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SS and family problems

Hastings's picture

SS13 isn't close to my family. Several factors are involved:

1 The only other boy is 19. All the kids close to his age are girls. He goes to a different school. The girls are all close to each other, but he's sort of odd man out, due in part to his being a boy.

2 He hasn't spent a lot of time with them. They go to the beach together every summer, but we've only gone twice. We like to do other traveling and we don't always have the time off.

3 He's shy. My family are mostly introverts. DH and I are introverts.

It's not like he's ignored. My nephew tries to engage with him, but SS just shrugs or gives monosyllabic answers. The adults all acknowledge him and ask him questions. My parents come to some baseball games (they live an hour away) and my dad brags on his hits and field plays.

So, I don't think it's awful. He's not really close to us at this point either.

Well, on Monday, my sister is hosting a casual dinner for her daughters 10th birthday. SS will be with BM, but DH mentioned it to SS and offered to pick him up for it. (This is never a problem with BM.) SS told him he didn't want to go. DH asked if there was a problem with the family and SS shrugged and said "ask my mom."

So, DH tells me about it and shares that that upsets him and it hurts his feelings that his kid feels like an outsider and isn't part of things (DH feels like an outsider too -- my family is big and he feels uncomfortable with crowds.)

Now I'm feeling anxious. This will make things even more awkward with me and DH when it comes to my family. And who knows what he said to BM. I know no one would have actually done or said anything. He probably just feels awkward. I hate that. But I don't really know what can be done about it. And now I'm worried this will cause problems between DH and me.


JRI's picture

I think it's normal that a 13yo boy doesn't want to go to a 10yo girl's family birthday dinner, especially if they aren't close.  I don't think anybody is at fault here.


Rumplestiltskin's picture

Exactly. Why would he want to play with kids who are not the same age or gender that he has only met a handful of times and isn't related to? I wouldn't try to force him to feel or act like family with "not family." It was hard enough to get my son to socialize with his actual cousins. Trying to force him to socialize with kids he wasn't even related to at that age would never have worked. Let it go. 

Hastings's picture

Agreed. They're nice to him. No one is mean. That's good enough.

I think DH has had this idea in his head that this would be one thing we can give that his mom's family doesn't: other kids. He also feels like my family is important to me, so it's important for them to fit in.

i've tried to make it clear that I have no picture in my mind of how it should be. Things will be what they are. You just do your part to make people welcome or keep the door open.

I see no reason why he should have to have a bond with them. And forcing him to interact if he doesn't isn't helpful. Wish DH could let it go.

Rumplestiltskin's picture

A 13-year-old boy isn't going to have much in common with a 19-year-old boy or a 10-year-old girl. Your DH is making things worse and BM's opinion isn't worth anything on this subject. 

Rags's picture

To start with full disclosure on this topic, I am far from an introvert.  Extroverts lackin  engaging socially compared to me.   At least the young me. Now days I am more of an observe, listen, and engage guy.

As for it hurts his feelings that his kid feels like an outsider and isn't part of things (DH feels like an outsider too -- my family is big and he feels uncomfortable with crowds.)

If the family engages with them, then it is the introverts choice to feel like an outsider. IMHO

My XW was very uncomfortable with my family. Not that my family is large. It isn't.  We just engage actively with each other while my XILs were very optics/facade focused and put on aires to present an optic that was fully a fabrication.  XW was way uncomfortable with my famiy.  No pretention, no hidden meaning.  XW was way out of her comfort zone.

My incredible bride... she fit instantly. She was on the phone with my parents when she walked in the door from work last evening.  When the finished dad closed with, we don't want to talk to your husband.......

They like my bride more than they like me.

My bride is a evolving midtrovert. She was on the introvert side when we met. Now, she is very adept at navigating socially.  I am less extroverted than I was, she is less introverted than she was.

We navigate well together with her family, with my family, and with friends.

For us, evolving together seems to work.



Hastings's picture

So nice you and your DW have that.

DH has just never felt relaxed with my family. It's too bad because I think he could if he'd just relax. He can't get past there being a lot of people. As a shy introvert myself, I get it. I just think it's a shame.

As usual, I think he projects his own feelings and insecurities onto SS. Thank goodness he's finally figured out and accepted that SS is going to have a different sort of relationship with the family. It's not going to be the same as my sisters' kids. My parents are good to him, come to games, spend the same on birthday and Christmas gifts. But he came in at nearly 6. And he has other grandparents he's close to. He's just not interested in my parents. No reason he should be.