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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Me and my husband have been together 12 year (6 married) we each have a daughter from previous relationships. My daughter is the eldest of the 2 by 3 years. The last couple of years have been extremely difficult with my daughter and there have been some major issues which we have worked through now. After 2 years living on her own my daughter has recently moved back in with us (she is 19).
Throughout our time together both sides of our extended families have always included both daughters and treated them both similarly, which has been wonderful.

However this year my daughter has been excluded in gift giving by my husbands family - not even a card. When i asked my husband why this has happened he simply said that i told my family not to bother with 'your daughter' as its not as if 'you daughter' can even buy a present back as she can not afford to with not being in work.
I feel like i have been kicked by that insensitive comment. I know the last couple of years have been tough, i know his family have barely seen my daughter more than a handful of times during over the couple of years. The situation we had never involved any of them. They very much keep themselves to themselves and yet through out until this year -at Xmas and birthdays they had previously been thoughtful of her. Whilst i know my daughters 'issues' have not lent themselves to endear her - i always thought until last night when this came to light that we were a fully inclusive family. There is a lovely pile of gifts for my step daughter (who is a very easy and loving person) from all my family - yet nothing from his parents or brother. I appreciate times are financially hard and it is not about competitiveness its a bought simply acknowledging my daughter exists and despite all the hard times we are supposed to be a family arn't we?? Hubby is being very defensive with me after raising this issue and this mood will likely last some time or ruin Xmas. I dont know if i should have a word with him and his family at some point after Xmas (we are not all together for Xmas this year). Inside i feel devastated and offended. Yet feel if i do anything now anything that is done for my daughter is a pressured after thought on their behalf and will leave an unpleasant and uncomfortable relationship on the whole! I would welcome any advise......
 

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If your daughter is strapped for money this year, it is the perfect time to include her in the giving of gifts. They are being RUDE, and for me that would be a major issue.
I agree. Personally, I am more inclined to give a gift to someone who I know can't give me one back. And this holiday isn't about "me, me, me". They are acting like children.

And I'm very sad for you that your husband isn't being more supportive of your feelings.
 

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I raised teen girls & understand the "rough times." It is a possiblity that your husband is angry & bitter toward your daughter for not having her life together yet & having to move back home. He may not say anything but the feelings could be there. As a "punishment" to her, he has instructed his family not to buy her gifts & they are like sheep who follow his instructions.

You have every right to be upset but you cannot change his family.

Calmly explain how hurtful this is to your husband, then drop it.

Buy your daughter extra gifts & appreciate what your husband DOES do for your daughter, ie, not charge her rent, etc.
 

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Me and my husband have been together 12 year (6 married) we each have a daughter from previous relationships. My daughter is the eldest of the 2 by 3 years. The last couple of years have been extremely difficult with my daughter and there have been some major issues which we have worked through now. After 2 years living on her own my daughter has recently moved back in with us (she is 19).
Throughout our time together both sides of our extended families have always included both daughters and treated them both similarly, which has been wonderful.

However this year my daughter has been excluded in gift giving by my husbands family - not even a card. When i asked my husband why this has happened he simply said that i told my family not to bother with 'your daughter' as its not as if 'you daughter' can even buy a present back as she can not afford to with not being in work.
I feel like i have been kicked by that insensitive comment. I know the last couple of years have been tough, i know his family have barely seen my daughter more than a handful of times during over the couple of years. The situation we had never involved any of them. They very much keep themselves to themselves and yet through out until this year -at Xmas and birthdays they had previously been thoughtful of her. Whilst i know my daughters 'issues' have not lent themselves to endear her - i always thought until last night when this came to light that we were a fully inclusive family. There is a lovely pile of gifts for my step daughter (who is a very easy and loving person) from all my family - yet nothing from his parents or brother. I appreciate times are financially hard and it is not about competitiveness its a bought simply acknowledging my daughter exists and despite all the hard times we are supposed to be a family arn't we?? Hubby is being very defensive with me after raising this issue and this mood will likely last some time or ruin Xmas. I dont know if i should have a word with him and his family at some point after Xmas (we are not all together for Xmas this year). Inside i feel devastated and offended. Yet feel if i do anything now anything that is done for my daughter is a pressured after thought on their behalf and will leave an unpleasant and uncomfortable relationship on the whole! I would welcome any advise......
I can see both sides of this, but I can't see either of them as "right" actions.

If someone wants to give her a gift or not is up to them, not you or your husband. He was wrong to intervene, and you're wrong if you try encouraging something they may not want to do.

She's now an adult in the eyes of the world. If she can't make time to call them and include them in her daily life, there's no reason she should expect remembrances back to her. If she does invest in keeping a good relationship with them throughout the year, then your husband's words would fall on deaf ears.
 

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i know his family have barely seen my daughter more than a handful of times during over the couple of years.
As a general rule I don't buy gifts for people I rarely see. The only exception to this are family that live out of town but I talk to them often and am close to them. The rest? Forget it. I choose to spend money on people that matter to me and me to them.
 

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You really shouldn't blame your in-laws, because they have nothing to do with this. It sounds clearly like your husband told them not to bother shopping for her, and they listened to him. It's really not their place to go rouge and step into the middle of issues in your family. They take their cues from him.

It sounds like your husband has some deep resentment surrounding your daughter. I know it must be tough to find out that he doesn't truly think of her as "his" daughter. How disappointing.

But having said that, you seem to be eluding to the idea that your daughter might be a handful, or has been making things tough for the family. Sounds like your hubs has some really deep resentment, and anger, about her behavior, and possibly what he views as your enabling of her behavior.

Can you give us some insight into the specific conflict regarding your daughter? Has she treated your husband, his daughter, and his family well? Has she been involved in illegal, or irresponsible, activities? Is she a kind, open person?
 

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In my opinion your in laws should have bought her something. They are being very rude and malicious.
Buy her an extra present to make up for it.
Your husband should have stuck up for you and your (his) daughter. You should be his priority.
I'd be furious and very upset!
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I don't really care what the difficulties were, this sounds petty and hurtful on your husbands part. Every family has their disagreements over things but the holidays are about coming together or at least making an effort.
 

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Other than our grown sons and parents, we don't buy gifts for the adults in our extended families. This is not something we ever really 'decided' ; it's just something we've always done. The adults in our families understand this and reciprocate.

I agree with Kathy and Mavash in that it's totally up to each adult as to what kind of relationship they have with other adults, whether family or not. It's part of the growing up process.

Someone on TAM once said:
I don't make time for those who don't make time for me!

Relationships are not a one-lane road; they're a two-way street.

I do, however, think it was heartless & rude of your H to make a point to tell his family to do so. This is something that should have been discussed with you first.

I'm assuming your daughter moving back home was a mutual agreement between the two of you? Just trying to rule out resentment as someone else has suggested.
 

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It sounds like your husband has some deep resentment surrounding your daughter. I know it must be tough to find out that he doesn't truly think of her as "his" daughter. How disappointing.
I would be more surprised if he actually think of her as his own. That's way more rare.

In this case i think the issue is that he thought he finally get rid of the non-genetic offspring and now she is back. Not pretty, but perfectly expected.
 

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I don't really care what the difficulties were, this sounds petty and hurtful on your husbands part. Every family has their disagreements over things but the holidays are about coming together or at least making an effort.
Unfortunately, that sometimes takes time. I have a niece who went through some of the same issues. Could not be bothered to be included with the family for a number of years. After she got back on track, she started to interact a bit. It took time for her to prove to everyone that it was real. Is it possible that is an issue for your husband? You have not given much details, but if he was hurt be her actions, this may be a "test" if you will (unfair though it may be) so that she can prove that she is here because she wants to be, rather than what she can get.

I will also note that based on the numbers you gave, she was 13 when you two got married. What was their relationship prior to her moving out? Were they ever close?
 

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The collective nature of this slight makes it sound like payback for something else in the recent or ongoing past.

To have everyone at once agree that her poverty should be grounds for no gift giving is suspicious to me.
 

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I would be more surprised if he actually think of her as his own. That's way more rare.

In this case i think the issue is that he thought he finally get rid of the non-genetic offspring and now she is back. Not pretty, but perfectly expected.
I think there might be more going on than even that in light of this comment:

Whilst i know my daughters 'issues' have not lent themselves to endear her -
Anytime a mother, who is usually as biased a party as you can get, will admit that her daughter has "issues" that make her tough to find endearing, than there definitely is some serious stuff going on with this young woman...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thank you all for you comments - certainly gave me some things to think about which was very much appreciated rather than to just be blinded by the situation and react inappropriately.

I have taken some of the comments on board and me and hubby talked them through last night. While i still feel some disappointment, its now more directed in other areas and mixed in with some understanding and is easier to bear.

The situation wont change this year understandably, however we have agreed to work through the issues we have raised with one another.

For the record my daughter has not been involved in anything illegal/immoral - more the 'teenage angst ridden lazy world owes me attitude' which caused enormous friction with each of us.

She has come back in the last couple of weeks - tail between her legs apologizing after realising the big world outside is a lot tougher than she ever expected. It was myself who was actually more hesitant in allowing her to come back home, my hubby probably talked me round and we have all sat down and discussed rules/expectations of one another. So far it has been good - lets hope it continues.

Thank you all for your input and helping me see the situation from a few different angles to gain a real perspective - Happy Christmas to you all.
 

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If its not something immoral or illegal she's done...I'd find it so heartbreaking as a parent to punish a child this way...yes, whatever she is she is still a child even if 'old enough' now or 'not my own'...I could never see my parents do something like this nor the other close people I know...

There are other ways to punish her for being lazy, annoying and rebellious (these qualities which btw I find to be more prevalent amongst teens than not) [e.g. withholding pocket money, the silent treatment, compelling her to help with chores at home, reward systems - i.e. only if she keeps up her end of the deal could she go to the movies with her friends etc]
However, personally I feel this particular decision by your husband and his family is not sensible...many have cited examples of not giving gifts to (distant?) relatives... but this is your OWN daughter and there is a massive difference...especially when she's now in your own home with your stepdaughter...

Look at it this way - if your step daughter was behaving the same way then would you feel inclined to punish her this same way...if you wouldn't, then personally I feel you're perfectly fine to feel hurt on behalf of your daughter...

If there was a yearly party with a group of children...and one particular child always behaved bad...it's true that I'd have no particular fondness for that child..but never would I plan to buy all the other children gifts and avoid this one alone... after all, there is a difference between the mindset of a parent and a child...if we start behaving like them how does it prove anything...there is a reason parents are selfless givers within reason (i.e. parents don't gift their teen children only because they expect gifts in return!At least not where I am from:confused:)...I'm not asking you/your husband to enable her bad behaviour in any way...but I haven't read in any child-psychology book that NOT getting ONE child in a house their christmas present would rectify their behaviour...

from one of your statements, it sounds like your husband is a good man - taking in your daughter when you didn't want to...so, I'm surprised he resorted to this tactic this time around...

Btw if your daughter is really on the road to personal recovery (and sooner or later she would, like most other teens from good homes) she'd hold this resentment in her heart for a very long time...resentment against your husband and against her step-sister... if you can make amends for this please do so now...

In defence of your husband - there's one statement from your OP that stood out
he simply said that i told my family not to bother with 'your daughter'
have you said/did anything that'd alienate your daughter from your husband/his family when he didn't intend to do so...maybe its more of an ego war between both of you than it is with him and his step-daughter....but I could be wrong...
Hope things get sorted out....

Merry Christmas to all of you... remember, it's the season to forgive... :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Zing,

Thank you for your comments and advice, I can appreciate that with the limited information i have shared on the matter it can be difficult to understand fully. Obviously much information about my daughter and how we came to be in this sad and difficult situation has not been detailed nor do i want to detail it further. My daughter is almost 20 now and i have to accept she is a young adult and treat accordingly My step daughter does not nor has ever lived with us 'full time' - though fortunately very close by and is not subject to 'visitation/custodial' obligations by either of her bio parents (fortunately it is a good relationship all round - unlike my daughters bio father who has not been in her life for many years now). There are a huge number of personal factors which i have not covered in my short statement (too lengthy to go into on here) - however i have very much appreciated peoples opionions, experiences and suggestions that have been shared which have enabled me to look at this situation from different ways and consider how best to reflect and interpret what has happened and to make a comfortable resolution on how to make changes with in our family so thank you all.:)
 

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How much as she, as an adult, reached out to your husband's family? If she has not included them in her life then I can see where they might feel like the need to give her a gift. It's an awkward situation.

You could just get her some extra gifts to so that she does not feel like the left out relative in this situation.

If you wanted to make a point take her gift shopping for them. It does not have to be a big gift; just something to show holiday spirit.

Or she can bake something for each of them. There is something about choosing to be the bigger person that can disarm even the most hard hearted… and I do thing that they are being heard hearted.
 

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There are other ways to punish her for being lazy, annoying and rebellious (these qualities which btw I find to be more prevalent amongst teens than not) [e.g. withholding pocket money, the silent treatment, compelling her to help with chores at home, reward systems - i.e. only if she keeps up her end of the deal could she go to the movies with her friends etc
This really isn't likely to work for a woman who is just shy of 20 years old.

The rest I agree with. The OP just faced massive disillusionment because she really believed the husband saw her daughter as "their" daughter.
 
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