Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: rain on December 27, 2012, 06:30:25 PM

Title: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: rain on December 27, 2012, 06:30:25 PM
For those of you who have stepparents &/or sibs.... or even if you don't


Is it normal for stepparents to try to have equal gifts between kids, or is it the norm for the bio-parent to spend a lot more on the bio-child?

Regardless of which way it was in your home, what do you think is the better way (esp. when everyone lives in the same home)?
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: Sharnita on December 27, 2012, 06:33:15 PM
I would think equal gifts - especially if everyone is in the same house.
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: blue2000 on December 27, 2012, 06:48:01 PM
Equal gifts for any children who are opening them together. Equal gifts from any parent/step in the house. There is favouritism and awkwardness sometimes with parents and stepparents/stepchildren, but it shouldn't show up on Christmas morning.

If the child is getting extra from Grandma or something - they can open them later at her house, or at a different time. Emphasize the fact that this isn't the parents' doing, to save on hurt feelings.
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: catrunning on December 27, 2012, 07:11:29 PM
When my husband's parents were alive, they gave one of my husband's brother's children considerably more in the way of gifts than they gave either my stepkids or any of their other cousins.   Their reason was that these particular children's parents were usually unemployed (of their own doing - both of them tended to steal from whoever was foolish enough to hire them), and the grandparents wanted to "make up" for the gifts their own parents wouldn't or couldn't buy them.     

When my stepkids were little, they certainly didn't understand - how could they?   And my inlaws didn't understand why we didn't want my stepkids to have to witness this every year.     And I'm talking about a huge discrepency.    My stepkids and all their other cousins would get a pair of mittens and a $5 bill (same present every year to every kid), and those cousins would get expensive electronics, bikes and the like.    It would be one thing if those presents were given to their cousins at a different time - none of us adults would have cared, we were able to spoil our own kids at Christmas -  but no....it had to happen right in front of everyone.

We just stopped visiting them when presents were opened.    We would either go a day or so before Chirstmas or around New Years.    When the kids got older, they had more insight into the situation, but by then we had established our own traditions.

Interesting side note - the only grandkids who did not attend either of their grandparents' funerals were those particular cousins who got the expensive gifts every year.   
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: WillyNilly on December 27, 2012, 07:32:34 PM
I think within one household all kids are equal, in my family we don't really recognise "step", or Lhalf" they're just kids or siblings or parents. So I pretty much fall on the side that giftin should be equal. (I also pretty much think gifts should be from both parents, not one, so there's really no opportunity for one parent to gift more to one kid at all.)
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: MOM21SON on December 27, 2012, 08:07:41 PM
My father treats all of the kids and grandkids the same.

My stepmother favors her kids and grandkids and barely acknowledges my dads "side"

They have been married for 30 years.  we were all kids in the same house for a few years.
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: jedikaiti on December 27, 2012, 08:09:00 PM
He's still married to her why? I think that would be a deal breaker for me!
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: norrina on December 27, 2012, 08:09:56 PM
DF has an 11 y.o. son who has informed us he does not want a half-sibling because he wouldn't get as many presents for Christmas due to us having to spend money on the sibling too. DFSS is a really great kid, but methinks he could benefit from having a younger sibling and learning the fine art if sharing graciously. That being said, if a baby does join the family at some point, I absolutely will not favor my bio child over DFSS, at Christmas or any other time. In fact, DFSS would probably continue to have more spent on him for a good while simply because gifts for infants/toddlers tend to be lss expensive than gifts for teens.

My parents have one bio grandchild, and I don't know what they gave my niece for Christmas because DF and I did Christmas with his family this year, but my parents sent DFSS a very nice present for Christmas. They live over 1000 miles away, so they only finally met DFSS a couple months ago. While they were here DF and I decided to go ahead and choose the kitten we had agreed that DFSS could adopt, and mom and dad asked to be permitted to pay the adoption fee. Essentially, my mom bought her new grandson's love with a kitten.  ;)

I don't think my parents make any sort of concerted effort to treat DFSS and my niece equally, nor do I intend to drive myself crazy making sure that anything I ever get for DFSS and any future bio kids comes out perfectly even. I love DFSS as my own, and my parents know this, and have welcomed him into the family as their grandson. I don't foresee there being any need to make sure everything is equal, because I don't foresee anyone in my immediate family making a distinction between bio and step. In an ideal world, this would be the way it is in any blended family, but I do think that in the less-ideal situations where there is a distinction, Christmas is definitely the time and place to set that aside and make sure all the children are treated equally.

I also agree with what WillyNilly says about the gifts being from both parents. The first couple years DF and I were dating, he gave DFSS presents and I gave DFSS presents. Once we started living together though, DFSS' presents were from "Dad and Norrina". He only got one present from us this year, but it was a bigger/nicer present than either of us would have given him alone.
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: mmswm on December 27, 2012, 08:45:24 PM
We had a little bit of this sort of issue this year.  I wound up moving back to my parents' in mid-December.  Life has been quite rough for me for the last few years, and my mother knew I would not have the money for my kids to have a huge Christmas.  I still have very young siblings, so my mother and her church group pulled out all the stops to make sure my kids' Christmas matched my little brother and sister's Christmas.  Somewhere in all the conversations back and forth, my mother failed to understand that some friends of mine had "adopted" my kids this year.  On Christmas Eve, two HUGE boxes arrived. The majority of what was in those boxes were for my youngest.  The other two got gift cards for the value of what was spent on the little one.  When we put everything out, the pile for my youngest was easily three times the size of the piles for all the rest of the kids. There was no way to do things separately, so we pulled my little brother and sister aside and explained that sometimes life just isn't fair.  Besides, if any kid deserved a spectacular Christmas this year, it was William.  That poor boy went through so much with multiple, major surgical procedures, spending most of the last year in and out of hospitals and rehab.  It was nice to see him so incredibly excited.  After we explained all that, they were totally cool with the gift disparity.

ETA: This posted before I was done...

Under normal circumstances, we would have made sure the gifts were reasonably equal, but this year was an exception.
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: gramma dishes on December 27, 2012, 09:02:36 PM
...    we pulled my little brother and sister aside and explained that sometimes life just isn't fair.  Besides, if any kid deserved a spectacular Christmas this year, it was William.  That poor boy went through so much with multiple, major surgical procedures, spending most of the last year in and out of hospitals and rehab.  It was nice to see him so incredibly excited.  After we explained all that, they were totally cool with the gift disparity.



Kids are usually great that way, aren't they?  I love kids.  They're so much better than lots of adults in their ability to empathize and they're wonderfully able to adjust their definition of the word "fair" as necessary.   :)
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: MOM21SON on December 27, 2012, 09:25:09 PM
He's still married to her why? I think that would be a deal breaker for me!

If you are referring to me, that is the million dollar question.  I don't have a answer and after years of putting up with it and trying to fight it, I am tired.  My son is not allowed to call her Grandma, because she is "Not really his Grandma."  When she seees him she never hugs him or smiles, just shows him pics of HER wonderful grandkids.
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: gramma dishes on December 27, 2012, 09:28:27 PM
...    My son is not allowed to call her Grandma, because she is "Not really his Grandma."  When she seees him she never hugs him or smiles, just shows him pics of HER wonderful grandkids.

I'd never allow her to even lay eyes upon him again.  No child deserves to be treated like that.  And you, as his mother, should not be expected to tolerate having your son treated that way. 

Sorry.  That's disgusting!
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: MOM21SON on December 27, 2012, 09:34:16 PM
...    My son is not allowed to call her Grandma, because she is "Not really his Grandma."  When she seees him she never hugs him or smiles, just shows him pics of HER wonderful grandkids.

I'd never allow her to even lay eyes upon him again.  No child deserves to be treated like that.  And you, as his mother, should not be expected to tolerate having your son treated that way. 

Sorry.  That's disgusting!

Yes it is.  And the last time we saw her was I think 4 or 5 years ago and on the plane home he told me he never wanted to see her again and we haven't!  Its all good.

 
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: gramma dishes on December 27, 2012, 09:42:14 PM
...    My son is not allowed to call her Grandma, because she is "Not really his Grandma."  When she seees him she never hugs him or smiles, just shows him pics of HER wonderful grandkids.

I'd never allow her to even lay eyes upon him again.  No child deserves to be treated like that.  And you, as his mother, should not be expected to tolerate having your son treated that way. 

Sorry.  That's disgusting!

Yes it is.  And the last time we saw her was I think 4 or 5 years ago and on the plane home he told me he never wanted to see her again and we haven't!  Its all good.

 ;)  You really are a great Mom.  You do know that.  Right?
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: MOM21SON on December 27, 2012, 09:49:49 PM
...    My son is not allowed to call her Grandma, because she is "Not really his Grandma."  When she seees him she never hugs him or smiles, just shows him pics of HER wonderful grandkids.

I'd never allow her to even lay eyes upon him again.  No child deserves to be treated like that.  And you, as his mother, should not be expected to tolerate having your son treated that way. 

Sorry.  That's disgusting!

Yes it is.  And the last time we saw her was I think 4 or 5 years ago and on the plane home he told me he never wanted to see her again and we haven't!  Its all good.

 ;)  You really are a great Mom.  You do know that.  Right?

Thanks.  I appreciate your kind words.  It makes me sad that others have to deal with this.  OP, Rain, sorry to semi hijack. 
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: pearls n purls on December 27, 2012, 10:12:26 PM
This doesn't involve step-kids, but one thing I love about my mom is that she treats her children's spouses as she does her kids.  My DH and I get approximately equal gifts from my parents.  We have a baby that will be here very soon, so my parents gave us some money to be used either for getting food delivered once the baby is here or to use for baby supplies.  Half the cash was in a little box for my DH to open up and half was given to me.  My parents do similar things for my sister and her DH.  I think this helps the in-laws feel loved and part of the family.

I can't imagine being intentionally unfair to minor children.  Even though gifts do not equal love, a child who is not given similar values/amounts of gifts and other children in the family is going to feel less loved and valued.
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: blarg314 on December 27, 2012, 10:53:46 PM
If the children are going to find out, then generally equal.

The one situation where I think things could be more complicated is something like Child A and Child B are step/half siblings, and live in the same household. Child A gets showered with tons of gifts from a parent outside of the household (like the non-custodial parent). Child B gets nothing from their other parent(s). In that case, the custodial parents might choose to balance things somewhat for the same motivations as they would keep things equal, normally.

I can understand why more distant relative (grandparents, aunts and uncles) would feel odd giving expensive gifts to a child they may have had little contact with, like a teenage step-child, however, in the interests of not stressing what is often already a difficult family situation, it's better to scale back the total giving and be fair than have a big disparity.

Other giving, like giving to an education fund, or wills, tend to happen in the background, and can be treated differently, when it comes to extended family, like grandparents.

Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: 25wishes on December 28, 2012, 08:32:47 AM
I had a stepmom for a few years. While I do not recall gifts, I clearly remember one holiday when my step-sis got a card from SM, handwritten in, "To my favorite daughter" (there were one boy and one girl on her side, two girls on my dad's side).

re the step-mom who doesn't want to be called Grandma by her step-GKs - I am now a stepmom, no kids of my own, several GKS thru DH. I started out being called by my given name, on a visit last summer to one set of GKs they started calling me Grandma and I was so happy!! If I can get the rest of them to do that it will be wonderful. They are all little, 6 and under, so I am hoping.... :)
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: norrina on December 28, 2012, 09:42:04 AM
re the step-mom who doesn't want to be called Grandma by her step-GKs - I am now a stepmom, no kids of my own, several GKS thru DH. I started out being called by my given name, on a visit last summer to one set of GKs they started calling me Grandma and I was so happy!! If I can get the rest of them to do that it will be wonderful. They are all little, 6 and under, so I am hoping.... :)

With DFSS being only 11 now, grandchildren are (I hope) a long ways off still, but I too would dearly love them to call me grandma. I won't force the issue of course, though i wouldn't insist my bio grandchildren call me anything in particular either, as I find those things develop organically. (DFSS calls me primarily by my given name, but also Bagel [after he misheard when DF called me babels as a pet name], and several cutesy variations of my given name, and my niece calls my mom, who is all of 5' tall while her other grandmother is closer to 6', "little grandma".)

My grandpa was married three times, his first wife died when I was 3, and he remarried shortly after and I called his second wife Grandma FirstName. That was fine, because she was essentially the only grandma I ever knew. She passed when I was 16 or 17, and he remarried again when I was in college. His third wife wanted me to just call her straight up Grandma. When I resisted, pointing out that I had already had 2 grandmas at this point and was now a grown woman so it was kind of late in the game to having a third, she got very hurt, and grandpa very bent out of shape. I was asked to call her Grandma FirstName as a compromise and in the interest of family harmony, so mostly I just avoided calling her anything. Ultimately grandpa ending up disowning me for divorcing, which I am pretty sure was her doing (grandpa was Catholic, but 2 of his sons had also divorced without repercussion, and he hadn't approved of the marriage in the first place).
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: auntmeegs on December 28, 2012, 10:31:59 AM
While you can't always control what other members of the extended family are going to do, IMO there should never be any difference on what the children's PARENTS give to the kids.  My brother has a stepson (his wife's child from a previous relationship) and a bio son (he and his wife's child together) and it would never occur to him
in a million years to have a different level of gift-giving for the two children. 
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: snappylt on December 28, 2012, 03:13:52 PM

[snip] - most of quote deleted here -

Interesting side note - the only grandkids who did not attend either of their grandparents' funerals were those particular cousins who got the expensive gifts every year.

Wow.
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: rain on December 29, 2012, 09:51:37 AM
OP here - sigh - I try  to make the presents equal (ok, sometimes I agonize over it).

DH ruined it for me... but doesn't know that he upset me

I'm the gift buyer, stocking stuffer (including my own stocking), etc.  DH will get one gift for each of the kids (his DD & my DS)

This year DH got me something I didn't expect as a "stocking stuffer" - 'bout $150 value, he got DSD a new Ipod for her stocking, and for DS's stocking  :( >:( an $5-$8 dice game - which DH picked up for me as it made the kids stockings equal (DS was at his dad's & wasn't with us when the rest of us got our stockings)

 :(  Now, I want nothing to do with the gift he'd gotten me because it hurts that I try to treat the kids equally, and he sees nothing wrong with doing what he did. 

 :-[  I don't know if I'm odd or not, but I tend to have feelings/emotions/memories attached to things - I went from happy/excited to hurt ....
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: Winterlight on December 29, 2012, 11:05:34 AM
Ouch. I see the problem.

Can you reverse things and ask him how it would be if your son got the Ipod and his daughter got the cheap gift?
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: Roe on December 29, 2012, 11:38:38 AM
*hugs* to you Rain. That really stinks. Big time.  Not sure what advice to give you but I can't understand why your DH doesn't see the issue.  It says quite a bit about him and how he sees your son and that's really unfortunate. 

Has this ever happened before? 
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: problemattic on December 29, 2012, 12:06:16 PM
This sort of thing created a rift in my family that has yet to heal. 

DH and I married when my DD from a previous marriage was just over two years old.  DH considered her "his" from day one, and treated her as such, even after we had a child together.  DH's dad never accepted my DD, and always gifted her differently...meaning far less...than his other grandchildren.  When she became old enough to realize this, DH talked with his dad and let him know this was unacceptable.  His dad ignored him, and DH cut off contact with his dad.  Period.  I thought the reaction was too harsh at first, but DH said, "What kind of person would knowingly hurt a child's feelings over and over again?"  He had a point.   

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there's my mom.  My brother and I, both in our 40's, get a kick out of her complete panic when she realizes she's spent more on gifts for one of us than on gifts for the other.  Now, there are grandchildren in the mix, and she feels she must spend precisely the same amount on each of them, too!  We all tell her it's not necessary to be THAT fair, but she persists.  She doesn't want anyone to feel they are less favored!   ;D

There is a happy medium somewhere in there, and honestly, I think a lot of people who gift step-kids differently aren't deliberately being mean-spririted.  I used to be bad about buying more for my neice than my nephew.  I didn't mean to do it...she was just easier to buy for.  When someone brought it to my attention, I corrected that behavior...and I explained to Nephew why I'd bought more for his sis in the past.  He's a smart cookie.  He said, "Yeah, she likes EVERYTHING!" 

I wouldn't stop trying to get hubby to understand your viewpoint on this, OP.  You're justified in feeling hurt.  You obviously try hard to do the right thing, and it's reasonable that you expect he do the same.  I hope you're able to resolve this quickly, and have a Happy New Year with your blended family!
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: AnnaJ on December 29, 2012, 12:22:10 PM
Could this be an attempt to "even out" gifts?  Do your SD's mother and your son's father gift the kids equally? 

I am wondering if you husband is trying to make up for a disparity between the kids - if your ex gives larger or more expensive presents to your (mutual) son than your SD's mother gives to their (mutual) daughter, I can sort of see your husband thinking he needs to even it up for his daughter. 
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: miranova on December 29, 2012, 01:05:38 PM
OP here - sigh - I try  to make the presents equal (ok, sometimes I agonize over it).

DH ruined it for me... but doesn't know that he upset me

I'm the gift buyer, stocking stuffer (including my own stocking), etc.  DH will get one gift for each of the kids (his DD & my DS)

This year DH got me something I didn't expect as a "stocking stuffer" - 'bout $150 value, he got DSD a new Ipod for her stocking, and for DS's stocking  :( >:( an $5-$8 dice game - which DH picked up for me as it made the kids stockings equal (DS was at his dad's & wasn't with us when the rest of us got our stockings)

 :(  Now, I want nothing to do with the gift he'd gotten me because it hurts that I try to treat the kids equally, and he sees nothing wrong with doing what he did. 

 :-[  I don't know if I'm odd or not, but I tend to have feelings/emotions/memories attached to things - I went from happy/excited to hurt ....

I have a blended family and this would simply NEVER happen in my home.  Ever.  We treat all of the children equally.  We spent a bit less on the two youngest simply because the things they wanted were cheaper, but they have no way of knowing that.  There was no obvious disparity and neither of us would ever allow that.  All of the children who live in this home get the same treatment. 

We can't control what their other parents do in the other houses, but we can and DO control what happens here. 

I think your husband was really wrong to do what he did.  He may not have realized it but this would be a hill to die on for me and we'd be having words.
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: Shoo on December 29, 2012, 01:11:22 PM
OP here - sigh - I try  to make the presents equal (ok, sometimes I agonize over it).

DH ruined it for me... but doesn't know that he upset me

I'm the gift buyer, stocking stuffer (including my own stocking), etc.  DH will get one gift for each of the kids (his DD & my DS)

This year DH got me something I didn't expect as a "stocking stuffer" - 'bout $150 value, he got DSD a new Ipod for her stocking, and for DS's stocking  :( >:( an $5-$8 dice game - which DH picked up for me as it made the kids stockings equal (DS was at his dad's & wasn't with us when the rest of us got our stockings)

 :(  Now, I want nothing to do with the gift he'd gotten me because it hurts that I try to treat the kids equally, and he sees nothing wrong with doing what he did. 

 :-[  I don't know if I'm odd or not, but I tend to have feelings/emotions/memories attached to things - I went from happy/excited to hurt ....

Does your son's father give him gifts?
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: miranova on December 29, 2012, 01:43:12 PM
OP here - sigh - I try  to make the presents equal (ok, sometimes I agonize over it).

DH ruined it for me... but doesn't know that he upset me

I'm the gift buyer, stocking stuffer (including my own stocking), etc.  DH will get one gift for each of the kids (his DD & my DS)

This year DH got me something I didn't expect as a "stocking stuffer" - 'bout $150 value, he got DSD a new Ipod for her stocking, and for DS's stocking  :( >:( an $5-$8 dice game - which DH picked up for me as it made the kids stockings equal (DS was at his dad's & wasn't with us when the rest of us got our stockings)

 :(  Now, I want nothing to do with the gift he'd gotten me because it hurts that I try to treat the kids equally, and he sees nothing wrong with doing what he did. 

 :-[  I don't know if I'm odd or not, but I tend to have feelings/emotions/memories attached to things - I went from happy/excited to hurt ....

Does your son's father give him gifts?

I don't see why that matters as that would be done away from the other child.  Children in the same home should not have to watch unequal treatment right before their eyes.  My children and my stepchildren know that they receive gifts in the other houses and that these gifts are probably not going to be equal.  But in our home, they are all treated the same.
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: rain on December 29, 2012, 02:04:48 PM
DSD & I both know what I got as a stocking present from DH, what she got from DH, & what DS got from DH.... and that there're not equal ... not even in the realm.  DS doesn't know what I got, or what DSD got.

DH is a widdower, his 1st wife passed at a young age.

-DSD's Maternal Grandparents - we don't get along - long story*, but they do give gifts to DS (not the same value as their only grandchild, and not expected by me)

-my DS is the youngest grandchild by several years on all sides of the family, and MIL doesn't gift the kids equally, bio-grandchildren- esp boys (and the mothers of bio-grandchildren) get the better ($$$) stuff -

- ex gives gifts to DS, and my ex-ILs treat all their grandkids equally (well - I don't know if they include step-granddaughter, in the past I made sure she wasn't left out/got nothing for X-mas); my ex ILs do not give gifts to DSD (not expected)

My DM gifts the kids equally



*if you really, really want the back story pm me
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: Leather Lady on December 29, 2012, 09:23:57 PM
When we married, he had kids with his ex, and I had kids with my late husband. "My kids" are "ours" and he shares parenting with his ex over his kids. DH wants everything even, but it's not fair. If  mine and his kids get the same from us, then his kids go to their mom's and get more gifts. My kids don't have another parent to spend money on them. When they were little, it wasn't much of an issue, but now it leaves my kids wondering why the other kids get so much more than they do. I would love to strike the whole gift thing from the holiday.
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: gramma dishes on December 29, 2012, 09:31:26 PM
...  My kids don't have another parent to spend money on them. When they were little, it wasn't much of an issue, but now it leaves my kids wondering why the other kids get so much more than they do. I would love to strike the whole gift thing from the holiday.

But don't your kids still have the original Dad's family?  His parents, siblings, your parents, other people who love your kids?
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: Slartibartfast on December 29, 2012, 09:31:30 PM
We've dealt with this, too.  FIL sees no issue with giving one kid more than another, because he loves one more than another, and what's the problem when it's true?  He favored DH over SIL1 and SIL2 (who were preteens when he married MIL, so they're technically his stepdaughters and DH's half-sisters) to the point where things are still a bit strained between DH and his sisters, this many years later.  He liked Niece better than Nephew (both SIL1's kids), but that changed when Niece had a son in her teens, without the guy still being in the picture . . . her son is a year younger than Babybartfast, but FIL is pretty blatant about how much more he likes Babybartfast than Niece'sSon.  The first Christmas, MIL smuggled most of FIL's presents to our house so it wasn't quite so obvious at the big family get-together that Niece'sSon had one small present from FIL and Babybartfast had two dozen big ones.  She bought several things for Niece'sSon to even things out, but even so it was awkward.  She also put her foot down and demanded that FIL redirect some of the many toys he bought for DH and give them to Nephew (who is also not a favored relative in FIL's eyes).

Now we just make sure we're not opening presents with them in the room.  I ended up hosting Christmas this year specifically so MIL wasn't obligated to invite SIL1 & clan over to her house - since she wasn't hosting, it wasn't her call.  We didn't get presents for SIL1's family and as far as I know, they didn't get any for us.  We did get SIL1 a birthday present (her birthday is the 26th), but we sent that home with MIL to get passed on to SIL1 next time she sees her.

As for FIL . . . it's looking like he's going to like Babybartfast better than Bittybartfast, and that's getting nipped in the bud right now.  I don't care how he feels, but he darn well isn't going to show one whit of preferential treatment between our girls or he's not going to get to see either of them.  MIL feels the same way, so as of yet (Bittybartfast is just 6 months old) my suspicions are just suspicions because he's not been given the opportunity to treat them differently.
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: weeblewobble on December 29, 2012, 09:47:29 PM
My brother and sister and I used to joke about how my husband is my mom's favorite because of his annual Christmas haul.  Mom tends to go a little overboard on him for his birthday and Christmas for several reasons: 1) They are pretty close for a SIL/MIL and she really loves him as a son/the person who makes her daughter extremely happy. 2) She wants to make sure that he doesn't feel he's being treated differently from her "real" kids. and 3) She's trying to make up for what she sees as a lack of gifting on his parents' part.

Years later, Sis married someone who is less close to mom and far more difficult to shop for.   Since the resources are spread around a little thinner, so it's natural there are fewer presents for each of us.  But mom is very careful to make sure that everybody is treated equally, both in number of presents and the overall quality of the items.

"Why use gifts to hurt someone's feelings?" She says.
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: JenJay on December 29, 2012, 09:58:11 PM
I would never allow anyone to snub my child to their face and I would not let my spouse slide on it, at all, even if the kids didn't open their gifts together. I'd probably have to return the item DH bought me and use the credit to buy my son an iPod.  :-\

Hugs, Rain. I know your son doesn't realize what happened, but his Momma does.
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: kudeebee on December 29, 2012, 10:08:52 PM
Sounds like dh was perhaps making it up to his dd for the gifts that your ds gets from his father since dd won't get any from her mom as the mom is deceased.  Not saying that this is right, but that could be his reasoning.
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: snowdragon on December 29, 2012, 10:56:10 PM
And then there is the end of the spectrum:

  My brother has a step son  and a son. When they were growing up, we saw the stepson ONLY when gifts were involved - and often not even then. If we saw him in public he did not acknowledge us, even as young kid ( 5 -12) would.not.say.hello.  When the child and his mother first joined our family we tried treating both boys equally, and the Stepson was nasty to my brother's bio-son, rude to us, disrespectful of house rules and told anyone who tried to enforce them "You're not my relatives, I don't have to listen to you!", not only never uttered a thank you, but  threw gifts out in front of us, demanded  replacements - typical angry kid stuff. And we tried to deal with it for the first year or so, but eventually it became clear that this kid wanted nothing from us but expensive presents and money. 
  We grew to resent him coming over and treating us like vending machines. After a couple of years  we informed my brother and SIL that we would not waste money on gifts for this boy any longer, since he did not consider us either part of his family or even worthy of basic respect and after the first time we followed through with it,  his mother made arrangements for him to be with his dad for gift giving occasions. I think SIL resented this ( even tho her family never gifted my brother's son)  - but really we have to gift  a kid who treated us like dirt for years - just because his mom married my brother? We need to treat someone who treated us with disdain just like we treat my other nephew, because his mother married my brother? Really? I don't think so - we would not have tolerated that sort of behavior from bionephew, so why would we tolerate it from someone who we only saw when he expected a gift?

 
 
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: AnnaJ on December 30, 2012, 12:08:25 AM
Thanks for the details, OP.  Does your husband think that there is a disparity between what your son and your step-daughter receive in total gifts (meaning, from everyone)?  Most parents shoot for something close to equality in gifts, but if he thinks that your son is getting more than he may just be evening the scales in his own mind - not saying he's right, but that may be his belief.

I am curious that you have twice commented about the value of the gift your husband gave to you - do you think that it's wrong for him to give you a more expensive gift than to your son or SD?
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: ClaireC79 on December 30, 2012, 03:39:32 AM
Sounds like you are both trying to be equal - just using different scales.

One is looking at gifts from you (you being the couple), one is looking at total gifts received
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: rain on December 30, 2012, 10:28:04 AM
I haven't discussed it with DH.  There's past history

In the past he & DSD's maternal grandparents have given her everything she wants (IMHO to make up for the fact her DM passed).  I will admit DH & I had a few arguments as her cousins couldn't get anything with her wanting (& getting) the $$$ version of what they got. 

 :-[  I didn't even "win" the argument after DSD complained that it wasn't fair cousins got to go on a family trip with their mom & dad and she didn't get to go - low & behold DH had a talk with is brother & SIL & DSD got to horn in on their family trip.  After DH set it up I found out about it ... when I said it wasn't right, DSD repeated that it wasn't fair that they got a trip & she didn't.  I told both of them that if it was true, that trips had to be fair, that DSD couldn't go on anymore trips until cousins had "caught up" to all the trips she's taken ...Disney Cruise, two trips to Europe, etc...

What finally put a stop to it - nephew got a hand-me- down leather jacket from an uncle on his mom's side (cousin's uncle is NOT DSD's uncle) and DSD wanted (& talked about) getting one like it but better... and DH basically told her she'd get it.  I later told him I felt bad for his niece & nephew as DSD always get  "better" than what they had ... and that nephew couldn't even get a hand-me-down leather jacket without DSD one-upping him. (DH denied it, until I went thru a long list of gifts where she'd wanted & got the more/most expensive version of what they got.)

DH (and her maternal grandparents) finally stopped giving gifts that "one-upped" DSD's cousins gifts.
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: rain on December 30, 2012, 10:43:16 AM
oops - someone said I'd commented on how much DH spent on my stocking gift & how much he spent on DSD's stocking gift )approximately the same)...

I don't know if DSD feels insecure, if DH feels guilt about remarrying/survivors guilt, he sometimes trys to treat us as if we're equals (not an adult vs/child)


editied due to TMI
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: Roe on December 30, 2012, 12:19:01 PM
oops - someone said I'd commented on how much DH spent on my stocking gift & how much he spent on DSD's stocking gift )approximately the same)...

I don't know if DSD feels insecure, if DH feels guilt about remarrying/survivors guilt, he sometimes trys to treat us as if we're equals (not an adult vs/child)


editied due to TMI

Yikes!  That's a HUGE red flag for me.  And unfortunately beyond the scope of any advice we can offer.  I can only suggest you speak to a counselor 'cause it sounds like more is going on than just a stocking issue.  Good luck Rain!!!  Many hugs to you and esp your son, who seems to be caught in the middle of a battle. 
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: miranova on December 30, 2012, 01:03:04 PM
I can't tell you how many adults I know who are to this day very resentful because of unequal gift giving by one of their parents, who gave more gifts to the children of the 2nd marriage.  They were the "forgotten" children of the first marriage and hurt about it to this day.  I don't want my children or stepchildren ever feeling that way.  I will always spend the same amount on my stepchildren as I do on my children, regardless of whether their mother showers them with gifts a day later.  It's not about total gifts, it's about telling them "you are loved and accepted in this home, just as much as my biological children are".
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: JenJay on December 30, 2012, 01:12:00 PM
I'm terribly sorry that this child's mother has passed on. It is horrible and unfair, but my goodness, does her Dad plan to give her everything she wants, forever, to compensate for it? Ultimately that's just setting her up to be very unhappy for the rest of her life. Eventually, unless she ends up with limitless disposable income, she's going to encounter something she wants but can't afford.

Does the one-upping apply to your son as well? If he comes over with a new gadget or item does your DH go out and buy her a better one?  :(
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: blarg314 on December 30, 2012, 08:35:01 PM

Given the background you've posted in followups, I'd say this problem is way deeper than a disparity in Christmas gifts. Those poor kids. DSD's step-siblings and cousins are growing up knowing they can't get any sort of treat or special thing (even a vacation with their parents or a second hand jacket!) without DSD pouting and automatically being given better. 

And honestly, poor DSD. She's fully absorbed the message that goes with her father's spoiling - she deserves and should always get better than everyone else. That is likely to damage the relationship between her and her cousins and step sibling on a long term basis.  Plus, people with attitudes like that litter the worst stories on this board. People tend not to like entitled demanding selfish people very much, or want to spend time with them (or hire them, for that matter).  And spoiled children tend not to deal well with real life, when Daddy can't buy them better or browbeat people into giving stuff to them.
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: buvezdevin on December 30, 2012, 08:48:42 PM
The additional background is sad, not least because your DSD lost her mother young, but because your DH is treating that loss as a permanent infirmity of hers that could be assuaged with monetary items, or trying to make every other aspect of her life better than that of her peers as though that could compensate.

He is not doing her any favors by this treatment, aside from the rifts he is sowing between other family members, yourself and DS included, but not exclusively.
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: rain on December 30, 2012, 08:51:04 PM
And honestly, poor DSD. She's fully absorbed the message that goes with her father's spoiling - she deserves and should always get better than everyone else. That is likely to damage the relationship between her and her cousins and step sibling on a long term basis.  Plus, people with attitudes like that litter the worst stories on this board. People tend not to like entitled demanding selfish people very much, or want to spend time with them (or hire them, for that matter).  And spoiled children tend not to deal well with real life, when Daddy can't buy them better or browbeat people into giving stuff to them.


blarg - I never thought of that (problems with her cousins in the future)


DSD & DH have been better now that she's gone to college, but.... (I'll sign out on this issue for now)


Thank you everyone who gave me input .... I wondered what "normal" was

(oh - for those who think DSD gets the short end of the stick when it comes to gifts because her DM passed ... her maternal grandparents have taken her on a cruise, trips, paid for 1/2 her car, etc..., she's their only grandchild, trust me, she gets more from her mother's family than anyone else {cousins/step} gets from any of their grandparents - so there's no need for her dad to try to make things "even")
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: thedudeabides on December 31, 2012, 02:48:19 PM
OP here - sigh - I try  to make the presents equal (ok, sometimes I agonize over it).

DH ruined it for me... but doesn't know that he upset me

I'm the gift buyer, stocking stuffer (including my own stocking), etc.  DH will get one gift for each of the kids (his DD & my DS)

This year DH got me something I didn't expect as a "stocking stuffer" - 'bout $150 value, he got DSD a new Ipod for her stocking, and for DS's stocking  :( >:( an $5-$8 dice game - which DH picked up for me as it made the kids stockings equal (DS was at his dad's & wasn't with us when the rest of us got our stockings)

 :(  Now, I want nothing to do with the gift he'd gotten me because it hurts that I try to treat the kids equally, and he sees nothing wrong with doing what he did. 

 :-[  I don't know if I'm odd or not, but I tend to have feelings/emotions/memories attached to things - I went from happy/excited to hurt ....

Does your son's father give him gifts?

Being visibly shorted by one biological parent just because you have another biological parent not living under that roof doesn't do anything but teach you just how much (well, little) the biological parent and stepparent you live with values you. It's not fair and it certainly doesn't build solid family bonds.
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: miranova on December 31, 2012, 03:10:18 PM
OP here - sigh - I try  to make the presents equal (ok, sometimes I agonize over it).

DH ruined it for me... but doesn't know that he upset me

I'm the gift buyer, stocking stuffer (including my own stocking), etc.  DH will get one gift for each of the kids (his DD & my DS)

This year DH got me something I didn't expect as a "stocking stuffer" - 'bout $150 value, he got DSD a new Ipod for her stocking, and for DS's stocking  :( >:( an $5-$8 dice game - which DH picked up for me as it made the kids stockings equal (DS was at his dad's & wasn't with us when the rest of us got our stockings)

 :(  Now, I want nothing to do with the gift he'd gotten me because it hurts that I try to treat the kids equally, and he sees nothing wrong with doing what he did. 

 :-[  I don't know if I'm odd or not, but I tend to have feelings/emotions/memories attached to things - I went from happy/excited to hurt ....

Does your son's father give him gifts?

Being visibly shorted by one biological parent just because you have another biological parent not living under that roof doesn't do anything but teach you just how much (well, little) the biological parent and stepparent you live with values you. It's not fair and it certainly doesn't build solid family bonds.

Totally agree.
Title: Re: S/O of obvious disparity
Post by: PurpleyBlue on December 31, 2012, 03:48:00 PM
OP here - sigh - I try  to make the presents equal (ok, sometimes I agonize over it).

DH ruined it for me... but doesn't know that he upset me

I'm the gift buyer, stocking stuffer (including my own stocking), etc.  DH will get one gift for each of the kids (his DD & my DS)

This year DH got me something I didn't expect as a "stocking stuffer" - 'bout $150 value, he got DSD a new Ipod for her stocking, and for DS's stocking  :( >:( an $5-$8 dice game - which DH picked up for me as it made the kids stockings equal (DS was at his dad's & wasn't with us when the rest of us got our stockings)

 :(  Now, I want nothing to do with the gift he'd gotten me because it hurts that I try to treat the kids equally, and he sees nothing wrong with doing what he did. 

 :-[  I don't know if I'm odd or not, but I tend to have feelings/emotions/memories attached to things - I went from happy/excited to hurt ....

Does your son's father give him gifts?

Being visibly shorted by one biological parent just because you have another biological parent not living under that roof doesn't do anything but teach you just how much (well, little) the biological parent and stepparent you live with values you. It's not fair and it certainly doesn't build solid family bonds.

Totally agree.

Me too.  Because he has so many family celebrations to attend, my step-son will always end up getting more gifts than my daughter at Christmas.  That's the way the cookie crumbles.  If she ever complains, we'll explain it to her and she'll learn that everyone doesn't always get exactly what someone else does.  I would never, ever give her more gifts right in front of him to try and make up for something that goes on in another household.  They are both our children and get treated the same.