Disparity in Gifts

by Lesley

My husband and I have been married for 25 years. He has five children from previous marriages; I have a son. I also have one grandchild and six step-grandkids plus five step great-grandkids. With one exception, we rarely see his kids and their families since they don't live near us. Two of his kids have had rather difficult times and, at Christmas and birthdays, we normally send them money ($50 to $100)which they very much appreciate. We are retired and our income is from social security and a pension from my husband's former job.

I've been made aware that his youngest daughter knows that we sent her sister money for Christmas (thanks to Facebook!) and may feel a bit miffed. However, she and her husband are doing very, very well - they travel to Europe often and take their kids to Disneyworld almost every year - something her sister would never be able to do. Additionally, I used to send gifts to the younger daughter but they were never acknowledged so now I just send cards. Am I a rotten stepmother?

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Blended Families
by: Ms P Etiquette

Dear Lesley,

You are not a rotten stepmother, or a rotten anything! Even in families not quite as blended as yours, there are sibling sensitivities that you cannot avoid. Nor should you. If the children have different needs, then a good parent responds accordingly. Keep up the excellent work and congrats on being able to handle such an amazing array of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Just keeping up with it all must require energy and courage!

​Ms. Practical Etiquette

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