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Should parent or stepparent help with presents?

Poll Results: Who should help step-children make/buy presents for bio-parent?

 
  • 45% (18)
    step-parents
  • 10% (4)
    other bio-parent
  • 45% (18)
    depends on other circumstances
40 Total Votes  
post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
My dsd (age 12) just informed me that she has no present for her father and asked "what WE'RE giving him".

I am peeeeeeved because I see it as her mom's job to help her get presents for her father for birthdays and Christmas. I've been getting steamed over this for a long time...but this really caught me by surprise this year. I guess I should have expected it, but I thought I'd already had a conversation with her mother about it.

What do you think?
post #2 of 28
If I am reading this right you are the step-parent and her father is your SO? If that is the case why wouldn't you help her choose a gift for him? I don't help my children pick put gifts for my xh and I wouldn't expect him to help them choose gifts for me. It's no longer my responsibilty to buy presents for my ex, even if they are from the children. My fiancee helps the kids pick out gifts for me.
post #3 of 28
I don't see why a 12yo needs help buying or making a gift for a parent- I can see why a 6yo might need help, but older kids should be able to do stuff like that independently.

If a child does need an adult help with a parent's gift, the parent's partner or another adult in the parent's life (sibling, friend, parent, etc) would be a more appropriate choice than an ex.
post #4 of 28
My parents (still married) never helped me with gifts as far as I can remember. I always felt this horrible failure as a kid when my parents tried unsuccessfully to hide their disappointment upon opening gifts from me as a kid. I didn't have much $$ to spend or much assistance in the form of suggestions even. I just flailed around trying to figure it out.

Help your DSD, it can be as simple as playing around and making a collage of photos on the computer, won't cost more than the printing and maybe a cheap frame.
post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 
I think the parent should help the child, not a step-parent. It's not an ex buying a present for an ex, it's a parent making sure their child is feeling good about a present to give their parent or other loved ones.

DH always helps her with presents for her mother...he takes that as his responsibility as a parent. So I've been assuming the same is true in reverse. But maybe I'm the only one who is thinking this.
post #6 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by CaliMommie View Post
If I am reading this right you are the step-parent and her father is your SO? If that is the case why wouldn't you help her choose a gift for him? I don't help my children pick put gifts for my xh and I wouldn't expect him to help them choose gifts for me. It's no longer my responsibilty to buy presents for my ex, even if they are from the children. My fiancee helps the kids pick out gifts for me.
Ditto that.
post #7 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by EStreetMama View Post
I think the parent should help the child, not a step-parent. It's not an ex buying a present for an ex, it's a parent making sure their child is feeling good about a present to give their parent or other loved ones.
Don't you consider yourself to be a parent to DSD?
post #8 of 28
I don't expect my dss's mom to help with anything for their dad - they're divorced! Why would she care? But I definately help my stepsons find gifts for their daddy. We make, or buy, things together. I figure, that's my job. I love him, I love them.

And if they wanted my help in getting their mom something, I'd help them. I remember feeling so good as a kid when I was able to give gifts. I want to encourage that behavior.
post #9 of 28
I understand the frustration you're feeling. You're expected to fill a role that you don't feel is your responsibility. It might stretch your resources to provide the material or cash for this gift.

Can you reframe this as a compliment that your dsd wants to do this with you? Can you think of it as an honor?

I don't agree that a 12-year-old won't need help obtaining or making a gift. I didn't have the cash or independence at that age to do so! Maybe making something at birthmom's house will cause hard feelings.

I don't see a hard-and-fast rule. I think that it might be a lovely gesture for you to ask dsd, "What did you have in mind and how can I help?" and see what happens next.
post #10 of 28
I have mixed feelings about this issue. I would gladly take DSD to buy a gift for her father (my DH). However, she is 12, and I think she should use her own money to buy gifts for her parents. She earns an allowance every week, and she rarely spends any money. I think it is important to help her understand the importance of reciprocity and gift giving. I am not thinking a huge gift, but a card and a little something that just says that I am thinking of you and I love you. I don't think that ex-spouses need to buy gifts on behalf of the kids, unless that is something that they both agree to ahead of time. My DSD expects DH to buy her mom an x-mas gift, for example. However, she would never ask her mother to buy anything for her father. She also doesn't think to buy anything for anyone other than her mother, but that is another issue. She lives 600 miles from her mother, and she has some serious attachment issues.
post #11 of 28
I said that it depends - and it mostly depends upon the relationship between the bio parents. I'm not really sure why you'd be annoyed and frustrated, though. The child needs help - help her. If you're broke and can't afford another gift, help ehr make something.
post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by EStreetMama View Post
My dsd (age 12) just informed me that she has no present for her father and asked "what WE'RE giving him".

I am peeeeeeved because I see it as her mom's job to help her get presents for her father for birthdays and Christmas. I've been getting steamed over this for a long time...but this really caught me by surprise this year. I guess I should have expected it, but I thought I'd already had a conversation with her mother about it.

What do you think?
I'm thinking that if your step daughter came to you and asked what 'we' were getting, then it was a call for help.

I think, as an adult - that you should help this child with their parent.

Obviously the other parent didn't help and the child is asking you for help.

Seems simple to me - or am I oversimplifying?
post #13 of 28
I never saw it as DSD's mom responsibility to take DSD shopping her her ex-husband's gift. I have encouraged DSD to get gift for her dad, but never insisted. I've added the money in the past to get something she chose for her dad, and this is the first year when she spends just her own money for the presents for both of her parents. She is 14. I'm still driving her to the mall though, and looking forward to it... I look at it as our "girls day out shopping" time.

What I'm trying to say, is that in our situation I am delighted to help her get a gift for her dad, and I prefer for her to come to me for such things than to her mom
post #14 of 28
As my HUSBAND'S WIFE, it's MY responsibility to bring the children shopping for gifts for my Husband. It's my stepdaughter's Mother's boyfriend's job to help her buy gifts for her Mother. For the most part, what goes on at our house is our responsibility and what goes on at her Mother's house is her Mother's responsibility, though on occasion, my stepdaughter has no one at her Mother's house to bring her shopping, in which case, I pick up the slack on that. Although my Hubby disagrees that I should, I just can't let my stepdaughter have the disappointment of no one helping her shop for her Mother. (Her Mother's Father and sister usually don't have time, so it doesn't get done.)
post #15 of 28
In our situation, my SO and his ex are on decent enough terms that they each shop w/SD for gifts for each other (as they'd probably exchange small gifts anyway).

So I don't get a gift from my SD to her dad (although I will encourage her to make something for him, which he prefers anyhow). My SO's ex is not repartnered, so if my SD is to give her anything, it has to come from us, not a new partner.

That said, if things change, I'd be happy to step into the role. I suspect things might change when my SO and I have a child of our own--then I'd be buying (or suggesting making) a gift from our natural child to him, so I might as well take care of both kids' presents while I'm at it. We'll see.
post #16 of 28
Well, let me give you the flip side. At their Dad's, my two are only allowed to spend what money they get from allowance AT their Dad's. That includes gifts for their Dad, stepMom, and two stepSibs, plus other extended relatives. Given that they spend less than a month (total time) there, the amount is relatively sparse. So even if they saved every penny of that, it wouldn't amount to much. Let's add that any "made" gifts are "not good enough" to be displayed in their home. So yeah - I take my kids to buy their father a gift - for each and every gift-giving occasion they ask me to help them with. I also make sure that they have something for their stepMom and stepSibs, and their other grandmother. I draw the line there. They do spend their own money, but I don't hesitate to help them out if they're a little short. Because they are made to feel that their gifts are "less" than they should be otherwise.

Quote:
Obviously the other parent didn't help and the child is asking you for help.

Seems simple to me - or am I oversimplifying?
No, you're not. It's the right thing to do.
post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjawm View Post
I don't expect my dss's mom to help with anything for their dad - they're divorced! Why would she care?
Because she, presumably, loves her children and remembers that he is their father.
post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by harleyhalfmoon View Post
As my HUSBAND'S WIFE, it's MY responsibility to bring the children shopping for gifts for my Husband. It's my stepdaughter's Mother's boyfriend's job to help her buy gifts for her Mother.

:

I'd be totally open to helping with suggestions and brainstorming, especially homemade ideas, and helping out with that, though.
post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtiger View Post
Because she, presumably, loves her children and remembers that he is their father.
And I'm his wife. It's a strange concept to me, that his ex would be responsible for helping get a gift for him rather than me.
post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by lab View Post
I'm thinking that if your step daughter came to you and asked what 'we' were getting, then it was a call for help.

I think, as an adult - that you should help this child with their parent.

Obviously the other parent didn't help and the child is asking you for help.

Seems simple to me - or am I oversimplifying?
I agree with this. It doesn't matter which is right, your sd asked for help. Why the frustration.


FWIW the divorced parents I know do not buy gifts for their exes with their children. Their new spouses or grandparents do.
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