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Stepparents going to minor SKs birthday parties

Anon2009's picture

How do you feel about this?

From what I see on this board, it seems like a lot of minor SKs do not want their SPs there. And there also seem to be a lot of cases where the SPs and minor SKs do get along, and want the SPs there. My SDs like having me at their birthday parties and I like going to them. I love having my SF along for these sorts of things too and always have. My stepmother treats everyone, including her own husband (my dad), like dirt, but for the times she is present, I still figure out a way to have a good time anyway.

For those who don't want the SPs present, do you think the bio parent and stepparent should honor that, as it is the child's birthday, and the birthday boy/girl should get what they want? Or do you think the bio parent needs to say, "I understand that you feel this way and you are entitled to your feelings, but that doesn't give you the right to act them out or exclude anyone. How would you feel if you were dating/engaged to/married to someone and I excluded them from my birthday celebration or any other event?"

I personally would say that to my kids if I had any and we were in that situation. I think kids need to be taught from a very early age that all people should be treated with respect and their relationships should be treated with respect. And that someday, they likely will be in romantic relationships of their own and will want that person to be included and treated with respect. Plus, there will probably be many other family/friends there to interact with so it's not like they will have to give their sole focus to the SP, and the birthday kid can use this as a chance to catch up with people they're close to.


SMof2Girls's picture

I think depends entirely on the situation. DH and I would never invite BM to ANY party we threw for the skids .. whether it be a birthday party or not. BM starts drama. She doesn't get along with DH. She doesn't like me. She takes every opportunity to snub DH and make him look bad to the skids. Similarly, DH and I would never attend a party being thrown by BM, together or individually.

I can't ever imagine my skids saying they didn't want me at their party .. but if they did, my answer would be something along the lines of "If you don't want me at the party that your dad and I are paying for and organizing for you, then we will cancel the invitations and possibly try again next year if your attitude improves."

I don't think kids get to have that kind of executive decision-making power when they're that young. I agree with you .. they need to learn to be respectful.

Note, my skids are also 5 and 6 .. I'm not sure how old your skids are in your scenario.

Anywho78's picture

I feel that catering to a child (minor or otherwise) by "respecting" their wishes about who attends their parties & who does not is setting everyone up for unrealistic expectations in the future.

If your 10 year old SD doesn't want SM at her parties, 8 years later, she's 18 & an adult. She then continues to exclude said SP until her wedding day when it suddenly isn't okay to exclude your father's wife & expecting SM to stay at home on the wedding day brings arguments & fights due to the SM feeling (& rightfully so) that her position as dad's WIFE is not being respected.

I believe that telling a child that they cannot exclude SPs or extended family is the appropriate way to go & of course, adding in the "How would you feel" bit to drive the point home.

young but wise's picture

I feel that it should be up to the SKs. I have always been at SS5's bdays. He has never even hinted though, that he didn't want me there. I'm sure this year BM will have an issue with it since I no longer speak to her. I feel that SP have every right to be there especially if they put as much or more time and effort into the child. I put all of my money, time, and effort into SS and I expect to be included in major parts of his life. If I can be there every day to wipe his butt, feed him, bathe him, and make sure he is well taken care of and in school when he should be, why can I not be there to see him celebrate and share his cake with him. I can't stand it when BM thinks that I should not be included in things because I am not his "real mom." I treat him as he is my own child. I try to make sure he grows up to be a respectful young gentleman. I include him in everything we do. He is my FAMILY regardless of who gave birth to him. I have been in his life since he was born and I don't plan on going anywhere now.

SMof2Girls's picture

I get so tired of that "real mom" argument.

Makes me want to ask, "So in your perfect world, the only people ever invited to a skid birthday party are you and DH .. since you're the only REAL parents the skids have?"

kathc's picture

We just do a small "cake and dinner at home" party with just us on the weekend closest to the birthday. BM always promises a huge party, tells us "it's taken care of" and then fails to do anything for them.

twopines's picture

I don't know what should or should not be, but DH will not be at a kid birthday party if BM is there and/or I'm not invited.

fedup13's picture

Exactly. NO way in Hell is my DH doing anything with BM. Not that he would, but she has tried to do the whole joint bday thing, 2011, she called to discuss it and I was like, "ah hellllll no."

Skid has a party with her and her bunch of idiots, skid gets the royal treatment, bday fit for a king with DH and his bunch of idiots, and I do not attend. I prefer to avoid uncontrollable nausea and vomiting if at all possible.

WarmBody's picture

Usually I think the kids get two parties. One with mom and one with dad. So the step dad w/BM goes to BM's party and the SM w/BF goes to dad's party. So nobody has a chance to be excluded.

Hanny's picture

My SO's daughter did this to me. Last August we drove to another town, 6 hours away to take some of her stuff up for her to start college. BM and her BF went up too. When we got there, Skid called my SO and told him she didn't want me to help her move in, she did not want me there, just him and her mom. He was mad, but of course, didn't want to spoil her 'special' day. So he went over to the dorm, helped them move her in, met her roomates parents. When plans were made for all to go out to dinner after, he excused himself and said I am having dinner with Hanny. I think he handled it okay. He could have said then I won't see you either, I'll stop by tomorrow on my way out of town, but he didn't. What was interesting though was she didn't say anything to BM about her BF being there to help move her in. I was really upset about this very mad as Skid as I have been nothing but kind to her and generous. I did not acknowledge her birthday two months later, no a car or the usual $ I give her. When she came back at XMAS, she gave me a big hug as though nothing had happened or changed. I didn't say anything to her, but believe me, I don't forget things too easily. She now has her first BF and I will not (even if I want too) ever stand up for her in any doubts that SO has about her BF. I've done this with the older one, kinda said, well he could be this or that, he doesn't seem like a bad kid, etc. But I'm done with sticking up for these skids. Her mother, I'm sure, backed her all the way on snubbing me.

Bojangles's picture

I think it can be uncomfortable for the SK to have their Dad and new partner to a party at their Mum's house if their Mum is sad/bitter/angry about the divorce and/or has taken against the new partner. That's no reflection on the SK and their relationship with their SM, they can really like their SM but feel torn and uncomfortable when SM and Mum are in the same room if they know it will wind their Mum up.

In that context they don't feel able to act normally with their SM which can be stressful for them and demoralising for the poor SM who may have a loving relationship with the SK at home and then resent being kept at arms length when Mum is present. I've got personal experience of this, because I attended several birthday parties at my DH's ex-wife's house, under the delusion that we should all be able to put our differences aside and enable the children to have their parents together for their special day, and that it would benefit the children. But ultimately there was a lot of underlying tension, to which the children cannot have been oblivious, and the disadvantages in terms of the stress for all concerned outweighed the benefits.

The easiest solution is for the parents to take it in turns doing 'a party' with the other parent doing their own smaller gift giving thing. Or for both parents to do a separate small dinner or party every year. It's certainly very negative for the bio parent to go to a party at the ex's house and leave the SM behind. It can be hard, especially if you feel the other parent ends up hogging doing 'the party' a lot, or if a significant party like the 16th ends up at the other parents. But you just have to make the best of it.

Newstep's picture

In our case we do all the parties if SD wanted to invite her BM I wouldn't allow it. She always causes problems she can't get over SO and will not behave like a civilized adult. So we have nothing to do with her. If SD wanted to invite SO to a party at her BM's with or with out me he wouldn't go because he can't stand the sight of BM.