General Etiquette > Family and Children

S/O of obvious disparity

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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)?

I would think equal gifts - especially if everyone is in the same house.

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.

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 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.   

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.)


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