Grandparenting/step-grandparent

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Question
Hi
I have just become a step-grandparent to a baby girl (3 weeks old yesterday) and a baby boy, born 2 days ago. I have always treated my stepchildren and my children equally. I met my husband 8 years after the divorce from his ex wife and yet i am being treated as the "other" woman. Despite being the closest living relatives by some miles we were the last to meet the baby girl and are already finding it difficult to arrange a date to meet the baby boy. I have already been told that i will not be looking after these children at any time! Yet i'm a nurse who works with young children, at home, i have all the equipment a baby could want because we have other small visitors from my family who visit regularly. Some of these young visitors stay with us whilst Mum and Dad have break and can do grown up things. I want to be involved with my husbands grandchildren as a "grandmother". My favourite grandmother was a step grandmother and i understand the potential difficulties and don't want to upset anyone. But i don't know how to deal with this feeling of being excluded. Unfortunately i feel my husband is also not being included as much as he might be. I don't understand why i'm being treated this way and i don't know how to deal with it. I don't feel i can talk to the children direct and i think my husband will be too concerned about keeping the peace to discuss it with them. so what do i do?

Answer
Hi Helen; Now this is something that I know something about--I am a step-grandparent too!
The problem isn't with you, it is with your husband unfortunately. There is not much you can do about it either.
With my tep children, I have a stepson that includes us-to a certain degree--but there are limits that we can go. My step daughter basically treats us like we have rabies. She just wants the gifts at birthday time and that is it.
This has been brought on partly by the divorce and things that happened during that time that YOU have no control over. part of it is what the kids saw and heard at the time and part of it is feeling sorry for their mom an feeling that any emotion to dad make him feel that what happened was alright.
I tried having a talk with the kids on my own and found out that part of it by reading between the lines of what they said.
By the way, mom [theirs] didn't have much input. She did ridicule him during the divorce, but when we got married she told them to just watch because he would pull the same stuff on me, so they figure I won't be here long. The truth is, we have been married for 10 years, so I think we should have proven ourselves by now. But, not in the yes of the kids I guess.
I have talked to a lot of doctors, counselors, mental doctors etc, that have told me that there is little that either one of us can do to correct it.
Now, the bright side:
I have learned that grandchildren make up their own minds no matter what the parents want them to do. When we are included, they run to us FIRST. WHY? Because of the extras that we do..sending special 'happy' cards, having a piece of their favorite candy in my purse when we visit, sending a piece of gum along in their card. Making a picture/cutting it apart like a puzzle for them to put together [a big heart that says I LUV U or I Miss U---get the idea? See with kids it is the little things that count that most people forget--but, not a kid.
I know that they are too little for that yet, but never give up hope. I just wish I could here what the kids say about us when we aren't there. Because when we are, we sure aren't lacking for hugs and kisses.
I sure hope this helps. It isn't perfect, but it is better than nothing and they know we are there for them. BTW--they do grow up and I know that we will see them whenever THEY can make it happen.
Good Luck,
Jan Hayner

Grandparenting

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Jan Hayner

Expertise

I can answer questions that have to do with all aspects of grandparenting. Relationships, Step-grandchildren, things to do, ways to help them, things you have control over and things to don't etc.

Experience

I am the mom of 4 and grandma of 8 (plus half of the neighborhood). I have been raising kids almost all of my life and had many experiences to refer to.

Organizations
I belonged to PTA, Den Mother for Cub Scouts, Bluebird Troop Leader, E4E (Education for Employment) Committee Member, Volunteer at the local hospital in the Pediatric Department, and was involved with many other kids projects.

Education/Credentials
Life itself!

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