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BornToLove

Step kids and half siblings

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BornToLove

I’m not sure where to post this, it’s part relationships and part WDYT. Hopefully I can get some guidance on how others handle these relationships. 

For context, my brother has one child. He shares custody with his ex 50-50. At his house he has his current partner and her child (lives with them full time). At his ex’s house my niece has one half sibling and one step sibling. 

I made a gift for my niece. My brother asked at the time if I could also make one for his current partner’s child. I agreed and sent it as a gift for that child’s next birthday.

His ex is now demanding that I ‘treat all kids fairly’ and make addition items for her other child and step kid (both of whom I have never met).  
 

The cost - both time and money - is a great deal. It would take about $100 in supplies and a good month of my spare time to make one of these items. I don’t know these kids and feel I’m too far removed in a family sense. Am I out of line on this? 

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CallMeFeral

The ex is out of line. You don't have to make something for kids you've never met. 

It sounds like your brother's current partner's child is someone you know as she is now living with your brother as part of his family?

Find a polite way to tell her to pull her head in. 

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seayork2002

I would tell her as politley as possible to place the idea where it would fit.

I grew up in a mixed kid relation setting us kids knew we all got different things from different people/at different times.

 

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kimasa

I've got a wonderfully complicated niece and nephew situation too.

I try to keep it as equal as possible, sometimes it's a PITA but there at ages where they don't quite get how complicated it is.

If they're older though that might be different in some circumstances.

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got my tinsel on

Email her that you'll be happy to and include a quote for materials and labour marked 'full payment required prior to commencement of works'.

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born.a.girl

I'd ignore her.  It's not as though you're recognising four kids and ignoring one.

We have big family christmases.  Last year a child from my husband's side of the family was here and my sister included her in the little gifts she made for the other ten.

On the other hand, I only 'recognise' two of my niece/nephews' children with  'proper' gifts (out of the ten or so that are here) and so give them their gift quietly so the others don't feel left out.

Relationships are complicated, and I think you've done well to recognise the child that's permanently with your brother.

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Kafkaesque

The children who do not live in your brothers house are not your problem. Ignore the request. 

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blimkybill

Oh for goodness sake, nobody gets to demand presents! The ex is being ridiculous. Gifts are gifts. i bet you don't even know those children. That is extremely rude of her. 

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-Emissary-

The ex is being ridiculous. I’d ignore her request. No one gets to demand a present and you don’t even know these kids! Tell her you’ll be happy to make them if she pays for them..

Does she give Christmas and birthday presents to your brother’s step child? If not then she’s clearly a hypocrite as well.

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Paddlepop

Rude. No to gifts for the ex's children. 

Did the ex contact you directly or did your brother pass along the message to you? If he passed the message along then he shouldn't have even done that. He should have told her no and left it at that and not involved you. 

I'm very curious at what the gift is. It must be pretty awesome. Handmade quilt?

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Kallie88

Is the ex going to send your kids (if you have them) birthday presents too? Organize play dates?

Just sounds like a grab for stuff to me and agree with pps if she demanded that of your brother I'd be annoyed he didn't just tell her she was being ridiculous and brought it to you to worry about

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~Kay~

In an ideal world your brother treats the 2 children that live with him equally. Then your parents treat the 2 children that live with their son like grandchildren and equally. And then this extends to you treating these 2 children equally. 

This does not extend to the children of ex partners. Your niece may consider them her brothers and sisters but this doesn't have to extend to the entire family.

So if your parents buy gifts for their grandchildren they're supposed to include the ex's kids too? Weird. 

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Luci
Posted (edited)

Kids can get slightly miffed if they see their sibling getting something that they don't and whatever it is you make BornToLove it sounds lovely.  So in the first instance I can understand the other two kids wondering why they didn't receive a gift as well (particularly if they are young). 

However it is up to the parents to intervene and explain that they can't expect you to give them a gift when you don't know them at all and it is different for the other child as he or she lives with your brother. And aside from that anyone who "demanded" gifts from me could go jump. 

Edited by Luci
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BornToLove

To answer some questions: 

the ex messaged me on social media after I posted a pic of the package going to the daughter of my brother’s partner. 
 

My niece and the child of my brother partner are about the same age (10/11 years old). The kids who live with the ex are 5 and 7 (I think?). All the kids are girls. 

My brother has been with his partner for about 18 months. His partner’s daughter lives with him full time (dad is out of the picture) and attends all family events on our side. She’s treated equally with my DD and niece when it comes to gifts from family on my side. 

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#notallcats

Does the Ex still buy your kids presents?

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TheGreenSheep

What a desperate present grab for children that you have no connection too. It’s all about her, kids have no idea, but somehow it matters to them.

People never cease to amaze and surprise me.

 

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Paddlepop

Block the ex after you tell her to go jump. Was she always rude and greedy?

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PuddingPlease

I'm struggling a lot to imagine someone actually sending a message over something like this. But if I squint a little I can understand her being a bit hurt. If I'm understanding correctly, the step-child of 18 months has received a hand made, expensive present from a kind and wonderful aunt in the interests of keeping things fair at your brothers house. 

If you have been a part of her and her other children's lives for many years (and she's a bit insecure) I can imagine how that might feel like a bit of a snub, like they are less family than they might have been before. I certainly don't think you need to be making handmade presents for all four kids but I think I can understand why she is upset, even if she wouldn't acknowledge that that is the real reason.

The only other thing I wonder is whether they have some kind of formal arrangement about gift giving that your brother has neglected to mention. If the deal is that the kids get all the same presents always then she might view this as a breach of that arrangement. Obviously you aren't actually bound by any of that but, in my mind, it would make her message less crazy than it currently seems.

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Sugarplum Poobah
5 minutes ago, PuddingPlease said:

I'm struggling a lot to imagine someone actually sending a message over something like this. But if I squint a little I can understand her being a bit hurt. If I'm understanding correctly, the step-child of 18 months has received a hand made, expensive present from a kind and wonderful aunt in the interests of keeping things fair at your brothers house. 

If you have been a part of her and her other children's lives for many years (and she's a bit insecure) I can imagine how that might feel like a bit of a snub, like they are less family than they might have been before. I certainly don't think you need to be making handmade presents for all four kids but I think I can understand why she is upset, even if she wouldn't acknowledge that that is the real reason.

The only other thing I wonder is whether they have some kind of formal arrangement about gift giving that your brother has neglected to mention. If the deal is that the kids get all the same presents always then she might view this as a breach of that arrangement. Obviously you aren't actually bound by any of that but, in my mind, it would make her message less crazy than it currently seems.

But the Ex's kids are younger than the niece, so she had them after she and the brother split. I can't see how children you've had after you split from a previous partner would have a close  (if indeed any kind of) relationship with the previous partner's extended family?

I think the Ex is a cheeky cow.

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lizzzard

I can never understand the angst about equal gift giving between kids in extended families. On my Dad's side, when I was growing up there were cousins / second cousins / relos I didn't know the exact relationship with but the kids were around our age. My brother and I never got given much at Christmas by my Dad's family - even by my grandparents. I remember my mum being really miffed that her SIL's kids (our cousins) got alot more exxy gifts than we did. But it honestly never really bothered me.  I just assumed there was some reason for it, but certainly didn't take it personally.  I think adults can make a big deal out of these things to 'protect kids feelings' when actually the kids barely notice! So this is my long winded way of saying I would ignore the request and don't feel bad about it because I doubt the children involved will give it more than a fleeting thought.

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BornToLove

I’m not sure. I live overseas so no I don’t see or have a relationship with her other kids. Heck I only see her when we go home for a visit. 
 

I think where her request is coming from is that she’s the type to dress her kids the same. Gifts are always the same or at the very least same price down to the penny. She really takes the ‘treat them equally’ to the extreme. I can sort of see her point as she wants the other two to have the same thing to keep that equality. 
 

However like many people I don’t think she understands the amount of time and money goes into making these items. I think if you are crafty, you know what I mean when people just assume you can wip something up for super cheap. 🙃

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PuddingPlease
Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, Sugarplum Poobah said:

But the Ex's kids are younger than the niece, so she had them after she and the brother split. I can't see how children you've had after you split from a previous partner would have a close  (if indeed any kind of) relationship with the previous partner's extended family?

I think the Ex is a cheeky cow.

Depending on the relationship though, that might mean that the kids have known Auntie BorntoLove since they were born, especially if they all spend Christmas/Easter/birthdays together.

Don't get me wrong, I strongly doubt the kids care at all, in all likelihood this is all about their mum. But I wouldn't be surprised to discover that there is more going on for her than a present grab. Still wildly unreasonable though.

Edited: Just seen you reply. Overseas? That's completely weird, in that case I agree with PP's who suggested blocking her number, what a cheek!

Edited by PuddingPlease
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lizzzard
1 minute ago, BornToLove said:

However like many people I don’t think she understands the amount of time and money goes into making these items. I think if you are crafty, you know what I mean when people just assume you can wip something up for super cheap. 🙃

Gosh, ain't that true - craft materials are insanely expensive!!

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Hands Up

Ex is crazy. You have no relationship with these children. Block her. 

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Dianalynch

I wouldn’t respond to that, I’d just ignore the message. It’s too weird. And rude. Taking up your time with her crap, honestly. 

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