Amy 1-16

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“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

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#1
Jan 16, 2013
 
DEAR AMY: When my stepmother-in-law has a party for her grown children (previously there was a wedding and now an engagement party), our young children are specifically not invited.

On the most recent invitation, "No Kids" was underlined with a long note about getting a sitter, which particularly annoyed my husband. At the wedding, we arrived to find that the reception was full of children, further confirming our belief that it's just our kids who were being excluded.

There have been at least two other incidents in which we have been invited to a family function, but only if we don't bring the kids. We live 50 miles away from this side of the family. We don't really have a baby sitter we could leave the kids with for the six to eight hours it would take to make these trips (not to mention the funds).

Our boys are pretty well-behaved, but they are young children. We don't usually go to parties and "check out" as parents. It's important to us that the boys are respectful and polite.

I told my husband I am writing to you because I want someone's truly impartial take on this.

Are we right to be hurt and annoyed? We can't help but think that our kids' grandmother doesn't much like them. But are we being too sensitive?-- Querying Mom

DEAR MOM: I agree that the grandparents should be understanding and supportive toward you and your children, but my impartial take is that engagement parties are often cocktail parties for grown-ups held in the evening and I can't imagine parents wanting to bring young children to that sort of party.

However, when you attend a function where there are children present and yours have been expressly excluded, you have no choice but to take it personally. By all means mention this to the grandparents; they may tell you things you don't want to hear about your children, but if you approach this with an open attitude, you may see practical things you could do differently (such as hire a sitter for the youngest and bring your oldest son with you).

You and your husband could help the kids build a relationship with their grandparents by hosting events in your own home and inviting these out-of-town family members to get to know all of you a little better.

DEAR AMY: In my family, almost every night my mother and father watch adult-oriented movies together in our living room. I am allowed to come into the room while they are watching, but I never do because I risk seeing things I would not like to think about (such as violent scenes, etc.). I would really like to play a board game with them or even watch a family-appropriate movie instead.

My mother is very busy most times with us kids and her full-time college teaching job.

I feel that barging into the room in the middle of the movie would be rude, but how else could I ensure some family time without disturbing her? Am I being too pushy, and should I leave her to her leisure time because she is busy?-- Wondering in Mass.

DEAR WONDERING: By all means, barge in. Barge in and ask your parents to do things just a little differently. I love the idea of "game night," when everybody in the family plays a smart or silly game together.

The togetherness and dynamic you establish there will last not only through the week -- but potentially through the rest of your lives. At a recent family party I sat in on a multigenerational game of Texas Hold 'em. Even very-low-stakes poker can have a high-stakes emotional yield.

DEAR AMY: I loved your response to "Not Tired," the high school freshman whose parents were being "draconian" about bedtime.

You praised this young person's vocabulary and suggested the parents should be impressed.

My husband and I were sent scurrying to the dictionary to look up this word -- and we're impressed too.-- Happy Readers

DEAR HAPPY: I can only hope these parents "give" a little in terms of bedtime. Their youngster made a good case.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Chicago, IL

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#2
Jan 16, 2013
 

Judged:

1

1- Maybe your boys aren't as pretty well behaved as you like to think?

2- Law and Order is too brutal for you? Dam hippies. Set aside one night a week for "family night."

3- Tell you what, when you're on your own and supporting yourself, you can go to bed whenever you please.

Since: Jan 10

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#3
Jan 16, 2013
 

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L1. Don't listen to Amy. Your husband needs to talk to his FATHER to find out what is going on. And next time this ridiculous woman sends you an invitation, bring your kids anyway. Screw her.

L2: Parents who want to watch a movie at home in the evening hours (not late night) with kids around should fully expect to be interrupted. Do it.

L3: You and your husband need to read more.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

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#4
Jan 16, 2013
 
L1: HAve you or your husband said anything about this? F the step mother, what about your husband's father? When you showed up and the place was over run with kids, why didn't you/he bring it up that day? Or at least the next day. Does the father even know his grandkids are being specifically excluded? These are questions that need to be asked. Use your f'n words.

L2: Fake letter.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

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#5
Jan 16, 2013
 
edogxxx wrote:
1- Maybe your boys aren't as pretty well behaved as you like to think?
While that could be the case, I think I'd much rather have someone tell me that my kids break things every time I bring them over instead of this charade of it being a no kid event when in fact everyone and their mother brought their kids.

However, unless this woman is completely delusional, she sounds like they do keep a good watch on their kids when they go to these events.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

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#6
Jan 16, 2013
 
RedheadwGlasses wrote:
L1. Don't listen to Amy. Your husband needs to talk to his FATHER to find out what is going on.
Yes.
RedheadwGlasses wrote:
And next time this ridiculous woman sends you an invitation, bring your kids anyway. Screw her.
I can only get on board with this if the grandpa gets on board with this. If grandma and grandpa have a united front, then its not just about the mean stepmother.

Since: Jan 10

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#7
Jan 16, 2013
 
Mister Tonka wrote:
<quoted text>
Yes.
<quoted text>
I can only get on board with this if the grandpa gets on board with this. If grandma and grandpa have a united front, then its not just about the mean stepmother.
True, but then if they're inviting other kids but not these two (I suspect that LW's husband is the only biological child of the grandfather,a nd the stepmother is fine with HER grandchildren being at events), that's a whole 'nother problem.

“Fort Kickass”

Since: Sep 09

Bloomington, IL

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#8
Jan 16, 2013
 
L1: Wow, I'm usually anti-kid in these scenarios, but not this one.

L2: That's crappy. Kid actually *wants* to spend time with her parents and they choose movies instead?

L3: Book learnin' good.

Since: Jan 10

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#9
Jan 16, 2013
 
Matilda77 wrote:
L1: Wow, I'm usually anti-kid in these scenarios, but not this one.
L2: That's crappy. Kid actually *wants* to spend time with her parents and they choose movies instead?
L3: Book learnin' good.
The whole 2nd letter was weird. Not much mention of dad, just a focus on the mom. Doesn't want ot interrupt HER (mom) but not 'THEM"?
pde

Schaumburg, IL

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#10
Jan 16, 2013
 
Mister Tonka wrote:
However, unless this woman is completely delusional, she sounds like they do keep a good watch on their kids when they go to these events.
Well, as the letter said, this is the STEP mother-in-law who is excluding the children from the events. My bet is that the kids who are allowed to attend are the "real" grandchildren (her blood grandchildren).

Since: Jan 10

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#11
Jan 16, 2013
 
pde wrote:
<quoted text>
Well, as the letter said, this is the STEP mother-in-law who is excluding the children from the events. My bet is that the kids who are allowed to attend are the "real" grandchildren (her blood grandchildren).
I agree 100%.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Chicago, IL

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#12
Jan 16, 2013
 

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Mister Tonka wrote:
<quoted text>While that could be the case, I think I'd much rather have someone tell me that my kids break things every time I bring them over instead of this charade of it being a no kid event when in fact everyone and their mother brought their kids.
However, unless this woman is completely delusional, she sounds like they do keep a good watch on their kids when they go to these events.
If the kids really are hell raisers, I'll agree that step mom should come clean and give up the passive charade. But maybe she did try to tell the lw but she refuses to listen? Good luck telling a parent their children are rotten and you can't stand to have them around, and actually have the parent listen and agree. Without more information and taking the letter at face value, I'm siding with the step mom.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

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#13
Jan 16, 2013
 
pde wrote:
<quoted text>
Well, as the letter said, this is the STEP mother-in-law who is excluding the children from the events. My bet is that the kids who are allowed to attend are the "real" grandchildren (her blood grandchildren).
But they are the grand father's REAL grand kids. Which is all the more reason it puzzles me that poosay husband has not discussed this with his father.
pde

Schaumburg, IL

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#14
Jan 16, 2013
 
Mister Tonka wrote:
<quoted text>But they are the grand father's REAL grand kids. Which is all the more reason it puzzles me that poosay husband has not discussed this with his father.
It doesn't surprise me. I've seen situations like this, and it's generally something like the father got remarried to the step mother in law after being widowed (aka, older with grown children all around) and the step mother neither regards the the children of the father as "her" children or their kids as "her" grandchildren.

And people who have this type of perspective/desire to exclude can always come up with reasons to justify it. And she's arranging parties for "her" family, not "his" family or "their" family, so, grandfather probably isn't much involved in the party arrangements.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

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#15
Jan 16, 2013
 

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pde wrote:
<quoted text>
It doesn't surprise me. I've seen situations like this, and it's generally something like the father got remarried to the step mother in law after being widowed (aka, older with grown children all around) and the step mother neither regards the the children of the father as "her" children or their kids as "her" grandchildren.
And people who have this type of perspective/desire to exclude can always come up with reasons to justify it. And she's arranging parties for "her" family, not "his" family or "their" family, so, grandfather probably isn't much involved in the party arrangements.
Well, lets pause right here for a moment, because in your hypothetical, I agree with the step mom. If this is a second wife that came into the picture after the kids were grown, just as she does not consider them "her" kids, I think the reverse is also true. Everyone I know with parents in this situation refer to the new spouse as my dad's wife or my mom's husband. And I don't consider that a bad thing. It is what it is. The way I see it (and agree with) "step mother" really is only applicable if she came into the picture when the kids were still kids and she had to do some actual mothering.

That being said, whether she's dad's new wife or was his stepmother growing up, I don't give a rat's ass who's involved in the arrangements. If my dad's second wife arranged a party and specifically excluded my kids, my FIRST act would be to discuss it with him. If I showed up sans kids and then found other kids running all over the place, I would not go apeshit, but I would definitely take my dad aside that day or call him shortly thereafter to discuss it with him. Find out why his grandkids are being treated like second class citizens. Is he aware? Is he in agreement? Is there some legitimate reason or just him kowtowing to the wife?

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

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#16
Jan 16, 2013
 
pde wrote:
And people who have this type of perspective/desire to exclude can always come up with reasons to justify it. And she's arranging parties for "her" family, not "his" family or "their" family, so, grandfather probably isn't much involved in the party arrangements.
Oh, and I have no problem with her having parties for her side of the family only. I don't see anything wrong with that. But once you include his kids, they need to be treated with the same courtesy and respect that her side gets. What's next, husband can come but we don't have room for his wife, but her kids can bring their spouses?

“Fort Kickass”

Since: Sep 09

Bloomington, IL

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#18
Jan 16, 2013
 
They mentioned there was a wedding. All wedding etiquette I read when planning mine was, you either invite all the kids or none of the kids.

This made us scratch a few names off the list, as I wanted *some* kids there, but a few of my co-workers have lax parenting skills that I'd rather have not dealt with that day.

Since: Mar 09

United States

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#17
Jan 16, 2013
 
L1: A combo of what Ang & Tonka said.

L2: Whew! When the LW said "adult-oriented movies" I thought s/he meant porn until s/he mentioned violence. I think I need more coffee or something.

L3: Please tell me that "scurrying for the dictionary" actually means "typing www.dictionary.com into the address bar."

“Fort Kickass”

Since: Sep 09

Bloomington, IL

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#19
Jan 16, 2013
 
Mister Tonka wrote:
<quoted text>Oh, and I have no problem with her having parties for her side of the family only. I don't see anything wrong with that. But once you include his kids, they need to be treated with the same courtesy and respect that her side gets. What's next, husband can come but we don't have room for his wife, but her kids can bring their spouses?
Probably...
pde

Schaumburg, IL

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#20
Jan 16, 2013
 
Mister Tonka wrote:
<quoted text>Oh, and I have no problem with her having parties for her side of the family only. I don't see anything wrong with that. But once you include his kids, they need to be treated with the same courtesy and respect that her side gets. What's next, husband can come but we don't have room for his wife, but her kids can bring their spouses?
I personally agree with you, but am saying that in my experience, this behavior isn't uncommon. And especially when the person exhibiting it is the step-mom, it's been my experience that she controls the arrangements and the father/grandfather isn't going to be rocking the boat. Most likely the father/grandfather is going to tell them that if they are disgruntled by it, they don't have to come.

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