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spinoff off of families who are unhappy you are having more children


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It makes me sad when I realize that people get overwhelmed with all of us  but it's just one of the results of having a large family.  I am super-aware of this issue and try hard to keep things under control when invited as a family somewhere but there are just a lot of us.

As far as your nephews go, could you continue to do fun things with them by just taking two at a time and rotate who you take?  We've never had the policy that if you invite one kid you have to invite all 🙂.  In fact, I encourage our kids to do things away from their siblings.  My parents for example will call and ask for "two kids this week".  The next time it might be one or three.  It's fine for us and gives the kids time to develop special relationships with the relatives.  My in-laws will often call and have an activity planned and say "we can buy tickets for two kids - does anyone want to go?". Often the kids figure out who's turn it is -lol!

As far as hosting, I am always most comfortable to accept invitations for my  clan when my offer to bring something is accepted.  If you want to host, plan a potluck or picnic.  I rarely invite large groups (my extended family is numbering 38 now) unless it's nice weather and we can spread outside.

 

 

 

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I have 5 children, and I would not allow an aunt or uncle to just take one or two of the kids out regularly. That is showing favoritism and I'd rather they not have a close relationship with any of my kids than to make some of the kids feel less loved by said aunt or uncle. The exception for this is godparents. They are free to spend special time with their godchild and form a stronger relationship that way. 

I have 18 nieces and nephews so I understand the inability to take each one out on a special outing. But I still have a close relationship with most of them, even the ones that live 1000 miles away. I do that by being present with them when we visit and to remember what they are interested in and actively seeking to learn about it so I can talk to them about it. I seriously started watching those ghost investigation shows because one of my nephew's was obsessed with them and I wanted to be able to talk to him about it. If I want to treat them all to something i make cookies or buy a bag of candy for all the share. Those things are special but don't need to be expensive.

As for hosting, I make being at other people's houses easier by making sure the kids clean up any messes before leaving but I don't expect that from nieces and nephews when they visit, which is weekly. But it is always nice when they do. Noise wise, they are free to be as loud as they want outside or in the kids' rooms. But in other areas of the house they are expected to be respectful of everyone's needs and that means not being so loud and wild. They all seem to be fine with this arrangement.

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I don't have a big family, but I'm from a big family with 5 kids all of whom were local until last year and all but 1 had a few kids. 

We often spend time together in ways that don't cost as much as the more expensive activities you have chosen.  Ice cream and ice cream cones can be purchased less expensively at the grocery store and eaten at home. Inexpensive lunches for a crowd can be had at home for far less.  Entertainment doesn't need to be consumer based, that's a choice.  We've had fun with the nieces and nephews with water balloons in the back yard, playing at the park, and playing board games.  Once, when everyone was on a tight budget and stir crazy with cabin fever everyone brought the leftovers from their fridges (it was new to everyone else) for an impromptu potluck and we watched a much watched and loved movie, Galaxy Quest, and everyone sat around saying their favorite lines out loud and over reacted to what was happening on the screen for fun. We had stove popped popcorn which is super cheap, fast, easy, and a crowd pleaser. When the grandparents gave all the grand kids remote control cars, we had them come over for sandwiches, Popsicles, and rc racing in an obstacle course they made with items they brought from their recycling bins. Sometimes we tell them to all bring their bikes and we ride around the neighborhood together.  Sometimes my mother (who owns a small hobby farm in the area) has them come plant flowers together with her, then they ride their bikes to the pond in a neighborhood not far from them and feed ducks.

When Christmas gifts were too much (we were buying for 20 people each year) we just opted out.  We explained it was too much and we were thrilled to see them for the holiday, and we'd bring a big, far-less-expensive-than-individual-gifts package of fireworks for fun for the kids.  Everyone understood (they don't have the in-laws nearby to buy for like we did, but they could sympathize) and went along with it without a fuss. We told them we didn't expect to get any gifts and we wouldn't give gifts, but they chose to give our kids gifts anyway, which is generous of them.  Everyone still had a great time.

I typically hosted 30 people at family events many times throughout the year.  I suck it up and have everyone over for Thanksgiving and Easter even though I don't prefer big, loud gatherings.  Everyone brings food-in the SW no one expects the hostess to provide all the food.  I've never in my life witnessed an invitation to an event with without the invitee immediately responding with, "What should I bring?" 90% of the time they're given an assignment. The other 10% of the time they're told to bring nothing. 

I don't believe the gathering is valuable only when deep relationships result.  I only have a deep relationship with my bio-brother, but it's still worth the work of hosting because in life we have all kinds of relationships of all different depths that are valuable. It's not all about getting, it's about giving.  It's part of contributing to a specific type of community and meeting some minimal family obligations. I speaking about a situation in a family that isn't toxic.

We view children and adults individuals, not units.  When someone is invited, it's only the invitee who goes.  I do make an effort to encourage anyone not invited to host their own thing at our house with someone they would like to spend time with.  Even among my adult siblings there are different groupings throughout the year (not major holidays.) My brother and step-brothers (we were raised together)  play video games together online and I've not been invited.  That's perfectly fine.  The 4 of us raised together were invited to an ongoing iron chef challenge, but I wasn't interested.  Step-sister not raised with us gets together regularly with one of her bio brothers (my step-brothers I was raised with) but not the other.  Bio brother and I do a variety of outdoorsy things that step-siblings aren't usually invited to.  I do things with all my brothers' wives that brothers aren't invited to. Sometimes all the nieces and nephews are invited to something and sometimes only a few. Everyone spends time with everyone through out the year, but how it's configured is very different for each person involved.  That's how life works.

Sometimes when family from out of state comes to visit, they prefer to visit in each adult sibling's or my mom/step-dad's home over the course of their week long visit instead of everyone together at one huge event.  That's perfectly fine.  Those are usually much more focused visits.  It does take more coordination on the visiting party's part to make that happen, but it works better for them.

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Because they doesn't want me to show favoritism, I therefore, do not get to spend time with my nephews anymore. 

Is this accurate? Are there not lots of ways to spend time with your nephews besides the mall-date thing? There’s no way to meet them at a public park or go with the family to the county fair or whatever? 

My SIL has four boys. I know her own MIL/FIL cannot handle all four. They live out of state. So they rotate. Boy #1 comes in the summer and spends a week, Boy #2 comes and spends a different week, and so on. That’s somewhat limiting, yes, but it’s just reality. They cannot manage four boys at once, and probably feel like it’s so much damage control and no actual relationship-building. 

I don’t have a very big family, but I do think this is a trade-off you make when you have more kids. I do come from a family of seven and dh, from a family of eight. So, even just hosting Christmas is not for the faint of heart (also, not for apartment-dwellers!) 

I would not allow an aunt to shower affection on just one of my kids. We’re a package deal. Find a way to have fun with the whole gang, or stagger the attention two at a time. 

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I am 100% happy with someone taking one or two children at a time, as long as they rotate through and everyone gets a turn. We will travel this summer and my uncle I love said a couple kids can stay with him. This is wonderful! It will save on the hotel too because we will only need one regular hotel room. There is a huge difference between 5 of us in the hotel and 7. Five means we can easily fit in to a regular room and 7 (the 2 teen boys) means we will need a second room. 

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Yes, I would have a hard time with you only taking 2 of my children out.  My single brother builds relationships with my kids and my other brother's kids by hanging out with them over meals (breakfast and lunch when we visit my mother and dinner when the rest of the family isn't there), playing video games with them and watching movies with them that they can discuss.  I do not feel super close to my nephews bc my kids are always with them and I don't hang out with them like my brother does.  I am trying to connect with them each time  I see them by asking questions about their life and encouraging them.  That's how my aunts got close to me, too.  Children like others to be interested in them.

No, I do not expect folks to have us over.  I remember how overwhelmed I was at the thought of having a family with 4 kids over when I jsut had 2.  Now, it's no big deal to have a family with 9 kids over.  If you want to have them over and have a yard, plan for an outside bbq.  Otherwise, don't worry about it.

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Not terribly large as a family of 6 but for 2 child families we’re a mob. 

1. When the kids are older it is a bit less overwhelming as oldest help younggers.

2. Invite them over more in nice weather for “cookouts” or “picnics”  large families do fill up a house and that can be overwhelming. So do an outside thing. Even if you meet at a park, you won’t have to clean the house as much.

3. Take 2 kids at a time to build the relationships. And yes, you will need to take turns. 

4. Do something  special for individual kids for their birthdays. (I’m sure your sister will allow you to break up a “turn” if there’s a special day like a birthday for one kid) or to make an unexpected surprise, do half birthdays!

5. Email or iMessage. My brother lives overseas but he keeps in touch with my kids by way of iMessage. There’s an app called Game pigeon that he plays silly short games with my kids through. 

6. Remember that as overwhelming as the logistics of all this may be ( I may be reading it wrong, but it seems that just juggling all the turns and fairness and kids overwhelm you) often kids in large families need some individual attention. Mom and dad may be doing all they can, but you can help in this way. (If you are overwhelmed by logistics, confide in your sister of this and ask for help juggling the fairness stuff. Moms of many DO keep track of turns all the time and I’m sure she’ll be glad to help.)

7. Don’t worry about how much money you spend. Kids like cheap stuff just as much as more expensive fun times. 

8. Id wager that the more you get to know your nieces and nephews individually, the less they’ll feel like a mob of kids And the more they’ll feel like family. 

9. When you take out pairs of kids, ask your sister about which pairings work best. Certain personalities and ages make certain pairings more or less difficult. Your sister knows who works best together.

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Also, large families May not do certain typical things like smaller ones. Such as library story time. That’s a perfect way to invest in a couple small kids even if you don’t necessarily “click” with them. Keep in mind that some kids are easier or harder at different ages. Some kids are super annoying as toddlers but get better as they grow older. Others are harder to be around in middle school. So don’t give up just because initially it didn’t work well. For those kids who aren’t as easy, do an event like a movie where you’re doing something special, but it’s not just one on one chatting.

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I think it's a bit weird when an aunt/grandparent/adult cousin gloms on to one little kid in the family and showers attention and ignores the others. That's uncomfortable. But at the same time, if an older child - like middle school and up maybe? - has an interest/personality that meshes with the family member, I also think it's sad if they're not allowed to develop a relationship in the name of "no favoritism."

Surely there's some happy medium there though? I only have two boys, but they definitely have closer and less closer relationships with family. One of my boys will spend time with a family member this summer that the other hasn't seen in ages. The other will likely see the grandparents while the other one doesn't. So it doesn't have to come out exactly right.

Instead of rotating them in the moment, what about having a special age that you do something with them? Like, age age 10 (or whatever), you do a special day with each one. That should spread it out in a more manageable way than trying to keep track of little lunch dates over the course of a year or two.

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We have five kids, more than any one else in the family.  It wouldn't bother me at all if a particular aunt or uncle or grandparent couldn't handle all of us at once -- whatever.  Everyone has their comfort level.  It's nothing personal.  

When my kids were older, my parents were comfortable stepping in and taking care of all of them for a weekend.  That was when the oldest ones were actually old enough to help too, and could probably even do it on their own, if needed.  Until then, my parents would often take two at a time.  But I don't blame anyone for not wanting to do something special with all five little ones at once, or even all five grown up ones at once!  I just can't imagine making it personal.

Maybe our extended family is unusual, but they've all shown genuine love and support to all of our kids even if they don't feel able to do something special, or even interested in doing something special, with all of them at once, or even any of them ever.  But they've always shown genuine interest in the lives of each and every child, in the capacity that they're able, which might just be to send a special note now and then to acknowledge a special event in their lives.  My kids don't hold any ill-will against relatives who didn't reach out to them as much.  They know they were loved and appreciated either way.  

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3 hours ago, Quill said:

Is this accurate? Are there not lots of ways to spend time with your nephews besides the mall-date thing? There’s no way to meet them at a public park or go with the family to the county fair or whatever? 

I would not allow an aunt to shower affection on just one of my kids. We’re a package deal. Find a way to have fun with the whole gang, or stagger the attention two at a time. 

Of course there are lots of ways to spend time with people. When I invest in a relationship with a child, I invite them into my world. I love eating out in nice restaurants and travel on short trips (New York at Christmas). So when there is a fab restaurant, I will invite a child or two who are in my life. This also allows for deep relationships to develop. I have time to listen to the child, tell them stories that are relevant to their life, etc. 

I completely understand about the jealousy that would occur if one or two kids got what I offer. I've heard many people say that "we're a package deal". But surely, they do realize the children won't always be a package?

2 hours ago, Medicmom2.0 said:

I am the oldest of eight kids.  There weren't eight kids my entire childhood as I was 17 when the youngest was born, but we were always a larger-than-average family.  I felt a lot of stigma, but I was also a sensitive child.  The churches and homeschool groups we attended never had large families. After church a lot of people were always talking about going to other people's homes, but we were never invited over.  We were extremely well behaved children, far more well behaved than my own children now.  I can remember a total of three times we were invited over and it really did bother me as a pre-teen, because it did make me feel different.  My dad's sister, when my parents had six kids, announced she was no longer buying us Christmas or birthday presents since it had gotten to be too much.  My other aunt was once overheard saying to her sister in law she dreaded family birthday parties for her own kids because we ate too much.  She's an incredibly nice person and was always a great aunt, so I suspect they were in financial straits at the time and she never intended my grandmother to either hear that vent or to repeat it to my mom, but of course it happened that way.  It was very hurtful at the time, though as an adult I understand.  I also understand that we did eat a ton, because, frankly, there was adequate food at home for meals but never enough money during that time for fruit/snacks/fillers, and my mom ate like a bird as a teenager and had no idea how much food we really needed.  We probably did eat a lot at my aunt's simply because we were always somewhat hungry.

I don't think you're being a mean aunt.  Your sister has chosen to have a large family and some sacrifices come with that.  However, we were split up sometimes.  For instance, my great-aunt had children late in life, and they were in my age range instead of my mom's.  My great-aunt went out of her way to take my next oldest sister and I for weekends and such as we were good friend with her girls.  She didn't do the same with my other siblings(though one lived with her during grad school).  The second aunt mentioned above was basically a second mom to my third sibling, as that sibling and the aunt's child were born days apart and grew up as close to twins as cousins can be.  I don't think it was favoritism, and never felt that way.  It just made sense.

I suggest doing what you can to foster relationships with your nephews and nieces, and calling it good.  Frankly, large families have a lot of sacrifices.  For the record, my mother has strongly encouraged all eight of us to limit our family size.  None of us have more than four and my three youngest siblings are adamant that they don't desire children.  I think in our family the sacrifices and the stigma have stayed with all of us. 

 

 

I am so sorry for your pain, I understand. I've seen that in the eyes of some kids, and have wondered. But I am also in the process of growing and learning that I can't fix everyone's problems as I wish I could for some of these kids. 

I had always dreamed of being a awesome aunt, but the picture in mind was one of long talks and special times together. Not just hosting a mass of kids, kwim?

Thanks so much for sharing so honestly

 

2 hours ago, OKBud said:

Well I've got three kids (lol I just typed two. I definitely have three), and I don't want people giving them toys anyway. So knock that off your list.

Stop spending extra money on them and reel in what a visit with Auntie needs to be.

Maybe you don't like some of the kids because you don't know them, and they don't know you, so they're not responsive to you? I mean, maybe they're really just brats....but... even the brattiest of brats usually grows up to be a regular person, and they'll spend a lot more time being your adult nieces and nephews, than your little kid ones. Plus younger kids are accustomed to having their older siblings...some of them aren't as impressed by aunts and uncles as the first couple kids tend to be and you really have to wedge yourself in their lives 🙂

 

 

I dont give them toys. I take them out to a favorite restaurant, then tell them they can choose any activity. At the time, it was the Lego store. I then take them to the Lego store, give them a set amount and talk with them about how to spend their money.

 

 

For me, its not about being an aunt or a role of some sort, it's more about developing a meaningful relationship with someone. My oldest nephew called me recently because he wanted to tell me he liked someone and wanted my advice on how to ask her out. He didn't ask his mom, she knows he likes someone, but he wanted my opinion about how to go about it.

I also had another niece reach out to me to tell me she's struggling with depression and that she's scared. Her friends have told her about cutting and she asked me about  that too

Things like this wouldn't  happen if it wasn't for the ongoing private, individual  time I spent with them as children 

Edited by Sharon77
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29 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

Rotate, and do it sort of evenly to split up equitably until they’re adults.  Yeah, that sort of favoritism is hurtful and noticeable. The idea about picking a special age is a great one - surely taking out the twelve year old to go bowling isn’t tough to manage every year or three, and a lot easier to handle than four or five bowlers at once.  Or maybe come over and just eat dinner with them an some maybe do some cookie decorating - it doesn’t have to be a big dramatic thing to matter.

 

Time and interaction does look different with a bigger family. A movie date or lunch date isn’t common because yes, it is expensive.  Consider a picnic or cooking time together instead.  Also it’s fine to foster close relationships with individuals over certain things, but not to the EXCLUSION of time with other family members.  Because the kids will notice, and it may very well bother them.  

 

If you make a fair shake at being loving with each family in specific ways that’s all good, it doesn’t have to be minute for minute and dollar for dollar sameness.  But there was some undertone of your post that really rubbed me wrong as disdainful, and that’s what I’d watch for.

 

If you’re worried about food or seating or whatever with a big family be smart about it - ask if they can bring extra chairs (we are happy to!) and pick foods that scale cheaply, like sloppy joes or salad and taco bars.  It’s not rocket science here 🙄

 

It's not rocket science but I just dont do things like that anymore. I dont enjoy bowling or sloppy joes. I enjoy restaurants and Broadway and pro basketballl games. I enjoy inviting a child along for those things.  my lifestyle is different that's all. 

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I appreciate people responses. 

In the end, Although I COMPLETELY support a parent's right to decide what their gets and to protect them, it's too bad that rather than one or two kids get something, none will get it.

I recently had 4 courtside seats to a Lakers game to see Lebron James. I never asked my sister about my nephews, but they saw my instagram. 

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It's hard when we have a vision of what we want something to look like and it can't happen.  I think your vision is a nice one and it seems to have paid off in the way you want for the older children.  However, in some ways it does seem more about you than them.  You want to invite them into your life.  It doesn't really seem to me to be about them, but more about you and how you see yourself "aunting."

For your situation, I like the idea that some of the grandparents upthread do--tell the parents you have 2 tickets and let them figure it out. Some things will lend themselves better to older kids, which is what you seem to want to focus on.

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11 minutes ago, Sharon77 said:

I appreciate people responses. 

In the end, Although I COMPLETELY support a parent's right to decide what their gets and to protect them, it's too bad that rather than one or two kids get something, none will get it.

I recently had 4 courtside seats to a Lakers game to see Lebron James. I never asked my sister about my nephews, but they saw my instagram. 

Here's the thing.  You could take some of the nephews to THIS game.....but then the next time you go, you take the OTHER nephews.

My mom took DD8 to spend the night at my mom's for 1 night back in January.  I only have 3 kids at home(as opposed to 6+) but even then, they can be a bit overwhelming sometimes.  When she took DD8, they went out to eat and to go see a movie.  She also took DS6, and they also went to a movie, but, a different one, and that's ok.  She did not take DS6 out to eat.  Next month, she will take DD10, but they are going to go shopping and for a hair cut, rather than go to the movies.  

 

Some other things you can do you build a relationship is attend the nephew's events.  Go see their school play, or watch their soccer game.  If they are in scouts, go to a scout event.  

You don't have to do the exact same thing with each kid each time.  In fact, kids with many siblings often recognize that not every kid is going to get the exact same thing at the exact same time, but that things can still be fair.  And even when they don't, it's a concept they are in the process of learning.  

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ETA:

You know, my siblings don't take my kids to anything at all.  But, they do have a relationship with them.  We (the whole extended family) frequently get together as a group for holidays or other get togethers.  There are usually 3 or 4 a year.  And my kids call them on the phone, even face time with my youngest sister, who lives several states away.  That sister just had a baby last year, and I haven't been there since, but again, I face time with my sister, talk to the baby etc.  Relationships with kids aren't just about taking kids places.  Its more about taking interest in their lives.  

Edited by happysmileylady
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We are the family with the most kids on either side.  We have siblings who have none, and a couple with one or two. It would never have crossed my mind to say "do something with all of them," or even rotate fairly. Because I don't think that is possible. For example, the kids have an uncle who loves concerts and live music and invites a kid when he has an extra ticket. Certain kids have gotten more opportunity than others, but that is because 1. they like concerts more and 2. uncle and kid are a better personality match and 3. they were available. I am not going to tell uncle to do something else with them or say someone can't go because they went last time.

It looks like I am the odd one out here, but I think it is fine for aunts/uncles to provide different opportunities for different kids. Grandparents, too. And sometimes things are just bad timing (like the death of grandparent before the younger kids were even old enough to remember him) or for a few years when a childless aunt/uncle had time and money and location to do extra things and in later years had an involved job and a family of his own. 

As a parent, I have found that it is impossible to be absolutely fair. DH and I try to be fair in big things, but really- just sometimes things aren't fair. I can't hold my extended family to a standard that I can't maintain myself.

As to the inviting over of big families, I did it for years and always offered to host. Or had picnics at a park. But now, small house, grown kids... I am out of practice.

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2 minutes ago, MysteryJen said:

We are the family with the most kids on either side.  We have siblings who have none, and a couple with one or two. It would never have crossed my mind to say "do something with all of them," or even rotate fairly. Because I don't think that is possible. For example, the kids have an uncle who loves concerts and live music and invites a kid when he has an extra ticket. Certain kids have gotten more opportunity than others, but that is because 1. they like concerts more and 2. uncle and kid are a better personality match and 3. they were available. I am not going to tell uncle to do something else with them or say someone can't go because they went last time.

It looks like I am the odd one out here, but I think it is fine for aunts/uncles to provide different opportunities for different kids. Grandparents, too. And sometimes things are just bad timing (like the death of grandparent before the younger kids were even old enough to remember him) or for a few years when a childless aunt/uncle had time and money and location to do extra things and in later years had an involved job and a family of his own. 

As a parent, I have found that it is impossible to be absolutely fair. DH and I try to be fair in big things, but really- just sometimes things aren't fair. I can't hold my extended family to a standard that I can't maintain myself.

As to the inviting over of big families, I did it for years and always offered to host. Or had picnics at a park. But now, small house, grown kids... I am out of practice.

I do realize that it is fine for different kids to get different opportunities, but as a child, if my older brother was the only one who ever got to do x cool thing with the aunt, I'd feel absolutely crushed. Not just about timing (my oldest is the only one who remembers my mom) But someone deliberately going "Nope. You don't like what I like so you are not getting anything of me at all." 

 

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46 minutes ago, Sharon77 said:

I appreciate people responses. 

In the end, Although I COMPLETELY support a parent's right to decide what their gets and to protect them, it's too bad that rather than one or two kids get something, none will get it.

I recently had 4 courtside seats to a Lakers game to see Lebron James. I never asked my sister about my nephews, but they saw my instagram. 

I disagree that it’s “too bad none will get it”. When there are more kids for spreading out the resources, you have to change what those things will be. There’s nothing “too bad” about it. I have 22 nieces and nephews and now 8 great nieces and nephews. When we do Christmas, we don’t give gifts to everyone; it’s preposterous. Instead, we play an ornament exchange game that has people “stealing” the “hot” ornaments from each other. It’s a great time! Not onlyis this a way to have fun with a big crew, itis more fun because it’s a big crew. 

 

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Maybe the difference is that uncle asks "who would like to go to the concert?" Not "would child A like to go?"

Trips, plays, shows, athletic contests- my youngest has rarely had the opportunities that the older ones had for lots of different reasons, but he has other opportunities they didn't.

I just think trying to make other people make things fair is a way to push them away.

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Yeah, not all kids get the same treatment, but if the other *never* got anything special from that aunt, then it would breed resentment.  My MIL and SIL took my dd to visit a relative on the coast for a beach week a few years in a row, but never included the boys.  I understood why.  At the time the boys had a week of scout camp, but dd didn't want to go to camp, so we let this happen.  Different things for different kids.  However, now that dd's  summer opportunties have expanded we wouldn't allow it to continue, particularly as younger dd is in the position oldest dd was in at the point it all started.

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It looks like I am the odd one out here, but I think it is fine for aunts/uncles to provide different opportunities for different kids. Grandparents, too. And sometimes things are just bad timing (like the death of grandparent before the younger kids were even old enough to remember him) or for a few years when a childless aunt/uncle had time and money and location to do extra things and in later years had an involved job and a family of his own. 

Let me make a clarification here: 

I did not require that each of my children always have all of the same activities and fun things. In some cases, one kid is interested in something that another kid is not, so it would be silly to do that. For example, two times my daughter and her closest girl cousin went for a week to one aunt’s horse farm for “camp.” My boys did not do that. But that’s because the boys didn’t care about horses, and my younger son didn't have that same opportunity because the horses were sold by that time. 

However, this is different from what the OP seems to be talking about. The OP is talking about showering attention and monetary perks on the kids she happens to like and not on the others simply because there’s too many to do it for all and she does not like them equally. I do not consider that okay. 

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11 minutes ago, MysteryJen said:

Maybe the difference is that uncle asks "who would like to go to the concert?" Not "would child A like to go?"

Trips, plays, shows, athletic contests- my youngest has rarely had the opportunities that the older ones had for lots of different reasons, but he has other opportunities they didn't.

I just think trying to make other people make things fair is a way to push them away.

I don't think it has to be completely fair in the same ways, but Sharon doesn't want to spend time at all with the younger ones.  I think that breeds resentment.

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18 minutes ago, MysteryJen said:

Maybe the difference is that uncle asks "who would like to go to the concert?" Not "would child A like to go?"

Trips, plays, shows, athletic contests- my youngest has rarely had the opportunities that the older ones had for lots of different reasons, but he has other opportunities they didn't.

I just think trying to make other people make things fair is a way to push them away.

 

I only have two kids but I still love it that my SIL makes an effort even if it's not entirely even. She prefers to take them kids to things one at a time and finds it easier to relate to DD. She was upfront with us, from the beginning, that even having both of them at their current ages is overwhelming to her. Still, she takes them to shows, concerts and dinners in NYC where she lives. She flew to Seattle one year to pick up DD (then age 7 or 8) and take her to the city for a week, something DS hasn't done. She has asked us what activities they enjoy and we try to find things that both she and the kids will like but, as a family, we value exposing them to things they might not otherwise do or see just as much as the chance to wallow in the things they already know and like. The idea that kids should only be engaged in things they already like seems off to me. In a relationship, you need to learn what each other likes. It's not one-sided, even with kids. My dad always used to say he was a much better parent of older kids than younger kids. It's just a fact. He didn't have nearly as much patience for us as kids but he's an amazing parent/guide to us as young adults/adults. We all have our strengths and weaknesses.

Edited by Sneezyone
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1 hour ago, Sharon77 said:

 

It's not rocket science but I just dont do things like that anymore. I dont enjoy bowling or sloppy joes. I enjoy restaurants and Broadway and pro basketballl games. I enjoy inviting a child along for those things.  my lifestyle is different that's all. 

Thing is your talking about having a relationship with kids but wanting to take them to adult activities.  Seems like you want to have a relationship with the older kids but not be burdened with little kid stuff anymore?  

I don’t think that’s going to work - I don’t have a big family but I really like things to be as fair as possible between my 3.  

 

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2 hours ago, Sharon77 said:

 

It's not rocket science but I just dont do things like that anymore. I dont enjoy bowling or sloppy joes. I enjoy restaurants and Broadway and pro basketballl games. I enjoy inviting a child along for those things.  my lifestyle is different that's all. 

 

It's not about you. Are you saying that you can't build or enjoy a relationship with (some of) your nieces and nephews unless they do exactly and only what you enjoy?

You sound quite rigid in your thinking. Do you resent your sister for not giving you the idealised aunt experience that you had in your head? 

I have 4 and it is a lot for many people. I get pissed off when some close family members clearly favours my only girl. I don't care one whit if they rotate through who they spend time with, I don't care at all if only one child gets a special event - AS LONG AS the giver is sensitive and caring and overall the love for all the kids is expressed.

For events, we take turns hosting, we all contribute and we choose affordable options. I'd rather have a less fancy meal/experience and more loving family around me.

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6 hours ago, JanOH said:

It makes me sad when I realize that people get overwhelmed with all of us  but it's just one of the results of having a large family.  I am super-aware of this issue and try hard to keep things under control when invited as a family somewhere but there are just a lot of us.

As far as your nephews go, could you continue to do fun things with them by just taking two at a time and rotate who you take?  We've never had the policy that if you invite one kid you have to invite all 🙂.  In fact, I encourage our kids to do things away from their siblings.  My parents for example will call and ask for "two kids this week".  The next time it might be one or three.  It's fine for us and gives the kids time to develop special relationships with the relatives.  My in-laws will often call and have an activity planned and say "we can buy tickets for two kids - does anyone want to go?". Often the kids figure out who's turn it is -lol!

As far as hosting, I am always most comfortable to accept invitations for my  clan when my offer to bring something is accepted.  If you want to host, plan a potluck or picnic.  I rarely invite large groups (my extended family is numbering 38 now) unless it's nice weather and we can spread outside.

 

 

 

You have great parents and inlaws!  

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2 hours ago, Ausmumof3 said:

Thing is your talking about having a relationship with kids but wanting to take them to adult activities.  Seems like you want to have a relationship with the older kids but not be burdened with little kid stuff anymore?  

I don’t think that’s going to work - I don’t have a big family but I really like things to be as fair as possible between my 3.  

 

Why do you assume those are adult activities? There are plenty of family friendly shows on and off broadway, and food (even fine dining) is pretty universal. My kids don't care much for sports but even they could appreciate the eyeball circus that is a professional game.

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26 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

 

Why do you assume those are adult activities? There are plenty of family friendly shows on and off broadway, and food (even fine dining) is pretty universal. My kids don't care much for sports but even they could appreciate the eyeball circus that is a professional game.

Yeah and I will take my kids to stuff like that as well but I guess it was more the dismissing of stuff like bowling or whatever which are typically kid activities.  

i dunno I just reckon if you want a relationship with kids that aren’t yours you have to meet them where they are at a bit. Plus kids are all different.  Taking my oldest out for coffee and a conversation would work, also my youngest but my middle dd would be bored.  

Just seems like it’s very much all on my terms for the op.  Though she specified that she respects the parents are the ones to decide.

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For the op,

i have a friend who is an aunty to a large family - she takes each of the kids to movies on their birthdays and I think rotates through them in the school holidays.  Because her sis has a large family and one kid with very significant special needs that one on one time with an adult is super precious to the kids even if it’s not as much as it would be in a smaller family.

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4 hours ago, Sharon77 said:

 

It's not rocket science but I just dont do things like that anymore. I dont enjoy bowling or sloppy joes. I enjoy restaurants and Broadway and pro basketballl games. I enjoy inviting a child along for those things.  my lifestyle is different that's all. 

Is this about developing a relationship or about enjoying yourself?

4 hours ago, Medicmom2.0 said:

I
When you're trying to develop a relationship with a child, it's not really on your terms.  I feel a few things are going on: you don't necessarily like all of your nieces/nephews, perhaps because they have different interests than you and you want the children to participate in your life, not you participating in theirs.

I think perhaps you need to rethink your expectations.  

Seriously. I mean, my nieces don't like to cook and I do, but they love glitter and decorating stuff, so I bring prefaced cookies on the holidays and set them loose with a zillion jars of sprinkles, which are like the glitter of baking, lol. And I get them makeup and such for their birthdays and learned what LOL dolls are for them, lol. But, I also don't feel the need to spend 1 on 1 time with them all the time, we just all hang out. I'm there if they need me. 

4 hours ago, Medicmom2.0 said:

Also, as a parent, I'd be PISSED if aunt was inviting one or two favorites to see Frozen on Broadway and never doing anything with the other kids.  Nope.  Not that aunt needs to take all three of my kids(my eight year old son would likely rather die than watch a Broadway show; my daughter would adore it) all the time, but effort would need to be made to establish relationships and do fun things with all the kids that are suitable to their ages, needs and interests.

Yes. And that can be as simple as watching a movie at home. 

4 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

 it can’t be so obviously inequitable that the kids left behind come to me with tears asking why auntie______ doesn’t like them as much as their sibling.  Nope. That would get auntie cut off from everyone still living at home rather than continually hurting some of the children with favoritism.

Exactly. that's just mean. 

3 hours ago, EmseB said:

I think if you're only willing to invest in relationships with the kids on your own terms, that's going to be very limiting no matter how many kids someone has.

Right, I mean what if none of the kids liked the things OP liked?

3 hours ago, Quill said:

The OP is talking about showering attention and monetary perks on the kids she happens to like and not on the others simply because there’s too many to do it for all and she does not like them equally. I do not consider that okay. 

me either. 

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8 hours ago, Sharon77 said:

I also tried rotating kids, but I dont like it. I dont like/enjoy all the kids the same. Some I just click with and then, if I rotate, I can't really invest in a few relationships i.e., by the time it's the oldest nephews turn, I haven't seen them in 6-8 months. 

There are a lot of other things, like I don't like hosting their family when they visit our area because it's just too many people, the noise, mess and food needs are overwhelming. Before, I would just suck it up and try to be a great host because they are family, but guess what? Because I don't really have a deep relationship with several of them, it's not worth the work of hosting all of them, kwim?

There are also several large homeschooling families I know who I may like, but because there are so many of them, I don't invite them over or anything. 

So, if you have a large family, how do you feel about the above?

Is it ok if family members just do what they can with a few kids or are you a all or nothing? 

I'm rarely surprised anymore by anything I read here, and I am really, really trying to respond to this nicely. To be honest, the nicest thing I can think of to say about the above is that it sounds...shallow.

I don't feel like I have a big family, so I am not taking it personally. At least not for my sake. I know that my sister says that my house is one of the few places she feels comfortable visiting with her family (8 kids- You can absolutely get to know and have relationships with 8 kids. They are individuals, not a monolithic group.). They are great kids. Since we are both raising kids, we don't go out of our way to do things with each other's kids. We will occasionally have fewer kids for some reason, and then we may do an extra something for the kids we have. Anyone trying to make everything fair for 13 kids is nuts, but stopping for ice cream with the littles or the middles or the bigs one time and taking a different group to a movie another time is fine. My sister does make a bigger deal over my little girls sometimes. Her oldest is 16 and the rest of her kids are boys. It is fine. She loves and is pleasant to my boys, even if she isn't fixing their hair for church. LOL We do birthday gifts more than Christmas, since it spreads out the spending. We told our brother with one kid long ago that a family gift is fine. And it is, because it isn't about the gifts; it is definitely not about the money. It is about love and good will.

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Honestly OP, your posts are really bizarre to me. I think most parents of larger families have no illusions about the possibility, or desirability, of making things equal for all.

But you can do things with that many kids ad get to know them all.  Maybe you have to do things other than broadway plays etc - you can do those things, trying o take each child as they are the right age.  But maybe you have to do some other things as well.

  If you aren't willing to do something like just spend some time with a kid at a park or the library or something, I can't imagine you are really all that interested.

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1 hour ago, Ausmumof3 said:

Yeah and I will take my kids to stuff like that as well but I guess it was more the dismissing of stuff like bowling or whatever which are typically kid activities.  

i dunno I just reckon if you want a relationship with kids that aren’t yours you have to meet them where they are at a bit. Plus kids are all different.  Taking my oldest out for coffee and a conversation would work, also my youngest but my middle dd would be bored.  

Just seems like it’s very much all on my terms for the op.  Though she specified that she respects the parents are the ones to decide.

 

It could be very one-sided and, I admit, the OP does give off that vibe. I just think people who do not lead child-centered lives or enjoy typical kids activities can also enrich children’s lives. It may be discovering a love of art through museum trips, or treasured memories driving a golf cart with auntie, who knows. I wouldn’t cut a family member out who wants to be involved just because she prefers to do so when the children are old/interested enough to do those things. Heck, I didn’t even like going to the park with my own toddlers. My mom, on the other hand, loved it so she took them regularly. The beauty of family is that I can excel in my areas of strength and let my tribe fill in the gaps.

Edited by Sneezyone
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34 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

 

It could be very one-sided and, I admit, the OP does give off that vibe. I just think people who do not lead child-centered lives or enjoy typical kids activities can also enrich children’s lives. It may be discovering a love of art through museum trips, or treasured memories driving a golf cart with auntie, who knows. I wouldn’t cut a family member out who wants to be involved just because she prefers to do so when the children are old/interested enough to do those things. Heck, I didn’t even like going to the park with my own toddlers. My mom, on the other hand, loved it so she took them regularly. The beauty of family is that I can excel in my areas of strength and let my tribe fill in the gaps.

 

But it isn't that the kids just don't want to do any of these things, from what I can see.  Surely there is something that could be fun that each child and the OP would enjoy.  The OP just thinks it's too expensive etc to do it for all the kids and would not allow enough time with the ones she likes.

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22 minutes ago, Bluegoat said:

 

But it isn't that the kids just don't want to do any of these things, from what I can see.  Surely there is something that could be fun that each child and the OP would enjoy.  The OP just thinks it's too expensive etc to do it for all the kids and would not allow enough time with the ones she likes.

 

I was responding to comments that suggested the only way to spend quality time with the nieces and nephews is to play video games, BBQ, and climb play structures at the park. I didn’t get the sense that the OP wouldn’t do things, at some point, with all the kids but that she preferred to do things with the older children and/or the children who showed some interest in doing those things, also that this strategy had worked for her in the past with other nieces and nephews. I certainly wouldn’t like it if my family members had obvious favorites but, as my kids get older, I don’t expect, nor will I insist, that they each have the same kind of relationships with other family members or family friends. It wasn’t the OP that put a hault to outings but the parent(s).

Edited by Sneezyone
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Well, with 10 kids, I am definitely one of the ones you are talking about!  Although 2 kids are in college, and our oldest still-at-home son is usually working at dinner time, so that just means 7 kids a lot of the time, which seems small to me . . . lol.

I don't expect to get invited anywhere for dinner, but people (good friends and family) definitely do.  It's usually a big pot of soup or chili and baked potatoes or something else easy and scalable, if that makes sense.  And I certainly offer to bring stuff.  Usually I invite people over to eat, though, because it is very easy for me to make large amounts of food (I do it every day!), and I have all the big pots/pans etc. and can easily add some more people to the meal count.  

We stopped doing individual birthday parties for kids long, long ago because I absolutely could not deal with tons of little presents coming in all throughout the year.  In VA, we would sign up to bring dessert at our weekly Bible study near a child's birthday, and the birthday kid got to pick what dessert I would make and bring, and everyone there would sing.  Then at home, we would have the child's special dinner (whatever he picked out to have), maybe a cake or at least ice cream or something, and open presents from us (usually just 2 or 3).  So I would not have any issue with anyone not getting my kids gifts!  No more stuff!    

Now we have moved to Ohio, and we are living close to both my parents, and my aunt and uncle.  I have really appreciated how they spend time with different units of kids--they will have the 3 youngest over to play at their house for a few hours, or they will watch a movie with the middle kids, and they will take an older kid or 2 out to dinner.  Like previous people have said, it's not the same thing for each child, but each child feels very loved by them individually.  

Honestly, i know several members of DH's family think of our kids as one amorphous unit and don't really know them individually.  I am certainly glad we didn't worry about what they thought or their potential relationships when we kept having kids, lol.  We have been very blessed to have lots of very good friends as well as other family members decide my kids were worth investing in and getting to know, even though there are a lot of them, and it's led to very fruitful and positive relationships.  So hopefully if you aren't up to the challenge, there will be others in your nieces' and nephews' lives that will be!

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On 3/7/2019 at 3:09 PM, Sharon77 said:

 

It's not rocket science but I just dont do things like that anymore. I dont enjoy bowling or sloppy joes. I enjoy restaurants and Broadway and pro basketballl games. I enjoy inviting a child along for those things.  my lifestyle is different that's all. 

But that's not how healthy relationships with people, especially children,  work.  You may enjoy those things, and it's ok to enjoy them, but those are very narrow categories.  If the only ways you can develop meaningful relationships with your relatives is for them to participate in only those specific activities, then you have a serious problem.  You need counseling so you can learn realistic ideas about how relationships work. In healthy relationships there's give and take.  That means happily doing things the other person would enjoy, even if we don't like them, not because of the activity itself, but rather because we care about the other person enjoying something.  We get pleasure in the reaction of the other person reacting to activity they enjoy.

Now I have to ask, are you looking for a reason to not have relationships with the kids?  Did you want people here to tell you that since most kids aren't going to like those things, you're off the hook?  Did you want to hear people tell you it's OK to favor one or two over the rest because it's better for a couple of kids that you especially like to get to do something instead of making some reasonable adjustments so each kid gets to do something? If you did, it's customary here to begin the post with the letters JAWM which stand for Just Agree With Me, so everyone knows you're not open to suggestions to change your point of view or change your behavior.  

Edited by Homeschool Mom in AZ
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