Holiday Trip to Avoid Stepchildren Issues?

Karen10125October 21, 2013

Every year it's drama with the adult stepchildren. My stepchildren can't find time for their dad, my husband, They put everyone else first, not just their mom, but grandparents, in-laws, friends, friends' parents, it's ridiculous. He's extremely cooperative and even then it doesn't matter. Last year, it was January 3rd before they had time to visit with him. They live within 15 min. of us. Maybe he's being too cooperative. In the end his feelings are hurt and then I'm angry. A couple years ago we said that we'd be happy if they could come to dinner on Dec 23rd since they're always busy with everyone else on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. They ended up cancelling on us because a friend of a friend's aunt was having a party that evening, I'm not kidding. I used to love the holiday season and looked forward to family get togethers, but now here it is mid October and I find myself already dreading what's in store. Has anyone just decided to leave town for the holidays to avoid all this kind of turmoil? I'm thinking that may be the only solution.

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emma

Welcome to the club. Those years are over for me due to their refusing to help with their Dad when I was caring for him (AZ). I took all of their pictures off the wall. He finally died and I have only seen them once since then and it was only to take a few keeps sakes to them.

But staying with the topic. We had Christmas for them every year and tried working around their schedule. It was impossible with 3 adult kids. So I put my foot down and said we are having it Christmas Eve and that's it. If they can't come that's to bad, we will go ahead and have it with the ones who do come. They all came. Like my Mom's home. my home was a lot of fun at Christmas. They did not want to miss it.

Don't know what part of the the country you live in but Opryland Hotel is a wonderful place to spend Christmas. I took a bus trip there over the holidazes really enjoyed it. Saw the Rockettes for the first time.

This post was edited by EmmaR on Mon, Oct 21, 13 at 9:32

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 9:29AM
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gardenandcats

Can you just have a talk with them ? Explain how important it is that they get together and pick a time near Xmas to come and visit their dad..And they can not cancell..Tell them how hurt dad is.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 1:20PM
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gerina

I haven't posted on here since forever, but am actually stewing about the same types of issues right now. Just last night SD pulled something on DH and me, which leaves a taken for granted taste in my mouth. I won't bother with the details because it will really get me riled up again.

Youngest SD (25) doesn't care for her mom but she is close with her mom's family. She adores her dad, yet she puts her BF's family first all of the time. My DH actually makes cracks to me about her being with her "real family" when she is with the BF's folks. I know that he is hurt when he says these things, and is just trying to minimize it.

Last year she informed us that "from now on, we will drop by on the Sunday before Christmas (really, and what if we have plans?) to say hello to you and I will spend the Saturday before with my grandparents. Her mom doesn't even make it onto the radar. Christmas Eve and Day I will spend with BF's family." One month later they broke up (again)!

They are back together for the gazillionth time and I am sure that she will stick to her schedule of the Sunday before Christmas. Thanks for the favor! She's an adult and it's her choice; however, I think it's very short-sighted of her to put her family last all of the time. I think she will have regrets one day when her bio-family isn't all living and she realizes that she didn't spend the some of her holidays with them. I also understand why she doesn't like her BM, but she is going to be in a world of hurt once she has no mom.

I guess there really isn't much to say.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 3:11PM
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sushipup1

I'm of the tough school of family relationships. Go ahead and make your own plans, whether a great vacation or a party or visiting friends. But do not expect anything whatsoever from anyone else. To have expectations is to invite disappointment.

Should the kid call and say, "we'll drop by on Sunday", just reply that you have other plans. Under no circumstances short of hospitalization should you change your plans.

Look, the kids will either figure it out someday or they won't. But your lives will be much more rewarding if you don't hang your happiness on other people. Go out and do something for yourselves.

Yes, holidays are stressful. A beach in Hawaii would be much more fun!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 7:38PM
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ellendi

I have a friend who does just that. For her and her husband, it's Thanksgiving. Her stepkids don't include them in their families plans so rather than sitting home,
they go to Aruba for three weeks the day before Thanksgiving.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 11:38PM
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sylviatexas1

'Should the kid call and say, "we'll drop by on Sunday", just reply that you have other plans. Under no circumstances short of hospitalization should you change your plans.'

At some point, you gotta stop trying to raise 'em.

They're adult people, & if they don't have manners by now, it's a waste of time & emotion & energy to try to get them to realize it.

Make your plans & do what you want to do, & if anyone whines (that's the funny thing about people laying down the law; they never seem to realize that the problem lies with them, not with the other party!), smile brightly & reply something like, "oh,well, maybe you can make it next year!"

I think the real key is to make your plans, announce the schedule, *& then stick to it.*

My brother was famous for showing up extremely late, & yet my mother & her sister, both in their late 70's, held Christmas dinner one year for nearly 4 hours.

My other brother & his wife & I were starving;
first we ate tortilla chips & queso dip,
& then we drank wine,
& then we watched movies on tv...

& when the other brother showed up, he grinned.
no apology, not even an acknowledgement, just a...
well, maybe it was a grin.
or maybe it was a smug, passive-aggressive, obnoxious smirk.

That was the year I decided that I would wait on him (or anybody) 30 minutes, & then I'd make my apologies & go home.

Why play a game you can't win?

    Bookmark   October 22, 2013 at 4:23PM
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Karen10125

thanks everyone for the advice and suggestions. Gardenandcats, you asked if we've talked to them about this. Oh yes! Several times, I've told them their dad was very hurt, it doesn't matter. They are the type who like to play victim and when someone else is actually the victim because of THEIR behavior, they don't like it. Like I said, we thought we'd schedule 12/23 each year and even that didn't work out. For Thanksgiving, he's second fiddle too so we do this turkey soup thing the day after and they can't make it for that either. We still do it though and whoever shows up gets to have a great meal and a fun evening. They're grown though, 30 and 28 years old, and you're right, I can't change them at this point. It doesn't help that their mom does everything in her power to encourage this kind of behavior either. I have an ex too and I make sure my adult children do what's right with respect to their father. Anyway, we planned a mini-vacation for the day after Christmas and hopefully that will help us avoid any disappointment.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 2:09PM
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stepmomofthree

I agree that you can't link your happiness to other people. If the stepkids are choosing to spend the holidays with practical strangers instead of family, then they trying to avoid a family Christmas for reasons of their own. Probably messed up guilt trips from the BM. You might as well face the fact that they don't want to be there, and make some other plans.

I stopped doing the big family Chistmas some years ago because I found that the stepkids were simply there to pick up the loot, and then head off. It just wasn't fun or heartwarming. I started planning a family holiday in Florida, with the holiday being the main gift, and only a few gifts given out on the vacation. It worked out better for us, but I do miss Christmas at home.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 12:47PM
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Cruella49

I'm new, today, to this forum and am SO RELIEVED to find that other people have these same problems. I've often thought to just take off for the holidays and not make any excuses for it. I believe my husband would be all in favor of it, frankly. But while my 91 year old Mum is still with us, we'll just do the token Christmas morning visit so his daughter can give him the same gift he's gotten every year for eons and give me some cheap calendar she picked up at the dollar store.

A beach in Aruba or just about anywhere sounds so much better than grinning and bearing it!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 8:54AM
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yabber

Hehe we just talked about this too :-)

So we just do what we do every year and all we ask is that the stepkids let us know if they will be there or not. We do not change our plans. We have dinner one year and lunch the next, alternating every year (as it used to be when the court order still was supposed to have meaning lol) so we have stuck with that routine. Simple.

These days my MIL is more of a challenge than the skids, by the way!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2013 at 10:16AM
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laVerneMaynard7

I took off this year at TG, went on a cruise with my daughter. ( She lives in another state) What fun! Spending time with her is always delightful. The cruise was great, AND! I didn't have to put up with the rude step daughter and her family. (Actually, her husband isn't bad, but she is raising her sons with absolutely no manners). My husband won't travel, so he had them over. While I was still home,his daughter said she could come out early to visit. I mentioned she might want to cook? She didn't bring a thing, apparently. DH fixed a meal for them. I'm just glad I missed it!

I, too, feel really badly that DH's kids treat him poorly. It would seem to me the steps would realize men live much longer if they remarry after divorce.
Maybe the steps WANT dad ( or mom) out of the way do they can inherit?

I say, go for it. Use any money you would normally spend on gifts, food, etc., and vacation with your DH!

    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 10:20AM
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love_snowdogs

Holiday out of town is in our very near future due to everything you have described. The only reason we haven't is because my very elderly parents live nearby and DH and l don't want to miss holdays with them. We used to leave town over Thanksgiving and take Mom and Dad with us but now they are simply not well enough to travel. But after they pass on, it's "Christmas With the Kranks" for us!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2014 at 2:47PM
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