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Woman gives husband ultimatum: step-kid can't come home until she pays her daughter back. AITA? UPDATED 2X

Woman gives husband ultimatum: step-kid can't come home until she pays her daughter back. AITA? UPDATED 2X


"AITA for telling my husband that my stepdaughter can’t return home until she pays my daughter back?"

I (30F) have a 14 year old daughter Leia. Married my husband Mark (46M) 6 years ago. He has two children from a previous marriage Koi (16M) and Coral (14F). Me and Mark have the kids full time but his kids live with their mom for a few weeks during the summer.

They moved into my lake house which has five bedrooms. Two of the bedrooms upstairs have bathrooms. My daughter had one of those rooms. But as the girls began high school, Coral began complaining about not having a bathroom and said it’s unfair. Mark and Koi told her to stop complaining.

Leía said it was fine and asked us if she could turn the basement into her room. I didn’t like that idea but she begged. So I agreed. Turns out my daughter wanted a room makeover so this worked out. We give the kids allowance and allowed them to get a work permit.

Koi worked at an arcade and told the girls he could get them jobs. Coral refused to work but Leia agreed. After five months of saving her allowance, she able to buy everything she needed to decorate. Coral never bothered to go down there because she believed it was full of spiders, but Koi was down there everyday helping her.

After a week she completely transformed the basement. She invited everyone down, and it was stunning. I didn’t even know that computer towers could be clear. She looked so proud. Coral then screamed that it wasn’t fair and that she wanted the basement now.

Everyone began yelling at her but she began crying and before we know it she ran over to the computer and threw the tower on the ground. The glass shattered and one of the monitors fell to the floor also breaking.

My daughter cried. I explained to Mark that Coral has to pay for this. He said her emotions are just high and that we’ll get situated when everything calms down. I ran to Coral and yelled saying that she’s on punishment. Mark didn’t agree but I didn’t care. Coral was unnecessarily crying, and ran to her mother's car.

Koi was trying to help my daughter, and Mark tried to hand her 300 dollars but Koi explained that Coral caused about a thousand dollars worth of damages. He said luckily the expensive pieces in the case were saved, but the case itself was about 450 and the monitor was 200.

Mark explained that he doesn’t have that kind of money. So I said she can’t come back until my daughters stuff is repaired with a sincere apology. Koi agreed and mark was upset saying he couldn’t do that to his daughter. I told him to leave if that’s the case.

Mark left for a few hours and handed my daughter a check for 1,000 dollars. I explained that Coral can’t come back if there is no punishment. My husband’s ex wife is saying that I’m banning her from our home because she didn’t deserve that bigger space and that we were treating Coral unfairly. But I said she did that there was nothing unfair about the situation. The Ex just hung up.

Now my husband’s ex in laws are bombarding him with phone calls saying he’s a horrible dad. His sister even said he’s being a bad parent and they’re best friends so it’s really getting to him. This happened last night and he hasn’t gotten up yet. Should I apologize? AITA?

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

Gothmom85 said:

Just gotta say, obviously OP's spouse and his ex have raised a brat. I don't know how his son managed to have such good sense, but I'm so happy he has a sane and awesome family in OP and her daughter. What a great kid! NTA.

theworldisonfire8377 said:

NTA. Coral sounds like a spoiled brat, and Mark needs to realize that at 14 she should have a better handle on her emotions than throwing a tantrum because someone else has something nice that she wants.

She absolutely should apologize for behaving like a toddler and Mark needs to stop coddling his kid. At least the older brother seems to have a clue. Let him stew in his feelings, maybe he'll get some insight into why his dismissive parenting isn't doing anyone any favors.

JuliaX1984 said:

NTA He could solve ALL of this by actually disciplining his kid and getting her therapy. I'm glad he paid your daughter back (that's what the law would do -- a 14 yr old can't be made to pay anything, so it's the parent's responsibility). That's just not the end of it. (Btw he also needs to pay for a good lock for her room before his daughter is allowed back.)

superflex said:

NTA. So to be clear, first it wasn't fair that Leia had one of the upstairs bedrooms with an ensuite bath. I am assuming that when the basement project got the green light, the natural outcome of that was going to be Coral moving into that bedroom.

Second, Coral wanted nothing to do with the basement. Didn't want the space, contributed no time, effort, or money to the work on it. And then when she saw the finished product, all of the sudden she wanted it, and "it wasn't fair" again. Third, Coral got shut down, and in a fit of rage, smashed Leia's custom PC and one of her monitors.

Coral is an entitled brat. I think you're on shaky ground with the concept of banning one of your stepchildren from your marital home, but punishment and restitution is 100% warranted.

sk1999sk said:

NTA - the child has anger management issues. if she cannot apologize, her dad needs to put her in therapy so she can learn to be a civilized human.

Shai7809 said:

NTA - Your husband and his family's reaction is why Coral is spoiled. Stand your ground. I suspect that Koi has been living with the same issue for years and that's why he's on your side.


I found out the complete story and there is a lot of drama. It’s over a boy. So both my daughters are cheerleaders and it’s a Valentine’s Day dance coming up. All of Corals friends are cheerleaders and they all date football players except her. So for the past month her friends have been trying to hook her up with Brad. But it turns out he is interested in Leia.

After all the games Brad talked with Leia. So Coral came up with a rumor that Leia plays roblox. It’s not really a rumor, but Brad found out. So after school a few days before the incident, Coral tells Brad how childish Leia is for still playing roblox. And Brad says he doesn’t think it’s childish.

Turns out him and his friends play and then invited Leia to Join them. Then yesterday after school in the hallway, Brad had his friends recorded this big proposal to the dance that included flowers and chocolate and Leia accepted.

Apparently Coral was crying at cheerleading practice and Leia went up to ask what’s wrong and if she needs anything. Coral and her friends started cursing Leia out. So Leia just backed off.

Then this morning Coral posted on Facebook about how Leia is the favorite child and that she was kicked out of her decorated bedroom in order for Leia to have it. Her mom (Drea) had also posted something similar.

Koi didn’t want this to ruin Leia’s reputation. So he posted everything about their lies. He also posted a picture of the shattered case. And explained how everything Coral said was a lie and how Leia was nice enough to give up her bedroom.

Drea also called us some horrible names. Then Koi responded that the reason the custody is no longer 50/50 is because Drea’s husband hates kids. Apparently Coral didn’t know this but Drea sent my husband a text saying he knows how her husband feels about the kids being here, so he needs to make up with her and let her come home.

Mark then screenshot this and sent it to Coral. She came home and went straight to her room she, skipped practice. Leia is on her way, so when she gets home we’ll have a family meeting.

Here's what top commenters had to say about the first update:

SpecialistBit283 said:

Koi seems like such a good kid, doing what’s right instead of being biased.

JuliaX1984 said:

If Dad wants to keep his daughter out of her mom's house, he needs to be a parent and properly discipline her for this. He has the power to make this right.

newtonianlaws said:

NTA ok mom, you got this. This is absolutely peak high school drama. I teach high school so here’s some advice on restorative justice circles...Sit together with the whole family, that includes dad, bio mom (if she’s willing, or not) and koi. You start by saying that the only thing that matters is that this family leaves the table with more love, more respect, and more understanding of each other.

Nothing is off the table, you can speak your truth, but that doesn’t mean you can be rude, insulting or just resort to name calling. The rule is one person talks at a time (you’re going to need something like a spoon or plushie). You can not talk for longer than 2 minutes at a time (timer on iPhone).

Everyone has paper so they can write their thoughts down and not forget their talking points. Each person has something green that they can throw on the table to indicate they have something to say.

You will be the note keeper. You will write bullets for each main part that’s agreed upon. Don’t get wordy. Someone starts and tells their side of the story. That’s how you phrase it: their side of the story. Because there is a her side, another her side, and the truth.

First there is collaboration to establish a time line of events (what happened). You might be surprised that this didn’t start with Coral wanting what Leia has, something may have happened to trigger her request. Let the timeline go as far back as they need it to.

Then you’re going to focus on intent. Did Coral understand that she was asking Leia to move out of her room that’s she’s always lived in? Why did Coral request a Leia’s room? Why did Coral refuse the basement instead of asking for help to clean it up and redecorate with her dad? Why did Coral refuse to get a job to get extra money?

What was the intent of destroying Leia’s things that she worked hard for? How has Leia felt through this whole process? How has Koi felt? What is your husband feeling about how each of his children have behaved? What would he rather they do when they are feeling upset, overwhelmed, ignored, bullied, etc? You get to add your feelings too. Remember these emotions must be expressed without insulting each other. I feel…statements vs “she’s a spoiled bitch and I hate her."

Now, when everyone is calm, how does each person feel about their behavior and choices. What could have been done or said differently to de-escalate the bad feelings? What does Coral think she could have done differently? What is she going to do the next time she starts to feel impulsive, mean, angry thoughts, because that type of behavior is not acceptable.

Finally, ask each person what support they think they need to help feel their feelings without resorting to acts of violence? Ask Coral what consequences she thinks are appropriate for her actions. Then you proceed to set consequences that are fair. You also establish rules for future interactions like no name calling, no destruction of other people’s property, and that people will own their part in each conflict.

This may be hard for you all because I think you want to establish sides and punishments, but that won’t lead to a bonded family. The way you’ve written here, Coral is a very lost little girl who has been mollycoddled into believing that she’s special. The world is not accommodating that delusion and she does not have the skills or experience to deal well with her disappointment. I truly think she needs some therapy and all of you could use a couple of family sessions too.

Edit: after rereading your post it also strikes me that no one wants Coral. Her mom is choosing her boy toy over her daughter and thinks lying online is showing support, even if she’s low key telling the adults her lifestyle doesn’t include or prioritize her kids. Her dad has no clue how to handle a teenager who’s really not doing well. He just wants the conflict to go away, but he can’t focus on just the action and pay off what broke, he needs to communicate until he understands the why for the behavior.

You, with all due respect, have drawn a line between your kid and his kids and Coral knows damn well whose side you’re on. Your go to was to kick the kid out, not put her in her room and ground her, literally kick her out.

Even her brother chooses you and Leia. This girl has no one on her side to help her manage her feelings and modify her behavior. She really does need therapy to help her make better choices and to learn how to control her feelings instead of her feelings controlling her.

Vivzxxx1001 said:

Coral sounds insufferable. And both the mom and the dad are enabling her. Koi however, seems like an awesome kid. It’s good that both of you have Leia’s back.

ImpossibleFuture7339 said:

Now I feel a little bad for Coral. Not a lot, because her behavior was still extremely bratty and totally out of line, but a little. It has to be rough when you're fourteen and have a stepsibling who's your same age and sex to constantly compare yourself to, and she's constantly showing you up at everything.

Neither Leia nor Koi has done anything wrong here, but I can understand how Coral would feel envious because Leia seems to walk between the raindrops, and Koi, her own brother, takes that other girl's side. And Drea just believes whatever Coral vents to her.

Coral needs to be punished for what she did. Coddling her after what she did would be very harmful. But I hope there is a constructive way to help Coral forge her own path and feel good about herself without hurting others. And, of course, Leia should have whatever she needs to feel secure in the space she has made for herself.


So we had a long talk. Coral came down and apologized to Leia. And she was jealous about Brad. She also apologized to me for lying to her aunt. She believed that Leia got everything she asked for. So I had her explain and the only thing she said was Brad. As I was about to explain Mark stepped in and told her that wasn’t everything.

Mark then explained everything Coral got which included a room makeover which Leia had to pay for on her own. A brand new laptop after Leia had to pay for her entire computer setup. He then asked is this really about a guy that she doesn’t have anything in common with?

Coral then told us how popular he was and that because Leia is a nerd they don’t mesh. Other than cheerleading, Leia is in quiz bowl and a robot making club. Leia explained now that football was over Brad was also in those clubs and so are his friends who the other cheerleaders date.

Coral than began crying again because after the Facebook post her friends explained that their boyfriends don’t want to be involved with a liar and advised them to stop hanging with her so they didn’t sit with her at lunch today.

Mark calmly told her that was her own doing. She broke down and said I know. Mark then held her in his arms and apologized about sending her the screenshot and explained that I wasn’t the bad guy. She then explained that Drea told her that I forced mark to get full custody so that we all could be one big happy family. So that along with the Brad situation made her lash out.

She then ran to hug me saying how sorry she was. And looked a Leia and apologized once again. I brought up family therapy and everyone agreed. Coral took the post down already and apologized to Leia publicly. I know things are looking up but without friends and this situation with her mom, I’m not sure what’s going to happen

Here's what top commenters had to say after the second update:

ChrisInBliss said:

Honestly was not the update I was expecting. But I'm also not surprised it was all because of a boy.

LibraryMouse4321 said:

I hope Coral learned a lesson. And she still has to pay back what she purposefully damaged. I hope everything can be worked out.

literaryhogwartian said:

Poor Coral. I mean is anyone there for her? No wonder she is lashing out.

While the opinions were slightly divided for this one, most people were on OP's side throughout. OP also confirmed in the comments:

She’s back at home. I’m choosing a safe environment for everyone. He paid the money, emotions are all over the place. We’ll work out a punishment tomorrow. If my daughter behaved this way I would separate the girls and because it’s my daughters doing I would be the one to leave. If you choose to stay in a hostile environment that’s your problem and I feel sorry for any kid that you parent.

What's your advice for this family?

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