My Adult Stepchildren Are Disrespectful and Greedy: How Should I Handle These Relationships?

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QUESTION: My Adult Stepchildren Are Disrespectful and Always Want Money, But My Husband Isn’t Totally on the Same Page: Advice?

“Okay, so this is mainly directed at stepmoms & moms of older kids. Hubby and I have been married 2.5 yrs and have two daughters together, a 21-month-old and a 3-month-old. He lost his oldest daughter, who would be 24, and has a 20-year-old daughter and almost 19-year-old son.

His older two barely want anything to do with him, especially his son, whom I’ve only met once. His daughter just turned 20, and every single time she contacts us, she wants money. We told her we would give her some for her birthday, but we haven’t seen her in months to give it to her.

Am I wrong for saying she has to come to get it? We live less than an hour from her. I have offered to go pick her up since she always has an excuse why she can’t come to us — like she doesn’t have a ride — but she always wants money to go to the beach or other places. Heck, we can’t even afford to go places ourselves as we are struggling financially.

My hubby doesn’t want to give it to her unless she comes to see us either, but I won’t tell her that, yet I’m accused of treating her differently than my own two. I do in the sense that I bite my tongue a lot because I am stricter on my toddler than anyone has ever been with her and they let her get away with everything.

I have started saying something to her when she disrespects me because I’m tired of her thinking it’s okay. Also, his son will have to come to see us in order to get anything for his birthday. The area has pretty much reopened from COVID so it’s not a major concern of ours.”

RELATED: How Can I Help My Grown Stepchildren Learn to Fend for Themselves and Generally Become Better Adults?

My Adult Stepchildren Are Disrespectful and Greedy: How Should I Handle These Relationships?

Community Answers

The following top answers have been selected by a moderator from hundreds of responses to the original question.

“They’re not your kids. it’s normal and ok to treat them differently than your own children who come first for their well being and safety. His kids are grown and it’s your home so stop worrying! You make the rules and the calls!”

“Sounds like he doesn’t have a close relationship with his kids. Has he been around for them? Why hasn’t the dad offered to go drop off the BDAY card? Maybe she just wants to spend some one on one time with her dad.”

“Ok, but does he call them? Does he reach out to them?”

“I wouldn’t expect my ex and his wife to give our kids any money if they were adults who didn’t visit.”

“Exactly as stated above, sounds like he wasn’t around for them much growing up. Whether it was work or whatever, most adult kids act like this when the parent wasn’t around nearly enough. He may not even understand that. Child support growing up isn’t religiously picking your kids up every weekend to spend time with them.”

“Well. She’s 20, so no one is letting her do anything. I don’t think it’s acceptable to say she can have money for her birthday but then attach a string. You’ve been married 2.5 years and hardly know his kids. I’m gonna take a leap here and assume there is a reason his kids don’t like him or want much to do with him. So nah, if you said you would do it, do it. And don’t use it as a way to manipulate a relationship that will need to heal on its own.”

“I have a 19 year old that hits me up for money… if you have it to spare just Cash App them and move on. If not then it doesn’t even matter right? Who wants a pity visit from their kid?”

“If they are adults i sort of feel like the kids owe you respect, yes, but nothing more as their dad’s wife. They are grown & they’ve been raised by him, if there’s a disconnection then he should be working on it with them, and communicating with them. You aren’t responsible for that. Money should not be held over their head as a reward for stopping by… thats between their dad & them…

… They have a huge age gap between them & your kids… they shouldn’t be being treated the same as they are way older & clearly have a different current relationship with their dad than your kids do. You aren’t asking a lot of them by having them stop by, but if they don’t want to maybe their dad should ask them why.”

“If you want to give them something, give without expecting anything in return. With children of any age, it should be about unconditional love. If you don’t want to give them money, without strings attached, then don’t.”

“Just Venmo or Walmart the money. Stop fussing. If that’s all she wants give it to her. It’s her birthday for crying out loud. Plus you just said she doesn’t have a great relationship with her father.”

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