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'AITA for giving my stepdaughter anything she wants after she goes to her mom’s house?'

'AITA for giving my stepdaughter anything she wants after she goes to her mom’s house?'


"AITA for giving my stepdaughter anything she wants after she goes to her mom’s house?"


I have a 10 year old stepdaughter, Harper. I have been in Harper’s life since she was 2 and I love this little girl more than anything. My husband and I have Harper Saturday afternoon -Thursday. Her mom picks her up from school on Friday and has her until 12pm Saturday.

Harper’s mom is a vindictive bitch. Harper hates going to her mom’s house and no matter how many times we’ve tried, we can’t get her custody reduced. In march Harper made a picture frame at school and was asked to bring in a family picture. Harper’s mom sent in a picture of herself and we sent in a picture of the 3 of us.

Harper used the one with the 3 of us and the frame was sent home on a Friday. Harper’s mom was so mad that she didn’t use the picture of herself that she broke the frame in front of Harper.

Now she will make Harper go to her house every Friday but she won’t talk to Harper or touch her. She pretends like she’s not there. This destroys Harper. When she gets home she always finds me and will hold onto me for the rest of the day. She even refuses to eat or speak.

She usually speaks or communicates in other ways by Sunday so if she says she wants something I get it for her, whether it’s a big Lego set that she’s been wanting, a new dress, a mani pedi, etc. she always gets it. My husband told me to stop spoiling Harper after she spends the night at her mom’s house.

He said I can sleep in her room or make her a special breakfast or paint her nails at home but a $100 Lego set, some $20 dresses, going out to eat, and mani pedis are too much (just for reference our houses and cars are completely paid off and we have a combined yearly income of 560k. We can easily afford it).

I think she deserves it after going to her mom’s house but he thinks she’s going to end up spoiled and expect this anytime something unpleasant happens. AITA for spoiling her after she goes to her mom’s house?

Here were the top rated comments from readers in response to the OP's post:


You know what would help her more than material objects? Therapy and fighting to get her away from her abusive mother. YTA.


ESH but it should really be stronger because all of you adults are a$$h0l3s.

None of this is okay.

Harper’s mom sounds awful and this is stuff you need to be documenting with your attorney and taking to court. She cannot ignore her child over an “offense” like this. That is so damaging to Harper, from teaching her how adults respond to having hurt feelings to the damage it’s doing to her now, to have her own mother ignore her.

You’re not doing any better than Harper’s mom, you just think you are because the things you’re doing are “nice.” But um, hello, Harper’s silence isn’t a normal reaction to coming back home. You’re showing her that love and affection are linked to gifts and experiences and that’s not a healthy thing either. Your husband is right.

There would be nothing wrong with having something special for Harper to look forward to upon coming home, but that should be consistent and nice, not a week-to-week wish fulfillment to the point of being over the top.

Harper’s mom is failing her most obviously. But you and her father are just as bad, trying to Band-Aid her problems with toys and nail dates rather than working with the court system to better her life. If you’ve got money to burn, give Harper something of substance and lasting meaning rather than a fucking Lego kit.


I appreciate you wanting to make your SD feel important. However, giving her everything she wants is the absolute wrong way to go. You are setting yourself up to have a spoiled monster living in your house. The fact that you can afford to spoil her this way is irrelevant.

Give her lots of hugs, spend time with her of course. But don't jump every time she says she wants something. Your husband is right, there are other ways to show her she is loved without creating a monster. YTA.


Yeah, I have to side with her father here. It’s not a question of affordability, it’s a matter of spoiling her and making her think she can get whatever she wants at any time. I think you completely miss the point by mentioning your finances here. It’s not a relevant point at all. You’re not doing her any favours here. YTA, I guess.


I see that your Harper IS in therapy, which is very much a good thing. It might be worth it to talk to the therapist directly about what would be best for Harper in terms of mitigating the transition from her awful time at her mother's house and coming back to your house.

I think quality time is best, and an occasional treat. But you don't want her to conflate drudging through bad experiences with getting a gift that she wants. Not necessarily terrible at the moment as she is a child, but she has teen years and adulthood coming up and this may not be the best precedent to set for her.


I think it is absolutely lovely of you to try to give her things she wants after going through a horrible experience, it’s clear you love her very much. I’m afraid I am going to side with the dad here tho- I think the best thing for her here is STABILITY.

As a child of divorced parents, the thing I wanted more than anything material was a stable home, where things felt calm and normal. I think that taking her out for expensive things etc might actually be even more destabilising, as she’s going straight from her mother being awful to her to an equally unnatural situation of a extravagant ‘treat’.

I used to spend the weekends at my Dad’s which I found very stressful. When I got home, all I wanted was to feel safe and normal again- so very mundane things like cooking with my mum, doing my homework with her in the kitchen.

The best thing you can do is try to give her a stable, normal life I think. You can still do nice things to show her you’re thinking of her tho- eg flowers in her room when she gets home, a nice breakfast, a hug.

So, what do you think about this one? If you could give the OP any advice here, what would you tell them?

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