 12 year old brothers. That warms my heart.

 

On the other hand, it appears that the older brothers do not really feel a sense of family connection with your two biological sons. I can understand that, but I can also understand how it would hurt.

 

I have no experience with blended families, but the little reading I've done indicates that developing a strong blended family is a complex process that takes years.

 

:grouphug:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

it would be nice if your dh could have a talk with them .

 

:iagree:

 

I think you and hubby should come to an agreement, hubby should, if you two decide to, talk to his older kids, and then whatever is resolved should be presented to all 4 of the kids in your house as "the way it will be". If your step boys will continue to go over and get presents, they should somehow share with the kids left behind.

 

Or is this just the icing on the cake of a stressed situation? :grouphug:

 

I would feel very hurt, too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I disagree with this.

 

Me, too. The older boys should be able to give something special their their brothers.

 

It would be good to encourage new bonds between new family members. You don't do that by stomping on old ones.

 

eta: You can't pretend there is history between the brothers. You can't downplay the importance of their history. It needs to be respected.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The thing is... my side of the family would never do this... and they don't. They send my stepsons birthday cards with money. Several of my relatives include the steps just as my very own. They would never, never exclude them this way.

 

Anyway... it probably isn't much of a big deal... but, I feel very emotional about it right now.

 

***I do always encourage the brother's get togethers. I would never think of taking that away. My head understands it, but my heart still hurts... espciallly on those hot summer days when the boys go to the waterpark and leave mine behind.***

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The thing is... my side of the family would never do this... and they don't. They send my stepsons birthday cards with money. Several of my relatives include the steps just as my very own. They would never, never exclude them this way.

 

Anyway... it probably isn't much of a big deal... but, I feel very emotional about it right now.

 

 

That's wonderful and I would expect the older adults in the family to do that. However, young adult boys bonding with their brothers who's lives they've shared for a long time together need to time to share in their bond.

 

Spouse and grandparents I would expect to take in the new family's children as if they were their own.

 

 

eta: Everyone suffers in divorce situation, but especially the children. These kids have had their families torn apart and rearranged. The sibling bond they have is the only consistent thing left. Let them do their bonding.

Edited by Sputterduck
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The thing is... my side of the family would never do this... and they don't. They send my stepsons birthday cards with money. Several of my relatives include the steps just as my very own. They would never, never exclude them this way.

 

Anyway... it probably isn't much of a big deal... but, I feel very emotional about it right now.

 

But those are adults outside the immediate family, right? Your parents or siblings or such?

 

If I remember correctly, your step-children's mother died? I imagine their feelings about their father's remarriage and new step-children are a bit more conflicted than the feelings of adult family members who are a bit more removed from the situation.

 

I agree, it would be ideal if they embraced your children as their siblings. But it sounds like they just aren't in a place to do that right now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

eta: Everyone suffers in divorce situation, but especially the children. These kids have had their families torn apart and rearranged. The sibling bond they have is the only consistent thing left. Let them do their bonding.

 

I would also not suggest discouraging the bio sibling bond.

 

However, (and I am not a fair righter as a parent), it sucks for the boys of the same age not getting gifts or going places. Their feelings and reaction need to be validated and the complexity of the situation talked about.

 

"Dear sons, it does suck for you to not always been included in the gifts and outings. On one hand, I understand as they are brothers with a bond and history. On the other hand, picking up half a family knowing your are leaving young kids out is unkind. There is not a good way to resolve this. Whatever you are feeling is understandable."

 

I'd also make sure I had firm (respectful and kind but FIRM) boundaries around the not so nice older brother mentioned.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I'm of the opinion that you are now a package deal, and it is impolite and downright wrong of your older stepsons to only give gifts to their brothers and not realize that they have stepbrothers that are brothers, too.

I could see sometimes them taking out just their blood siblings, but I think gift giving times (Christmas, birthdays, etc) and family parties should include everyone. I feel you are a package deal now and it's just so inconsiderate of them to act this way.

I feel pretty strongly about this.

 

My husband had step sibs and his mom always invited everyone over. It made for a big crowd, but so what? They got to know each other, it didn't threaten any previous bonds, and they just played the hand they were dealt.

 

Divorce stinks, of course. Blended families have it rough. Why are these young adults making it so hard? How hard is it to be nice? They don't have to be best friends, just not so hurtful. They aren't acting very mature, that's for sure. I'd have Dad talk to them. I would be angry for him allowing his older sons to treat his step sons like dirt.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't see how you could really expect the 20-somethings to include your children when they are not really related to them. It sounds like the 20-somethings want to keep in touch with their own brothers, which is a really nice thing to see. This may sound harsh, and I don't mean it to be, but it is likely that the 20-somethings don't think of your boys as family at all. If you want them to think of your boys that way, you should get their dad involved on that -- maybe even have ONLY him deal with it, since it's his sons. I don't think there's anything you could do about it by yourself, and I have to be concerned that if you did say anything to them yourself you might be stirring up some bad feelings against you and your boys that it is clear you wouldn't want.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why are these young adults making it so hard? How hard is it to be nice? They don't have to be best friends, just not so hurtful. They aren't acting very mature, that's for sure.

 

I think you answered it. Young adult males? I would not have "gotten" the issue at their ages when it came to children I was not related to and did not have a history with.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Perhaps this is a dumb question but do the older brothers have the funds to include your children? I'm thinking back to how much money we had at 20 and 24. It wasn't a lot. We could have taken a few kids for ice cream but the water park? Sometimes that's $20+ each. It's admirable that the young men take the time to be with their younger brothers. If their mom died, I would imagine the emotions are complicated. I think you need to wait this out and give them their space. Explain it the best you can to your boys. Above all, continue to be gracious and generous to the older brothers and do not expect anything in return. Compliment them on their commitment to their brothers. Keep it short and genuine. Your husband and his former wife have done something very well in creating a strong sense of family. Acknowledge that and move on in peace. Your boys have their mother. Your stepsons do not. Many trips to the water park will not make up for that fact.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you answered it. Young adult males? I would not have "gotten" the issue at their ages when it came to children I was not related to and did not have a history with.

 

 

Also, many young adults would easily feel resentful of the newcomers if they feel at all forced to do things with them. They did not ask to have their father remarry. They are allowed their feelings, too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ita they don't "get it." And that is rather to be expected, I suppose. But how are they going to "get it?" Maybe just time and maturity. At the expense of your sons' feelings. Hmmm. How to decide who's feelings to expect to "grow"--I think I'd expect the older ones to man up a bit. But maybe that's not realistic.

 

Do you invite everyone over when you have family stuff? Do they come? Maybe if they spent more time with your sons it would help them see them as friends, if not brothers. You know, "little friends"--bonds of affection can form even if they never consider your sons as brothers.

 

I also agree they may not have $. Your husband could offer to pay sometimes, for everyone, maybe. In fact, it might be nice if he occasionally took all the guys out for a movie, or the waterpark. If it comes from him, it might give everyone a chance to get to know each other and smooth over some animosity or lack of caring.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it's easier to think of it as two families. Your step-sons belong to two families: yours and the former family. Their older brothers are indicating by their behavior that they belong to one family--the former family. Your boys belong to one family--your current family. That's the way I would explain it to your kids, and your feelings would probably be less hurt if that's the way you think about it.

 

I think it's fine and natural for the older brothers to do things with their brothers only. They are indicating that they don't see your sons as their brothers, but more like "inlaws" (those related by marriage to someone to whom they are related by blood). They may feel like their family is being "erased" by the creation of the blended family, and may have loyalty to their mother. (Is she deceased or was there a divorce?)

 

I'd encourage you to accept it and help your kids accept it. They don't go to the water park because they just have one family. (Or maybe there are steps in their lives too and they have two families--but not the same two)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having married into a complex family, I can understand some of the gift issues. My dh's dad is on his 3rd marriage. When he got married to the 3rd wife, dh was in the air force and grown. He met her after the marriage.

Between dh's Dad and his 3rd wife, they have 1. dh and his full-blood sister by same mom 2. stepsister from 2nd wife, 2 half-blood sisters from 2nd wife 3. 2 stepsisters (same age as real blood sisters from 2nd wife) and 1 half-blood sister (21 years younger than dh).

We could not invite all of the kids living with them to do things. That was 5 kids. We just couldn't afford it. We felt bad but that was the case. It is different when a person is grown and starting their own family. It was expected that we do with all or none and now the kids are grown except for his youngest sister who is 13. We have no real relationship with any of them. We do buy them a gift at Christmas and birthday times b/c they are family, but we do not know them as people at all.

We went to the hospital when his half-sister had her baby. We are close to his full-sister and her kids. However, his half-siblings and step-siblings aren't close to our 4 kids. We only see his Dad and his 3rd wife on birthdays and Christmas. My youngest (3yrs old) wouldn't recognize them if we ran into them at the store.

So what I would say is that by trying to force the issue you may cause a permanent rift and conflict that could filter down for years to come. They are grown men. It would be different if they lived in the same house or if they were still kids to tell how to act. Dh's sister was still under 18 and in the house when they married and she has a different bond with them.

Dh's mom is also on her 3rd marriage. His mom's husband has 2 grown children with lots of children of their own. We were expected to include them in everything like brothers and sisters and cousins and such and well it was too much. They got married the same year as me and DH. We get together for holidays and such, but I don't feel the need to invite 5 children that we don't know to a birthday party and max out our guest list b/c I have 4 of my own and the place charges $15 extra per kid over 10 kids and would leave my kids with no room on the guest list to invite friends or close relatives.

I think you need to talk to your sons and plan fun outings during times that you know the brothers will be together. Have your sons visit grandparents or you take them out for some just you and them time. They will probably enjoy that more than feeling like they are thrust upon someone that really doesn't want them there.

Edited by OpenMinded
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your heart is hurting, and you have had many losses. I am so sorry.:grouphug:

 

I am writing to tell you what we do and some of my thoughts, but please know that I do not know you, and that my thoughts might not be helpful at all to your dilemma. Please keep what, if anything, is helpful, and disregard the rest.

 

In our family, all of the children who live in our house are ours. Some of my kids also have other parents and other siblings. My biological daughter sometimes complained when she was little because she had only one mother and father, while some of her siblings had two moms and two dads.

 

I think all you can decide what you do. You can decide if your younger and older stepsons are yours, or you can decide that just the younger two are yours. In my case, the kids who live with me are mine, and I care for their extended families very much, but they are more like second cousins to me. However, they are full family members for my kids, so they are invited to birthday parties, and my kids always buy them Christmas presents. When the extended families have special events, only their biologically related kids are invited. My other kids are at peace with that.

 

You cannot control what your older stepsons do, or how they behave. It could be that you choose to claim them as family and they never reciprocate. I am not sure.

 

The quote I am trying to live by is:

"You can change the world from one that is senselessly horrible to one in which there is compassion with your choice about how to live. You can choose that, to the extend of your ability, the people whose lives touch yours will be treated with love."

 

LJM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks... I am enjoying the discussion.

 

All of my family is at a good distance apart. I moved to dh's town where all of his family is living. So, my family, who is supportive of all of us, are not around to do things with to lesson the "hurt". All of dh's family is here.

 

But, I am encouraged. I know the brothers don't mean to be hurtful. They are just young guys. I will try to plan things for the times when my boys are left behind... The tricky part is, I've tried that before and it became a competition!!

 

One day an older brother came in and his younger brother says, " ___, Guess what? You said you'd take us to the amusement park and so the other boys said they would go to the movies. But, you can take us to the movies, too, huh?" (he was being bratty)

 

And then my boys thought, well, fine, so we'll just go do more of something special, too, then!

 

I don't want to go down that road. Any ideas for handling that?

 

So far, I just think if they boys get to go out with their brothers than I will randomly and without mentioning anything, get rootbeer floats and a movie on netflix or something.... and snuggle down with them or play a game with them, etc.

 

Thank you... my emotions have settled down a good bit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't see how you could really expect the 20-somethings to include your children when they are not really related to them. It sounds like the 20-somethings want to keep in touch with their own brothers, which is a really nice thing to see. This may sound harsh, and I don't mean it to be, but it is likely that the 20-somethings don't think of your boys as family at all. If you want them to think of your boys that way, you should get their dad involved on that -- maybe even have ONLY him deal with it, since it's his sons. I don't think there's anything you could do about it by yourself, and I have to be concerned that if you did say anything to them yourself you might be stirring up some bad feelings against you and your boys that it is clear you wouldn't want.

 

You've been married for how many years to your boys' father? (The blended family has existed for how many years?)

 

How long ago did the other boys' mother die?

 

WWID would depend on these questions.

 

I second all of the above and want to note something else:

 

the major issue here doesn't seem to be even what is being done, but HOW.

 

It is rude to just show up.

It is rude to not offer a clear invitation. (it should say either the blank family, or it should say this kid and this kid are invited or on the address...)

I would say to dh, he needs to talk to his sons about basic manners on this. (say it with more diplomacy than that!) It's rude and highly inconsiderate to send a family inviation, then show up to pick up some of the kids without even informing anyone of what is going on, much less that you are comming to pick up rather than the family arriving.

This might not change how many inviations you get, but at least it's clear what is expected.

 

for gifts, maybe you could recommend that all gifts be open at the same as a family? no, it won't get your dc a gift, but in the malee of everyone opening gifts, most kids don't keept count, kwim?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's hard because the older ones don't live with you and so maybe it's harder for them to feel that way, but, that's the truth.

 

I would talk to dh and let him know how you feel and how it appears to your boys. When he married you and you married him, you took in the children as well. I would have him deal with it with his sons and let them know that either the whole family is included in holidays and parties or not. As far as spending time with the bio-siblings exclusively, it's normal for that to happen, but, I would be frustrated if it was happening a lot.

Edited by Dayle in Guatemala
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I disagree with this.

 

I just realized I came from a *very* old-fashioned family of communal possessions. Unless you built it or bought it with your own money, or it would only fit you (shoes), it was in the living areas and was shared. No one had to ask your permission to play the board game you got for Christmas, and it lived in the closet with all the other board games. Kids can be mean, and unless an environment of "we're all in this together" is fostered, many sibs end up territorial and possessive. A "culture" of share and share alike limits the "stuff" you have to be territorial and possessive about.

 

When I was a young adult, and my brothers were still in the area, I bought jeans long enough for them to wear, and rolled up the cuff, and when I bought a nice sleeping bag, I bought the next size up in case they needed to borrow it. I think it was a side effect of my folks having married and started their family in the Great Depression. Worked for us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it's easier to think of it as two families. Your step-sons belong to two families: yours and the former family. Their older brothers are indicating by their behavior that they belong to one family--the former family. Your boys belong to one family--your current family. That's the way I would explain it to your kids, and your feelings would probably be less hurt if that's the way you think about it.

 

I think it's fine and natural for the older brothers to do things with their brothers only. They are indicating that they don't see your sons as their brothers, but more like "inlaws" (those related by marriage to someone to whom they are related by blood). They may feel like their family is being "erased" by the creation of the blended family, and may have loyalty to their mother. (Is she deceased or was there a divorce?)

 

I'd encourage you to accept it and help your kids accept it. They don't go to the water park because they just have one family. (Or maybe there are steps in their lives too and they have two families--but not the same two)

For the most part, I agree with Laurie. They are behaving the way I'd expect them to behave. In spite of the fact that adults can and do move on from their original family unit, I feel that it's unreasonable to assume that children can do the same. The older boys are probably hanging on with all their might to the last vestiges of what they had before. It seems fair to me to allow them to preserve as much of a relationship as possible with the immediate brothers that they have the closest bond with.

 

You set the tone for this with your sons. A lot of the time, kids "catch" their emotions from their parents. If your boys know that you think it's unfair, they'll see it as unfair. Hurt feelings are sometimes a choice, and you can decide not to be hurt by some things. If you respond to it matter-of-factly, they will probably also. Forcing the issue doesn't seem like it would build anything, but like it would probably make things ever so much worse, even to the point of destroying relationships rather than building them.

 

I'd follow the thinking that the older boys have a family that includes their direct brothers. Your boys have a family that includes the other boys in your home. The boys in the middle have two families. :001_smile: (If I'm understanding the situation correctly!)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm trying to think of this, not like them all being "brothers" but as if it were a biological parent. Unfortunately, that is all part of divorce. The two older brother aren't hanging out with your kids because they are not brothers to your kid. To put it in perspective, I would never expect my older son's father to take both my younger son and my older somewhere. My husband wouldn't have it anyway!

 

However, I do understand somewhat...my ex husband's dad/his wife, and my ex husband's long time girlfriend both buy my younger son some little something for Christmas. They refuse to leave him out. They dont' buy him as much as they do my older son, of course, and they don't take both of my kids during Christmas, but they do extend that kindness. I don't "expect" it of them, but I do appreciate it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For the most part, I agree with Laurie. They are behaving the way I'd expect them to behave. In spite of the fact that adults can and do move on from their original family unit, I feel that it's unreasonable to assume that children can do the same. The older boys are probably hanging on with all their might to the last vestiges of what they had before. It seems fair to me to allow them to preserve as much of a relationship as possible with the immediate brothers that they have the closest bond with.

 

You set the tone for this with your sons. A lot of the time, kids "catch" their emotions from their parents. If your boys know that you think it's unfair, they'll see it as unfair. Hurt feelings are sometimes a choice, and you can decide not to be hurt by some things. If you respond to it matter-of-factly, they will probably also. Forcing the issue doesn't seem like it would build anything, but like it would probably make things ever so much worse, even to the point of destroying relationships rather than building them.

 

I'd follow the thinking that the older boys have a family that includes their direct brothers. Your boys have a family that includes the other boys in your home. The boys in the middle have two families. :001_smile: (If I'm understanding the situation correctly!)

 

ETA: I realized that I didn't express that I'm really *really* sorry that your feelings have been hurt. To watch things unfold in a way that might hurt your children is very hard. Hang in there! :grouphug:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's hard because the older ones don't live with you and so maybe it's harder for them to feel that way, but, that's the truth.

 

I would talk to dh and let him know how you feel and how it appears to your boys. When he married you and you married him, you took in the children as well. I would have him deal with it with his sons and let them know that either the whole family is included in holidays and parties or not. As far as spending time with the bio-siblings exclusively, it's normal for that to happen, but, I would be frustrated if it was happening a lot.

 

 

My hubby would hotly disagree with this. His mom remarried when he was 14 and expected him and his older brother to be best buddies/friends/ family with her new hubby and his kids and his family. They hated them. My hubby's brother fled as soon as he could and now lives on the other side of the country with no intent to ever ever speak to the family again. My hubby lost his family and his brother in the process of "blending". Being the nice one, he sucked it up and smiled and played along and acted as if everything was fine. Until he married and left home. Imagine mom's surprise when he never had time to go to family events, reunions, birthdays. WHy?? Because he hated having step family always there. He never again has ever had time with just his mom and just his family. (20+ years have gone by at this point) Everything was always with them. Including strange grown adults we were supposed to view as aunts and uncles and cousins. He deeply resented having a "new" family.

 

That step father died a couple of years back. Amazinly, even after all that closeness, the step family has nothing to do with hubby's mom. My hubby is now 40 and mom remarried again. He told her point blank that under no circumstances would he EVEN MEET with her new family. He didn't want to see them, know their name, or even hear of their existence. If he attended an event and they were there, he would leave. And he would perfer that she never even bring the new step daddy around EVER. He wouldn't attend the wedding and told her she needed to get a dog instead.

 

It's hard. She's hurt and totally clueless why he's "suddenly" against her. He's completely past the point of caring how she feels about it. And you are a good mom seeing your kids hurt by all of this. And that hurts too.

 

We have the same situation on my side with my brother. He expected us all to take all the kids or none at all. I was never allowed to have any relationship with my niece unless I included the new step sibling. That's not fair to us. And since I didn't want to hurt the other's feelings, I lost the relationship with my niece.

 

Blended families are hard. All I can say is respect each one's feelings. If the mean one doesn't want you and yours included, accept it and move on with as much grace as you can muster. If the friendly wants to include you and yours, accept that and go with it. Putting their dad in the middle may only alienate them from him. I do agree that establishing some boundaries would be better if Dad could say we need to better communicate with each other on what is happening and what you want and with who. The invite thing was flub that does need to be corrected. But whether that correction will ever include inviting your kids or not may not be the case.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's wonderful and I would expect the older adults in the family to do that. However, young adult boys bonding with their brothers who's lives they've shared for a long time together need to time to share in their bond.

 

Spouse and grandparents I would expect to take in the new family's children as if they were their own.

 

 

eta: Everyone suffers in divorce situation, but especially the children. These kids have had their families torn apart and rearranged. The sibling bond they have is the only consistent thing left. Let them do their bonding.

 

:iagree:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Curious:

 

Aside from the possibilities of thoughtlessness or limited ability-thus focus solely on their brothers and not their stepbrothers....how did the young men feel about your marriage and about you in general? Is there any animosity? Does their father get invited, but not you?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's wonderful and I would expect the older adults in the family to do that. However, young adult boys bonding with their brothers who's lives they've shared for a long time together need to time to share in their bond.

 

Spouse and grandparents I would expect to take in the new family's children as if they were their own.

 

 

eta: Everyone suffers in divorce situation, but especially the children. These kids have had their families torn apart and rearranged. The sibling bond they have is the only consistent thing left. Let them do their bonding.

 

I totally agree with this! Let them have their brotherly bonding. Do something else fun with your boys when their step-brothers are off with their big brothers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks again.

 

The only thing I have to clarify, though it doesn't change the sentiments and reponses (which I agree with and respect) is that this is NOT a divorce situation. The "d" word keeps coming up and it bugs me a bit.

 

My sons lost their mom to cancer. My other children lost their father to mental illness. (I did divorce before I met my new dh)

 

But, yes, these grown boys were part of a family that I was never a part of and I do understand that. I was looking for some sympathy, hugs and some tips for how I might handle this in the future gracefully.

 

In the meantime, I received a call from the oldest boy's wife who asked me to please come over for the party... she had told my stepson that "it was a little kids party" and that my older kids might get bored and not want to come. Then it was repeated as "don't bring them", then my stepsons were picked up ahead of time and I figured they just wanted it to be them and for me to not go at all. My stepsons saw tears in my eyes and one of them talked them into going and getting me a box of chocolates!! (tears, once more, happy tears!) Everyone could see how easily it "looked" like I was being asked to not come. I took my youngest with me and we were warmly included and enjoyed visiting with terrific people... each older son took time to visit with me, hug me and let me know they were sorry for what happened.

 

As I mentioned previously, I would never think to NOT let the boys hand out as brothers... I will just try to do some special things with my other boys when it happens, if I can. I am thinking of hosting a Christmas party... desert and games and fun and asking for gift exchanges to happen at that time and keeping our family gifts separate for Christmas day... we'll see...

 

Thanks again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wouldn't have an issue with the older brothers picking up their sibs for outings or to take over to their home for a visit. I would have a problem with anyone (big or little brothers) flaunting what they got to do/gifts/etc to the children who stayed behind. It would also be unacceptable in our house for the older sibs to show up with gifts at Christmas (a group holiday) with gifts just for the sibs. They could easily pick up their brothers for an outing to exchange gifts and spare the other boys feelings.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My stepsons saw tears in my eyes and one of them talked them into going and getting me a box of chocolates!! (tears, once more, happy tears!) Everyone could see how easily it "looked" like I was being asked to not come. I took my youngest with me and we were warmly included and enjoyed visiting with terrific people... each older son took time to visit with me, hug me and let me know they were sorry for what happened.

 

 

 

Oh, goodie. You'll tame this situation yet!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You know honestly, I would give him space.

 

If I'm thinking right, this older son really has only had a few years to mourn his mother. He has lost the better part of his family. When a Dad remarries (and I have been that second wife, so I am not saying this as a negative against you, but it's just true) the family changes and something is gained but something is lost forever, and an adult child sort of loses their "home" no matter how welcoming she is, because every woman's home is uniquely hers.

 

The younger boys have a mother figure. You. You might not be their actual mother, and they might deeply miss their mother, but you are mothering them and doing the best you can, and they will grow up with the advantages of a woman in the home who loves them, cares for them, sacrifices for them.

 

The older boys will never have that. This boy has probably lost the only mother he will ever have. Whether she was a fabulous mother or a lousy one, he can't have a future with her.

 

So it's his son's birthday, and I bet he really misses his mother so much today. Can you imagine how much he would like his mother to see that boy? Even if their relationship was bad, maybe especially if it was bad, he is probably very sad today. He's probably feeling the pain of everything disappointment of the past.

 

I personally would stay home if I had the slightest hint that that's what he wants. Let him have his brothers there, and don't make him deal with everyone else today. Don't make him share this day.

 

My oldest (my husband's from his first marriage, but I did adopt him) has a much older brother who is married with three kids. They don't live in town, but he's always been great about sending his brother birthday and Christmas presents, visiting at the grandparents, calling, etc. Honestly, it has never crossed my mind that he should send gifts to his brother's half-brothers. Yes, we are a family here, but that doesn't mean the whole world has to treat our children exactly the same. I doubt my younger boys have ever thought about it. Of course, the age difference here between the "loved" boys and the "unloved" boys is greater, so that's is different. But even son, I would leave well enough alone.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you answered it. Young adult males? I would not have "gotten" the issue at their ages when it came to children I was not related to and did not have a history with.

 

I was thinking similarly, wondering if I would have even fully understood it at their age.

 

I would not discourage their relationship by insisting that the stepbrothers be included. You may risk the older brother ceasing to make any attempts, which would be a tragedy for his younger bio brothers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

These young men in their early twenties are obviously trying to show love to their younger brothers. It can be so hard to deal the loss of a parent and the loss of a family. They may unknowingly resent the new family that the younger brothers have.

To be honest, they are probably overwhelmed with their own lives and their own griefs to comprehend the impact of their actions. Hopefully, their wives will be able to bridge the gap in all of this. The wives represent a new family for each of these young men in the same way that you and your sons are a new family to your husband and the younger boys.

I would always treat them as family and love on them. (It sounds like you do an incredible job of loving these men!) One day they will redefine family as they mature. You will be appreciated for your understanding and love especially your sacrifices. Always make an effort to step aside with your boys to help these young men preserve what remains of their "fire-side" family. Use these times as an opportunity to teach your boys about placing others feelings first. I feel for your boys as they have probably endured enormous pains in losing their father to mental illness. Are you working at keeping them "plugged" into their biological father's family? It may not be possible.

It may be especially difficult for you to see the others keep an old family intact and your boys don't have this option.

I always marvel at a friend's family as they are blended. The "step-father" is clearly the father to the two older children; yet he spent years earning this place in their hearts. Now 30 years later, no one would ever know.

Realize the word step is symbolic, both people need to actively step to a place of making it mean family. It sounds like one of the older brothers may take longer or may never reach this place. The dad needs to step closer to the less friendly son.

The dad can take him to lunch and explain that he and you want to see the two of them close. The less friendly son probably needs his dad and one on one time with his dad. This may not make sense, but a secure relationship between dad and son will open the door to a friendly relationship with the "step" family members.

Also love on those daughters in law, they will be new just like you. As hard as it may be, take pictures with the four boys as well as the six boys at gatherings and the blended four. They need the ability to compare the four of them today to the four of them when they were first a family. You may want to give them a framed picture of this. It might be possible to get a picture of the four boys from several years ago and place it with a recent picture.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...