mom2emallAugust 10, 2009

So I have a question on fairness. All of you who are custodial stepparents I need your imput...

My skids are with me 99% of the time. My son is with me all week long and EOW. Some Wed. nights he also goes to his dads. Anyways I rarely get time alone with my son because my stepkids don't see their bm and her family lives out of state.

So this week the grandparents were in town and picked up my skids for a few days. They take them places and do some shopping with them, etc. What I am getting at is their grandparents do fun things with them, don't just sit around.

So while they were gone I did some fun stuff with my son. When I have all 4 kids it gets pricy to go out and do stuff, so we don't get to do a whole lot. I figured since I just had one I could spoil him a bit and give him a little mommy time. So one day we went to a movie, one day we went to an arcade, and one day we went to a waterpark. Mind you these are not things I have never taken my stepkids to do, its just a rare occurance when we all get to go.

So the kids come back and my ss sees a waterbottle from the waterpark in our cabinet and asks who went there. I told him we did and he spent the next 2 hours sulking. He actually cried at one point.

So I tried explaining to him that he did fun things with his grandparents that we did not get to do. And he came home with some new toys that my son does not have. And I reminded him of a movie my dh recently took my him and his sisters to when my son was with my ex. (my son came home and they were at the movie and he got upset and I sat him down and did the same explaining thing...that he had fun with his dad and did things the others did not get to do, etc.)

So anyways now my dh is making comments about what I took my son to do when the others were gone and hinting at it not being fair??

I feel like the world does not stop when one of the kids is not home. There have been times when my son has been away and my sd's have been at sleepovers and me and my ss went somewhere. And there have been times when we had all the other kids sleepover with relatives when I brought one of my sd's out for a girls night. So its not like they got shafted. They get to do special things too. But since my ss is whining about it now my dh is giving me an attitude about it.

Am I in the wrong???

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I don't think you're in the wrong.
It would be wrong to say "DS, get your swimsuit, we're going to the waterpark. SKs, you sit here and rot."
But the SKs were out doing fun things... And as long as all the kids get chances to do fun things with you, I don't think it matters who does what, or when.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 8:02PM
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Thanks Ceph, I was starting to think I am going crazy!!

My ss has been being super whiney lately and for some reason my dh has gone back into accepting and coddeling it. Instead of just ignoring it and seeing it as a temper tantrum my dh has been running in circles trying to make it stop. Its been soooo frustrating because I know my dh's reaction is encouraging the behavior. But when I point it out my dh gets mad. Even the other 3 kids notice it.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 11:04PM
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Your DH should not be accepting or coddling whininess- it just makes it worse.
When my own DD complained about things being "unfair" I just told her "Life is unfair. The sooner you learn to cope with that the happier you'll be." Not everyone gets what they want all the time. Some people get to do things others don't. Too bad, that's life.
And I don't think your SS has a case for "unfairness". As you pointed out, HE got to do things the other kids didn't.
Your DH needs to pull his head in if he's joined in giving you a hard time about it.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 3:06AM
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It doesn't matter if it's fair. Does your husband think everything in life is fair? I read an interesting email that was forwarded to me about our bill of rights... it's one of those emails that gets forwarded and nobody knows where it originated... but it said "American's don't have the right to happiness... we have the right to PURSUE happiness." and it went on about we don't have the right to not be disappointed and I think that is so true. We have become a nation where the younger generation cannot deal with disappointment, rejection or failure. My dad was telling me how he went to ball game where my nephew was playing and asked "what's the score" and was told they don't keep score because they don't want to lower anyone's self esteem by LOSING. I also saw that when my kids played sports, they gave everyone a trophy just for playing... when I was a kid, if you got a trophy... it meant something, like you excelled or played better than the others... either you were talented or worked harder and that was the reward for your hard work/practice/effort. But no more... now everyone gets one so nobody has hurt feelings or feels bad about themselves. There is something wrong with coddling everyone to think they are deserving just because they might feel bad... but then we complain about kids today having a sense of entitlement.

And I may get slammed for this, but I think stepkids ARE worse! Not just my stepkid... my son was a stepkid and he was the same way. My two younger kids were not stepkids, they lived with me 100% of the time and they didn't have the same expectations my son had. Now, maybe it was his personality... and maybe it's not true that they have to be a stepkid, I think kids of divorce, even if the parent has not remarried, tend to start expecting more... two Christmases, two birthday parties, two Easters, two of everything... and maybe they want the parents to make up for breaking up the home. I know my sister was that way... and still is. She feels she is owed something by my parents because she had to live through their divorce.

I guess my point is, who cares if it's fair. It wasn't fair for the other kids to get to spend the day with their grandparents while your son didn't go. When your husband has something to say... tell him that next time he can ask his ex in laws if they can include ALL the kids... because THAT would be fair. (that was rhetorical, I don't think you should really suggest that... but you could use it as an example) But really, kids... just like everyone else, needs to know life is not fair.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 3:17AM
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Your husband should get his head out of the sand and realize coddling and encouraging his son on this behaviour is wrong. My sd went through this with her own mother. SD was in town visiting her dad, my dh, her mother went skiiing over the weekend and sd got on the phone and told her mom off. She whined and said it was unfair....well, when she got off, i turned around and said you were really being disrespectful to your mother. You can't be stuck to someones hip 24/7 and you went to walt disney but your stepbrother (bm has her husbands son living with them) didn't come cause he was over at his grandparents.....Life is not fair and you have no right to demand to be everywhere. There will be things you will miss and others you will join in. This is life. No one is going to keep making accomodations for others at every instance.
It is a tough but important lesson and i think Stepkids seem to have it tough in this department. Alot of that has to do with the divorce situation and it doesn't help if bioparents encourage this behaviour.
Even now , sd in her teens feel entitled. In our new house, she demanded a room to herself. Both my dh and i stood our ground and said, No. That will not be reality. You visit, now less often to top it off .
Both my skids are good kids. But like any other kid, they need guidelines and rules and at times will be put in their place. They will not dictate how we run our household or how we arrange things in our house or what our living space will be. She wanted the masterbedroom !!! I laughed my skull off. Pleeeeease...be real.... Her dear father put her in her place firmly and she has backed off. Is she upset...yah, did she get over it? yup...she is happy and she's enjoying her time.
So tell your hubby to get over it. Or you start whining why his parents didn't take your son along with them and how unfair that is...eh? should we play that game too? i've done this to my husband and he's buttoned his trap.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 6:57AM
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you did everything right. nothing unfair. it is OK for kids to whine, ignore it, and your DH is wrong here.

I don't think it is a stepfamily issue at all. it depends on personality and on parents. My niece is in intact family but she always whines why somebody got something she didn't and everybody catters to her. she demands things and gets them, it is very annoying. My nephew was the same way, he is not like this anymore, he is grown but he still remembers how he terrorized my DD why she got this or that.

I don't know why some kids are more whiny, but partially because they know it works and parents cultivate it. or as much as I love kids, some kids are just more annoying than others. LOL

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 9:26AM
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What I think is unfair is your DH's attitude towards the situation.

We have the same thing at our house. When SD came last, DH got tickets to a soccer game. DS was with his dad that weekend and didn't get to go to the game. DS has been asking to go to a soccer game for months and was really hurt that the tickets were gotten for a time when he couldn't go. I just plainly told him that SD was only here for 36 hours and that he could go any other time and that we just needed to look at the schedule and figure out a day we could go.

It's just really that way in stepfamilies. But for the big things, like vacations and such, we try our best to make sure everyone is included. If they opt out at that point, nothing we can do.

Your DH is being unfair by expecting your son to have to sit around waiting for his kids to come back.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 12:45PM
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You were in the right... but I really think in some ways its our own guilt that lets us even question ourselves. Although that guilt may be horribly misplaced. Personally, I just went shopping for school clothes for all of the kids. As I was shopping I realized I needed a lot more items for my daughter then skids. Ofcourse (sd mostly) whined and complained about why she wasnt getting the same amount as dd. Logically, I knew dd outgrew most of her clothes and sd just got a whole bunch of clothes for her bday... and when it comes down to it dd is here all of the time and just needs more stuff. But, I let my guilt seep in and when I was telling dh what all we got I felt myself explaining why I got dd more than the others. Not that he would care... just my own sillyness.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 4:25PM
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The school clothes situation is similar here. My oldest sd and my ds both needed more clothes then my middle sd and ss. That is because sd and ss have lots of hand me downs from the older ones, and I have a few friends/relatives with children that give us stuff too. Also, the boys both needed new gym shoes again and the girls did not because they wore their sandals all summer.
Luckily school clothes and shoes are not something they really compare or complain about.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 4:47PM
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From a full time SM to 1 and full time bio mom to 2 for the past 8 years to you..........they will get over it! most kids are quite self centered when it comes to who has what and things being "even"....I have run into this only a couple times, but I have also chose take the remaining child to do something fun when the oppurtunity presents itself, and I have also gotten the "sulk, and grumpiness" from kid that comes home and finds out that other kid did something fun too...when they realize that they dont get a reaction (just keep saying what you said before, that was great) they will stop I promise!! It only took a couple times of no reaction and mine "got it"....on anohter note, one thing I did find positive was to do a "date night" every once in a while with each child individually (steps and bio's included) so they each had something to look forward to and give everyone the chance to have some one on one time with mom!

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 8:40AM
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Kids will whine, even in intact families. I think it is not uncommon that parents stick up more for their own biokids -- in this case, based on facts provided, it appears your dh is doing this. Just sit down alone with him and discuss. I also think there is a fine line between telling some kids to hide that they went somewhere without other, and kids flaunting it. Sometimes it is all in the atitiuted. Peace.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 11:43AM
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fiveinall, completely agree. date night is extremely important no matter how many kids are involved. all kids need one on one time and have different interests. I did that when I had two kids at home and still continue about once a month with just my DD.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2009 at 12:31PM
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