Blended Families: How Do You Deal with Family Members Who Play Favorites?

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QUESTION: How Do You Deal with a Family That Plays Favorites with the Kids in a Blended Family Situation?

“Blended families and favoritism: what are your experiences with this? I am still struggling with this issue after five years, and my kids are not treated as equals at family functions.

For example, my kids got socks from their grandparents-in-law, and they gave their “real” granddaughter a tablet. I put heart and soul into gifts for my S.O.‘s family members, so it just hurts. And then my S.O. clearly favors his daughter; he never gets stern with her but will yell at my daughter because she was beating his daughter in a video game.

I treat all the children the same. I don’t understand why it is so hard. Am I crazy for thinking it is time to leave? There are a lot of other issues too, but this one irks me the most, especially since my kids see it and ask questions. My kids are 8, 11, and 12 and his daughter is 10 years old.”

RELATED: My Mother-in-Law Very Clearly Favors My Youngest Child Because of Biological Relation: Advice?

Blended Families: How Do You Deal with Family Members Who Play Favorites?

Community Answers

The following top answers have been selected by a moderator from hundreds of responses to the original question.

“Men can be replaced. Your children cannot. Never let anyone make your kids feel like they are less than. My ex-husband’s family does this to our kids. My dad plays favorites with my sister’s kids. Any kid that walks into my house gets treated the same as my own. If your kids are here at dinner and we go out they get to go too. If I buy for my kids and your kids are with me they get stuff too. Kids don’t understand ‘step’ or half or whatever. All they know is that someone is being treated differently.”

“It’s time to go. I come from a blended family. My twin and I were 13, my brothers were 16 and 18 when my mother married my stepfather, and even being teenagers he immediately without hesitation accepted all of us as his own children, and his children were 6, 15, and 19 and mom mom did the same, now 9 years later and the word “step” is never spoken, we’re all brothers and sisters, and that’s my dad, and we all get mad if anyone tells us differently.”

“Why would you let those people be around your child? I wouldn’t. My MIL plays favorites. I don’t have time for that crap.”

“If your kids notice they are being treated differently, it’s your place to put a stop to it.”

“I’ve already told my boyfriend that it’s a no warning offense. Treat our child the same as my child or I’m gone. I’ve been the kid in the situation, I will never allow my daughter to be made to feel like she’s not good enough.”

“You’re not crazy. It all starts with your husband. Ask him how he would feel if you treated his kid and his family like they do. Let him know that you will not be bringing yourself or your kids around any family functions and his daughter will not be allowed to play with your kids.”

“Oh hell no! I would NEVER let a man treat my kids like that. My kids come first. It’s one thing for his family to play favorites but it’s completely different for your SO to do so. My husband is not the father to my older two girls. I made sure he would treat them right before I decided to allow him into my family…

… We have two kids of our own now and he treats them all equally. He also knew there was a line that he couldn’t cross when it came to discipline. Too many mothers jump into relationships and allow their men to watch and discipline their kids. In my opinion, I think this is wrong. As far as my In-laws, they don’t care about my children but my husband made sure that they include them and treat them as his children. If your husband is not on board then they will never be either.”

“We have a blended family. My whole family treats my son and step daughter the same. You’d never know which one has the same DNA. That’s how it should be. I’d leave.”

“Absolutely leave. If its hurting you, then it definitely hurts your daughter. Kids see and feel these things. We went through something similar before my husband and I got married and I told him no more. My 2 kids lost their father 7 years ago and my current husband and I were together when it happened. He vowed to love them and be a dad to them…

… But it was still hard for him to not baby his own kids and let them get away with EVERYTHING. I knew it was hurting my kids. So I told him it was over if it can’t change. Now almost 8 years later things are so much better and my kids are his kids too. You have to speak up or it will never change. If he doesn’t see a problem, leave.”

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