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SM's family not part of SKs' family?

Posted by on Dec. 20, 2012 at 2:10 PM
  • 36 Replies

This has been a recurring issue with my SKs and I wanted to see how other SMs have reacted or handled the issue.

My family is having a Christmas party on Sunday night, and it just so happens that BM's family is also having their Christmas party at the same time (aka, BM planned it during our custody time on purpose, which she does frequently). The oldest, SD11, texted my husband and said that she isn't going to my family's party because BM's family means more to her and my family will never mean anything to her. We hadn't said anything to the kids about it, so to get a text from SD11 all of a sudden was strange. My husband decided to call BM last night to see what happened to make SD11 send a nasty text. My husband called BM and asked what she had said to the kids about the party, because obviously something had sparked the text. BM said she hadn't said anything to the kids about it and then said the kids don't want to go to our Christmas party, but her party. She didn't know it was my family's party, she just knew there was a party. She asked my husband, "whose family is it?," to which he said it is family and that is all that matters. BM said, "If it is Her family they are not related by blood to the kids and it is not their family!" This isn't the first time she has brought up the fact that my family is not related to the kids by blood, therefore they aren't family. Bottom line, my husband said that it was our custody time and she can't take the kids to her Christmas party during our time. I find this all very interesting, because BM has a stepfather whom she calls dad and the kids call him grandpa. When BM and my husband were married they did foster care and they call those kids brothers and sisters. BM was in foster care growing up and the kids call her foster siblings aunts and uncles.

SKs have only been around my cousins and extended family once, very briefly at our wedding. Many times the kids drag their feet or complain when we talk about doing things, but once we are actually doing it they have a really good time. I know most all of the resistance is coming from BM because she hates every aspect of me. How do we get across to the kids that although my family is not related by blood, they are still family? Do we explain that their foster siblings technically aren't family by blood? Do we explain that they can love anyone they choose and family is who you make it? What is the best approach?

by on Dec. 20, 2012 at 2:10 PM
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whatIknownow
by on Dec. 20, 2012 at 2:20 PM
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Quoting Miss-tearious:

How do we get across to the kids that although my family is not related by blood, they are still family? 

You don't. They are famiily by marriage, like an in-law. but if your stepkids don't consider them "family" then that's their prerogative. You can't force your family on these kids. Not everyone likes their in-law family or wants to hang out with them.

That said, your DH still could have insisted they come because it is his parenting time. If he decided not to make them come and to leave it up to them, then the reason they chose not to come is irrelevant.

MomGoingCrazy78
by Silver Member on Dec. 20, 2012 at 2:23 PM
1 mom liked this

My family has always been SD's family for as long as DH and I have been together. My family doesn't treat her any differently and she calls my niece and nephew her 1st cousins, my sister is her aunt, my dad is her grandpa, etc. SD10 hasn't been brought up in a way to where she sees blood or not blood if you know what I mean. My kids aren't her blood but they are still her brother and sister. BM tried for years to correct her, but SD was stubborn and said nope, they are my family. BM gave up trying to tell her otherwise.

If you and your DH have the kids for the night of the parties, then it's up to your DH where they go. BM can't dictate what the kids do on his time. My SD goes to our family things on our time and her BM's family things on BM's time. That's what works for us. But then again, we don't plan things on BM time and she doesn't plan things on our time either. I think your DH needs to sit down and have a talk with his daughter.

Miss-tearious
by on Dec. 20, 2012 at 2:36 PM


Quoting whatIknownow:

 You don't. They are famiily by marriage, like an in-law. but if your stepkids don't consider them "family" then that's their prerogative. You can't force your family on these kids. Not everyone likes their in-law family or wants to hang out with them.

That said, your DH still could have insisted they come because it is his parenting time. If he decided not to make them come and to leave it up to them, then the reason they chose not to come is irrelevant.


Sorry, I should have worded that differently. You are right, if the kids don't accept my family as theirs I can't control that. But they are so blinded by their mother that they can't even think for themselves or think of my family as theirs. I just meant that I don't know how to make the kids see that they can choose for themselves. If they spend time with my family and decide that they don't like them that is fine and I can accept that, but they haven't evengiven them a chance. When I said they spent time with my extended family at the wedding it was only for pictures, which took about 15 minutes and we were all just standing there smiling.

whatIknownow
by on Dec. 20, 2012 at 2:49 PM
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Quoting Miss-tearious:


Quoting whatIknownow:

 You don't. They are famiily by marriage, like an in-law. but if your stepkids don't consider them "family" then that's their prerogative. You can't force your family on these kids. Not everyone likes their in-law family or wants to hang out with them.

That said, your DH still could have insisted they come because it is his parenting time. If he decided not to make them come and to leave it up to them, then the reason they chose not to come is irrelevant.


Sorry, I should have worded that differently. You are right, if the kids don't accept my family as theirs I can't control that. But they are so blinded by their mother that they can't even think for themselves or think of my family as theirs. I just meant that I don't know how to make the kids see that they can choose for themselves. If they spend time with my family and decide that they don't like them that is fine and I can accept that, but they haven't evengiven them a chance. When I said they spent time with my extended family at the wedding it was only for pictures, which took about 15 minutes and we were all just standing there smiling.

They have chosen for themselves. They don't consider your family to be their family. They are total strangers, whereas (I assume) they actually know BM's family. They aren't going to skip a family party with family members that they have had their whole lives to go to a party with total strangers who have "married into" their family.  I can't blame them, can you? They are kids. I would let this go.

Maybe over time, they will come to see them differently. I would look for ways for them to spend time with your family so they can get to know them, but right now is not the right time.


macbudsmom
by Silver Member on Dec. 20, 2012 at 2:54 PM

I doubt your extended family loves those kids if they have only seen them once.  And yes I am sure they could have a good time with your family, but I think you are wrong about keeping them from their bio family for a holiday get together.  Let them get to your family another time, if you do it know, its only going to create further drama.  Not good for the kids or anyonelse for that matter.

Rae706
by on Dec. 20, 2012 at 2:59 PM

You spend more time together. The kids are just uncomfortable at this point. They've only seen these people once in their life, but they are supposed to refer to them as family? They just need to spend more time with your family, get used to them. It'll happen, just ignore BM. She can't keep them from your family. Let the kids form their own relationships and bonds and just try your hardest to keep that all separate from BM.

Derdriu
by Gold Member on Dec. 20, 2012 at 3:01 PM
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I think the best approach would be for your DH to remind BM that *his* family is as important as *her* family.  And it just so happens that you are now part of his family, as are the rest of your family.  She is looking at things through BM vs. SM lenses, but it's not about either one of you.  The SKs should respect their father enough to attend his family functions at his request.  That doesn't mean they have to acknowledge you and your family as part of their own family, but they very much do need to acknowledge that you all are now part of their dad's family.

whatIknownow
by on Dec. 20, 2012 at 3:07 PM


Quoting Derdriu:

I think the best approach would be for your DH to remind BM that *his* family is as important as *her* family.  And it just so happens that you are now part of his family, as are the rest of your family.  She is looking at things through BM vs. SM lenses, but it's not about either one of you.  The SKs should respect their father enough to attend his family functions at his request.  That doesn't mean they have to acknowledge you and your family as part of their own family, but they very much do need to acknowledge that you all are now part of their dad's family.

Honestly I don't think that the new wife's extended family is as important to the kids as their mother's extended family. I don't think they are equal. Maybe after many years, as the relationships form, they can approach that level of importance. But these kids don't know the SM's family at all, and have only met them once, for 15 minutes.

With that said (again), I think the Dad in this sitch had the right to enforce his visitation, since it was  his parenting time, and he did not have to let the kids choose. BUT if the kids are allowed to choose, I think their choice (choosing mom's family gathering over SM's family gathering) is reasonable and to be expected.

(incidentally, my stepkids have spent MUCH more time with my own family [that would be their SM's family] than they have with their mother's family, and my family considers them to be full fledged members of the clan, so I am not of the mind that SM's family isn't real family. But I don't think the SM's family can be insta-family or that the kids should view them as "family" just because the SM wants them to).

pepper504
by Platinum Member on Dec. 20, 2012 at 3:14 PM
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Ahhhh the holiday drama begins.  If it is DH's time with his children, then the children should be with him.  If it is BM's, then it is BM's.  If BM does not like that it is DH's time this Christmas, then BM needed to change that before the judgment was signed and/or file for a modification.  DH's family is no different than BM's family. 


LovingMy2x4
by on Dec. 20, 2012 at 3:16 PM
1 mom liked this

I would suggest your DH do what my SO did.

BM used to plan really fun things on his days and then would say "I didnt have a choice, it was the ONLY day" blahblahblah. So the last time it happened, SO sat his kids down and straight out said "Mom keeps planning these things for you on my time. She isnt being fair to our time spent together. I am going let you go this time because you are excited and I want you to have fun. But the next time it happens, I am saying NO because it is MY time to see you. So if you dont get to do that fun thing, it will be Mom's fault. Im not telling you to get you mad or upset at Mom, but I just want you to understand in advance why you wont be able to do something when Mom plans it."....Then he told her that he had that convo with the kids and she hasnt tried to take his days for "something more fun" again. I dont think it is right to put the kids in the middle like that, but when she is trying to make him out to be the bad guy for keeping the kids from things, the only way to stop it was to defend his actions and let them know the truth about what was going on.

*J*

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