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RoseRed135

On becoming a step-grandparent

41 posts in this topic

Usually, this forum focuses on new GPs (grandparents) and GP2Bs in general. But how about new SGPs (step-grandparents)? Stumbled upon this article while surfing the "Net:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-2067679/Family-ties-How-play-role-step-grandparent.html

So now I'm wondering... are you a SGP (either b/c you married someone who has GC or b/c one of your AC wed somebody who has kids)?  If so, how easy/hard was/has it been to make that transition?

ETA: Or if any of your parents/PILs are SGPs, how have they handled the transition? Same question if you've adopted children or your spouse has adopted your children from a previous marriage/relationship, etc...

Edited by RoseRed135
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Of my 9GK, 4 are bio, 4 are step and one is by attrition of boundaries (he's #1GB's first cousin...they are the same age, both only children and his parents aren't any fun...so we include him in everything).

Two of the step are DsD's children...but since I raised her, it hasn't really occurred to them that "step" is a factor in anything although they live with their MGM (she and DsD bought a home together, totally win-win). The other two step are new DIL's children. She was a young widow, her H died when their DD was 3 months old and DS was barely 3. Their only grandparent passed last month. That makes me their only GP other than a 94yo PGGF in a residential care situation. 

I figure its all about what's in the best interest of the children. My son married this woman and has embraced her children...He now has FIVE kids. So if he has 5 kids, I have 2 new grandkids...so they are included 100%...DD, DSD have embraced them as niece/nephew and they now have 7 cousins, last year they didn't have any cousins. All good.

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For us there is not any difference in how our GC came to be ours. Of our 10 eldest GC, (8-14)  eight are our GC by birth. The 10 GC that are 3 and under (or on the way) have a mix of parents.

I'm thinking our kids may be almost done having babies, but who knows - only one has as many as they set out to have originally.  ;)

Additionally, my brother and only-child SisIL have 2 kids. With just SisILs elderly parents as GPs that's two kids who need GPs --- 2 extra GC for us. Both steps one to the other, the youngest has a sperm bank father. No big deal.

We have 2 step GC. ODS married a woman with 2 kids, he had 2 kids. They have had one with another on the way. YDD and SIL are adopting a baby to play with their baby twins, no difference there either.

eta: Frankly, I have no idea why this would be an issue.

Edited by JanelleK
spelling and a correction
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My son married a woman who already had 2 kids so I became a step-grandparent. My daughter also has a step child of her own with her partner. The kids call my son dad and think of him as their real dad and my daughter's step son calls her mom. They all call me grandma and I see no difference in them. I used to babysit for my son's kids when they were still in diapers.

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The writer seems to be trying to find trouble. I have step GK, it's all good.  

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Quote

With a step-grandchild you do have to keep a distance. 

This is the line that stood out to me...because I think it's so bogus. I see no reason to walk on eggshells...My GK (all incarnations) still don't realize that their beloved "Mac" was related biologically to only TWO of them. The #1 Gboy, now 13, gets it, but the others haven't thought about it. DsD has explained it to her kids, since they live with her mom, but extra grandmas are great. DsD's xGMIL is a lovely woman, age 90, embraced her DsD's son as her own the minute she met him....she's well off, so when she opened a 529 for the little girl, she did the same for him, with substantial matching amounts. That's how this should work. 

Upon DH's death all of his "stuff" transferred directly to me...when I go, the estate will be divided 3 ways equally. Our kids consider themselves siblings. I can't think of anything more demeaning or cruel than excluding DsD because she's not biologically mine, for all that she is the sole heir to her mom's estate. There is also a clause that reads if any of the 3 predecease me, their third transfers directly to their children. In my son's case that means his share will divide five ways. 

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I am a step grandparent. I have three biological grandchildren, five (soon six) step grandchildren, and three "ring ins" - that is, grandchildren whose parents are not our children - one is the child of my exes daughter and two are the children of my ex daughter-in-law's  cousin. I see no difference. I am also "grandma" to the children of a young friend whose mother died years before the children were born. I write letters and send birthday cards and "back to school" gifts to all equally. Blood doesn't matter a whit - children need the unconditional love of a grandparent. I have plenty. 

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Other prospective here, I'm the DIL who brought my DS to our marriage and by way making my ILs SGPs (although we've never used that term).  As every situation with children is unique, my DS has only ever known my DH as his dad.  DH has been in DS life for 7+ years, and weve been married 2 years now - DS is 9.  Adoption is finalized, same last name, doesn't ever ask or talk about bio dad who is deceased.  My ILS were quick to be financially inclusive at holidays and birthdays, but have never made what I would call a good effort to develop an actual bond with DS.  Its very apparent there is a major difference in their interaction with DS and other GC.  So my question for other SGPs is, do you genuinely feel the same for both types of grandkids, rings ins and bio?  Am I wrong to expect them to try to develop a relationship?  Its especially hurtful now that DH and I have DD together, and their level of effort and interest in spending time with her is a reminder of their lack of interest in DS. 

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4 hours ago, AEJ0818 said:

So my question for other SGPs is, do you genuinely feel the same for both types of grandkids, rings ins and bio? 

We have 2 SGC out of 18 soon 20 GC, no difference to us - except we didn't meet them until they were around 10 and 7(I think?). Thus we don't know anything about their young years, oh well. We also have a niece and nephew GC.

My brother married late, had a daughter, got custody in the divorce, married our SisIL who has a sperm bank baby. Only-child SisIL has living parents who are really good GPs. My brother is late 50s, parents have passed - my husband and I are stand-in-GPs.

ETA: We actually throw my many niece/nephews kids in the same category - all little kids are same as grands to us. I really don't understand why a GP cares about the genetics of their little people/grands. The little people/grands/N&Ns don't care either.

Edited by JanelleK
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My parents became SGPs when Hubby and I married - he has a daughter from his first marriage who was then 6 years old. My parents told her on our wedding day that it was a special day for them with her because she became their first granddaughter, and she would be their granddaughter just like all their other grandchildren would be their grandchildren. They've upheld that promise, too. I think it helps (sadly) that they are among the only grandparents she sees on a semi-regular basis. Her maternal grandfather is unwell (MS) and her maternal grandmother died when she was 3. Her paternal grandparents live in the UK and we are estranged from FIL (though we have a good relationship with MIL and SFIL). Her other SGPs live in another province. My parents live 4 hours' drive away.

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@agnurse That's so nice to hear, how kind of your parents to make her feel special and keep to their promise to her.  My ILS did tell DS before our wedding it was when he would "Officially became their grandson" which was hurtful to me because I felt like they were highlighting the difference, but maybe I am being too sensitive about it.  DS didn't understand the meaning, as they are his only GPs other than my parents. 

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On 9/26/2017 at 0:24 PM, AEJ0818 said:

Other prospective here, I'm the DIL who brought my DS to our marriage and by way making my ILs SGPs (although we've never used that term).  As every situation with children is unique, my DS has only ever known my DH as his dad.  DH has been in DS life for 7+ years, and weve been married 2 years now - DS is 9.  Adoption is finalized, same last name, doesn't ever ask or talk about bio dad who is deceased.  My ILS were quick to be financially inclusive at holidays and birthdays, but have never made what I would call a good effort to develop an actual bond with DS.  Its very apparent there is a major difference in their interaction with DS and other GC.  So my question for other SGPs is, do you genuinely feel the same for both types of grandkids, rings ins and bio?  Am I wrong to expect them to try to develop a relationship?  Its especially hurtful now that DH and I have DD together, and their level of effort and interest in spending time with her is a reminder of their lack of interest in DS. 

Sorry to say, this is not the first time we've heard of this kind of thing on these boards. IMO, it's totally wrong, especially since there is a difference, not only between their relationship w/ DS and his cousins, but now even regarding his sister. I would say this even if he were simply their SGS, but since DH has adopted him and he is, therefore, legally, DH's DS, it seems even more unfair and unreasonable, IMO. Even more so since DH is the only dad DS has ever known, anyway.

This would be a no-brainer for me. The child would be my GC, the same as any other GC, period. Maybe I'm being rigid about this, but I don't understand anything else. So sorry.

Edited by RoseRed135
typo
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Thank you @RoseRed135 I often times question if I am being rigid about this, but I feel exactly the way you summarized.  I especially don't want it to be apparent within my nuclear family as my daughter grows.  DH has taken a stance that they had plenty of time to develop their relationship with DS and didn't (I fully agree), so they set the tone for how they will interact with our children, its not going to change now that we biologically share DD.  I think this generally contributes to our overall rocky relationship with ILS and wish it were different, but I'm not sure how we could change what's already been done.  Although they do try to attend DS sporting events, there has been no other effort to spend time with DS, no trips to the park, a ball game or movie, and these are things they do with BIL/SIL's kids so its hard to understand. 

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I've posted about this in another thread, but bears repeating...

My DS divorced after 10 years, 3 kids....he is remarried to a young widow with 2 kids. Her children were embraced fully immediately, not only by me, but DD & DsD along with the other 6 g-kids. These kids now have 3 additional siblings and have cousins for the first time. Her mother (their only grandparent) passed over the summer, making me their ONLY grandma. We all take it seriously. Gifts are selected based on interests & personality...$$amounts vary depending on the gift...so far there are no bean counters. The AC don't differentiate either, as it should be. These are great kids and we're forming a very strong bond....

SonIL questioned why I maintain such a good relationship with xDIL, as do DD & DsD; it's not something that happens in his FOO

  1. She is mother to 3 of my beloved GK and deserves respect simply for that, plus she's a good mom.
  2. She shared in the birth of the #1GB (she and DS were engaged at that time, he was out to sea, she came to pace for him and ended up in the delivery room with us)
  3. I like her. She & DS tried hard, just weren't a successful long-term match. They share the responsibility for the end of their marriage.
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My MIL bragged to all and sundry that she was a Grandma now when Wolf and I got married, as I was a single mom.

When I was pregnant w/our now 12 yo ds, she called and, I quote, thanked me 'for making me a REAL grandma.'

To say I was furious was an understatement. The only person angrier than I was, was Wolf. Especially since she ADOPTED my husband, and you would *think* she, of all ppl, would know that genetics aren't the most important thing in family.

 

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24 minutes ago, ImpishMom said:

My MIL bragged to all and sundry that she was a Grandma now when Wolf and I got married, as I was a single mom.

When I was pregnant w/our now 12 yo ds, she called and, I quote, thanked me 'for making me a REAL grandma.'

To say I was furious was an understatement. The only person angrier than I was, was Wolf. Especially since she ADOPTED my husband, and you would *think* she, of all ppl, would know that genetics aren't the most important thing in family.

 

I hear ya, Imp....my mom & her sibs were stepchildren in the 1930's...she never liked her SF and was always resentful. When DH & I married, she became a stepGM...you'd think that because of her perceived treatment as a child, she would make sure to treat my new DsD inclusively....nope. And that was a serious bone of contention in the process to VLC. When I brought it up to her, she dug in her heels "that was different"...would not answer as to how.

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27 minutes ago, Mame925 said:

I hear ya, Imp....my mom & her sibs were stepchildren in the 1930's...she never liked her SF and was always resentful. When DH & I married, she became a stepGM...you'd think that because of her perceived treatment as a child, she would make sure to treat my new DsD inclusively....nope. And that was a serious bone of contention in the process to VLC. When I brought it up to her, she dug in her heels "that was different"...would not answer as to how.

It honestly got to the point where Wolf pointed out that if genetics are SO IMPORTANT to her, she's not a REAL anything to anyone in our house, b/c she just would. not. give. up.

That stopped the 'real' crap, but the favouritism...that's another story that also had to be dealt with. And now Wolf has adopted Diva, but of course, that didn't rate acknowledgement from her. *sigh*

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Well, I say congrats to Wolf & Diva....

DsD has her mom's dark eyes & hair...the rest of us, DH included are quite fair. She finally got tired of people asking if she were adopted "or something" when others looked at family photos....she really stands out, her response is "actually, we're all adopted, sort of"....makes the comments stop.l 

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5 hours ago, Mame925 said:

Well, I say congrats to Wolf & Diva....

DsD has her mom's dark eyes & hair...the rest of us, DH included are quite fair. She finally got tired of people asking if she were adopted "or something" when others looked at family photos....she really stands out, her response is "actually, we're all adopted, sort of"....makes the comments stop.l 

Thanks. It was *supposed* to be easy, cut and dried, but ended up taking two lawyers and more than double the original cost to get done. But the fact that he's her Dad, and she his daughter, is now legal fact.

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25 minutes ago, ImpishMom said:

Thanks. It was *supposed* to be easy, cut and dried, but ended up taking two lawyers and more than double the original cost to get done. But the fact that he's her Dad, and she his daughter, is now legal fact.

An important legal fact.

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12 hours ago, AEJ0818 said:

Thank you @RoseRed135 I often times question if I am being rigid about this, but I feel exactly the way you summarized.  I especially don't want it to be apparent within my nuclear family as my daughter grows.  DH has taken a stance that they had plenty of time to develop their relationship with DS and didn't (I fully agree), so they set the tone for how they will interact with our children, its not going to change now that we biologically share DD.  I think this generally contributes to our overall rocky relationship with ILS and wish it were different, but I'm not sure how we could change what's already been done.  Although they do try to attend DS sporting events, there has been no other effort to spend time with DS, no trips to the park, a ball game or movie, and these are things they do with BIL/SIL's kids so its hard to understand. 

Sadly, they're too influenced by "blood," IMO. They, obviously, don't see DS as their "real" GC and figure it's "enough" to keep gifts equal in number/value. They may not realize they're showing favoritism, but they are.

I've heard, on these boards, of some parents trying to counteract this type of favoritism by insisting that the GPs spend take both (or all, in some cases) siblings together - never just one. But, chances are, you're not up to that point w/ DD yet. Also, I realize that given the gap in DS' and DD's ages, that might be hard to implement. Plus, I'm not sure "forced" time together is all that worthwhile.

Has DS noticed a difference in how they treat his cousins or DD? If so, does it bother him?

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2 hours ago, ImpishMom said:

But the fact that he's her Dad, and she his daughter, is now legal fact.

Congratulations!

As for your MIL... well... nothing she does/doesn't do surprises me anymore... sigh...

ETA: As a result of some of the directions this thread has taken, people, I've added an edit to my OP.

Edited by RoseRed135

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3 hours ago, RoseRed135 said:

Has DS noticed a difference in how they treat his cousins or DD? If so, does it bother him?

Yes, he has noticed on occasion with his cousins and it does bother him to a degree.  He's still a child though, so it doesn't stay with him.  Its more of an observation with questions, and then he moves beyond it.  He does bring up some stuff from time to time after the fact, but its not constant.  Most of it is stuff we as parents see and don't share it with him.  They post a ton of their visits and interactions with BIL/SIL and GC on Facebook. As far as countering favoritism, we generally don't split the two kids when it comes to his family, not for this particular reason, but more so because there isn't a reason to.  They have definitely increased their requests now that we have DD for time with the kids.  They've never asked for DS over night, have only had him twice at our request while we moved and had a wedding - both begrudgingly, but this past summer they wanted to take both kids for a week (we said no, DD is only 1) and are insisting on a full week family vacation, which is another issue altogether.  At the age DS is now, its hard to decide how to handle the issue.  I don't want to say he's too old to form a bond, but its been too long with an arms length relationship, no affection to a very affectionate kid, no real time spent outside our family visits.  I struggle because I'm not trying to punish them, but DH and I discussed this long before we had DD, before we were married even, after he had tried to encourage their involvement to no avail.  If we had more children, the way they had their relationship with DS would be the way they had their relationship with future kids, we wouldn't flip a switch and all of a sudden have a completely different dynamic.  It feels like that is what they are trying to do now. 

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@AEJ0818 - Fortunately, in a few years, DS will be a teenager (did I say "fortunately?" Yikes! LOL!) and probably won't be as interested in GPs or what they're doing w/ his cousins. By then, of course, the cousins may not be so into their GPs either, depending on their ages.

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In my situation I have 2 biological grandchildren, 2 step grandchildren that are my husbands grandchildren, and 3 step grandchildren that are estranged DIL children by 3 previous relationships.  No, I guess I don't treat them all the same.  My DIL (separated, but not divorced from my son) never wanted us to have a relationship with her previous children.  One of these, a SGS was being raised by his father so was even seen less than her other children.  My DS and DIL were together only a few years before they separated and lost all the children due to drugs.   I have adopted her DD ( my GD) and we see the siblings usually only once or twice a year as they too are all being raised in separate households.  I do have a savings account for each child, but I do not put in equal amounts for all of them.

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