Step Familes and Vacations

sierynAugust 16, 2007

DH and I recently got in an argument over vacations. My two SS were visiting their mother who was planning on taking them on a camping trip. DH and I took a weekend and took our boys on a small 'toddler friendly' vacation (SS are both well into school age) and DH thought it was wrong of us to do since we didn't take all four boys. My thought is this: they do activites with thier mother (when she chooses to actually see them) and its cheaper for us to travel with 4 instead of 6 people so why is it such a big deal if we do something with our boys once in a while? DH takes his SS to NFL games and stuff like that all the time, our boys can't go because their 'too young'.

So I just wanted your thoughts, is it wrong to travel without our SS?

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Nope, it isn't wrong. Does SS's mother take your young boys on vacation with them? I highly doubt it. If DH is getting mad over it, then he's worried about hurting the SS's feelings. Obviously, he's not that concerned over hurting the toddlers feelings by not taking them along to the NFL games. He needs to get over it. I don't belong to the club that believes that what you do for or with one child you MUST do with or for the other child. Your DH obviously doesn't either unless it pertains to SS. Life doesn't work that way.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2007 at 9:55AM
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Absolutely not! As you pointed out, the SSs' mom takes them to age appropriate outings w/o your boys - not that you'd expect otherwise. But, for DH to assume you and the young ones should sit home each time the SSs are out and about w/ their mom is just not right.

I've dealt w/ the same age differences and almost choose to just take my young ones on little adventures as there are very few places that are geared to keep all ages entertained. And, even when there is a place (Disney - a 3 hr. drive), it's tough w/in the park as the older ones will want the thrill rides the little ones can't get on (height), so it's a mess trying to juggle it all.

I even have some difficulties keeping my 7 y.o. entertained at some places as we have 5 and 3 y.o. boys, too. Just last week, I took them to a 'water playground' locally - which is basically your public playground set w/ slides in a couple of feet of water. The older one complained that it was for babies, etc. He ended up having a good time, but he was definitely on the upper end of the age range...

Your SSs would have most likely been pretty bored, or felt like they were babied, at the toddler friendly destination. I mean, if you buy tix to Sesame Street Live, I sincerely doubt the SSs would care to attend...does that mean the little ones should skip it, too?


    Bookmark   August 16, 2007 at 10:34AM
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it is difficult to do things with a family of six... trust me I know...

there is no reason why you cant do something special with the little ones when the older ones are not there...

infact, whenever we have one child or two and the others are off with grandma or bm we try to go have a nice dinner at a nice restaurant or go catch a movie... it is something that we cant always do with six because it is so expensive and what the young girls want to see differs from what the boys want to see ... it is nice to do it when it is just us... and it makes each one feel like they are special becaus they got to do something do one else did.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2007 at 10:44AM
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The only thing we can enjoy as a family of 7 is the drive-in and it has 3 screens ... so the kids bring their own headphones and position themselves in the parking lot so they can each watch whatever movie they want. Thats our big saturday night out ... we pack the car the younger ones put on their pjs and off we go!! Even going to the beach is an issue the older ones "jump off" the causeway bridge the younger ones are not allowed and get huffy with me about it. direct quote.... "if you end up dead because you jumped off a bridge and whacked your head on a rock I am not the one who wants to call your parents"

Funny side note: my son had a teacher say to him... if your friends were all jumping off a bridge would you? and he answered YES!! I do it all summer long. (I got called into the school)

When the younger ones go to their moms we take the older ones out to dinner ... or the older ones go off to amusement parks on their own with friends.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2007 at 11:18AM
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cawfe-- I too was a big fan of the drive in for the same reason... except that now they raised their prices to those of reg movies and who wants to sit in 110` heat with bugs (god love FL) when we can pay the same amount to sit in AC ... c'est la vie it was good while it lasted

    Bookmark   August 16, 2007 at 11:33AM
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We drive over an hour (different state) to get to the drive-in ... new england nights are very comfortable ... and its a double feature drive-in so we get 6 movies to choose from. Its $20 here. But worth it with 7 people ...

    Bookmark   August 16, 2007 at 12:53PM
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I don't think it is wrong to travel without the step children. I would change your approach about it to your husband.

The thing that you said that stuck out to me was: "My thought is this: they do activites with thier mother..."

One of the small "perks" of having your parents go through a divorce is that the child may get to do twice as many fun things than children who's parents are still together. And this is really only a small perk, usually the drama of having divorced parents far outweighs this perk.

So I wouldn't make it about things being fair or equal for all the children cause your children probably have it way better in life that the Steps. Just state to your husband that the younger kids have really wanted to do this particular thing and it just makes sense to do it right now where the older kids are not around to be bored.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2007 at 1:32PM
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ABSOLUTELY NOT! IT IS NOT WRONG AT ALL! And anyone who tells you other wise is full of it!
I go on vacations without my SS or SD all the time. At first my hubby was against it and i said ' their mother took them to walt disney and our son didnt go!'
THis is pure guilt on your husbands part! Sit down with him and tell him your sons will not suffer or miss out because the other two kids are missing out. No one should wait for anyone with regards to this ...
my hubby and i sat down and discussed this. Because we are having situations too. We left on a weekend to toronto. His kids were visiting their mom and would miss this little trip. He had issues at first and then agreed to my logic. We plan things regardless of who is here. If my SS and SD happen to be with us during those dates, they come..if not ...they miss out. Its as simple as that.
Dont miss vacation time because the other two can't come along. As well, when all the kids get older, what will happen when you and your hubby wants to take vacation without any kids????...
My thing is this. There will be things we will do together as a family and there will other times we willnot. THe point is not to harp on the times when the other two will miss out.
My hubby's kids come eow and so my son does see his father 24/7 unlike them who see him 2 times a month. That is life. THat is life of divorced people.
I've explained to my SD that there will be times you will do things with us and other times you will not. I plan activities without looking at the dates. IF you are here, great, you join in...if you are not, life goes on and i'm not going to reschedual things to fit your mothers schedual.
I told my husband, our son is not going to wait on events with his sister and brother. In the past i was always work around things to include them and it would backfire on me. Whether it was the weather or one of them didn't want to come over that weekend or they had a soccer i have stopped trying to include them. I plan the situation regardless now. And also, unfortunately their biomom is a rotten person who likes to cause trouble without thinking of her kids best interests (like refusing to give permission or sabataging vacations) So now i tend to plan big vacations without them. The tiny trips i keep for them

    Bookmark   August 16, 2007 at 3:20PM
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Thanks everyone, I am soo relieved I'm not alone on this one. I think you're right that DH does feel guilty (even though he shouldn't, we have custody and he's the football,baseball etc. coach so its not like they don't spend time together) He actually ended up having a good time with just our boys (SS's are pretty intensive at demanding his undivided attention).

    Bookmark   August 16, 2007 at 4:46PM
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I can so relate to this. My DH has the same feeling, and it really makes me angry, though I've kept it in for the 8 years of our marriage. He has 2 sons, 11 and 13, who live 2 hrs away with BM and come EOW, if they feel like it and don't have anything better to do. We now have two sons, 6 and 1 mo. DH has ALWAYS insisted we schedule trips when the SKs can attend, even though they sometimes cancel at the last minute b/c they get a better offer (like when we scheduled a trip to Carowinds 5 hrs away over Memorial Day and DSS 13 refused to go b/c suddenly his best friend was having a party.)
On the other hand, my DSSs travel constantly with their mother. For example, she goes annually to Europe and has taken one of them the past 3 years, so DSS 13 has been twice and DSS 11 once. In addition to Europe in the Spring this year for DSS 13, she took them to Disney a couple weeks ago. (Neither DH nor I have ever been to Europe or Disney.) BM remarried w/i a month of their divorce to a wealthy man and they have a daughter now. We pay about 1/3 of DH's salary in CS, so we do not have a lot left for extravagant vacations, even though I work FT and make good money. I would love to take our children to Disney but I know we can only go when we can afford for all 6 of us to go (which will be a while), and then, we have the same problem mentioned by others about the age difference. I have hated amusement parks since DS was born, since it has always meant that I spend the day with DS alone while DH goes off and rides the "older kid" rides with the SKs.

I have tried to explain to DH that the SKs have the advantage of extensive travel with their mother but he can't stand the thought of making them feel "excluded" if we go somewhere without them. I just deal with it b/c I know at some point in the not-too-distant future, the SKs are not going to want to go along with us for every vacation b/c they have their own lives. (Plus, who can compete with Europe?!) I empathize with you.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2007 at 8:43AM
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Wow. I am living in a very different world than all of you. For the past two weeks I have had to listen supportively while my 11-year-old son talks about how hurt he is that his father took his stepmother and stedsister to Hawaii and left him behind. They showed him photos and told him "It's too bad you couldn't be there," but in his words "they chose not to take me."

He cried about being left behind on a family vacation but received no sympathy from his father. As a result his hurt has turned to anger.

I fear the relationship has been irreparably harmed. A heartfelt "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you. Let me make it up to you" would go a long way, but it's not likely to happen.

My question to all of you is this: Would you leave one of your bioligical children behind? If so, and if you do, then it shouldn't be a problem--as long as in the end none of your children are left out. I know a dad who takes each of his daughters on different trips. It's one-on-one time for each of them. But he would never think of taking a family vacation without including all of his children. If it's a family vacation, you should take all your children. It doesn't matter if the other parent takes the children places. What matters is behaving and living like a family--families take trips together (or they stay home like my family of eight did.)

My son isn't upset because he missed a trip to Hawaii. He's upset because he was intentionally left out of a major family experience.

My heart is breaking for my son. I wish each of you could have been there this week when he told me "I think my dad would love me more if he hadn't married" his stepmom. Since all of you think that leaving the stepchildren behind is okay, perhaps you have some suggestions on what I can say to my son to help him cope with the hurt.

Please, before you make these decisions, think about your children--all of them.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 9:37PM
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Wow...I had no idea how many others were in the same situation.

My DH and I have had this discussion many times.

It's never happened yet where we have taken a trip without SS but DH is okay with it if it happens.

WE went to MI with the kids over the summer and it was seriously down to the day we left---we didn't know if BM would let us take SS. DH was prepared to go on the vaca either way.

Life can't stop when SKs are with the other parent. My DD likes to sleep at my mom's house a few times a month and if it happens to fall on a night when SS is with us, DH and I will take him to a movie or whatever.

I think it's fine to plan age-appropriate activities/outings/trips for your younger kiddos when the older ones are with their mom. Like you said, your DH takes the older boys to special things, and I am sure you also do plenty of everyone-included activities.

When I was growing up, my mom and I went on a special trip every summer together, and my dad and brother went fishing.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 10:00PM
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concernedmom, I think it would really help if you could talk to your ex and tell him how his son feels, or encourage your son to tell him. What does he mean "you couldn't go"... does that mean it was your week/time so he didn't want to ask you for the extra time or a trade? Or does it mean something else? Your son has interpreted it as "he chose not to take me" and it seems the right thing to do is for them to have a talk about it. Your son is interpreting that it's because of his stepmom and that may or may not be true... nobody knows until you or he talk to dad and find out why he wasn't taken. Dad needs to understand how hurt his son feels... then if he ignores it, he's a jerk that deserves to have his son angry at him. If he really didn't think it would be a big deal (like some guys that are oblivious), then he has some making up to do.

I don't think every little weekend trip needs to be scheduled around when the kids are all there, especially if you have multiple kids with different schedules.. and if the family goes away for a weekend without one kid that is at the other parent's house, it shouldn't be a big deal. But, when it's a BIG trip, say four or five days at an amusement park, a cruise, Hawaii, or something equally big to a kid, then of course every effort should be made to include all the kids. To exclude them and then expect them to be excited to see the pictures is sorta cruel.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 10:35PM
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"But, when it's a BIG trip, say four or five days at an amusement park, a cruise, Hawaii, or something equally big to a kid, then of course every effort should be made to include all the kids. To exclude them and then expect them to be excited to see the pictures is sorta cruel."


    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 11:43PM
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Thanks for your thoughts. I had a long-scheduled (four months in advance) business trip scheduled for the same time as the Hawaii trip. I could not take my son on the business trip and had to ask my sister and her husband to fly here to take care of my son while we were all away. (God bless them.) On the plus side she and her husband are great with my son, and the days went well. On the downside, at bedtime he felt totally left behindÂeveryone in his day-to-day family was on a trip.

No one ever asked me or my son if he could or should go on the trip. They have told him the reason they didnÂt take him was because I had told them that I might be able to take him on a business trip to China in the spring. (HeÂs studying China in school this year so it seemed like it could be a worthwhile educational trip if I could swing it.) I was clear from the start that the trip was a possibility, but only a possibility. As it turns out, that trip was cancelled--before the Hawaii trip. (We knew that was coming--shame on me for opening my big mouth in the first place.)

To be clear, I donÂt think my son is "interpreting that it's because of his stepmom" at this point. HeÂs interpreting it that his father doesnÂt love him very muchÂat least not as much as the others. Thanks for your comment "Dad needs to understand how hurt his son feels... then if he ignores it, he's a jerk that deserves to have his son angry at him." Unfortunately, when my son tried to tell his dad how hurt he was, he received neither sympathy nor apology. His dad told him he can be "Eeyore or Tigger." Since his dad has shown no sympathy or understanding, heÂs been pouring his heart out to me for the past two weeks.

This isnÂt the first time they have taken such a trip without my son. He doesnÂt remember it, but they went to Orlando when he was five. When they came home and told him about visiting Disney World, he got upset, then came home and asked me to take him to Orlando. Unfortunately, trips with mom are not the same as trips with family. What my son really wants is to be treated as part of the family. He tells me how much he wants to do "family activities" when heÂs at his dadÂs house like "hikes and bike rides" and stuff but they ignore his suggestions. (By the way, he is at their house 2-4 days each week.)

Thank you all for your comments. I appreciate the chance to put this out there. I just wish all parents could look at the situation from the childrenÂs eyes rather than our own.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 7:22AM
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concernedmom, I know exactly what you are saying, I see it with my grandson. Now that he is 13 he doesn't even want to see his dad. He feels he isn't loved & important to his dad. Our daughter tried several times to tell her Ex how it is hurting son did no good. It is a really sad situation.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 7:52AM
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Concernedmom, I really feel for your son. :(

If he is with is father 2-4 days a week, then his father obviously plays an active role in his life, and of COURSE your son wants to be treated like a member of the family. It's not as if he sees his dad 1 weekend a month and 2 weeks in the summer or something...if that were the case, I could see how *big-ticket* trips might occur often without him.

Has your son talked to his father about his feelings? I am not sure if you mentioned--how old is he?

I am really sorry to hear how your son feels. (((HUGS))) to him.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 7:56AM
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No way!! I can appreciate your husband's thoughtfulness for his sons, but what about the other children? They deserve to have a life outside of their older brothers. If you where to only do family trips when the older boys are around what message would that send to the younger boys as they got older? To me it would say we are only a family when your brothers are here. I can understand saving some activities that the older boys would enjoy for when they come (such as a waterpark visit), but you have to carry on when they are not with you and be a family. Families go do fun things together it is part of the beauty of having a family. You have to be a family when there is just the four of you and when there is six of you as well. It is not fair to your little ones to make them wait to do fun things. I would also think that they would begin to resent this as they got older.

My DH and I always think of activities that SS10 will like when he comes to see us. Sometimes if something is going on like a harvest festival or something and we know he is coming we will save that for the whole family sometimes even specific movies. SS10 used to get jelous when he would ask us what we were doing or what we did that weekend and we would tell him the truth like oh we went to a movie with lil sis or whatever. Many times we had to say hey wait a minute you went and had fun with your mom or grandma or whoever and your sister deserves to have fun too. He now understands this and accepts it. He is finally starting to realize that we don't just sit on some shelf while he is gone waiting for him to return-lol.

As I said I can appreciate where your DH is coming from and perhaps there are things that you should hold off on doing until the older boys get home, but we all have to maintain a normal life for our kids that live with us and part of that is havin fun!!

As I reread your post I saw that you have custody. So there are probably not many things you do without them anyway. It makes perfect sense to go do toddler things when the boys are gone. Most older kids could care less about Sesame Street on ice (except my SS who is too old for High School Musical, but loves to watch Sesame Street with his sister-lol).

To concernedmom I think that is really too bad that they took that trip without him. I personally feel like big trips are for the WHOLE family if it can be done. We recently took a week long trip to the beach with my inlaws. SS had to miss some school (his mother was not excited, but let him come)and it was worth it he actually learned a lot. He would have been devastated to miss that trip. I can absolutely see how that would hurt him and it does not seem fair.

My two cents... Big trips for the whole family, but small things like movies, plays, playgrounds or what have you should be enjoyed by whoever is there.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 8:27AM
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Concernedmom, thats really crappy for your son and I totally see where you are coming from. I hope Dad will eventually see why this is hurtful and take steps to prevent it.

While I can understand not planning activites around each childrens schedule, I think there should be a balance. An EOW child going to a NHL game isn't really equal to a bio child going away on a weekend camping trip. For some families, thats all vacation is. So to say that it is ok because EOW child got a couple of hours alone with the ncp is just absurd to me. The EOW child should get some more consideration than that.

Would some SM's be ok here with the EOW child going alone with Dad on a camping trip without them? I'm guessing some here would cause they are cool like that :) But I'm also guessing there would be a problem with the majority, lol.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 9:23AM
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I agree with you. I think in the OP situation they are the CP so it would be a bit different. In our situation SS is here usually once, but sometimes twice a month. For example, he will be here for turkey day weekend. We are going to go ahead and do our xmas decorating then so that he can be part of it. I think in an EOW situation it is important to make sure to plan some activities for when they come so that 1. It is a fun time for everyone and a bit special. 2. They feel included in the family.

However, sometimes you make plans and they get dumped on. It is just kind of what happens. We had planned on having ss for halloween and going to a local haunted house contest and he would also be able to go trick or treating with his sister (it was her first year), but he chose to not come down and stay to see his cousins instead. Frankly, it hurt our feelings, but you just have to roll with it. We did not do the haunted house, but we still went trick or treating, took DD to a halloween party, and had fun. Sometimes it is hard to make plans specifically for the SK and then have them changed or whatever, but it goes with the territory I guess.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 11:46AM
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I made many plans early in my marriage to include my husbands kids and they got 95% trashed because of biomom. She would purposely make plans when we told the kids in advance what we now we say nothing until they come.
But my motto will not change. I plan things, if they come they come, if they do not..its their loss.
We planned halloween this year. They chose to skip the weekend with their dad to stay for halloween with biomom. I understand they are used to being at halloween with her but when given the chance to be with dad when it finally fell on his weekend THEY dumped him. We didn't dump them.
And as far as the big vacations.
1. we do not have money to bring them. I have to pay for me, my son and my husband ( he is barely breathing because of child support) ANd no i have no cash to bring his 2 children because that extra cash is for spending money on vacation.
2. Biomom has made it very clear that she will nto give permission for the kids to take big vacations with us. A weekend to another province is fine BUt going ot EUrope was out of the question.
Sd challenged me on this and i turned about and told her ' go tell your mom we are going to europe for 3-4 weeks this summer and see what she says' Well 2 months later i asked her waht the answer was and with her head held low to the ground the answer waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaas - NOOOOO WAY.
So its not always for lack of trying that the 'other kids' get left out.
BUt in this case, was your son asked to go to Hawaii? Was your husband short on cash? How many people went on the trip because cash does play a role in this BUT if he was short on it he could have approached you adn said we are going on a trip but i cannot affort to bring him and i want to...etc..etc...Is your relationship good with yoru husband? Would you front the money if he was short for the sake of your son?
I'm sorry but i would like to know because i have not heard your husband side. I'm only hearing one side. And yes its heartbreaking for your son...extremely especially showing him picks which i do not agree. When i go on vacation without my stepkids i do not show them me its like rubbing salt in an open wounds.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 12:45PM
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I agree with "My two cents... Big trips for the whole family, but small things like movies, plays, playgrounds or what have you should be enjoyed by whoever is there."

I have always given up my time with DD if it meant she could go on a trip with dad. Only issues are school.

As to $$. IMHO, if Dad is going, his kids should be invited. If the trip has to be scaled down, well that is what intact families do. Not everyone can afford Disneyland, some people do camping.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 1:10PM
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"As to $$. IMHO, if Dad is going, his kids should be invited. If the trip has to be scaled down, well that is what intact families do. Not everyone can afford Disneyland, some people do camping."

I agree with this. It's not fair to plan a trip for 4 because it's cheaper and thus exclude the stepkids.

DH and I do try (it's HARD at times) to look at everything from the perspective of: well, what would we do if they were both OUR children together?

Sometimes taking a step back and looking at any situation we deal with like that helps us put it into perspective.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 1:22PM
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"As to $$. IMHO, if Dad is going, his kids should be invited. If the trip has to be scaled down, well that is what intact families do. Not everyone can afford Disneyland, some people do camping."

I agree with this also. You can NOT go to Hawaii or Disney and not take all the kids. But to me camping trips aren't a huge deal since we do them all the time. Depends on family traditions I guess. To some kids camping might be a huge deal. Also I seriously doubt the other Bio parent will invite the new spouses kid/joint kid with ex along on their family trips. It kindof balances itself out really. The Step Kids will get to do dome things the bio kids don't and vice versa. As long as it isn't a BIG trip it shouldn't be such a huge deal.

Here's one for you: When Bio Mom got her taxes last year she went to Disney World WITH OUT the girls. What parent could go to Disney without their kids have fun. I would of felt so much guilt!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 2:32PM
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"The Step Kids will get to do dome things the bio kids don't and vice versa. As long as it isn't a BIG trip it shouldn't be such a huge deal."

An example of this:

My sister is married to a man with two sons who live with them. My sister has one son of her own. her husbands ex is a guilty parent so when she has the boys she lavishes them with expensive gifts and high dollar trips....Noah doesn't get to go. I don't blame the BM. Noah isn't her child.

So if my sister decided to take Noah to the beach one weekend while BM had the boys....I wouldn't blame her. Noah get's left out of alot of fun stuff because the boys Bio mom re-married wealthy and she can afford it. My sister and her husband can't. Plus all kids need some one on one bonding time...especially with their biological parents. Sometimes bio kids can feel as cheated as step kids since they have to split their parent time up with others all the time.

plus my paretns always use to tell me "Life isn't fair" it may sound a little harsh but they might as well learn they won't always get everything they want and sometimes one may get something the other will not.

I always HATED it when parents would buy all their kids presents if ONE child was having a birthday. LAME. Let the kid have their special day without having to share the spotlight with all the siblings.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 2:39PM
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"plus my paretns always use to tell me "Life isn't fair" it may sound a little harsh but they might as well learn they won't always get everything they want and sometimes one may get something the other will not.

I always HATED it when parents would buy all their kids presents if ONE child was having a birthday. LAME. Let the kid have their special day without having to share the spotlight with all the siblings."

OMG Doodle, right on.

With two kids the same age (you can obviously relate!) PLUS the fact that they are not both our bio-kids, we have LOTS of issues with fairness.

DH and I used to be of the mentality that everything had to be FAIR.

For SS's birthday in April, one of his gifts was a cool, fake leather game chair. So cool that we KNEW DD we would want one, too--so we got her one, too, on SS's birthday.

Then in May for DD's birthday, she wanted a hamster so badly! Well, we KNEW that SS would be upset if SHE got one and he didn't. So we got them EACH a hamster.

My mom's husband, who is a very practical, down to earth guy basically said to both of us...what the h*ll are you doing? Life isn't fair and it is natural and normal for kids to get different special things at different times. It is actually unnatural for EVERYTHING to be equal and the same.

He really got through to both of us. And since then, we really try to keep things in perspective.

It's a work in progress!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 10:22PM
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I am exactly like lovehadley was. I am always trying to make everything equal for our 3 children. Mine10, his9 and ours6. It gets frustrating for birthdays and christmas. I want to buy nice things for my sd but then feel like I am doing more for her then my own children since she receives gifts from 2 families. I ended up with 3 hamsters this summer bc of that too! As for vacations we have always gone with the 5 of us unless I have gone with my parents and my husband stays home for work or something then my sd stays as well. I have always been open to taking her along but my dh says she doesn't have to go. but this christmas I tried to plan a trip for just 4 of us since it was so much more expensive to travel with a family of 5 then a family of 4 but my dh would not go for it. I didn't want to do it to be mean or leave my sd out. I would never hurt her feelings like that and after reading about concernedmom's son I am glad I didn't. But it is hard making things equal for everyone. As for dinner, movies, 6 flags, etc... we always do them no matter who is here. But it i important for everyone to be together for big trips. I agree with that now.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2008 at 11:11PM
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concernedmom...I feel for your son! My Dad has been to Hawaii with his wife and SS twice plus countless other fun trips as well which my brother and I were not invited to go on. It does hurt to be left out of such things. We never took big family trips when my parents were married, but once my dad was with SM, they went somewhere fun at least once a year.

I can certainly understand why parents would take trips without all of the kids if it is something small and just a little weekend getaway, but big trips should always include all of the kids.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2008 at 9:16AM
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Big trips should include all but it doesn't happen for many reasons and its not always SM fault. In my case its biomoms fault and yes believe it or husbands! I catch him alot of times not wanting to do any activities the small ones , when his kids are around and i just at times am beside myself. He loves his kids and yet its me who instigates activities and outings and at times i have to pull TEETH! to get him to drive all of us.
I think he resents doing activities.....
And for trips, he just does not want to deal with exwife cause it always ends in a fight with somethign or other. So now adays i'm tired of aksing him to i plan the big car trips omitting his kids for the mere fact that biomom will act up and so will my husband.
I'm so tired of being in the middle and i dont want my son to suffer by losing trip because hubby and his ex can't grow up!
So here is another side to the vacation story. like i've said...its not for lack of trying. I know all the kids should go..but when you deal with bioparents who are not mature and have chips on their shoulders..i give up! and protect the child i have. I have no control over his. Its up to hubby to decide and get off his buns and invite and include and deal with the ex. And if he chooses not to..i am not going to. Its not my business to do so and i do not want the headache.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2008 at 2:03PM
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"I always HATED it when parents would buy all their kids presents if ONE child was having a birthday. LAME. Let the kid have their special day without having to share the spotlight with all the siblings. "

Oh god !! I remember those days... when Dh and I first got together it was a major deal with us. Every single time a birthday came around all of the kids got a present...see something at a store that one would like...oops cant buy that without buying everyone something. I finally put my foot down. It was just to much. I told Dh the same thing look life's not fair and they are just going to have to get over that. So and So's birthday is their special day no one else's and no one else should be unwrapping presents and getting gifts. They should learn to be happy for their siblings and be gracious and giving on that persons special day without expecting something as well. And just because I happen to see a locking diary for sd who has been writing her thoughts down in a spiral notebook does not mean I should look through the store to find stuff for three more kids. Each kid is different and no kid in this house is left out in the long run... they will just have to learn to deal with these facts of life.

We still have the occasional why didnt I get something he/she did... I usually just respond with well I didnt see you complaining when I came home with x for you the other day.

"My mom's husband, who is a very practical, down to earth guy basically said to both of us...what the h*ll are you doing? Life isn't fair and it is natural and normal for kids to get different special things at different times. It is actually unnatural for EVERYTHING to be equal and the same" >>> Smart man.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2008 at 4:07PM
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Oh wow mom_of_4....hearing all that makes me feel so much better!

We still struggle with the fairness issue. I have to admit, it is hard for both DH and myself at times to not want to make sure our bio child is not *slighted.*

Like I said, we just keep saying to ourselves and each other: "what would we do or how would we handle this if they were BOTH our bio kids?"

A few weekends ago, we were in our long stretch without SS (5 nights) and we were running errands on a Sat. with my DD. We went to Old Navy, Home Depot, Linens N Things and then said we were going to Walmart--she about lost it at that point because it really had been a good 2-3 hours that we'd been in stores. She was soooo bored. So DH told her that we would get her a small treat at Walmart---she asked for a Littlest Pet Shop, and he said fine.

LPS are COVETED items at our house--but seriously, the kids each must have 25-30. Honestly, SS probably has more b/c his mom buys them for him, too.

Whenever the kids get a new one, it is their FAVE item for awhile...then they toss it into the bunch and forget about it.

So a few days later when SS came over (Wed.) and he saw DD's new LPS he was really upset....told DH how unfair it was that she got a new one, he didn't, stomped off crying, etc. And then DH told me that we probably should have picked one up for him while we were at Walmart. GRRRR.

I just said--WHY would we have done that? If SS were my bio child and he were spending the night at a friend's or something, I wouldn't have done that.

UGH. DH finally conceded that it was fine, and that these things just HAPPEN and it's part of life.

And we have had issues with SS coming over with a new LPS or toy---BM gets him a toy if he gets 2 weeks of green lights at school. THIS is a toughie b/c my DD also has the stoplight system at school and she has gotten a green every single day this year. I don't reward for it, though---but she is very well-behaved in school and it's never been an issue. SS has struggled with behavior stuff and I think he DOES need that extra motivation.

But then DD complains it's not fair.

what can you do? I do feel badly for her but I just try to reiterate to her that different people get and need different things.

I often wonder if these are STEPFAMILY issues or just issues that come with having more than one child???

    Bookmark   November 26, 2008 at 4:27PM
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Thank you all for your thoughts and comments. I took my son to speak with a therapist last week. Not surprisingly, he wouldnÂt say much to him. In the therapistÂs words, "HeÂs protecting his dad." Meanwhile, every day for the past seven days heÂs brought the subject up with me. IÂm growing increasingly worried because it is troubling him so much. I am very grateful for all your support through this. Thank you, Lane76, for your comments--itÂs gratifying to hear that my sonÂs story may prevent other children from suffering such a deep and avoidable hurt.

On a separate note, Organic_Maria, a therapist once advised me that to avoid "being held hostage," I should send email announcements that do not require a response. For example, "Dear Ex/Biomom: We are currently planning a family vacation and wanted to check with you before proceeding. Please let us know by [date within 7 days] whether a family trip from [date] to [date] will cause any problems for your or the childrenÂs schedule. If we donÂt hear from you by then, we will assume that the children are available to participate in the trip and we will plan accordingly. We will send you more information regarding pickup/drop-off, etc. when we have more details. All the best, Â."

Depending on the circumstances, you may think it appropriate to add a sentence such as "We have not yet mentioned the trip to the children because we donÂt want them to be disappointed if scheduling proves to be a problem."

I now use this technique whenever appropriate in communications with my ex and his wife. I find it quite effective in avoiding "being held hostage."

I wish you all a peaceful holiday season.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 10:53AM
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Lovehadley--Some of what you describe seems like sibling rivalry.

Might I suggest that in such cases you offer edible treats rather than LPS or other trinkets that the children can (and will undoubtedly) show off to their siblings?

Give her a cupcake, a lollipop, a cookie, a slurpee, something that's an inexpensive treat that will appease her while you finish your shopping and will be gone and forgotten by the time you return home. That way, she can't show it off to the other children and they won't feel left out. Consider also, that an edible treat seems appropriate for a child who has been shopping for 3 hours. She probably needs some food/sugar.

I remember my mother would occasionally--very occasionally--buy me a RingDing when we were grocery shopping. I still remember that now, more than 40 years later. I don't remember the plastic toys that ended up in a bin somewhere. And, I couldn't show off my Ringding to my siblings when they came home from school.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2008 at 11:08AM
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Hi concernedmom,
Thanks for the advice but it will not work with biomom. BY law we are required to give her a letter clearly stating the vacation dates and place and to ask her permission. She must give us the letter back signed giving her permission for us to take the kids out of state. She has refused BIG vacation. By not signing.
Its too bad her selfishness just hurts her kids.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2008 at 3:37PM
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