Quantcast

Jump to content

Chat


Photo
- - - - -

What Role Do Step-Grandparents Play?


  • Please log in to reply
16 replies to this topic

#1 rosered135

rosered135

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 13667 posts
  • LocationNortheast, U.S.

Posted 17 February 2012 - 01:17 AM

The (old) post about SGMs (stepgrandmothers) seems to still be generating interest. And It's raised a few questions in my head. Of course, I'm still wondering how important it is to people whether or not the GC call a SGP by a well-known GP name, such as "Grandma" or "Nana" (or "Grandpa" or "Poppy"), etc. But I'm also wondering what role, if any, you think a SGP should play in the GC's lives? Also, if there are SGPs in your situation, what's their role with the children and how do you feel about it? And hey, does the fact of SGPs make extended family/IL relationships more difficult to deal with? Even if only b/c there are more people who want to visit with the GC, etc? Please feel free to answer any or all of my questions below...

#2 mom2fourmimi2one

mom2fourmimi2one

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 358 posts

Posted 17 February 2012 - 02:05 AM

Hi Rose! I can tell you the difficulties we (DH and I) had in our own relationships with our kids and our ex's. My MIL had no interest in MY kids when they were growing up, when she would call, she would ask how is MS (middle son), how is YDD, (both hers biologically), and how is EVERYONE ELSE? She would send a Christmas card with $50 for the kids, $20 each for hers and $5 each for mine. After I blew up, DH started sending them back. If you have no money, fine, that's not important, send a simple 50 cent card to each. It's taken over 18 years for her to respect that my DH loves my kids, they are his, just like mine, but she will never be considered a "grandma" by them, they've seen and been hurt too often, they call her "DH's mother" and i would never make them call her differently. My parents on the other hand love my step-son as their own. When they were little we all shared a three family house in the city, we lived upstairs from them. My mother loved making them breakfast every day, and my father (this was when they were still married) once said, my greatest pride is that all four of my grandkids climb in the bed with me on Saturday morning to watch movies with me. They all call them "Mama and Pop or Grandpop". They have no doubt they are all loved. I remember once my step son was being a huge brat, a horrible brat! My mother had just served the kids pan fried keilbasa (one of their favorite), of course the oldest daughter and the middle son (they are one year apart) both reached for the last piece. They start arguing over it as only five and six year olds can, my mother calmly reaches over and cuts it in half and gives them both half. My middle son promptly had a fit and threw it across the table, my mom reached over and smacked the back of his hand and said "WE do NOT throw food at my table! Now you get nothing, leave my table" She reached over and gave both pieces to my daughter. Well, I don't know how my MIL found out about the incident, whether she questioned him or he just told her, but she called my DH screaming saying "who is THAT WOMAN to touch MY GRANDSON? My DH told her "she is his grandmother, she takes care of him, babysits for him while we work, bathes him, feeds him breakfast every day he is with me, loves him and corrects him when he is wrong, that's who she is. And as his FATHER, it is my place to question it, NOT YOURS. END OF DISCUSSION. GOODBYE MOM" There have been more incidents since then obviously, he's 18 now, but this is the one that stands out to me right now. I see Step's as more people to love my kids, to support my kids, to correct my kids and to guide my kids...the more people who love my kids the better. I always say my stepson is special because I got him for free, I didn't have to have labor pains with him!!! :)

#3 BlueEyedGirl

BlueEyedGirl

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 2198 posts
  • LocationSouthern United States

Posted 17 February 2012 - 06:40 AM

As far as I know my step great grandmother participated as fully as a grandmother as my biological great grandmother in regards to my grandfather and his siblings. They called her by her first name but it was like a term of endearment if that makes sense - say her name was Winifred - they would have called her "Winnie" like a child might call a grandmother "Grannie". I think she was careful NOT to go by a grandmother name - but I wasn't around to know for sure - and my family rarely talks about it - so it may be some deep dark family secret lol. By the time I came along - my BGGM was already in an assisted living center an my BGGF and SGGM were long married and taking care of each other. She was always "Winnie" to me if you will and they were both my GGM's but I knew one was step and the other bio. I didn't differentiate though. BGGM passed away when I was small. SGGM passed away 18 months before my oldest was born.

#4 BlueEyedGirl

BlueEyedGirl

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 2198 posts
  • LocationSouthern United States

Posted 17 February 2012 - 06:44 AM

That should actually read "As far as I know my step great grandmother participated as fully as a grandmother as my biological great grandmother did in regards to my mother and her cousins."

#5 PinkRedYellow

PinkRedYellow

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1611 posts

Posted 17 February 2012 - 07:57 AM

Relationships and love are what make a family. There are a lot of "steps" in my family - the "step" thing is completely overlooked. My ILs divorced when DH was very young, they both remarried & divorced again and are on their third marriages. MIL and SFIL have been together for about 22 years now, getting together when DH was in college. My parents have both passed, MIL & SFIL are the main Grandparents in my children's lives. SFIL is 'Grandad' to my kids. FIL lived out of state/the country for most of DH's growing up years. SFIL has been a father-figue to him in many ways. FIL & SMIL live out of state & are out of the country for months of the year. We only see them once or twice a year for a few days a time, but the girls LOVE them and look forward to seeing them. SMIL is 'Nonna' to our girls (italian for Grandma) Two of my neices on one side and a niece and a nephew on the othe side are "steps" but for us, just as much a part of the family as the "blood" members. Really, in 2012, blood alone does not a family make. I agree with the comments in the other thread that children can never have enough people that truly love & cherish them and are there for them no matter what. I think it's sad when adults let their own issues (no matter how real & how painful) get in the way of that.

#6 rosered135

rosered135

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 13667 posts
  • LocationNortheast, U.S.

Posted 17 February 2012 - 09:16 AM

Interesting and honest replies, as always, ladies! Thank you! One factor that I'm noticing in the personal stories is that the view of the step seems to change as the relationships do. BGM (bio grandmother) or BGF might see the SGM or SGF as an "bad" person or an "interloper," etc, but the GCs just see them as another GP, often a loving one. I realize, of course, that a lot has to do with the parents relationship with the SGP and to what degree they include them in their lives. BTW, I'm also wondering if anyone has any strong feelings about the use of the expression "step?" The OP of that other thread seems to object to the idea of her X's wife being seen even as a SGM, let alone a GM. She appears to see even the use of the term SGM as an affront to her. Yet, I've known people who resented being referred to as a "step" anything, preferring to say, "I'm the new mom," for example, "second mom," "other mom" or, if bio mom was not in the picture, just as "the mom" (maybe b/c of the "wicked" they had with the word "stepmother" or thought other people had).I had one cousin who wouldn't refer to her SC as "step" since she raised them from early on (their mom passed away) and wouldn't permit them to refer to her as anything but their "mom." Does the word "step" touch off any strong emotional reactions for any of you, one way or the other?

#7 memphi

memphi

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1658 posts

Posted 17 February 2012 - 09:42 AM

I assume all GPs are the same just GPs. In the other post the woman was carrying a grudge for 18 years over her XDH's new wife. Well, she's not a new wife, she's HIS wife and a GM also. "BGM (bio grandmother) or BGF might see the SGM or SGF as an "bad" person or an "interloper," etc, but the GCs just see them as another GP, often a loving one." The GKs don't care, nor should they. The GM needs to move on 17.9 yrs ago.

#8 IgrowGiants

IgrowGiants

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 960 posts

Posted 17 February 2012 - 10:54 AM

I am a stepmom and a stepgrandmother, LOL. My stepchildren call me by my name, I am not their mother and I understand that. My giants call my husband by his name. What I think is special is that these "children" do not call the others "step" - the girl refers to all of them as "my brothers" and they call her "my sister" - interesting, huh? Then stepson and his girlfriend have baby - baby has 3 sets of grandparents, hers and two of his, lol. Maternal grandparents have strange relationship with all of their children and tend to be kind of stand offish about everything. But LO calls them Grammy and Pop now that she is talking. My husband's EX and her husband, who consider themselves way to young to be grandparents at all are Grandma (fill in name) and Grandpa (fill in name). My husband has been Papa since day one, my stepson held his daughter up and said this is your Papa and looked at me, what was I? Around the house, they used my first name as usual and I figured when the LO began to talk she would call me that too - no big deal. That time flew by and soon, she was talking and everyone was trying to get her to call me something, anything. One Sunday after dinner, we were doing the "who is that" game getting her to say everyone's name and her mother finally pointed at me, LO grinned ear to ear and said "Dat my Gigi" - there was silence for a moment and her mother said "what?" LO came over and climbed into my lap and said "Dat my Gigi" and kissed my nose. I am the one who gets LO for weekends, I am the one who gets scrambled text messages and then a real one from her mom, I am the one who saw her first tooth, and her first steps and rocked her through her first fever. I'm the one who gets the call when Mom is on her last nerve and can't deal with any more "Lady and the Tramp". My DH is the one who gets voice mails of giggles and squeals and "I lub you Papa", my DH is the one who taught her to hide and he would seek, he is the one who installed gates on stairs so she can't fall down, he is the one who buys huge dog bisquits so her fingers won't get nipped, and he is the one who taught her how to burp really loud after a glass of milk (we have to work on that). I'm a step, in the eyes of the world, but I am Gigi in the eyes of one.

#9 Weesheart75

Weesheart75

    aka Wees

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3021 posts
  • LocationDeep South, USA

Posted 17 February 2012 - 11:25 AM

I am coming at this from the "mothers" POV and not GM so... as a mom dealing with a "stepmom" and "stepdad" for my son, both of the steps gave respect enough for my XH and I as his parents not to try the "new mom or dad" approach. My DH is called by his first name (by his choice) and SM is called by her first name. Although I am glad my ODS SM treated him as her own, she did cross quite a few of those "mom" boundaries which created alot of discord between her and I. At one point before her and XH got married, she told XH's family that when they did indeed say their vows that she was going to talk XH into getting custody of my ODS and couldn't understand why XHs family was so supportive of me having custody of him. Not a good way to start off with the bio mom for sure. As far as the GPs and SGPs involved, well I never had any hard feelings toward any of them. I respected that SGP on SM side is called Mamaw & Papaw(insert name) and PGP are know as Mawmaw & Pawpaw. SGPs on my side are called what every other GK calls them and I believe that is how it is on SM side also. No biggie or disrespect to the bio GPs there. What I did have a problem with is the way that SPGP were treated better than BPGPs. Not my call of course, but the problem lay with SM calling the shots on when BPGM got to see my ODS. Yes, this was a fact, not a perception. It came from the horses mouth (SM) that while ODS was on XH time he would not see PGM as often if she had anything to say about it. The way I saw that was, this is not your child to stake claim on whether PGM gets to have a relationship with ODS based on her relationship with you as a DIL. So, for PGM to be able to bond with her GS, most of that time she got came from me. As far as SM parents, I never held them accountable for SMs stupidity. They were nice people who treated my son well and deserved my respect for that. While I am grateful that ODS has more people to love and cherish him, it did create difficult times because there were so many to share his time with. It got downright ridiculous at times. Do I hold any grudges toward SMs parents? No, I'm very greatful that they thought of my son as their own, just as I'm greatful that my ILs did the same with him. That part kind of soothes the blows of kids with divorced parents. We always taught my ODS, don't look at it as your family is split apart, look at it as you have more family than anyone could ask for. The big adjustment (or unfairness if you will) that came in for DH & I as parents, was teaching our other two boys that just because big brother has more family to love him doesn't mean that you are loved any less. They saw and asked the question of why? when it came to Christmas, birthdays, or just general gift giving why ODS "always got more than they did". Now they are old enough to understand why and know that they are loved just as much even if they don't have as big of a family as ODS. I think they also are "relieved" that they have never had to deal with the chaos that comes with having so many different families to contend with like ODS.

#10 memphi

memphi

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1658 posts

Posted 17 February 2012 - 11:40 AM

Wees, that is such a kind way to view all GPs. Really, the innocent kids don't ever need to know that any of these people dislike each other, had affairs, or whatever (NOT you Wees, in the OP). The kids just want all the GPs to like/love them.

#11 ElvenDaydream

ElvenDaydream

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 381 posts

Posted 17 February 2012 - 11:54 AM

We haven't had any step-anythings in my extended family until two years ago, and my cousins don't have kids yet, so it'll be a while before I have anything close to personal experience on the subject... But I really think it all comes down to one thing: there is no such thing as too many loving (and sane!) people in a child's life. If step-parents love the grandbaby, great! If aunts and uncles love the baby, super! If the neighbors down the street love the baby, rock on. That's really all it should be about. Adults should be able to put their own egos aside in the best interests of children. If they can't, they have a problem.

#12 Weesheart75

Weesheart75

    aka Wees

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 3021 posts
  • LocationDeep South, USA

Posted 17 February 2012 - 12:02 PM

Memphi, I agree with you to a certain point. They don't need to be privy to all of that for as long as possible, but there does come a time when the kids start asking questions and I've always made it a policy to be open and honest with my kids. Age appropriate of course. ODS knows the reasons behind our divorce. He knows why I have such disdain for his SM and dad. He knows their reasons also. He was smart enough to see right through the put-ons at a fairly early age. He questioned and I answered to the best of my ability once he was old enough to understand and then told him to ask his dad the same questions and get answers from both sides and come to his own conclusions. There is alot that goes deeper of course than just general "I don't like him/her because s/he is an X". Its a hard choice to make when your kid is asking about the behaviors that s/he sees that just don't add up to what your saying. So I asked myself many a time, would I be protecting him better by lying or telling the truth. To me the truth always wins.

#13 mom2fourmimi2one

mom2fourmimi2one

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 358 posts

Posted 17 February 2012 - 09:13 PM

@I grow giants....that was soooo sweet! You made me tear up, God bless u Gigi...

#14 mrsslant

mrsslant

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2137 posts
  • LocationMinnesota

Posted 17 February 2012 - 10:20 PM

I can see this from 2 points of view. First of all, I am adopted by my father. In answer to your question Rosered, NO I have never ever used the term STEP parent or grandparent. I am a little heated about terms such as STEP parent or HALF sibling. I don't like them because they imply that that person is in someway less important in your life. However, I do understand that not everyone has my situation and many have other parents in the wings and might feel it is disrespectful to call the other person Mom or Dad. I never knew any other father so it is more of an issue for me. That being said, my parents married when I was 13. His mother did her best to treat us like she did her other grandchildren. In this she was unsuccessful as she was *OVERINVOLVED* in her other 2 grandchildren. Granted, their parents weren't exactly doing their jobs, so in some ways it was necessary. In some ways it might have been better had she made them step it up instead of enabling their poor life choices, but that is a different story for a different thread. My point is, Grandma called all of the shots for them. She bought all of their school clothes, and got to pretty much make all the rules if she was around. They also spent every single holiday with her. My parents had this silly notion that they should raise their own kids, so Grandma was thwarted. My cousin has a couple of children now, and Grandma is still playing that big role in a lot of ways. (To clarify, she has a better situation than her parents by far, but if Grandma is over and thinks the kids should get something, it happens.) I still have a decent relationship with Grandma, but it is not like it is with her other grandchildren, as we for one don't have the history with her that the other kids have. Also, I choose not to have anything to do with her husband (I guess you could call him Grandpa if you want) so it is somewhat strained. We will never have the relationship I had with my maternal grandparents, but part of that is history and part is simply circumstance. On the other hand, I have a child now. My Dad of course is simply Grandpa, as I earlier stated he has never been anything other than my Dad since my parents got married. But also, we have FIL's girlfriend who goes by "Grammy". I know it is a bit unorthodox as they aren't really married but her and FIL have been living together for like 8 years. FIL has been married 3 times already (Twice to my MIL) and I'm not sure he will ever actually marry again. I also don't see them splitting. Anyway, she loves our DD and frankly, it simply sounds way too confusing to try to explain it to her. We usually just refer to her as DH's stepmom anyway. As far as what role she plays in DD's life, I think she has about the same one as FIL. Honestly, I didn't even meet either of them until I had been married for 6 years so in my mind they are about equal. (FIL and DH were estranged for a number of years. Also a long story for a different thread.) They live halfway across the country so we only see them about once a year anyhow. DD gets presents from them (And that is mostly Grammy that does the shopping.) We talk to them on the phone and occasionally skype. We came to the conclusion that title is really not all that important, it simply means that there is another person in our lives that loves our children. And honestly a kid can't get too much of that.

#15 ReneeN79

ReneeN79

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 673 posts

Posted 17 February 2012 - 10:47 PM

My dad has been married to my step-mom since before I was potty-trained. We live far away from them now, but she talks to my oldest two on the phone every Saturday. :)

#16 kerijo77

kerijo77

    Keri

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 2402 posts
  • LocationMidwest

Posted 17 February 2012 - 11:06 PM

The same role that their spouse plays. IMHO, blood doesn't matter.

#17 rosered135

rosered135

    Moderator

  • Moderators
  • 13667 posts
  • LocationNortheast, U.S.

Posted 17 February 2012 - 11:41 PM

Wow! A lot to think about ladies! @ IGG - Thanks for the touch of humor and the heartwarming post! @ Wees - How beautifully you've taught both ODS and your other children! As far as a SM having a say in how often her SC gets to see, say, their BPGM... that's an issue that I've seen come up, on these boards, quite a few times. It comes up more often, I think, in the GP Rights groups than here, but it does come up. I doubt that will change how you feel about ODS' SM, but, FWIW, now you know it isn't just her (perhaps you already knew that). @ mrsslant - Since both my DBs were my "half-brothers," I definitely have an issue with the use of the word "half." It's not so much the word, I suppose, as the way some people act about it. I actually had had a kid tell me once that I didn't " really have any brothers" b/c, according to her mom, " half-brothers (weren't) really brothers, at all." MY DBs and I avoided that expression like the plague. @ All - The general consensus, so far, seems to be that love for the GC is the most important factor here - so the more GPs (including SGPs) "the merrier," as long as all are reasonable and *not* toxic, etc. I totally agree! :-) Keep the thoughts comin' everybody!