Should parent or stepparent help with presents? - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: Who should help step-children make/buy presents for bio-parent?
step-parents 18 45.00%
other bio-parent 4 10.00%
depends on other circumstances 18 45.00%
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Old 12-22-2007, 11:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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?
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Old 12-22-2007, 11:53 PM
 
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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.

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Old 12-23-2007, 12:04 AM
 
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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.

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Old 12-23-2007, 12:15 AM
 
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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.
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Old 12-23-2007, 01:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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Old 12-23-2007, 01:05 AM
 
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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.

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Old 12-23-2007, 01:05 AM
 
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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?

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Old 12-23-2007, 01:11 AM
 
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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.
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Old 12-23-2007, 01:26 AM
 
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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.
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Old 12-23-2007, 01:31 AM
 
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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.
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Old 12-23-2007, 01:44 AM
 
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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.
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Old 12-23-2007, 01:50 AM
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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?

Trying to do the right thing with three kids and a hubby. 
ds20, dd18, ds17
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Old 12-23-2007, 10:31 AM
 
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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

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Old 12-23-2007, 01:47 PM
 
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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.)

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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Old 12-23-2007, 02:11 PM
 
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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.

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Old 12-23-2007, 02:31 PM
 
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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.
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Old 12-23-2007, 02:38 PM
 
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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.
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Old 12-23-2007, 02:41 PM
 
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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.
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Old 12-23-2007, 03:57 PM
 
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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.
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Old 12-23-2007, 04:17 PM
 
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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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Old 12-23-2007, 04:39 PM
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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?
:

The fact that you're upset about this speaks VOLUMES about how you feel about this poor child.

I agree with pp..........she asked you for help. So help her.

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Old 12-23-2007, 07:45 PM
 
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In my case, I am annoyed because DSD's mother is a charity case to my DSD. In a normal situation, I would gladly take her to buy a gift for her mom and her dad. She regularly informs us that her mother has no money and is broke. Her mother, who gave DH custody last summer, after my husband filed a motion for a legal change in custody so that we could relocate to Georgia from Michigan (although DH has had custody for all but 2 weeks since there divorce more than 3 years ago). The mother does not support the daughter financially at all, despite a prior agreement with DH. She just doesn't know how to be a parent or a responsible person. I get hung up on this issue, and I resent spending money on the mother. It takes a lot of sacrifices on everyone's part to raise this child. I gladly do for DSD but it is not my responsibility to do for the mother.

I also get annoyed because DSD wants to buy a gift for her mother only, but not for anyone else including her father or me. Now, her mother is not rich, but she does work full-time and has few expenses. She chooses to spend her money on drugs and alcohol, rather than her child. I feel used in some way, and that's what bothers me. I try not to let this resentment cloud my perspective, but I am only human.
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Old 12-23-2007, 08:07 PM
 
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Wow -- I'm not sure I understand why the request would bother you. I'm totally the opposite -- I get annoyed if my DH's ex takes the kids to buy presents for him, as I see that as my role. (Actually, the reason I got annoyed is more complicated -- one time I told her I'd do it -- this was for his birthday -- but she did it anyway, in some weird turf war or something -- told me I had "no role" with the kids.. long story)

This year I took both stepkids to buy presents for their dad and each other. My husband took them to buy presents for me. Since their mom has no partner, we offered to take them to get something for their mom, but they didn't want to -- said they'd be making something at school, so we didn't push.

I think is your stepdaughter wants you to take her shopping, that's a GOOD thing! Take her out and it'll be a nice bonding experience. Have fun!

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Old 12-23-2007, 08:09 PM
 
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I think if you stop looking at it as doing a favor for her mother, and start doing at it as something that makes a child you love happy, then it should overpower the resentment. *hugs*

DSD did not get me a present for this Christmas, but she is SO proud that she spent her own money today to get gifts for her mom, dad and siblings. Guess who took her out shopping? And we all had good time. I also want to add, that even if I have a few issues with her mom, we set them aside for the holidays, and just finished wrapping gifts, eight of them go to the "other side" Christmas morning when we pick up DSD. And there was a bit of thought involved into what to get for her siblings as well as her mom and stepdad. It makes DSD happy, and makes her see things in a different light. Hope you can look at the situation in that way: would it put as smile on a child's face? Then what else matters!

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Old 12-24-2007, 12:45 AM
 
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I don't think there is a RIGHT way here. I think it depends on the relationships involved.

Also, I don't think it is wise to assume why she asked. Kids do things for their own reasons. Maybe there has been a little tension between mom and dad and the child has picked up on it. Maybe she thinks you pick better gifts! Maybe she was reaching for a sense of family with you. Maybe mom did tell her to go to you. Maybe a little bit of any number of the above and dozens of reasons that I can't imagine.

Bottomline, I think the only rule there should be is that if a child asks for help, you give it to her. That doesn't mean you automatically open your wallet or do jump to do what they asked. But I do think you find a way to help the child with whatever they are stuggling with. Even if it is just to help her talk it through until she figures out what she should be doing.
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Old 12-24-2007, 02:27 AM
 
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I think it really depends on the situation. I help SS buy a present for DH. DH helps all my kids (including SS) buy gifts for me.

I took SS10 shopping for his BM for the first time this year. When DH and I married, I asked DH about getting a xmas gift for BM and he thought I was crazy. My divorced parents always helped me with presents for the other so I thought that was the "norm". This year I asked SS if his SF helped him buy a gift for BM. The answer was no. SS was THRILLED to pick out something small to give his mother.
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Old 12-24-2007, 02:37 AM
 
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Right now you are the one in a loving and caring relationship with the parent that your DSD wants to buy a present for and therefore you are the best person to help this child to select a truly meaningful present. why would this be in question?
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Old 12-24-2007, 11:05 AM
 
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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.
I was responding specifically to the question of why the ex would care to help their child buy a gift for the other parent. Just because they're no longer together doesn't necessarily mean that all caring stops.

The way I look at it, he's their Dad. I don't love him, nor to I particularly like him. But he is a part of the two people I love more than life itself. And if it is important to them, it's important to me.

Does it peeve me to help them buy gifts for their stepMom and her kids? Sometimes. But again, it's important to the kids, so it's important to me.
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