My in-laws don’t give their step-grandchild birthday gifts How would you handle this situation?

My in-laws don’t give their step-grandchild birthday gifts, although, they send lavish presents for no special occasion to their biological grandchildren. As a parent, how would you handle this situation? All 4 of the children are under 10 years old.

Here is how I see it as a parent: while it is awkward and upsetting (and unkind) that the grandparents won’t treat the step-grandchild the same way as their biological grandchildren, they are under no obligation to do so. They are free to choose what kind of people they are.

Because the step-child has no “right” or entitlement to gifts, neither he/she nor his/her parent can expect or demand that anyone give the step-grandchild gifts. This is hard for the step-grandchild to experience, but such is life. Disappointments and betrayals arise. We all have to face them. Trying to avoid or deny them only makes the inevitability of facing them more difficult.

Of course the child will suffer from the snubs (and it’s agonizing for a parent to witness it). You and the child can be more compassionate, more understanding, gain the blessings of forgiveness as a result. Or you and the child choose to nurse a grudge and all that it entails. Either way, the step-grandparents likely won’t care, so which option appeals to you most? Which is best for the child?

This does not mean, however, that you and your child must be gluttons for step-grandparent slights. The step-grandparents should rightly suffer the natural consequences of (not your spiteful responses to) their behavior. Because they are causing your family trouble by favoring certain children over others, it is perfectly reasonable for you to shield the child from routine humiliation, and the step-grandparents should not be surprised if they are not included in family events as often as they might otherwise have been.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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