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How to limit drama and spending if SD10 is getting a phone?

Plantmom's picture

Longtime reader first time poster.

I have been with my husband for 4 years, married 2. I have a SD10 that I met when she was 6. I have never met BM and have no desire to because she is a snotty sneaky lying B that thinks she is better than us. Our situation is pretty low conflict because BM lives 3 hrs away and when she asks for extras my husband just says no. When we first got together my husband got SD every other weekend. But BM has gradually reduced it by ignoring his calls so that this past year he has only seen SD 4 times. This was because she was angry he was with me, even though she was with her affair partner since before I even met my husband. He talks to SD about once a week over the phone or facetime for maybe 1 or 2 minutes before SD finds some reason to get off the phone. SD wants nothing to do with him and treats him like he is poop on the bottom of her shoe (same attitude as BM). She barely responds to him on the phone and visitation is a chore which she will complain to BM about once she goes home. She says we are boring and has actually refused to see us because my husband won't take her on vacations and to resorts (this spoiled brat!). She has only been taking his calls this month because Christmas is coming and she wants stuff. Never once has she given my husband anything for a holiday, not even a handmade card. We make crafts and she will make some to take home give to her mom, not her dad who is right there! The love only goes one direction.

My husband has kind of given up due to the alienation and his stress level and the general peace in our lives has improved. He loves SD but they are estranged at this point. It's kind of an ideal situation for me. He sends CS but BM can't cause us drama. We only see SD once in a while and she pretends like I don't exist. She will seriously ask how my dog and cat are doing but not about me... whatever I'd rather be ignored than directly targeted.

So to my issue. We think SD is going to get a cell phone this year for Christmas. I'm a bit worried that this will disrupt our peace and cause conflict since he can talk to SD directly and try to schedule to see her and try to win back her love (i.e. spend money on her). BM is quite controlling so I expect SD will get her phone taken away if she talks to my husband too much or if he shows up to get a visit that BM ahs not apporved. I have a feeling SD is going to use the phone to request money and stuff from my husband. She is very much liek BM and likes to make my husband "chase her" for her affection and spend money to get her attention. SD wants nothing to do with us unless we are buying her things and she is a preteen that cares only about brands and status. The last time we had her the only time she smiled was when my husband swiped his card at abercrombie, I'm not even exaggerating.

I liked the peace we've had and I've liked that she never wanted to visit and was not really in our lives. I feel terrible saying it but I liked that she was out of sight and out of mind! With a cell phone she will be a daily presence in our lives and I worry my husband's expenses on her will go up. We dont have a ton of money and I pay more of our bills as it is. What should I do to limit the drama and spending if SD10 is getting a phone?


STaround's picture

It sounds like her mom will be giving her the phone, so I do not think you can limit the use of it at the mom's.   The mom may or may not let her take the phone to your  house.  Dad can limit the use at his house, but, imho, should return the phone with the kid.  

As to how many calls your DH takes from his DD, that is up to him.  He may want to work with his DD as to what times for calls work well for him.  As to what he wants to give her, you and he may need to have a serious discussion about money, if you have not done so already. 

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

This, you get control at your house. We actually have a cell phone for SD9 to use on the weekends she's away. We bought it after learning that she was leaving them home alone. We wanted to be sure SD9 had a point of contact jus tin case.

However due to hating the drama she doesn't get to use the phone at our house. It seems backwards. But I taught SD9 how to call 911 in an emergency so she can. But when she's with us, she's never without DH or I, so she doesn't hav e aneed for it.

I think he needs to work what times work out for calls as well, and you and your DH will want to come up with a strict budget. I get he wants to get his daughter stuff, but wants can't come at the expense of household bills and responsibilites.

twoviewpoints's picture

I don't see a phone being a problem for you. Why? 

If the kid is going to ask for all that she'd be just as capable to be doing so right now on the communication contacts she currently has with her father.That, and if Dad has been having no issues telling BM 'no' when extras are asked for, I doubt he'd have any problems simply telling the child 'no' also. It's not like kid will reject him anymore than she already does. 

Some father's give/buy/do out of guilt. Your DH doesn't sound as if he is one of that type. He sends his CS and life goes on. 

Plantmom's picture

I hope he can continue to tell her no. He get so thrilled to see/talk to her sometimes he will buy her bunches of stuff. I see the phone as a route for SD to get things out of him without needing to see him. As of now she only gets stuff bought when she sees us. Well except for christmas when she will send him a link of exactly what she wants.

twoviewpoints's picture

I will assume SD does receive the standard birthday and Christmas gift practice from Dad. 

Discuss the budget of gift giving with DH nd come to a cash amount limit. Whether that amount is $50 or $500, the limit is the limit. If she sends a link to x, x and x and it runs over the limit, he merely tells the child that. Hey, kiddo, this is the gift limit and please narrow down your greedy list to the specified amount. The child can then go through her demands of 'wants' and focus down to a more reasonable request. 

If she's desiring $175 in items from Abercrombie and his limit is $75, he can gift a gift card for his limit and she can use it towards her list. 

The man simply can not buy the kid's love, time and attention. It's a fruitless attempt. Her BM has raised the child to be high maintenance and shallow. BM has taught her daughter that Dad is a walking wallet and not worth much else. It's up to him as to just how much he's willing to keep up that game. Kid isn't going to suddenly want to spend time with him due to a $1,000 shopping spree vs a simpler $50 spree. Once the spree is over, she still is going back to ignoring him. 

nengooseus's picture

By BM.  She started sending the phone with SD without asking us and in fact instructed SD that we could not take the phone away from her because it was her (BM's) property, a fact that came up when we were taking SD's phone for bad behavior.  When she told us that, we told her to call her mother to make sure she was home, and SD had to drop the phone back with her mother.  It hasn't come back.

We offered to allow it back--if BM unblocked us.  She told us that we should pay half the bill and be responsbile if SD lost or broke it.  We said no.  No need for it to come back.  

My point being, if the phone comes into your house, you're in control of it.  You make the rules.

tog redux's picture

My guess is that BM will make clear that SD is not allowed to call DH, and that SD won't want to anyway.  And if she does try to manipulate DH to buy her stuff with phone calls, a few well-placed, "Nope, I won't be able to buy you that, honey," should put a stop to that.

And I totally get that it's so much better when rotten alienated kids are not around, I have the same situation.  Be glad your DH is not the type to chase SD and try to buy her.  I feel sad for my DH that his son is such a disappointment, but I'm glad SS isn't around.

Plantmom's picture

I am glad he doesn't chase or buy her, I guess my worry about the cell phone is that it will change that and he will become the type of indulgent divorced dad I was glad he isn't! I think he is also disappointed in SD and how she is turning out to be shallow, materialistic and snotty like BM. I'm glad we have her rarely but when he do have her it's like she is someone else's kid. She is nothing like my husband and treats him like crap.

tog redux's picture

My SS is 18 and he's a carbon copy of his mother, narcissistic and entitled.  He was totally alienated from us for over 3.5 years and recently came back because his mother wants money.

DH said something recently about how SS smelled bad, and "if he was my child, I'd tell him that" but he doesn't even feel like it's his child anymore.

It's a sad situation, but your DH will make it much worse if he tries to buy her love.  My DH has never done that and while SS is still an entitled jerk, he does have some basic respect for DH and doesn't try to pull that manipulative crap.

Curious Georgetta's picture

IsIs given in an effort to buy love. Sometimes parents simply give gifts because they love their children.

Costly gifts do not entitled children crrate. Failure to teach ,instill and expose children to proper values help to create children with misplaced values.

Let your husband give what he chooses to and can afford to give.  A 10 year old is more likely going to want to spend time in her phone talking to friends and playing games.  Talking to her parents will not likely be a priority for a 10 year old.

Your husband may want to call her more often now that he will have easier access but I would suggest waiting to see if that becomes a financial issue.  It is unlikely that a few calls a month will your budget break.

You are stressing over what at this point is a non issue.


CLove's picture

Leads to many other issues!

So, to take it from the top...

How to limit your husband spending on "his child". Because she has been alienated from him, and the BM has been "witholding her" from him, she probably doesnt really feel like his child anymore. She is acting and sounding just like mama. He loves her, but doesnt perhaps like her as a person very much. We have that in Toxic Feral eldest SD19. She is JUST like her mama in personality. We dont have a bunch of money - we keep our finances pretty separate. Limit the spending. Your husband doesnt contribnute as much as you do - use Christmas as a time to discuss gifting budgets. It might be difficult, as he is hoping that his precious daughter will "come around", but you need to reinforce that he cannot hold onto this hope simply by spending money. She is throwing out little bones and kibble. He needs to step back and remember that buying her "stuff" doesnt change the relationship.

About that witholding the child from father. DD10 doesnt get to decide she doesnt want to visit. I know its easier for you now, but the fact remains that there is a CO in place and BM needs to follow it. Your DH should be enforcing it too. Again, I know the relief you must be feeling not having that cloud over your household when she is there. I truly do! I feel the same way when SD left, ghosted us for a time then eventually moved in with her mother Toxic Troll. I was so torn - I wanted him to have his relationship, but not in my household. I didnt want him to have to choose, but I dont want her in my life. Long story short she is like her mother and very narcissistic personality disordered. Lies constantly. Cares only for herself. Is rude and mean and lashes out at a moments notice. Same old same ol.

Your SD is rude to you and rude to DH. Have you spoken to her about this? She doesnt spend much time, because the Custody Order is not being enforced, so I imagine its more about keeping the peace for the short moments, but ignoring you in your own household should not be allowed, IMHO. That is disrespectful, and the child should not be allowed under any circumstances to be disrespectful to ANYONE. Its basic parenting. But I understand that your DH is ot being allowed to parent. He is being treated like an ATM, like just the "sperm donor", unnecessary for anything except DNA and Cash.

I think that as long as you discuss budgeting, you and DH continue to be on the same page, the phone will not be an issue.

I always seem to over think things and get my emotions riled up, and they turn out ok.


Plantmom's picture

"I wanted him to have his relationship, but not in my household" that is such a great way to put it! And might I also add "and not at my expense" because anything extra he spends on her comes from somewhere and that somewhere is me. He's got spending money but once he reaches the end of it then it's up to me. He used to have quite the amazon habit and he's gotten that under control. My husband is also waiting for SD to "come around" but I think that she is alienated beyond repair and "coming around" is just going to be to ask for things. She already fully expects him to buy her a car at 16 though in the next breath she said she will be too busy with friends to visit. It was kind of strange to have that all planned out at 10! She should at least know in order to manipulate dad you need to pretend to give him the time of day. We have already had that conversation and I said if he plans to buy her a car then that it is entirely on him! As soon as I said that he rolled it back and said he probably won't get her a car.

I tried for the first 3 years but now I'm done. She started pretending like I didn't exisit after we got married. I think that was a turning point for my husband. He saw me trying and supporting him and her relationship and her pretending I didn't exisit. He still loves her but as you said, he doesn't like her very much.

momjeans's picture


I'm a bit worried that this will disrupt our peace and cause conflict


You put in place and enforce strict guidelines and rules regarding her phone when she is with you and dad and in your home. 

BM in my case got SD an iPhone when she was 7 years old. It was purely a means of keeping tabs on us during DH’s visitation time, being in the know - via real-time if daddy was meeting disney daddy expectations, and to distract SD, robbing DH of his quality visitation time, with absolutely moronic and childish back and forth texts. 

It took all of a few visits for us to put an end to it. While DH was disgusted with intrusiveness of a 7 year old having an iPhone as an extra appendage, he seriously struggled with being the “bad guy” in regards to taking it away. 

I pushed him to physically take it from SD at pick-up and give it back to her at drop-off. When BM caught wind of this, she lost her marbles, screaming “If I want to have contact with my child, I WILL!” And to “suck” a male anatomy part she does not have. LOL

You both have control here. Assert it with a heavy hammer.