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Another niece and nephew post

The post about nieces and nephews got me wondering. I don't think we're an obsessive aunt or uncle but we do have good relationships with our nieces and nephews. With the SILs that I get along with (1 SIL I have no relationship with and haven't for about 4 years) we give their children incentives to do well in school, we told one who is high school if she stayed on the honor roll all 4 years we'd pay for her to take flying lessons. We can afford to do that and similar things for all our nieces and nephews.

My question is; since I have zero relationship with 1 SIL and by default her daughter am I totally wrong to not offer something like this to her children?

 

Edited to add but included in the post below:

I guess I should've given some history. It's not from a lack of trying to have a relationship with SIL but throughout the last 5 years she's caused nothing but problems and this is what it's settled into. We see her daughter maybe 3 times a year and she keeps her from us, like we were the only people they didn't invite to the hospital when she had her, we didn't meet her until she was 5-6 months old, when she was learning to walk and cam near me SIL would walk over, pick her up and move her, she'll usher her into another room when we come to family functions, won't invite us to her birthdays, & won't attend the Easter egg hunt or Christmas movie night that we host for the nieces and nephews. And they live in the same city as us.

I'm honestly uncomfortable to even talk to her daughter, because I'm worried SIL will cause a scene and tell me to stop talking to her daughter. I do feel bad that she'd getting left out (and we've tried to include her in other things) but if her mother is going to such great lengths to ensure that we have no relationship I guess I'm not sure why she should get the perks that the rest of my nieces and nephews get because we have a good relationship. That's snotty sounding I know. I'm just frustrated with the situation.

 

Re: Another niece and nephew post

  • To me, you can't give to one without giving to the other. 
  • IMO, I would not "punish" your niece who's mother you do not get along with. It is not her fault you and your SIL do not get along. I would recommend you and DH working with your brother or BIL to provide the same incentives to his DD. If you offer and SIL says no or is a snot about it then you at least tried to do your part. 

     

    I have a niece and nephew that I do not see due to my X-SIL. However, I still buy them birthday and christmas gifts as well as send notes to them. I do not my best to not forget about them.  

  • image Mrs.Elsie:

    My question is; since I have zero relationship with 1 SIL and by default her daughter am I totally wrong to not offer something like this to her children?

    YEP - you are wrong.

    Outside of the fact that you are justifying your SIL's view on your relationship (which will only keep the relationship from ever getting better), you are punishing an innocent bystander. 

    The fact that you even had to ASK (yep, I am this snarky right now) makes me wonder.

    [IMG]http://i633.photobucket.com/albums/uu52/Iluminespics/IMG_4759.jpg[/IMG]
  • Eh, I'll be in the minority on this.  I dont' think family has to be "even steven".  You don't have a relationship w/ that SIL or her DD.  As such, you don't have to do everything equal.  Sure, she may be an "innocent bystander", but you're someone who she actually doesn't know well and doesn't have a relationship with.  I personally don't expect you to treat her the same as you treat the others.  You aren't as close to her. 

    It's your money - you can actually spend it however you want.  You don't have to spend it on a person you don't have a relationship with just because she has the same "title" as other people you happen to be close to.

    I'm not saying ignore her and don't even try - but at the same time, if you don't have a relationship w/ her mom, you're not going to have a relationship w/ her.  (Although, where is the dad in this?  What is your AND DH's relationship w/ the entire family?)

    And from the parent perspective - if I don't like you and don't have a relationship w/ you, I probably don't WANT you trying to do anything for my DS!  It would piss me off and possibly create an even bigger rift between us. 

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • image EastCoastBride:

    Eh, I'll be in the minority on this.  I dont' think family has to be "even steven".  You don't have a relationship w/ that SIL or her DD.  As such, you don't have to do everything equal.  Sure, she may be an "innocent bystander", but you're someone who she actually doesn't know well and doesn't have a relationship with.  I personally don't expect you to treat her the same as you treat the others.  You aren't as close to her. 

    It's your money - you can actually spend it however you want.  You don't have to spend it on a person you don't have a relationship with just because she has the same "title" as other people you happen to be close to.

    I'm not saying ignore her and don't even try - but at the same time, if you don't have a relationship w/ her mom, you're not going to have a relationship w/ her.  (Although, where is the dad in this?  What is your AND DH's relationship w/ the entire family?)

    And from the parent perspective - if I don't like you and don't have a relationship w/ you, I probably don't WANT you trying to do anything for my DS!  It would piss me off and possibly create an even bigger rift between us. 

    I am 100% with ECB.

    (An unmatched left parenthesis creates an unresolved tension that will stay with you all day.

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  • image EastCoastBride:

    Eh, I'll be in the minority on this.  I dont' think family has to be "even steven".  You don't have a relationship w/ that SIL or her DD.  As such, you don't have to do everything equal.  Sure, she may be an "innocent bystander", but you're someone who she actually doesn't know well and doesn't have a relationship with.  I personally don't expect you to treat her the same as you treat the others.  You aren't as close to her. 

    It's your money - you can actually spend it however you want.  You don't have to spend it on a person you don't have a relationship with just because she has the same "title" as other people you happen to be close to.

    I'm not saying ignore her and don't even try - but at the same time, if you don't have a relationship w/ her mom, you're not going to have a relationship w/ her.  (Although, where is the dad in this?  What is your AND DH's relationship w/ the entire family?)

    And from the parent perspective - if I don't like you and don't have a relationship w/ you, I probably don't WANT you trying to do anything for my DS!  It would piss me off and possibly create an even bigger rift between us. 

    This was my thought exactly.  I suppose you could try to contact the SIL and make the offer that you want to help out her DD, but if you're not comfortable with it, it isnt really necessary.  I would definitely not attempt to make the offer behind that SIL's back, directly to her DD.

    Favorite Flower

    [IMG]http://i40.tinypic.com/24g24xe.jpg[/IMG]
  • Another ditto for what ECB wrote. 


    Hope is not a strategy.
  • While it's not your niece's fault, I totally understand your closer relationship with your other nieces and nephews.  I'm in a similar boat.  I'm really close to one of my cousins - she's more or less a big sister to me.  And so consequently, her daughters are like nieces to me.  I'm not so close to her brothers, or their kids - I still send gifts for birthdays/Christmas for all of the kids, but my "nieces" get extra special attention from us, we see them more, they get Valentine's Day, Easter, "just because' gifts from us.  Right or wrong, it just is what it is - I have a closer relationship with them.

     You can't force a relationship with the niece you don't see that often.  I wouldn't completely ostracize her - after all, you may end up having a close relationship with her after she's no longer living with your SIL.

  • Another perspective:

    My SIL and BIL do so much for her neices and nephews and nothing for my daughter.  It is upsetting to me to see this. Thankfully, my daughter is only 4 and has no clue.  However, it does make me upset.

    I WISH they would make an effort to see her (I do invite them to things but they decline).  They only live about 30 mins away.  This is DH's brother so I follow DH's lead.

    I suggest that you at least give gifts at Christmas and Birthday and maybe something really nice at graduation.  I hope you aren't completely ignoring her.

    By not treating equal or even acknowledge this neice, it will damage the relationship even more.

    IF you give a gift and it is returned, at least you are trying.  That is the part that hurts me the most, DD's Aunt and Uncle don't even try.

  • Thanks for the replies. It's my DH's brother and his wife. His wife won't let her husband have much interaction with either of us. Besides SIL we have a fairly easy relationship with the rest of his family.I think just the normal irritations that you get from ILs but they're usually worked out and we move all move on.

    I guess I should've given some history. It's not from a lack of trying to have a relationship with SIL but throughout the last 5 years she's caused nothing but problems and this is what it's settled into. We see her daughter maybe 3 times a year and she keeps her from us, like we were the only people they didn't invite to the hospital when she had her, we didn't meet her until she was 5-6 months old, when she was learning to walk and cam near me SIL would walk over, pick her up and move her, she'll usher her into another room when we come to family functions, won't invite us to her birthdays, & won't attend the Easter egg hunt or Christmas movie night that we host for the nieces and nephews. And they live in the same city as us.

    I'm honestly uncomfortable to even talk to her daughter, because I'm worried SIL will cause a scene and tell me to stop talking to her daughter. I do feel bad that she'd getting left out (and we've tried to include her in other things) but if her mother is going to such great lengths to ensure that we have no relationship I guess I'm not sure why she should get the perks that the rest of my nieces and nephews get because we have a good relationship. That's snotty sounding I know. I'm just frustrated with the situation.

  • Interesting.  Here's the thing- being "family" doesn't mean you're going to be close.  The way SIL is acting... you're never going to have a relationship w/ her DD, and realistically, by the time your niece is out of the house, it's doubtful you'll then suddenly become closer to her.  She's going to grow up knowing what her mom wants her to know of the family. 

    Again, if you want to do something to feel that you've at least tried, that's fine.  But I personally wouldn't be looking to be 'even'.  And from what you say, I have a feeling your SIL will not welcome many overtures (if any) from you towards her DD. 

    It sucks and it sounds like you don't know what youv'e "done" (if anything!).  But I would work w/ what I know reality to be, not what I WANT it to be. 

    And if there does come a time where SIL changes her tune and you all do get on better terms, at that time you can start being more generous w/ her DD if you so choose.

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • I disagree with those who say YOU are wrong and have to be equal. As was previously stated - not everything has to be even/steven. You don't have an even relationship with that niece and her mother as you do with your other nieces/nephews and their parents. 

    Your incentives and gifts to the others are based on a relationship you have - you know that such gifts are good incentives for those kids for grades but you don't know that to be the case for this other girl (for her, getting all Cs might be the goal not honor roll).

    What I would do is things like birthday cards for birthdays and typical graduation card/present when that time comes. You can't force yourself into someone else's life but you can let someone know you are there (meaning cards on holidays/birthdays not necessarily including a gift/money - just the card).  

  • If I were in your shoes, even if I didn't have a relationship with one SIL, I'd phone her and say "you know, I gave (other niece's name) an incentive to keep her grades up by promising a cool graduation gift, and I would love to do the same for (your dd's name).  Is that ok with you?  Is there something she would really like?"  If the other niece didn't get anything until she was in HS, I would offer anything until the younger one was the same age, that way you have a lot of time for your relationship to possibly evolve.

    I'm not big at offering financial / material incentives for grades.  Good grades and hard work should be it's own reward, IMO.  Obviously, it's your money.

  • I know that I am in the majority here, but I stand by what I wrote.

    There is a HUGE difference between those extras you provide through interaction, like taking the children out for icecream or even buying better gifts (since you know the kids, you can get their likes) VERSUS providing large dollar amount incentives (plane lessons!?!). 

    How many times have we supported posters whose MIL and FIL blatantly favor one set of children over the other?  What is our advice there?  So why are we being different here? 

    You can OFFER these same big ticket incentives to the niece.  If her mother declines the offer, then you can hold your head high and let it fall on SIL. 

    [IMG]http://i633.photobucket.com/albums/uu52/Iluminespics/IMG_4759.jpg[/IMG]
  • image Ilumine:

    How many times have we supported posters whose MIL and FIL blatantly favor one set of children over the other?  What is our advice there?  So why are we being different here? 

    For me, it's about the relationship w/ the parents.  If you have a relationship w/ your MIL and FIL and they blatantly show favor for one set of grandkids and "ignore" the other - I find that unfair and that is something that the kids will eventually notice and will probably take personally.

    However, when the parent of the child doesn't want a relationship w/ you, then yes, I actually think that lets you off the hook of having to be "fair" to all the kids on that level. 

    Yes, I fully agree that she can, if she wants, ask the SIL "This is what I'm doing for the others, can I do it for your DD too?" and if SIL accepts, great.  But I don't think she HAS to do this.  If she (through the SIL) isn't going to be given the chance to develop a relationship w/ the niece and if all it's really going to amount to is her handing money over out of this concept of being "fair", then I still feel that she doesn't HAVE to do this. 

     

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

    Lilypie Third Birthday tickers
    DS dx with celiac disease 5/28/10

  • I do not think everything has to be "even steven", but I have been the niece who had an aunt drop out of my life....Because she still have contact with her cousins, I am sure she will hear about how you gave flying lessons to her cousin because she got good grades.   

    At the very least you could set up something to give to her as an adult for college...

  • Yes and no. Have you made an attempt to be in the life of the other niece? Have you made it clear that you'd like to. I'm not sure I would cut my kids out of getting to know their family unless there was really something wrong that they had done (like abuse their own kid or have mental medical issues that could place my child at harm.)

     

  • can you provide the funding at let the grandparents offer the reward?  Then eventually perhaps the grandparents can explain that you actually provided it when she's old enough to make her own decisions.  Children usually come to the realization that their parents are crazy, so she may decide eventually to have a relationship with you of her own accord.
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  • I feel so torn about the whole crappy situation! We saw her family last night at a dinner and she was the same. She had her family sit on the deck while the majority of us sat inside just so she didn't have to be around us. And when they left she took her daughter around to everyone, skipping us obviously, to have her give them a hug and kiss goodbye. It was hurtful and embarrassing to be so obviously excluded.

    So right now I just want to wash my hands completely of their entire family because I always end up feeling bad when we have any interaction with them. Plus, I guess if we're talking fair...how is it fair to my other SILs and their children that they put work into having a relationship with me and DH but SIL goes out of her way to show we're not welcome in their lives and her children get the same?

  • image SueBear:

    I'm not big at offering financial / material incentives for grades.  Good grades and hard work should be it's own reward, IMO.  

     

    This always makes me snort.  Of course hard work and good grades aren't their own reward.  You work hard to get good grades not because either the work or the letter on a piece of paper add inherent value to your life, but because they help you achieve some end goal, like getting into a good college or getting a good job.  If all that a person got out of studying was a letter on a piece of paper and the joy of studying, then no one would do it, ever.

    image
  • image Mrs.Elsie:

    The post about nieces and nephews got me wondering. I don't think we're an obsessive aunt or uncle but we do have good relationships with our nieces and nephews. With the SILs that I get along with (1 SIL I have no relationship with and haven't for about 4 years) we give their children incentives to do well in school, we told one who is high school if she stayed on the honor roll all 4 years we'd pay for her to take flying lessons. We can afford to do that and similar things for all our nieces and nephews.

    My question is; since I have zero relationship with 1 SIL and by default her daughter am I totally wrong to not offer something like this to her children?

     

    Edited to add but included in the post below:

    I guess I should've given some history. It's not from a lack of trying to have a relationship with SIL but throughout the last 5 years she's caused nothing but problems and this is what it's settled into. We see her daughter maybe 3 times a year and she keeps her from us, like we were the only people they didn't invite to the hospital when she had her, we didn't meet her until she was 5-6 months old, when she was learning to walk and cam near me SIL would walk over, pick her up and move her, she'll usher her into another room when we come to family functions, won't invite us to her birthdays, & won't attend the Easter egg hunt or Christmas movie night that we host for the nieces and nephews. And they live in the same city as us.

    I'm honestly uncomfortable to even talk to her daughter, because I'm worried SIL will cause a scene and tell me to stop talking to her daughter. I do feel bad that she'd getting left out (and we've tried to include her in other things) but if her mother is going to such great lengths to ensure that we have no relationship I guess I'm not sure why she should get the perks that the rest of my nieces and nephews get because we have a good relationship. That's snotty sounding I know. I'm just frustrated with the situation.

     

     

    I think it's your money, you can do what you want. If SIL hears about it, and asks why, simply tell her it's because you don't have a close relationship to her children. 

    IMO, she won't make a big deal of it, if she thinks you'll actually confront her if she asks you about it. She's most likely to continue excluding you rather than admit that there's a lack of a relationship (due to her making it that way).

  • If you don't have a realtionship with her, then you don't.  She's a minor and if her mother doesn't want you to be close with her, that's on her.

    We're very involved with my sister's children, and I spend quite a bit of money on them.  We also help cover a lot of their expenses.  It's just how our relationship is.

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