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Steps & In-laws

Let_therebepeace's picture

I'm curious as to how most "extended blended" family members treat the bios vs skids?

Over the years I have had several cousins that my grandparents accepted into the family. Never once did I see my grandmother or grandfather treat any of the (step)grandchildren any different than the natural born grandchildren. (STEP - was never a word used by my grandparents, BTW).
However, I myself am now a stepmother and I have watched my MIL treat my nephew & my bios different than her bios. Now my Mother is doing the same. In all fairness, my mother was very accepting of my skids in the beginning. She kept all four kids after school while DH & I worked. She allowed all four to spend the night at any given time (at their request). She was a huge help for DH & I to be able to make it through those first few years of extreme stress of blending our family.
With the age of social media, apparently my mother noticed my MIL's disregard for my bios and therefore reacted by trying to make it up to them, which only alienated my skids. I've never talked to my SIL about MIL's distinction between her son (a step) & her daughter (a bio) nor have I spoken to DH about either of our mothers and how they make such a difference.
I did talk to my mom one day. She explained to me that yes it infuriated her to see MIL disregard my bios and lavish attention on the skids on the social media sites, because she knew if it was like that on social media it was like that in her heart and in person. She wanted to be able to love and spend time her BIO grandchildren without the skids, "because the skids will grow up and only have time for their real families anyway".

I guess I am curious if most extended blended families are more like my grandparents were or more like my MIL & now my Mother? If more are like Mom and MIL, how do you and DH handle it? Does it cause arguments between you two or are you both okay with whatever each family does? If the children bring up the differences made by family members, how do you handle that? I know that's a lot of questions...so I'll stop there.

SM12's picture

My MIL treats my BS (Her step) and her Bios all the same. In fact, she likes my BS better than her bios. The Bios have been rude, manipulative selfish jerks and my BS adores my MIL and treats her like gold.

My BM treats my Steps as steps. They don't get equal treatment or gifts because they don't treat her as a grandparent. They rarely see her and only come around once a year. They don't interact with her or talk to her and really don't care anything about her. My Father just recently passed away and only one step, YSS, came to the funeral or even uttered a word of his passing.
In my prior marriage, I raised a SD who my parents treated as if she were their own. She grew up and totally cut them out of her life so they decided no more equal treatment for steps. I don't blame her one bit.

ESMOD's picture

My dad understands that I have stepkids but he doesn't consider them his grandchildren really.

He does have one grandson bio right now and I'm not 100% sure whether he does much in the card/gift department..(he's not great about that anyway) for him either.

I do feel a bit bad that my dad wasn't more interested in taking on a grandfather role but he just didn't. He is very nice to the girls.. sent them graduation presents and all... but he isn't classic grandpa.

MommyofOne's picture

My Parents are saints and love each grand child the same and if they buy something for 1 - they'll stop and buy the rest a little something. My parents are great, I DO HOWEVER notice that my mom is extra nice to my SD. OVERLY NICE - Nice to the 10th Power type nice and its annoying. My dad is pretty consistent with all the kids - he and I share many of the same views on parenting.

My mom also knows it makes me mad when she says my son looks like my SD... yeah ok great COOL. lol just shut up already... lol and i only say that bc my mom knows the kind of crap I go thru on a daily bc of my SD. So I wish she wouldnt be so OVERLY nice.

Especially bc SD's mom said once "THAT IS NOT MY DAUGHTER'S GRANDMOTHER" Um okay bitch calm down lol my mom does EVERYTHING and More for your kid (my sd). It was a huge ordeal. Came to drop off SD at my parents house, drove off only to drive back JUST to say that my mom isn't her grandmother. lol took everything in my not to run up to her car, pull her out and... well lol thats another topic haha.

sunshinex's picture

I don't have any bios yet but my parents treat SD5 like their own grandchild. They'll have her over for sleepovers, they spoil her on holidays, etc. They love her a lot. They often treat her better than their actual grandkids (my siblings' kids) because 1. they see her way more often and 2. she's much better behaved and doesn't trash their house with toys, food, etc.

I'm sure when I have bios, they will continue to treat them all the same. I know my mother will have more love for her biological grandkid, only because I'm her youngest child and she's so excited for me to have a baby.

She actually mentioned after I had a miscarriage that she was looking forward to having a real grandchild nearby, than promptly corrected herself and said "SD5 is my grandchild, but you know what I mean!"

I don't mind. She knows they're all to be treated equally so I'm not worried at all Smile I'll just give her special time with my bio, just like i'll have special time with my bio, so SD doesn't get hurt.

Acratopotes's picture

MY parents treat Deigma way better then any other child...he's their grandson and first born with it lol.

They never bother with Aergia, cause she's not blood.... but if she's in their home they are polite and nice towards her.

Is_What_It_Is's picture

I think there should be a separate forum especially for In-Laws issues!

I have a similar situation going on here too - the in-laws will treat all kids the same if they are all around. But when my BD is not around there are extra gifts, tokens, and money freely handed to the biogrands. There have been numerous times when they will wait, sometimes late into the evening, until BD has left and then they take "family" pictures and post on social media. It really stinks that they say they treat them all the same but that is only if they happen to all be there at the time.

My mom has not started to show a bit of favoritism as well. She will now give more to my BD than to the skids. At first it annoyed me but now that I see the in-laws doing it too - what can you do? My OSD actually corrected someone in front of my mom saying "I have my own grandma." So when you are made to feel that you are insignificant, why bother.

I think there is such a phenom as disengaging for grandparents too.

Rags's picture

My parents have never differentiated between our son and my brother's kids. My son is my now adopted former SS while my niece and two nephews (my brothers kids) are his BKs.

Heaven forbid if anyone ever tried to tell my parents that the SKid is not their GK or that they are not his REAL GPs.

Oh, SpermGrandHag played that card regularly when SS was on his scheduled long distance SpermClan visitations. She would load the kid up with the "that man is NOT your father" and "those people are not your REAL grandparents". When he was in the young single digit ages this upset and confused him and as he got older he realized that the SpermGrandHag was just a special kind of toxic crazy stupid.

Now he has nearly nothing to do with SpermGrandHag and SpermGrandPa and even less to do with the SpermIdiot. My son does maintain contact with his three younger also out of wedlock SpermIdiot spawned half sibs by two other baby mamas but even that grows less frequent as the years pass.

SS has always understood clearly who his REAL dad and REAL GPs are. For the past 6+ years he as made a concerted effort to stay in contact with my mom and dad and visit them regularly.

They are.... his REAL GPs no less than he is their REAL and eldest grandchild.

newcstep's picture

I don't have any bios yet, but I watch my mother struggle with how to treat my SD8 and my nephew (her bio GK). My mother has always been the gatekeeper of fair, and I know she wants to treat both her bio and step GKs the same. So far she has been very equal in regards to gifts on birthdays and Christmas, but I know she struggles. We've had conversations about it. My DH has 50/50 of SD, so the reality is that SD just isn't around all the time. We also split holidays so there are times she doesn't get to see my mother on Christmas, birthdays, or others. My mother will probably never be as emotionally close with SD as she is with her bio GKs, and I think it's important to know that's okay. I encourage my mother not to force emotion or equality and to handle it however she feels most comfortable. Their relationship is not for me to dictate. It is between them and should be allowed to come naturally. SD has so many people in her extended step family between me, my family, her BM's boyfriend, and boy friend's family that I don't think SD ever feels unloved. So if my mother doesn't take her out for ice cream, she has 2 bio grandma's and another step grandma who may.

peacemaker's picture

I don't think it is something you can stereotype...It seems like each situation is unique depending on the type of people involved. it is more of a personal preference depending on the situation. I always revert back to taking all the subtitles out of the equation and allowing each relationship to stand on it's own merit. Just because one person chooses to categorize people into labels, does not mean that another person lives by the same standards. My grandmother loved everyone unconditionally. A relationship is between two people...who they are and what they choose to bring to the relationship as individuals. that is why even in the same family structure, a parent, although they love all of their children, depending on different personalities and birth order influence, may click with one of their own children, and struggle with another.

Sometimes, that is why friends are closer than most family members. Each relationship has it's own personality. Has it's own definition and level of intimacy decided by two mutual parties. I think the issues start to surface when we fall into the trap of comparing this one to that one. whenever you compare, there is always a winner and a loser. Instead of accepting it is what it is. Who decides the bar?

All you can do is try to cultivate awesome relationships in your own personal journey. Some will only be a level 2...and a few might make it to a more intimate level because of who you are and who they are and what you both contribute to it. Self disclosure, and being safe to be vulnerable with someone who mutually will open up at a deeper level are a treasure to find, (and unfortunately those are the ones we grieve the most when we lose them) But most are not going to escalate to that level of intimacy and trust. Not everyone is created equal unfortunately. There is no point of measurement to say what should or shouldn't be. It really gets down to personality and desire...and the individuals involved. You get to choose...and so do they.

Reality is...they are not the same. When my life coach asked my dh what he expected from me regarding his three children from his previous relationship...his response was, "I just want her to love my kids like they were her own". My life coaches response to that answer was "your expectations are not realistic because they are not her own"... peace.