Feelings/attitude toward stepgrandchild

NANCYApril 2, 2000

My son married a girl who already had a child. They havehad two more and there is such a special bond between us and HIS firstborn it's indescribable. We do our best not to show a difference but there is simply a difference in how we feel. The baby is a precious child too and we love them all. The step child is pretty spoiled as he was that way when they married. My son is pretty harsh in his words (not necessarily discipline ) but gets on to him a lot. I can understand why because he had no manners and pretty much is jealous. It's a terrible situation and I try my best not to show favoritism but when it comes to spending the night with us, we can't bring all three and I find myself resenting it if I have to bring the oldest child (who usually speaks up quickly)and leave my grandson there. I've tried taking turns but I get really upset when I am "pushed" into having to bring the oldest when deep down inside I want my own. I know this sounds bad but I'm just sharing my heart. I can't hardly manage them together becasue of the jealousy. The oldest one (her child) sulks and pouts if he doesn't get to do things first, and then shows out for my attention to the point I can't handle them both. I don't have that much free time to spend with the kids alone as I work full time and am involved iwth a lot of things and really deep down want to spend what free time I have with my own grandchild. Am I terrible or what? The little boy (hers) does have another set of grandparents who take him occasionally but no pattern when this happens and it's sometimes right after school when I can't go and get the others. I am really not a mean hearted person, but just love my grandkids to death and don't get to treat them like I woudl like to.

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I have just become a 1st time grandma to Tori 4y/o & Jessi 5y/o my DD married their dad. If my DD has a baby it will be the half sibling to these two kids that alone should be reason enough not to treat them any differently. Kids pick up on these feelings quickly & it will only hurt the family in the long run. JMO
What is the difference between the "Real Grandma" & a "Grandma"?
Real Grandma gives hugs
Grandma gives hugs
Real Grandma bakes cookies
Grandma bakes cookies
Real Grandma kisses boo-boos
Grandma kisses boo-boos
Real Grandma reads bedtime stories
Grandma reads bedtime stories
The list goes on and on...
Grandmas come from the heart not from biological genes

    Bookmark   April 9, 2000 at 1:52PM
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Linda from Richmond

I feel for you, first Nancy, but I agree with second Nancy.I believe your "not real" grandson is craving a grandmothers' affection and love. This letter makes me really appreciate my MIL. She not only inherited me and my 2 grown kids but also a granddaughter and another on the way. Oh, she has a "real" grandson she never gets to see because he can't stand her. I know this sounds like a putdown but it's not meant that way. Children need love and grandmothers, whether they're real or not. Please love him.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2000 at 11:49AM
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To Nancy...Grandma to Tori and Jessi...What an angel you are. Thank Heaven for people like you, Diane

    Bookmark   April 12, 2000 at 12:50AM
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I have a 3 yr. old stepgrandson and a 5 month old granddaughter and even though in my heart there is a difference I would never show it. We have always took turns at them spending the night, we buy for him the same as we do her and we give him lots of hugs and kisses. This child was also spoiled and not made mind when DD met his father but that is still no reason for not loving him or wanting to spend time with him. He is our grandson no matter whether he is a biological granchild or not.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2000 at 6:12PM
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Grandma Betty and Grandpa Bud loved my daughter as their own, to the point they'd forget she couldn't inherit a physical ailment from them. I will forever have a special place in my heart for them. Children deserve everyone's love, they didn't ask to be step grandchildren. They only want love. I'm sorry when people feel the child has to be of their blood to be more special, as my husband says of my/our daughter...of my blood you may not be, in my heart you'll always be.


    Bookmark   April 19, 2000 at 10:03PM
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Joyce Oh

No matter how much you think you arent showing it i guarentee you that the child knows you resent him. We never give small childern enough credit for what they can see and sense. No matter what it is not the childs fault, so please I ask you, what if this were YOUR real Grandchild and you were no longer around and another step-grandparent was feeling this resentment toward you flesh and blood? It would rip your heart out I"m sure. Just try to remember that we never know what TOMORROW will bring, and all of a sudden things could turn completely around. Believe me I know.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2000 at 10:31PM
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This posting zoomed me back in time - to my first and only marriage (now divorced). I brought with me a one year old son to that union and I know the pain it caused me and the 'baggage' he has had to deal with as a child, then adolescent and now young man because of being resented. The good thing is he's learned how to talk about knowing my husbands family saw him as 'different' - not quite good enough. And he talks about knowing that at a very young age. So .....yes, Nancy - your grandchild by choice (because it is your son's choice) KNOWS. He may not be able to articulate it like you and I can but he knows from that pure place of innocence where children know when we think we're fooling them.
I've learned also that children from previous relationships become resented often by the new parent because they're a constant reminder of 'that other relationship'. And when relationships go through tough times (as they always do, that is life) these children get blame projected on them. And like a wise person has already said in a post ahead of me here - the children didn't choose their parents (or grandparents) - they just love them and have a basic need for love and acceptance from them.
One thing that worked for me when my kid was exceptionally needy was to make a date with my child where he got my undivided attention for 1 or 2 hours - make it something you enjoy doing (in a time frame the you can live with) so the resentment doesn't build and you get a chance to know him in a different way. I've also learned that it is OK to love each of your grandchildren in a different way - I have three and each relationship is so different, so special. Wow!

Theres a happy ending for my son - all of this has made him a most sensitive and dedicated Daddy. He's learned to turn the pain into a gift.

I think the Creator has passed you a gift, Nancy. Maybe the gift isn't packaged exactly as you expected but don't the best surprises come that way??

I wish you joy, surprise and contentment in this wonderful grandparenting journey!

Kokum Vera

    Bookmark   May 25, 2000 at 12:12AM
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Been there. My four children are from a previous marriage. My husband treats my children and our four grandchildren as his own, he loves them ! Maybe it is because his mother never treated my children as she should have. There was always a distance from the day they met and my children were young, but they knew what the score was. It hurt then but they got over it. My husband never ever has said step children or step grandchildren. They are our children and most precious grandchildren and we love them to death.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2000 at 12:08AM
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If you really love your grandchildren & want them to be happy, you will begin NOW to show love toward your eldest grandson. The first opportunity you have YOU should invite him for a visit. Then plan for something to do together that he would enjoy. You could teach a craft to him, take him to a movie etc. For whatever reason this child does not have his own father to love him, nor does he have his own father to return that love. This child is not a brat. If he is misbehaving it is because he is suffering so much anguish & pain. I don't know the age difference between the children however, since they are all still children, can you imagine the feelings of this child? After losing his own father, his mother remarries & has a child soon after who is adored by all. Rejection can be cruel & painful for an adult & a child has no way to express this pain. Then love seems to 'slip' further from his grasp when the next 'adored' baby is born. It appears that your son is not helping the situation by being constantly 'on the boy'. I hope your son & his wife seek counselling so they will have a healthy & happy marriage & family life. The damage that will be done to your 2 youngest grandchildren as well as your eldest grandchild will reach into every area of each of their lives as well as the lives of their parents.
There was a similar situation with the daughter of a friend who had a son with her first husband. She remarried & had sole custody of her son who was approx. 5 yrs. of age. Within the next few years she & her husband had two more babies, both boys. He would not allow his stepson to hold the new baby & was very cruel telling everyone he met what a terrible 'brat' the stepson was. When their next son was born, the first baby was only 2 but 'knew' his older step-brother was 'bad' already. The stepson was constantly 'in trouble' & could do nothing right. He was not allowed to interact with any of his stepbrothers. From what I understand this a very unhappy & miserable family. It is cruel & selfish to teach innocent children to dislike another. The result was their children did not have any affection for their stepbrother NOR for each other. Would you like your 'own' grandchildren to be treated in this manner if the same situation arose for them? One never knows what the future will hold but definitely if this child is not shown lots of love, everyone in this family including grandparents will suffer terribly. You can help to ensure a happy future for your grandchildren if you really love them. I hope you take the first step & encourage your son to do the same in giving this child the love he deserves & so desperately wants. Once he feels secure with your love (& believe me you will begin to love this child more than you think possible), he won't 'need' to speak up each time to visit with you & you will enjoy the blessings of a united & loving family instead of feeling the pain & sorrow that disharmony brings.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2000 at 9:45PM
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just me

I have 11 step grandchildren and one bological grandchild. But in my eyes I have 12 grandchildren whom I love very much. i'm trying to get them all together for a portrait. Kids have enough pressure on them, please don't add more.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2000 at 12:45PM
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Janice Meacham

I think only a person in your shoes can know what you are going thru. My son married a girl that had a child from a previous marriage. She was and still is so spoiled. There is no end to the spending on clothes and toys her real grandmother does for her. Now they have a child together and it is the hardest thing I have ever tried to do is not show a difference. There is a difference.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2000 at 7:12AM
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Yes there is a difference in a grandparents heart but you are the adult and you don't have to show a difference toward that child. Like I said in my earlier post my stepgrandson was spoiled by his grandparents and naturally so since he was the only grandchild but he is the cutest little boy and he will make your heart melt. He spends the night with us just like our granddaughter does, we make sure he knows his Grandma and Papa loves him very much. A message to all Grandparents if you have stepgrandchildren try not to show a difference toward them and always remember you have grandchildren of your own and ask yourself this question would I want someone treating my grandchild the way I am treating this child/children.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2000 at 9:13AM
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My youngest son married a woman with a 2 yr old son. They now have a child of their own and expecting another any day. Then I will have 20 grandchildren, not 19 and a step grandchild. From the first time I saw Frankie I loved him even though he was spoiled in some ways. After all, he was the only child in his family at that time. But, I adore that child so much we forget sometimes he is not "of our blood". His MOTHER will say "FRankie is so much like you, I can't believe it". We even share the same birthday !!

Please try to show more love for your grandson, perhaps doing things with only him. Children are so sensitive to the way people treat them and I am sure he feels the difference in the way you treat him and the others. If you really try loving him then maybe you will begin to like him.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2000 at 3:21PM
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All children need and deserve love. Is it really the fact he is your step-grandchild as much as he tends to be a problem child at this point in time. A step-child always feels inferior to begin with. it is up to the adults in his life to provide a consistent, caring, and loving environment for the child. To some people this is something that doesn't come naturally, but has to be worked at all the time.That is okay as long as you are willing to work on it for the child's sake. I have both natural and step grandchildren. I know it can be done becauseI feel like the boys are mine regardless! I used to wonder how someone could love children equally. I found out on my own. I see every child as a gift from God and should be treated with the love and respect they are born with. Help the child resolve his inner conflicts. You and him both will benefit from it in the long run. And if you feel you can't accomplish this on your own ,seek a professional counselor. You can take that approach with your step grandchild. It isn't a shame to seek counseling ,but it is a shame not to seek it when you need it. It would make life for you and that precious child a lot easier all the way around. And you will find joy in being a grandparent to all your grandchildren as a result.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2000 at 7:44PM
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Stacey Turtlebones

Oh, that is so sad . . . your poor step-grandson!

My grandma had one step-granddaughter, my cousin. Grandma always treated Kathy the same way she did the rest of us. In fact, when Kathy got pregnant out of wedlock, she asked Grandma to come be with her for the birth--and Grandma did, it, too!

Later Grandma became affected with senile dementia, and Kathy, because of the love and devotion she had to Grandma, had Grandma live with her, her DH, and their two children for several years. Grandma was VERY hard to deal with and required constant care, including having her adult diapers changed, yet Kathy never resented it. Grandma died in January, and Kathy grieved just as much as the rest of us "blood" grandkids.

Isn't it nice that Kathy didn't consider Grandma "just a step-grandma"?

Please, think of the difference you can make for this boy if you will just love him. You don't need to divide your love . . . you need to multiply it. You're selling yourself short if you don't think there's room enough in your heart for this poor boy. I've never heard of anyone who regretted giving love to someone who desperately needed it.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2000 at 12:07AM
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I must say that I've read some truly heart warming stories, Stacie's especially. I was a stepgranddaughter and my step gm wasn't very nice to me. She gave my step sister her old junk jewelry and none for me. I was just a few years older and would have loved to play dress up with all the junk. I felt very out of place and unloved, and I never forgot it. Kids don't ask for much, just some kindness extended to them. Every child needs to feel exceptance and to deny them that is just cruel. Dig down deep in your heart and you'll find love enough for him. Your reward will last your lifetime. Nothing is greater than the love of a child.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2000 at 1:19AM
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So many of the posts on this forum just make me cry!!!! I am going to pr@y for more open-mindedness and in peoples hearts.

Love is a choice!!! Resenting a child who wants you to love him, and wants to be as special to his grandparents as his siblings? I may not understand many things in life, but I am so lucky to have an open heart and open mind.

Your son has chosen this child and his mother as his own. That in itself should make him your grandchild.

I feel so blessed that my new husband loves our kids, "mine from a previous marriage". I am so thankful that his parents and siblings are so proud of our kids and just love them to pieces. I feel sorry for your grandson, but I also feel sorry for you, because you are cheating yourself out of many joys in life.

Thank you to Stacy on your beautiful story. Made me happy for both your cousin and your grandma.

When we pass on, we will not regret the "things" that we didn't get in our lives, but I think we will mourn the relationships we should have nurtured more. Life is all about the relationships that we build. Please don't cheat yourself out of this, and don't hurt that little boy please. I too was the "step grandchild" or more commonly refered to as the "ready made" grandchild. I am an adult now, and you would think it wouldn't hurt anymore, but it does so bad at times. I didn't deserve that, as this little boy didn't either. My grandparents were like you...let me spend the night and what not...but kids are smart. I knew that my grandma resented it also, as you do. Sad. What would "HE" think about this? I don't want to see either of you hurt.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2000 at 6:57AM
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My son is 27 and his girlfriend gave birth to my only grandchild last year. His partner has a 10yr old son who's father died when he was born and whose parents have never bothered to see him. As far as I am concerned he is my grandson. At first when the baby was born I too felt slightly different but by giving my love to the eldest it has after one year has become part and parcel of me to the extent as far as I am concerned I have 2 grandchildren. Unlike yours he is a happy and well behaved child but even so I feel if you give your love unconditionally yours will feel it and may feel more secure. Tell yourself you love him and maybe before long you will.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2001 at 2:29AM
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Seems to me you're all being pretty hard on Nancy. She's been quite clear that she DOES treat her step-grandson with consideration and attention. I wonder if the problem isn't the relationship as much as it is the child himself. Even children can be obnoxious and difficult. Maybe focusing on the unpleasant behaviors would be more fruitful than focusing on the relationship. Nancy, what about demanding better behavior from this child? I'm extremely firm with my grandchildren but NEVER cruel or thoughtless or harsh. I don't spank or yell but manage to scowl efficiently. It's not necessary to "endure." I'll bet you'd be a lot happier with a better behaved grandson. As far as sharing your time, there's no reason you can't say, "This is Bobby's turn. Next time is Johnny's turn."

    Bookmark   May 29, 2001 at 10:28AM
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Hi Nancy,
I can't imagine to know what it's like to have a step child or grandchild, but I do know what it feels like as the mother of a child who is not the biological child of my husband and his family. My husband's sister clearly shows her favortism, and has no problem doing it. I get so angry!!!!!
Yes, my son does have his moments where he can be obnoxious, trying, although never disrespectful, but he has been through a lot in his short little life because his father and I are not together. He is not spoiled, and is taught to be responsible - a very sensitive little guy. On one occasion after my husband's parents gave him an especially large gift of money (that was exactly the same as given for the other kids), my son and I together wrote them a thank you note for the gift, showing our appreciation for their acceptance of my son just like the other grandchildren.
HOWEVER, when my SIL show clear preference for my other childrens' company, and says on the phone "Say hi to the two kids for me" (I have 3 kids!!!!), I feel hurt VERY deeply for the sake of my son, who is an innocent recipient of this treatment. I never tell him things like this, but I know he knows. It's so rude! Just think of how YOU would feel if your biological grandchildren happened to become step children and the family there treated them with less respect than their own. Wouldn't you heart just ache for them? I am an adoptee. Thank goodness that there are people like my parents who pray to God to be so lucky to take on another person's child! It's the same thing. You really have to accept that oldest granchild as your own. You could gain a wonderful companion. :)

    Bookmark   July 16, 2001 at 8:56PM
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Even though I am in a similar familial situation, I am so glad I can't relate to this post. In my family, there are 4 of us siblings. 2 of us had one child apiece (our own natural children), one sister married widower with a 3 year-old son (my nephew is now 25), the other is raising 2 foster children of another race.

THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO DIFFERENCE between how my family treats the children born into our family and those lucky enough to enter it later in their lives. How could anyone do that to a child? discriminate against the ones who need love and understanding the most?

Please sit down and think how you would have felt if, as a child, you were in a terrible sitution that was no fault of yours, one that was difficult at the best of times--and on top of that, people who were supposed to love you held that situation against you and couldn't bother to try to fit you into their lives. Children rarely have any responsibility for the messes us adults make of our lives. Please, please, remember that the next time you're around this little fellow and go out of your way to show him love, consideration and attention. He needs it far more than your 'real' grandchildren, I'd be willing to bet. If necessary, get counselling to help you over this.

Remember, there's no limit to love--you have plenty and sharing a little with him isn't going to hurt the others. More likely it will enrich all of you.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2001 at 3:07PM
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Carlotta Bull

It doesn't matter how you feel. It matters how you act.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2001 at 11:57PM
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Nancy and others that "understand" you are the reason that I decided not to give my husband a child. I do not want selfish mean people like you and how I know my inlaws would be to hurt my 2 daughters (yes their step granddaughters) feelings.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2001 at 3:33PM
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Pat Lynch

Carlotta is right on the mark.
Our feelings are not always controllable. Don't be guilty about them.
Treat him with love, and he will respond to you.
Even if he were the natural born child of your son and daughter in law, if he acted badly you might have some neg feeling about him from time to time.
Sounds like you are really trying to do the right thing, and that is what counts.
Don't beat yourself up over this.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2001 at 1:55AM
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I am married to a man who has two girls from a previous marriage and I have a boy and a girl from a previous marriage also.My husbands mom and grandmother both show favortism towards the kids.Last summer I had taken snapshots with all the kids and my husband together,some are my husband with his kids and some with him and my kids.I gave his mother and grandmother copies of all of the pictures.His mother went and had two enlargements made of him and his kids and one of him and all of them.His mom kept one picture for herself and one for his grandmother of him and his kids.Then she gave me the picture with all of them in it.They say they don't show favortism.Well if their not then why didn't they both have pictures with everyone in it.Its not fair to my kids.When they call and talk long distance to the other kids.When my two live next door and she doen't even say hi to them.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2001 at 12:28PM
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I was raised as a stepgrandchild and the first 15 years of my life i didn't understand why i was the one my granny didn't like. It hurt. I didn't know until i was 15 she wasn't my granny. And until this day i still feel hurt. My DD has 2 children with her first husband and one now that is a month old with her fiancee, and i can't believe how lucky she has been with his family accepting the boys as there own. When her fiancee mothers died a few months ago, the boys were counted in obituary as her own. The day she had baby Cara, her 3 yr. old was at the hospital when i started to leave with him he called Her DF's father Pawpaw Bill for the first time and boy did that mans face light up.She is so LUCKY. Because the biological grandparents never have time for the boys. You love that child and you will be rewarded.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2001 at 12:26AM
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I have 17 grandchildren, 15 are blood and two are not. when I look into their little faces and eyes and their arms are around my neck I can't, for the love of God tell which ones are which.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2001 at 5:35PM
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My father was raised by a stepfather. He has a half- brother. This brother has 3 stepchildren, 2 of which have recently become fathers. My aunt's husband has several children from his previous marriage. They have children. One of them has a stepson and a new baby of his own. My (biological) cousin has 2 children, one adopted, and the other born to her.
It took me awhile to think about all of this. You know why? Because all of these people are my FAMILY, pure and simple. It simply does not occur to me that they are anything but that. Our relationships are based on our love and devotion, not the nature of how we came to be family. My (step) granddaddy passed away last summer. Though we have not been close for a long time (he lived out of state) I will never forget the happy childhood that he was a part of, and it breaks my heart that he is no longer in this world. I can't imagine how it would have been if he had wasted all those years thinking of me as not being "his own."
A year and a half ago, there were no babies in my big family. Now there are six, some blood related, some not. And I can't get enough of it. People who think that it is ok to be prejudiced against "unrelated" children should sit back and think about how they would feel if they were amongst those unfortunate people who, despite their best efforts, do not have any children in their lives to love at all. Nancy, you need a serious attitude adjustment.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2002 at 5:38PM
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I agree with you 100% starbaby!! I also come from a combined family with a "half"sister.
When I married my husband 12 years ago I had a daughter from a previous marriage. We now have 2 other kids and my husband adopted my daughter.
My MIL shows alot of favortism towards my kids! She leaves our oldest out of alot of things, doesn't ask to talk to her on the phone, doesn't have her over to stay the night and only takes the younger 2 shopping for toys or clothes.
Now, all you "Step" Grandmas out there, tell me kids don't notice things like this!!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2002 at 11:17PM
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