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What to do when his family doesnt treat all the kids as equals....

Posted by on Aug. 3, 2012 at 9:08 PM
  • 35 Replies

My boyfriend and I moved into a house together with our Five children ages 2 through 7 a couple months ago.  We have a lot of family involvement from my mom, his mom and his sister.  It just doesnt seem like his sister respects that we are trying to do the same things with all the kids.  She also watches all the kids for us 2 days a week, while my mom watches them 3 days a week.  We will call his sister, Sara.  Sara will give his two older kids, Paige 4, and Aidan 6 goals to meet, but not the other kids and they will get treats or toys in return for meeting their goals.  Sara will also come take just his 2 older kids, Paige and Aidan, and take them to do fun things or go shopping when my mom is at the house with the other 3.  My oldest, Zoe 7, has really started to get upset over this.  Yes there are times when my ex or my ex's mom will take only my 2 and they will get toys or clothes, but they leave them at their house so we dont have to worry about sharing and feelings being hurt.  From what my mom says his sister gets the kids toys or treats or clothes at least once a week.  I dont see it as much because by the time we get home from work it has been put away...and honestly his kids have so much stuff that I dont notice if there are new things.

I have talked to my boyfriend briefly...we will talk more tonight.  But his sister has had to be more of a mother figure for some time because my BF's ex wife was a drug addict, well is still as far as I know.  Anyways, Sara is very defensive and sensitive about her involvement with the kids and I think she feels threatened sometimes now that i am so involved and a mother figure to her niece and nephews.  It just doesnt seem like she gets it, even though she has a background in working with troubled kids and issues like this.  Its a sticky situation, but I really will not let it hurt my kids.

I also do not want to cause any issues with my BF's family.  I want us to eventually get married and I want to have a good relationship with them and dont want to make problems between him and his family. 

Well that is my current issue.....I am welcome to suggestions on how to handle this!


by on Aug. 3, 2012 at 9:08 PM
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by Ruby Member on Aug. 3, 2012 at 9:10 PM
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I think day to day she should treat ten the same bit she should be allowed to take them somewhere alone occasionally too
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by on Aug. 3, 2012 at 9:15 PM
How long have you been together?
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by Silver Member on Aug. 3, 2012 at 9:19 PM
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It sounds like his sister had a parental relationship with the kids. When she spends that extra time or money on them, it is he same sort of thing as a bio parent doing it. You didn't mention how long you two have been together, but she may not feel that way towards your kids yet - she may never feel that way about them. I think she is a very special adult to those kids and that relationship should be preserved. The time they spend together is important and should continue. The reward system needs to be applied to all age appropriate kids she is watching or it needs to stop. If it makes DH and you uncomfortable, the gifts need to stop as well, unless all kids are given some.

You can't expect her to immediately feel for your kids what she feels for DH's. The only thing you can alter is the material items. When we put our foot down on this with my husband's mother, she stopped buying expensive gifts for SD. However, she did not start treating my kids the way she treated SD. instead, she started treating them all badly and DH refers to any gift giving time as 'crap for all!' It's her way of getting back at us for setting .limits - it hurt SD and their relationship.
by on Aug. 3, 2012 at 9:24 PM

We have been together for about a year and a half.  So this is all new to us.  I agree that I do not want to take that relationship away at all .  Any ideas about how to talk to her?  Knowing she is very sensitive I do not want to upset her, but I realize something needs to happen here.  I thought about us both talking to her, but i dont want her to feel like we are ganging up on her either. 

by Silver Member on Aug. 3, 2012 at 9:26 PM
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You don't talk to her. You talk to DH, come to an agreement about what works for your family and he talks to his sister. No good will come of you bringing it up.
by Member on Aug. 3, 2012 at 9:39 PM


You may only be wanting to do good and feel like you are but in the end, your BF needs to be the one doing the talking to her.

Quoting HopesNDrems:

You don't talk to her. You talk to DH, come to an agreement about what works for your family and he talks to his sister. No good will come of you bringing it up.


~*~ Mommy to 5 amazing boys & Wife to 1 wonderful husband ~*~

by Ruby Member on Aug. 3, 2012 at 9:59 PM
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Quoting HopesNDreams:

You don't talk to her. You talk to DH, come to an agreement about what works for your family and he talks to his sister. No good will come of you bringing it up.


And I'll tell you why-the first 4 yrs DH and I were dating his mother and sister did this shit with my ss5 and NOT sd11. And i thought it was highly unfair that they would rub it in her face (they are nasty bitches though)

so when we moved in together-they tried to keep on doing it0and I finally had enough because I don't like seeing this child suffer!

So I whacked him with my frying pan (LITERALLY) and told him that it's either ALL or nothing! Just because SD11 wasn't his bio daughter doesn't mean they should shun her.

He talked to them-nothing happened....BM talked to them-nothing happened. Finally I had enough and I went OFF on them both (yes i was wrong but i had enough) and told them either treat BOTH his kids equally or just don't bother.

Now MIL and SIL do for all three children equally. And there's no more squabbling over it.

Although i know I was wrong for getting involved.

by on Aug. 3, 2012 at 10:12 PM
I had major issues with MIL, she had been a very parental figure to SKs after DH and BM split to help him out. She was very threatened when I came along. We had a couple knock out drag out fights. I didn't appreciate what she had set me up for in terms of fixing some seriously spoiled behavior and discipline undermining she was doing. We never could solve our issues with MIL. She could never be a caretaker for the kids, would undermine all the progress we've made on their behavior. She's never fully forgiven us on the limited contact we keep her to with the kids and how now she's truly forced into the role of nothing more than granny with appropriate level of involvement but the kids and DH and I are doing MUCH better...
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by on Aug. 4, 2012 at 1:51 AM
My inlaws don't treat all their grandkids the same and they are ALL theirs. I'm talking my husband has a child with an ex girlfriend and two with me and his sister has two with two different guys. They like the sister in laws first child the best. I think they like my first daughter least (that's going by who is the one who gets blamed for everything).
by on Aug. 4, 2012 at 2:25 AM

While she should be able to take them special places alone, she should still treat the kids equally, at least while she is under your roof.  If she wants to take Paige and Aidan somewhere alone, she should at least try to plan it on a day when your other 3 are with their dad's side of the family.  That way everyone gets to spend special time with their "special family" (that phrase is from my own SD).  

When my SD's BM was still alive, BM used to try to pull the same stuff, except SD didn't appreciate it, or she would always ask BM to buy her things she could share with her sissy (my oldest bio-daughter Brenna, who was a baby at the time).

SD's grandma still picks up SD for "grandma" days, but she will also come take all 3 of the kids out for ice cream or such.  (SD is 7, Brenna is 3 [my DH's SD], and Kinsey is 1).  They all call her "grammy" and SD's family treats them all equally.  

I would suggest talking to "Sara" about this issue, and if she doesn't change, just asking your mom if she could do something special with your 3 every time the other 2 get to go out.  Like they could bake treats together, do arts and crafts, or go to the park.  They don't even have to spend money like "Sara" is doing with your 2 skids.   

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