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Question am I expecting to much?

stepmomof001's picture

I am married to this wonderful guy who treats me great. The problem is his brat son who is 13. I'll go into more details on another post but just looking for a answer to this question.

At what age can I reasonably expect SS13 to be responsible for giving his dad b-day/father's day/ x-mas gifts without me doing and paying for everything? Now I will add SS13 brags that he has over $1000 at BM's house that he's saved up from b-days/x-mas. No he's not lying as BM complains all the time she wants to put it in the bank but SS13 refuses. For the last 6 years I've paid for and wrapped gifts from SS13 for his dad. This year since SS13 has so much money I decided SS13 can pay for his gift for his dad. DH agreed and even picked out a $20 movie SS13 could buy. When presented with this SS REFUSES to bring over a dime of his money saying hes "saving" it for a $1500 computer he wants. Not sure is SS13 is lying about the computer or just being selfish with his money and wants all to himself. Since SS13 refuses to spend ANY of his money from BM's house I offered to have SS13 do chores to make money to buy the gift. Nope lazy SS13 would not do this either. I even told SS13 he could make something and he refuses.

Am I asking to much from a 13 to pay for his own gift for DH? DH is going to be VERY hurt if he does not get a gift from SS13. Should I just pay for something as I did in the past? Honestly I could careless about the spoiled brat BUT I'm thinking of my husband. Thoughts??

Gimlet's picture

Stop enabling your SS's bad behavior by covering for him.  You've offered him the option of trading chores or making something for the gift so he doesn't have to spend his own money and I think that's fair.  

  Perhaps the best gift for your husband would be the gift of seeing the true colors of the child he is raising. 

Rumplestiltskin's picture

Does your husband not know it's been you the entire time? Maybe SS is so bratty because you've been functioning for him and your DH doesn't know to teach him how to do thoughtful things. Just "forget" this year. Maybe SS will see how his dad doesn't have anything from him, feel bad, and do it next time. Sometimes they learn from failure. 

Merry's picture

Turn it over to SS and let it go. Remind him ONE time that he can do chores, make something, or buy something so that DH has a gift from him. At 13 he's at a good age to start taking pride in doing things like this for himself anyway. If he doesn't follow through and get a gift for his dad, I hope your DH doesn't hide his disappointment from SS. This is a good chance for a life lesson, and I hope your SS picks the right lesson.

Guiltriddenameteur's picture

I still get presents from all 3 of my OHs boys and our daughter. The eldest boys is 14. Difference is he doesn't have money because he does nothing to earn it and if he's given money it goes on MacDonalds. If he had £1000 I certainly wouldn't be forking out for him. I don't have £1000! My OH would understand this and I'm sure yours would too. Explain to your OH that you have told your ss its up to him so he is prepared for nothing. Anything he does get is then a bonus! 

tog redux's picture

I helped SS and paid when he was younger, but by 13 I'd give him one reminder that the birthday was coming up and that I'd help him (ie drive him to the store or get something on Amazon) but by that point he paid himself. By 14 he didn't even bother anymore and now he's almost 21 - and DH hasn't gotten even a "Happy Birthday" in years. 

SeeYouNever's picture

I think a kid can be reasonably expected to do something for a patent's birthday from about 10 on. Prior to that they can make a card or do something nice but by 10 I think they should take a bit more initiative.

As for when they can buy their own things, I think that should start once a kid as a regular allowance or job, this is going to be different for every kid. 

For your SS I would give him $20 to get the gift and tell your DH that you've done this because you want him to be the one to purchase it. Your DH will appreciate the gesture and that's brownie points for yoy. Now if SS keeps the money? Your DH will know his son is a selfish brat.

BethAnne's picture

Let him fail to do anything. You tried, you reminded, you have set the precident previous years, now it is up to your ss to take some initiative. If he doesn't then he can live with the consequences. 

This year in our house SD12 didn't want to go to the effort of going to Target with me to get the gift that I suggested she get for her dad that I was going to pay for. She chose instead to stay home and play on her computer. I think she thought I would go and get the gift anyway. Well I didn't. When she saw the table laid on her Dad's birthday for his special breakfast and the large wrapped gift I had gotten him (from me), she dashed to her room and grabed a painting she had made a few weeks earlier and claimed that she had painted it for him. I had to prompt her to say "Happy Birthday" to her Dad over the breakfast. My husband told me later he wasn't too impressed with her lack of effort.

Even that was better than my birthday where SD didn't get/make/find me anything or even wish me "Happy Birthday". Though my husband was f'ing useless and didn't try to help sd with a gift, remind her that it was my birthday or prompt her to acknowledge my birthday. So I am anoyed at him too. I tried to talk to sd about it and tell her how upset it made me a few days later but she still failed to apologize or offer belated birthday wishes. A few days later I then propted her if she had thought about our conversation (to encourage an oportunity for her to express some kind of acknoledgement that she had upset me) and she claimed that she didn't remember us talking about it at all. 

Not sure how we will handle christmas gifts this year or birthday next year. We sort of feel like we should teach her a lesson and not bother with gifts, but that seems petty to do. Perhaps just boring homemade and practical gifts instead?

stepmomof001's picture

is a rotten brat. DH would never show any disappointment to SS. SS13 is hoping we just drop it. Whenever I bring it up SS13 gets all pissy and does not want to talk about it. Call me petty but I will purposely "remind' SS13 about his father's b-day coming up when DH is around in ear shot. This REALLY pisses SS13 off because he can't use the excues to daddy dearest that he forgot and makes SS13 look bad to DH. SS13 is really hoping we just forget about it BUT here I am keep bringing it up.

tog redux's picture

Honestly, that makes your DH less than "wonderful".  A good parent can see their child's strengths and weaknesses, and can work on those weaknesses with them.  And he turns a blind eye to his son's issues, which affects you.

I'd just let it go entirely, it's not up to you to protect DH from seeing what a jerk his son is - in fact, it might benefit you if he does see that.

TwoOfUs's picture

I think kids need help picking and/or making presents at least up to the point where they can drive. However, at some point they should at least WANT to do the the driving force behind what it will be...ask for your help...etc. It's such a drag when the kid couldn't care less about doing something thoughtful and you're the one forcing it.

For contrast - my mom recently had a birthday and all six of her grandkids (ages 4-14) got her a present unprompted. ie - THEY remembered her birthday and asked their moms for help putting a present together and wrapping it. None of the presents were anything my mom would want (except for the 14-year-old, who mowed her lawn as his present) but their little tokens of love are all proudly displayed on the mantle right now.

I think the question isn't when should a kid "pay" for his own presents...but when can you expect a kid to WANT to do put some thought and effort into it. 13 is plenty old to take some initiative in this area.

At any rate...I feel your pain. DH remarried (me!) but BM did not. For years when the skids were younger I found myself being the one who helped them get birthday / mothers and Father's Day / Christmas presents for BOTH parents. 3 kids x 3 events = NINE nice presents going from our house to BM's house each year. But when it came to them getting presents for DH...BM didn't lift a finger. That was on me, too. 

I was so grateful when they started getting their own!!

CLove's picture

Went to the store and searched for a really long time and got a card, for her fathers bday. This was with BM. She sais she used her own money. This is the very first time. In the past I have hustled herself to the store to look for things and cards, and Ill pay for it. This is the first year shes put any effort out. For my birthday this year, nothing, barely even a "happy birthday".

Shes very sweet and generally appreciative of most of my efforts. But my expectations have lowered. I think this year it will be a $25 prepaid debit card. Generally I have spent about 100-150 for birthday and Christmas respectively. But will start backing off more...because of lack of efforts...

ndc's picture

Do NOT pay for a gift for SS to give to your DH.  If your SS doesn't care enough to shell out $13 for his dad's gift, let your DH see that.  Now, if this was a kid who had no money, I'd feel differently.  13 year olds aren't old enough to work, nor can they drive, so most need some help, whether it's a ride to the store or an opportunity to earn money through extra chores.  That's not the case with this kid - he is just lazy and selfish.  I see no harm in leaving it up to SS and letting the chips fall where they may.

And I hope this will be the spark that gets your DH to stop supplying this kid with extras, as he sounds like a spoiled, selfish brat.

Unsure2020's picture

Its going to be hard to see DH get hurt but perhaps this will teach SS a lesson. If he’s a good son, he will learn from this lesson, if he’s not, then DH will learn SS is a selfish brat. Sounds like DH is a great guy so spoil him but make sure all gifts you purchase have your name as the the giver. See what happens! You’re not doing anything wrong by putting your foot down in this unfair situation with SS. ;) 

Rags's picture

On the one hand, it's his money to do with as he chooses. I'm not sure saving his money is selfish.

On the other hand, if he has no gift for his dad, that isn't your problem.  For sure SS needs his ass bared in the most embarrassing way possible when there is no gift from him to his dad.

We never had this problem with SS.  I would take him shopping for his mom's gift and she would take him shopping for my gift.  We would pay for the gifts.   

Once he launched, he adopted the same generous gift model that my family has always used and his mom and I have always used.  He goes nuts in his gift shopping for his mom and I and for my parents.

We always have  made selecting and searching for just the right things for each person a fun adventure that he has continued that tradition as an adult.