How do I handle when my step kids parent buys them everything they want?

2017-07-18 10:55:51

My fiancee and her two daughters (8 years old and 4 years old) live with me and my two sons (7 years old and 10 years old). Six people is quite a houseful :)

The girls' father sees them once a week for a couple of hours. When they are with him, they get everything they want and when they get home I usually hear "That's not fair" from my two boys. I am not able to buy the boys whatever they want, whenever they want it, not that I would if I could afford it.

Just last week the girls wanted to get American Girl dolls. So they call their father up and get him to order them some online. They know that if they want something, they only have to ask their father.

How do I explain to my sons that there is nothing I can do about the girls father buying them things all the time? It's not that I want to "compete" with him, but he makes life for me pretty difficult at home each time he buys the girls something.

It sounds like a deal needs to be worked out with the father,

  • It sounds like a deal needs to be worked out with the father, not the kids, since the father is causing the problem.

    However, you will probably have to look at it from his perspective. He is probably spending money on his daughters to compensate for not actually being there in person. He feels like he is being shut out from their lives and the only way he knows how to reach out to them is through his wallet. Simply asking him to stop will NOT work. Maybe you can find a way to increase the amount of time he has to spend with his children and actually be a dad? Once he has a chance to actually raise them and discipline them every once in a while they will probably see him more as a parent like their mom and less like a limitless credit card

    2017-07-18 11:06:08
  • I might say it depends on how much it's affecting your kids, and I would be more worried about the girls than the boys. Your sons probably feel slighted, but your (soon-to-be?) daughters are getting constant affirmation of "You can have anything you want, whenever you want it." At 4 and 8, this is will spoil them quickly.

    If it were a grandparent or uncle giving so many gifts, then sitting down with them and politely asking them to stop would be the right solution. And since the step father only sees the girls for a short period of time, I think that places him in the "relative" category, as opposed to the "parent" category.

    I imagine talking to the step father is difficult (or you would probably have talked to him instead of posting this question). It might be easier if you wait until you and your fiancee are married, so you can talk to him from more of an official parent position.

    How does your fiancee feel about this?

    2017-07-18 11:32:40
  • Good for you for realizing that your problem is explaining to your own sons, rather than interfering with the girls' relationship with their own father.

    Let's start with the adult truth: the boys don't get the same level of supplementary gifts because their mother doesn't behave in the same way as the girls' father. Perhaps the boys' mother doesn't have as much money as the girls' father, or perhaps she doesn't think lots of gifts is the best way to help bring the boys up.

    The question then boils down to how to explain that to your sons. If it's that their mother doesn't have as much money, for example, you might say something like, "your mom doesn't have as much money to buy you gifts as [girls' father] does, but she still loves you very much."

    2017-07-18 11:58:37
  • This is old, I know, but I still want to answer.

    I would sit down & have a real talk with my kids about the inequities in life & that is simply one of those things. Some people are born with more abilities than other. Some are brilliant, some gorgeous, some are incredibly talented, some have major health issues right from the start, this is life. And the same happens in how much money various people have to buy superfluous items as well as how much time someone has in the day to spend with you, etc. There are kids who get their parents with them all the time, some seldom see their parents at all. Some kids are super tall, some very short, some wealthy, some wear all hand me downs. This is life.

    I actually like opportunities for my children to witness obvious inequities. Life is full of them. Learning to be happy despite those inequities is a major life lesson most of us will have to learn because most of us will not be born into incredibly wealthy families where we are go

    2017-07-18 11:58:40
  • You don't have control over their father. So while you could ask him to dial it down a bit, there's no guarantee that he will.

    But that doesn't mean that everything is out of your (plural) control.

    Talk with all of your children

    First of all, you and your fiancée can talk with all of your kids and explain the situation. Explain that you can't match everything the girls get from their other father, but that you love all of them very much.

    Compensate in other ways

    Try to make up for the lavish gifts with fun activities and attention for all. Do not compensate just the boys, since that would make it a competition between the boys and the girls.

    Don't allow begging for gifts

    Just last week the girls wanted to get American Girl dolls. So they call their father up and get him to order them some online. They know that if they want something, they only have to ask their father.

    This is something you and your fiancée can control. If you've explained to your kids (all four of the

    2017-07-18 12:08:34
  • I know its been asked long time ago, but I got an idea I must share.

    Why don't You try to convince your daughters to ask their father for the toys for all children? He doesn't even have to know about it. They can ask twice as often - once for them and once for boys, or ask for toys that boys can use too and just share. This way all of your children will get new toys, and you will save some money ;-)

    2017-07-18 12:14:54