Photos of the other child
Where do your partner's children from a previous relationship fit into your family?

We display photos of our children in our homes, at the office, in our wallets, on our phones, on Facebook and the list goes on. Why? Some of us just want to show off our lovely children. Some parents want to be surrounded by pictures of those whom they love, their children. Framed pictures can be a reminder of the different milestones that their children have reached. Constantly seeing our children’s photos makes us feel good inside.

Hurt feelings may arise, however, when pictures of one child are displayed and pictures of another are not. A friend, who I’ll call Sarah, was not raised by her absent father. Later, in her teens Sarah reconnected with her father, who was now married with children. Throughout the years Sarah has associated with her new-found family and has had many photos taken with the family.

“Through out the years I have noticed a trend,” Sarah explained “None of the photos where I feature are displayed in my father’s house. My half-siblings’ photos grace the house. I don’t appear on any of the group photos.”

Because her photos do not appear anywhere in her father’s house Sarah does not feel like she is part of that family. 
“If my dad and step-mum valued me as value my half-siblings they would have displayed the many photographs of me in their living room,” Sarah laments. 

Sarah, it seems, has taken it to mean that her step mum does not really like her and that her father is still embarrassed of her birth so much that that he can’t display the photos of the daughter he never planned to have.

But is Sarah justified in having such feelings? Or is she reading too much into the politics of family photographs. Are Sarah’s dad and step mum obliged to display photos of a child who spent very little of her of her childhood in their lives.
Displayed photos elicit questions from visitors.  Could Sarah’s family be avoiding awkward questions from friends and family about this relatively unknown daughter?

Whatever the reasons of not displaying one family member’s photograph it can result in strained relationships as it can be interpreted as favouritism.

This case is a valuable lesson for parents- all children should be treated equally whether planned or not, both children from a current relationship and children from a previous relationship; at least, to keep the peace.

If I were Sarah I’d go to the best photographer in town and have the best photograph taken, which I’d send to dad and step mum with the words, “I thought this portrait would be a perfect addition to the art work in the living room.”

Next time I visit them and my portrait is not up, I’d hang it up myself.

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

Where do your partner's children from a previous relationship fit into your family?

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