Stepchildren excluded from family portrait - Suggestions?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from 15on1st. Show 15on1st's posts

    Stepchildren excluded from family portrait - Suggestions?

    My in-laws are celebrating their 50th anniversary in a few weeks. My husband and his three siblings have decided to have a family portrait made, and framed, as their gift to their parents.
    My husband and I were each married before, and have two children apiece from the previous marriages. My children live with us, and his children live nearby with his ex-wife. All of us get along wonderfully, and our family is as "blended" as I could hope.
    However, my mother in law, with whom I have a good relationship, has let it be known that she wants "her GRANDchildren" included in the portrait - not her step-grandchildren. (My husband's two children are her only direct grandchildren.)

    My husband and I don't know what to do; force the issue, and say all four children will appear in the picture? suggest it be adults only (children and spouses), leaving out all the kids? or the in-laws and their children (my husband and siblings) only?

    I feel she is being very, very wrong about this, and I want to make sure my children don't suddenly, out of the blue, feel excluded, but I don't want to create a family crisis at a time of celebration.

    Any suggestions? (BTW, the children are all older - 11-15 - so will definitely be aware of anyone being treated differently...)
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from reindeergirl. Show reindeergirl's posts

    Re: Stepchildren excluded from family portrait - Suggestions?

    This brings back a bad memory for me, the first time I met my fiance's family. It was Christmas, we were there for a week (at the time, fiance and I were living in the Caribbean, and returned to meet his folks).

    Toward the end of the visit, a family portrait was taken, with a timer, so most family was in it.

    But step-grandchildren were excluded, and so was I, the fiancée. The family was entirely boorish about it. "It's for family only," one adult child said, as I went to sit for the portrait. I didn't know this before. I thought it was for everyone who was visiting that week.

    OK, so I was in my early 30s, and although hurt, I could deal with it. But the step-grandchildren were much, much younger. I felt for them.

    I would come to learn that my MIL considered only blood relatives to be family, and she passed this tradition on to her children. (Although my fiance, to his credit, reamed her.) Fiance had (has) nephews and a niece who were adopted by one of his sibs while the children were toddlers. They were in the pic (thanks to my aggressive SIL), but MIL never considered them family, because they were adopted. As she grew into her later senior years, she came to change her views, and we became close. But the pics issue never quite became resolved - it was always something at family pics time.

    I cannot support your MIl for excluding the non-blood children. Children are children, and family comes in many different forms. I would force the issue with your husband and his sibs, and say no portrait, not at all, unless ALL children are included. SIL and I managed to convince MIL (although it took years) on the children issue. I don't think my MIL had underlying issues, she just came from a different time and a different place. You will have to decide your MIL's issue for yourself, whether or not she does or doesn't have an underlying issue.

    But whatever the case, get your children into that portrait. Your husband married YOU. YOUR children are now his as well, and therefore, your MIL's grandchildren.

    It's been a hard lesson for me. If I ever do remarry, I will take a good look at the extended family. At the time, my fiance and I were living so far away, and my family was so open to new family members, that the idea of portrait exclusion never occurred to me.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from culhasa. Show culhasa's posts

    Re: Stepchildren excluded from family portrait - Suggestions?

    I think your in-laws are wrong.....however, as I have learned over my short time being married - pick your battles (which I'm sure you know!)  If this is a battle you choose to fight...fight and say all the kids or nothing....or just let it pass and don't buy the picture for your house.  What a crappy situation....as mentioned above - I feel bad for your kids....what a way to welcome everyone to the family.  Good luck.
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from whatawagSBNy. Show whatawagSBNy's posts

    Re: Stepchildren excluded from family portrait - Suggestions?

          If your husband wants to pose for a portrait with his parents and  3 sibs   that is very nice.  Husbands and wives do not need to be included,  nor children.
          But for a portrait with the grandchildren,  it is all the children from the family or none in an official portrait.

         Any time grandmother wants a picture with her grandchildren while spending time with them,  or when pictures are sent,  she can keep those only of full blood relations.  It affects no one but her.
         I think your DH should make a point that his own natural children are not any less his  for living with his ex-wife, and he does not hold back from caring for your kids who now live with him every day.  So biological, step or adoptive, he is not making some second class members of the family.
         I'm sure Grandma feels closer to the children she has known from birth.  In most families, some sibs are closer than others, and parents are closer to some kids than others.   But only a person who is either cruel or so egocentric she does not consider anyone else's feelings  makes favoritism so blatant  when the family is considered as a whole.
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from CT-DC. Show CT-DC's posts

    Re: Stepchildren excluded from family portrait - Suggestions?

    I agree with Whatawag, and think it is completely unacceptable to have some grandchildren in the photo.  It's either ALL grandchildren or none.  Period.  But this will have to be your husband's to fight, because they are his parents - I don't think you can be the only one to fight this. 
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from cosmogirl. Show cosmogirl's posts

    Re: Stepchildren excluded from family portrait - Suggestions?

    Don't let them get away with it.  Either all 4 kids or no kids.  It's up to your husband to say this.  Good luck! 
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from localmom. Show localmom's posts

    Re: Stepchildren excluded from family portrait - Suggestions?

    For what it's worth, I can bet your MIL isn't Asian. I was pulled into many a "family portrait" when I was dating my now husband. Being rude is absolutely intolerable, and the definition of "family" is expansive and broad. In fact, portraits at a gathering of folks of Asian descent can involve a group so large, it's almost comical, but better that than to exclude anyone and endure hurt feeling for years. 

    Also, I was technically a "step grandchild," introduced to the family at age 4/5. Thirty years later, my mother thanked my grandmother on her deathbed for immediately including me in everything. I never heard the term stepgrandchild, frankly. It sounds like a terribly unnecessary distinction.
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from easydoesit2. Show easydoesit2's posts

    Re: Stepchildren excluded from family portrait - Suggestions?

    I agree with Culhasa: let it go, it's their gift and should be able to say what it contains.  But I wouldn't buy, or accept for free, a copy for my own house.  Then it's your (gift) or purchase, your house, and your family members aren't (all) in it.  So, of what use is it to you?
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from trl1717. Show trl1717's posts

    Re: Stepchildren excluded from family portrait - Suggestions?

    While I do believe in "pick your battles," if THIS isn't it, I don't know what is.  While not seeming like much to Grandma, this sets the tone for whether your children are "family" or guests from now on.  Your husband is critical to this. He has to be firm and have a sit down with Grandma to clear up the misconception that there's any difference between the four grandchildren.  It's both of your jobs to protect your children and this is one battle worth fighting.  Don't cave in on this one.  Feeling unwanted and not a part of a family is not a thing you want your children to feel.
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from culhasa. Show culhasa's posts

    Re: Stepchildren excluded from family portrait - Suggestions?

    I guess it really does depend on the grandmother in question.....by fighting it you could have your children alienated more by the grandmother?  (Again - I don't think she is right at all....just thinking of the consequences of picking this battle.)
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from gobefan. Show gobefan's posts

    Re: Stepchildren excluded from family portrait - Suggestions?

    Passive agressive much, Grandma?  Can you have multiple configurations during this photo session?  When we did family pictures we did lots of different groups - everyone together, grandparents with just their children, just the sibs together, each mom-dad-kids family took their own portrait...  That way everyone can be included and choose which pictures they would like to buy.   If Grandma doesn't choose to hang the all inclusive picture I would buy it myself and be the first one in her door each visit and switch the pictures for your visit!   

    As for the kids, do they feel close to this woman?  If they already have good relationships with their other sets of grandparents they may not really care about the portrait hanging at this Grandma's house.  They are probably well aware of how she feels anyway, and hopefully don't really care which picture is hanging in her house.  Luckily they are pretty self involved at that age and at least at my house the grandparent set doesn't rate too high on their list of things to care a lot about.  I know it's very hurtful to you and I am sorry for that, but hopefully the kids won't be affected much by it.  You can let them know that you don't agree with it, but that's how Grandma is and you can't change her. 

    Or just cancel the whole thing and let Grandma realize the mistake she made.  Good luck.

    Edited to say sorry!  Didn't realize this was so old!

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Stepchildren excluded from family portrait - Suggestions?

    In Response to Re: Stepchildren excluded from family portrait - Suggestions?:
    [QUOTE]Don't let them get away with it.  Either all 4 kids or no kids.  It's up to your husband to say this.  Good luck! 
    Posted by cosmogirl[/QUOTE]

    AMEN.  What a selfish person the grandmother is.  At that age, gosh, I'd think everyone would be mature enough to understand how WRONG it is to demand that only her blood-relatives be included, let alone calling them the "real" ones.  I am an adult step-child with four step-brothers.  I'd have been SO HURT if anyone suggested I couldn't be part of a family photo.

    Sorry you are dealing with this.  I hope it helps to have so many strangers who have no personal stake in it say that you're right and she's wrong.  It doesn't make it any easier to deal with from a practical standpoint, though. :(
     

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