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Treating kids the same?

Lifer33's picture

I just wondered if anyone else feels the need to treat step kids the same, financially and materially, when this would be done solely with your income not your partners?

The situation is that I am throwing my 4 Yr old a big party for her 4th birthday as it coincides with our first wedding anniversary, and yes I've gone to town with my own money. Hubby said oh I hope ss won't expect the same as I can't do it, like a hint. I flat out said I can't either sorry. My reasoning being two years ago I gave daughter a party, then ss announced that he was not having one Sad bm said they couldn't afford it. So I threw him a big party too. I felt so guilty. Lo and behold the reason she 'couldn't afford it was because she'd booked a holiday in Europe. We pay her a lot of cm on top of the child benefit, and she's on double my income. So now I feel like if she can't provide her kid the party she wants why would I. Is that terrible of me? 

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

Not terrible at all.  MIL tried to inform me I have to invite Psycho and her new child to any birthday parties DH and I throw for the girls. I laughed and said "nope!  If she wants to celebrate their birthday, she's more than welcome to celebrate on her time.  If she doens't give a damn and doesn't want to throw one, that's not my problem.  It's hers."

It's not MY JOB to fund having the extra people becuase she can't be bothered.  She's the BM. So she can either put in some effort, or not. idgaf.

DH and I co-plan one for the skids on our time (majorly though just because I lowkey like throwing parties... LMAO).  But we don't invite Psycho, druggie, or baby twilight.  She showed up to SD6's uninvited right after she was served court papers. Made it miserable.  Kept pulling the skids off the trampolines to snap pictures. WE PAID FOR THEM TO JUMP. FORK OFF.

So no.  If BM can't be bothered, and your DH genuinely can't afford it.  That's their issue, not yours!!!

ESMOD's picture

It is not your responsibility to level the playing field for non-bio kids.  Would you throw a party for the neighbor's kid if their parent couldn't afford it?  NO.  Your party is a joint one with your anniversary right?  so it's not "just" for her.

SS will get the celebration his parents can afford.  Perhaps the boy would rather go to a gokart track with dad as a special treat vs a big party like your daughter has.  It doesn't always have to be the same.. and when you do different things it's harder for the kids to truly guage the difference in spending.

tog redux's picture

It's 100% not your job to fund birthday parties for your skids. 

I will be the outlier, though - I wouldn't throw a big party for my own 4-year-old if it was waaaay more than the skids would be getting, especially with young kids.  Of course, I wouldn't throw a massive 4-year-old party anyway.  What ever happened to party hats and pin the tail on the donkey? Why does a 4--year-old need such a huge celebration?

ESMOD's picture

I kind of agree that maybe it would be better or more appropriate to make the ANNIVERSARY (remember the adult relationship is primary).. the big celebration and have a little 4yo sized party for the 4yo.  A big fancy todo is probably going to be way overwhelming for the 4yo.. likely to end up with a melt down kid.. not a happy one anyway.


Exjuliemccoy's picture

A four year old won't appreciate (or even remember) such a party, and how will the OP top it next year, and the year after, etc?

This is how entitlement begins. It's hard to teach a child to be grateful for and happy with simple things when you're also showing them that they're supposed to get a huge birthday party each year. 

ESMOD's picture

Since it is also apparently a "joint" celebration of their anniversary.. it really puts the child on an equal footing level with the adult relationship.

I think I would rethink trying to do a joint birthday/anniversary extraveganza.  I seem to remember my nephew's birthday where he burst into tears every time people tried to sing happy birthday to him..

It's too much effort to spend when it's probably a 95% chance that the kid will meltdown and not even enjoy any of it.  It will be scary.. overwhelming.. tiring.. and no fun at all.  The only fun that is being had is OP planning the party. 

I blame TV/tabloid life for broadcasting these overthe top "instagram" worthy celebrations for kids.  I bet all those people got were a few pictures.. the rest of the time was probably spent in meltdown mode.

Throw an anniversary party spend your extravagences there.  You can even have some kid entertainment at the party since kids will be attending... all the kids then get to enjoy it.

  Have a small selection of family over for the 4yo party.. maybe a couple other kids.. hotdogs a cake and call it a day.

tog redux's picture

My parents' anniversary was one day before my sister's birthday (their 3rd child). We never once tied them together in any way.

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

Mine and DH's anniversary is the day before SD6's birthday. They're strictly seperate events.

Rags's picture

My mom's birthday is Dec 26. Her entire childhood she never had a birthday celebration or gift. My GPs and her family combined Christmas and mom's birthday.

When they married my dad commited to my mom that her birthday would always be celebrated as her special day completely separate from the celebration of Christmas.  My brother and I never combined mom's birthday with Christmas.

I completely agree that blending of special days is not how it should work.

Jcksjj's picture

My moms birthday is also Dec 26th! I think she got parties as a child but in general her bday gets overlooked because everyone is on a christmas hangover. And I always give her a gift but it's hard to pick out one gift for her let alone 2.

Ispofacto's picture

Awesome parties don't have to be expensive.  All it takes is imagination and planning.  Maybe this is an opportunity for DH and SS to learn how to be fabulous on a budget.

My daughter just turned 30 last weekend, and she had a potluck bonfire at her house.  Everyone brought a snack and some drinks, and she provided snacks, drinks, and smores.  Low cost and fun.

Killjoy got extravagent birthday parties and she was still her miserable self.  Such a waste of money.



ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

Funnest birthday party I ever had, we split into teams and did a scavenger hunt with a budget of like $20 a team. Easy, fun, and we had some good laughs.

Lifer33's picture

For all your comments, I hope I'm replying in the right place. Bm kicks it around our mutual friends that he isn't treated the same but hubby can't afford it, he wouldn't afford the hilidays and things we do give him if I didn't contribute a Lot. 

The reason it's a big party is cause we couldn't give her much last year what with the wedding etc, and yes I guess I do spoil her on bdays as she doesn't get much else, like most of my family n parents have passed away so in my head I'm giving her gifts n experiences from them all too. I understand about the entitlement thing but I def don't spoil her rest of year. Which brings me to my last point, as is very spoilt and entitled as I've said in past he's called himself 'posh'  so that's another thing I'll have to tackle with my daughter not having same as she understands 

Rags's picture

I do not like this manipulative guilt card that DH is playing.  On the one hand equity life partnership is not a financial balance sheet, but on the other hand the partners do have to deliver on that equity partnership.  Sometimes the partnership does require a shift in the financial balance.

If your SO can't afford to throw a party for the SKid in a miss placed guilt driven attempt to match your child and his.

Even different kids in intact initial families are different, are treated differently, and receive different levels of parental support and participation because kids are different, are usually different ages, and require different things from their parents.

My younger brother was the one to broach this concept with our parents.  I am the eldest by 6yrs.  He took exception to our parents giving us each exactly the same things as gifts once he was in his pre-teens.  It never bothered me one way or the other but I did respect that it bothered him and I respect that he said something.

Your DH needs this clarity.  You ave attempted to provide similar BD celebrations for your SS that he said he wouldn't have and thus freed BM to go on a vacation.  DD and SS do not have to have exactly the same things. They are different kids and have different needs.  

Quit feeling guilty and quit facilitating DH and BM to not step up.

SteppedOut's picture

While I do not agree with a huge extravagant party for a child that age, a reason for not doing so should not be...but what about skid?

Skid has parents that handle that. 


shamds's picture

You buy necessities and if there are any wants like musically gifted children requiring musical instruments, or gifted academically kids needing funding for camps etc you don’t spend the exact same on every child. 

What happens if skids bio parents couldn’t both save up to help send kids to university, but stepmum has saved and her kids can, stepmum shouldn’t feel guilty one bit.

i do not prepare anything for skids birthdays. If we are on a family holiday and at a restaurant and hubby has the restaurant surprise with a cake so be it but i do no wish ss happy birthday.

he has reminded his dad constantly me and our 2 kids (his half siblings) are strangers and that he is incapable of showing any ounce of affection to his siblings and strangers don’t wish happy birthday to others..