You are here

Step kids not supporting family events

pinklady's picture

Hello everyone , I need some advice on this… some background- we have a blended family, my husband has 4 kids and I have two, they are now between the ages of 13 and 19, & we have a been married/together for 13+ years. We have his kids 50/50. My problem is that when my step kids have important events like school events or milestones, my husband and I and my two children make the effort to attend them to support them and be there for them. When it comes to my two children, my step kids find ways to get out of attending. We have had conversations with them about them supporting their other two siblings and what it would mean to have them there. Unfortunately their mother isn't going to do anything to help them spend more time with us. How should we handle this? My children are having important milestone this weekend and stepkids have made other plans, saying they don't want to go with us. I don't want to force anyone to go plus I don't want anybody sulking there while we are trying to have a nice time. How do I deal with my 2 kids plus my husband and my disappointment ?

marblefawn's picture

I'm not sure it's fair to expect stepkids to be excited about attending school concerts or soccer games for step siblings, especially if they only live together part-time. Even blood siblings don't love doing that stuff. I get that your kids go to their events, but that's probably because you've setup that expectation as their mom. The stepkids have a mom who probably isn't telling them it's important for them to attend those events.
It's hard to instill a family feelings in steps, after all, it wasn't their choice to marry and get more siblings. All the kids mean something to you and your husband because they're all your kids and you chose to marry. But the kids sort of got what they got because you chose to marry. If they all get along and are civil to one another, maybe that's about all you can hope. If they are there for the important stuff, like weddings, graduations, maybe that should be enough. I know it's not the picture perfect family you want, but if you force it, they might become resentful.

pinklady's picture

My two kids are getting baptized this weekend, and that is an important event for our family. The kids have been together since the oldest was 7 (now 19) and the youngest was 1 (now 13).

marblefawn's picture

That is a long time. What does your husband say about them attending or not attending? He's still a parent who can tell them this is what we're doing this weekend, period. It might be harder to make the 19-year-old attend, but certainly your husband can say he expects 13-year-old to bring a suit.

Disneyfan's picture

Are your kids and your SKs related? If not, then your expectations are out of line because they may not view your kids as part of their family.

pinklady's picture

The one that's giving us problems is SS15. The other stepkids have plans with school band and therefore are not attending ( not that they wanted to anyways). SS15 said he wanted to go ( because were going to go to the beach as well) & the baptism happens to fall on his mom's weekend. SS15 had made an agreement with dad that if he got to spend the weekend at his friend's house on our past weekend then he would go to the baptism ( we have to drive 2 hours away and get a hotel for it). Now after SS15 got to spend a weekend with his friends he wants to cancel out on the deal with dad and do something else. My husband is upset that he's not sticking up with his end of the deal, and not wanting to be there.

marblefawn's picture

This just seems like typical 15-year-old kid stuff. I was the youngest in my family. I endured countless concerts, plays, recitals starring my sister and brother, but they did not show up for mine!
So SS got what he wanted and now reneges on his end of the deal. What kid doesn't do that? Now Dad knows he's got a typical kid - not one of those "easy" kids who cleans his room without prompting and attends siblings' events without bulking. If Dad is "hurt," he needs to grow a thicker skin. SS doesn't mean anything personal - like all kids (and most people), he just wants what he wants (like you want SS to go and enjoy it even though that's unrealistic).
SS needs to learn to keep a deal. Your husband should take away something SS wants because SS reneged on the bargain or your husband should make SS go. Your husband IS the parent. If SS doesn't go, take his phone, shut off the Internet...hell, shut off the electricity and let him sit at home without any pacifiers. Your husband needs to BE a parent by teaching SS consequences. It'll be OK. SS is 15 - he can't sue you. But it's just unrealistic to expect SS to eagerly attend and cheerfully enjoy a baptism. It will be a battle and SS will probably sulk if he goes. Many parents just leave behind kids who don't want to go. Personally, I think kids need to be trained to sit through boring stuff because life is full of boring stuff. It's part of what they need to learn to hold a job and meet normal sitting through their own kids' baptisms someday!

strugglingSM's picture

A baptism is an important event and I think you have all been in the Skids lives long enough that you should feel like family. I think your DH can tell his children that they are required to attend.

That said, I don't think it's worth it to argue with teenagers over something like this. It will just make everyone upset.

My family on my mother's side got together all the time. When one of my cousins entered her teen years, she stopped coming to family events. I always went, in part, because my mother told me "your grandmother will be disappointed if you don't go", so she didn't force me to go, but she made me feel like going to the event was the right thing to do. When my cousin was in her early 20s, she would get upset when people would be surprised she was there. She still feels like people see her as a secondary member of the family, but she brought that on herself. So, long story short, I think your skids will likely be upset later that they missed out on family events, even though right now their "teen social lives" seem more important than family events.

If your kids are upset, then I would probably just tell them that your SKids mother has not taught them that family is important. I realize that your family isn't her family, so maybe she doesn't care, but your family is her children's family and she should be teaching them that family events are important for both sides of their family. DH will sacrifice his limited time with his kids if they have a family event with BM's family or even for events for their stepbrother, because he feels that it's important for his kids to spend time with everyone in their families and also to realize that family time is important.

Curious Georgetta's picture

I think it would be a major mistake to couch any conversation in terms of the BM. Your stepson is a teenager and your child's Baptism just may not have the significance for a teenager that it has for you.

It is unfortunate to view mandated attendance at events as an indication of family support. If your
combined kids are cordial to each other and have no major conflicts, you have as much as you are likely to get.

Stepped in what momma's picture

Lower your expectations for these skids and realize that you can't make them love you or your kids along with that you can't make them come to the events so stop making your kids go to their events.

MrsZipper's picture

Do your stepkids even want you and your kids at their events? Judging by their lack of interest at your kids events, I would guess that they prefer that their dad attend alone and that your and your kids presence actually makes their events less fun for them. Sometimes you can't make a family blend. You had to bribe one of them to attend and he is still trying to back out. Listen to what they are telling you. They do not care about your family and do not care to be a part of your family. If you and DH divorced you would probably never see any of them ever again even after 13 years of being in the same house. It's a bummer but nothing you can do about it.

Tomatoe's picture

You had mentioned band, they can't miss band and that is told to them when they make the commitment to join. Besides that, these kids are teenagers and they don't want to play happy family with you OR THEIR mother. They want to be selfish and enjoy what they like. That's normal and even more normal in divorced families where they see their parents doing for themselves and their spouses first. They model that behavior. They will come back around right about the time your snowflakes start acting the same.

StepMat789's picture

What is more important to your children? That you and their step dad are there or that his kids are there with all of you?

In a perfect world, blended families would work like a nuclear family, but let's face it....very few blended families ever strike the artful balance of recreating a this.

You are raising your children to be an active member of the family. His children are being raised differently. It is all ok. I would look at this as a way to spend more time with your children and your husband without the SKIDS.

Rags's picture

I am a proponent of dragging kids off to visit the NCP by their ear whether they want to or not.

Kids dont get a say. They do what the are told to do when they are told to do it. Sure, some leeway needs to occur with older teens but... other than that... STFU and get in the car.

IMHO of course.

And... if they kid doesnt show for visitation as stipulated in the CO... nail BM with a contempt motion. Lather, rinse, repeat.... ZERO TOLERANCE! And ... have fun doing it. Evil

It is the responsibility of the CP to facilitate visitation and it is the responsibility of the NCP to return the kid as scheduled. If either fails to comply.... consequences should be brought to bear.

If this is an event that is on the Skid's CO'd time with your family... they go. PERIOD. If it is the SKid's time with BM... then they dont go.

If something can be worked out..... great. If not.... apply the CO.

Disneyfan's picture

The event takes place during mom's time, not dad's.

Dad made his deal with the kid. If he never included mom in the discussion, then dad is the one who messed up here.

Harry's picture

You and your husband should make them go. Just like normal family’s do. Kids have know that, there thing they must do. If they like it or not. There many things that come up in life that we don’t want to do, but we have to. That part of being a parent

Acratopotes's picture

Hon - stop forcing your kids to attend skids events, they are not related and they are not family!!! Dang not even you have to go Wink

You will never force the children to hang together and be family, they never will be, you have to accept that.

stepinafrica's picture

You ought to focus on enjoying the time with your kids. If you force the skids to join you they will sulk the whole time and ruin it.