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AIBU?

I don’t want to lower my childrens a pocket money to match their stepsisters

340 replies

ormav · 15/09/2022 16:16

I have a daughter (15) and a son (12) with my ex. Originally when their mum and I started giving them pocket money we went with a formula of £3 multiplied by how old they were. Since their mum and I divorced 7 years ago I have been responsible for paying the kids their pocket money. I have kept to the original formula we agreed on. So now our daughter get £45 a week and her brother gets £36 a week.

Last year their mum got married. Her husband also has a daughter (14), so my kids have a stepsister now. Apparently she just found out how much our children are getting for their pocket money. She found out when my sons was talking about saving up for a new computer and she asked how he could afford it and how much money he got. He told her how much and how it was based on how old they were.

Now that she knows my ex and her husband say it’s caused a lot of trouble in their household leading to jealousy issues and fighting. This is because their stepsister only receives £10 a week. Both my ex and her husband said that I need to lower the kids allowance. They say that inequality like that between children in the same household can severely adversely affect their sibling relationship. I think that if there is inequality in their household that it is their responsibility to deal with it, not mine. I told them they should should raise the amount his daughter gets if it’s an issue.

They told me that they couldn’t afford to give her that much, but even if they could they wouldn’t because they don’t believe children their ages should have access to the amount of money they have. They say that continuing to give them this much pocket money will also make them spoiled, entitled and bad with money.

My ex later said she assumed I was giving them a normal amount even though I just stuck with the formula we did and agreed upon a long time ago. She says that I obviously should have stopped raising it when it reached normal amount (I’ll point out here that she never said what a normal amount it).

I have since looked up the regular range for pocket money and I’ll acknowledge that theirs is on the higher side. That’s said I do not believe it is adversely affecting them. They do not act spoiled or entitled. They never demand to have things and accept when things don’t go as planned. They do their chores without complaint and do well in school. They get along very well with others their own age with the exception of their stepsister because she calls them spoiled. I would also they are the opposite of bad with money as they both have saved up a significant amount in their accounts and aren’t just spending their money on pointless things as soon as they get it.

OP posts:
Meseekslookatme · 15/09/2022 19:34

GiltEdges · 15/09/2022 16:19

I don’t think your response was unreasonable. You can spend your money however you see fit 🤷🏼‍♀️

Exactly, the resentment if you reduce the amount will be directed at you.
If they are careful spenders and good kids I'd say tough. Exes issue not yours

Imthedamnfoolwhoshothim · 15/09/2022 19:35

budgiegirl · 15/09/2022 18:55

but that’s a risk you take when you blend families 🤷🏻‍♀️ Different kids, different parents. ‘Equalizing’ it will create a new set of problems, because it’s only being done to pander to the step sister

It is a risk, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be sensitive to the problems it can cause. While I'm not sure how you deal with this, I don't think it's fair to be calling it 'pandering' to the step sister.

It's not a problem for anyone OP cares about and so it's not a problem.

This is why people need to stop shoving kids together and think they're family.

beachcitygirl · 15/09/2022 19:41

My 17 year old gets £50 a week from me (and im a low earner)

But i do not put my hand in my pocket for anything else except clothes she needs (not wants) and food/housing etc

She pays her own phone cost of and bill
Magazines
Make up
Transport
Clothes she fancies (fancy trainers etc)
Clubs


She ofteb buys me flowers or chocs or treats me to the movies from her own money & is proud as punch to do so.

We were out for a family meal about 6 weeks ago as a celebration & when my dh went to pay the bill she had already paid it as a treat.
We were flabherghasted and so so so proud of her. (It was over £140)

She said it made her feel warm & fuzzy & proud to be able to do that.

My pal who used to only give £10 a week to a similiar age kid but was paying all the orher stuff, did a count one week & she was paying out much more than me on adhoc basis & her kid wasnt learning to budget/be responsible/pay phone bill etc

Her kid now gets £50 a week too

Lovemusic33 · 15/09/2022 19:41

I’m not sure why so many people are saying “it’s too much”, if you can afford it then it’s up to you how much you give your dc. Your ex sounds a bit crazy just because her partner can’t afford to give his dc the same. Maybe it’s a good time for them to teach the kids that not everything is equal and fair in life.

whumpthereitis · 15/09/2022 19:42

budgiegirl · 15/09/2022 18:55

but that’s a risk you take when you blend families 🤷🏻‍♀️ Different kids, different parents. ‘Equalizing’ it will create a new set of problems, because it’s only being done to pander to the step sister

It is a risk, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be sensitive to the problems it can cause. While I'm not sure how you deal with this, I don't think it's fair to be calling it 'pandering' to the step sister.

But it isn’t a problem, not for OP and not for his kids. It’s a system that’s worked well for them.

Of course it’s pandering. The problem isn’t Op’s kids and their pocket money, the problem is the stepsister’s jealousy. The ex and her father need to deal with that with her, not take away from the others and create a different set of problems.

Op can provide more for his kids, and this is going to be true whether he cuts the allowance or not. It means that throughout life they’ll probably have access to things the stepsister doesn’t. Indeed, she’ll come across many people with more, and many people with less. That’s life, and it’s something she needs to be taught to come to terms with.

whumpthereitis · 15/09/2022 19:44

Not every problem someone has requires other people, related or not, to compromise or find a solution for them.

Sometimes, someone’s problem is just that: their problem, and one they need to suck up.

Boreded · 15/09/2022 19:58

iwantasandwich · 15/09/2022 16:20

Ignore those fixating on the amount

I was given similar to that amount when I was 15 (17 years ago now) and grew up in a council house so it's hardly too much considering inflation and their ages

No comment…but I’m not the only one thinking it

lightisnotwhite · 15/09/2022 20:14

Stepsister is 14. Of course she’s going to be jealous, there’s grown women on this thread who’d like £40 a week for themselves.
I don’t think the Op’s kids will miss out if it’s saved rather than handed over. It’s different for the 17 year old who presumably has college friends and different expectations of a social life but tough for the younger ones.
I do think we should be giving kids the message about how we’d like the world to be not how it currently is.So yes you get money for working hard, some jobs pay more because they require more and not your dads rich and you get money for nothing.

PenTantrum · 15/09/2022 20:19

What sort of mother tries to stop a father giving their child money to appease her new bloke. Fuck that.

You’re happy with the amount you give them, they live with you got the majority of the time and they sound like lovely kids. Just continue to do as you’re doing.

I do feel for the step daughter. These are the kind of things that are really hard for kids when they are told they now have step siblings and live with people who have different parents with different circumstances. Blended families are mostly shit for kids in my experience. However, that’s not your problem, your only responsibility is to your own children here.

Imthedamnfoolwhoshothim · 15/09/2022 20:20

lightisnotwhite · 15/09/2022 20:14

Stepsister is 14. Of course she’s going to be jealous, there’s grown women on this thread who’d like £40 a week for themselves.
I don’t think the Op’s kids will miss out if it’s saved rather than handed over. It’s different for the 17 year old who presumably has college friends and different expectations of a social life but tough for the younger ones.
I do think we should be giving kids the message about how we’d like the world to be not how it currently is.So yes you get money for working hard, some jobs pay more because they require more and not your dads rich and you get money for nothing.

WTF?
That is the real world. If your parents are rich you get more.

His finances are not the business of some kid who's name he doesn't even have to learn.

womaninatightspot · 15/09/2022 20:21

Discuss with children, give them 10 quid a week each and put the remainder in savings for them. Same result but everyone has same disposable income.

Jaaxe · 15/09/2022 20:22

Jesus Christ £45 a week?! That’s a crazy amount but if it’s what u want to give in pocket money that’s your choice. Not your problem they can’t match it.

I’d maybe just suggest to the 2 of them they don’t rub it in step sisters face and keep it on the down low to avoid resentment.

Or give them £10 in cash and put the rest in a savings account for them and tell them they do have access to the rest if/when they need or want it for whatever/whenever they just need to ask you. It saves any arguments and it might make them think more about how much they’re saving and save up for something they really want etc

whumpthereitis · 15/09/2022 20:23

lightisnotwhite · 15/09/2022 20:14

Stepsister is 14. Of course she’s going to be jealous, there’s grown women on this thread who’d like £40 a week for themselves.
I don’t think the Op’s kids will miss out if it’s saved rather than handed over. It’s different for the 17 year old who presumably has college friends and different expectations of a social life but tough for the younger ones.
I do think we should be giving kids the message about how we’d like the world to be not how it currently is.So yes you get money for working hard, some jobs pay more because they require more and not your dads rich and you get money for nothing.

Well yes they will, because it’s changing their normal, not because they’ve done something wrong or because it isn’t working, on account of someone else’s jealousy. They ARE saving it, and learning more about financial responsibility doing so than they would be if their dad was doing it on their behalf. I bet she’d complain about that too though, because she won’t have the same amount in savings to help her later on.

’how we’d like the world to be’ - how do you know OP isn’t? We’ve all got different ideas on that one. Even so, I’m not convinced that giving into jealousy is a particularly utopian value.

Some people have more. That’s life. I was also lucky because ‘dad’s rich’, but I still appreciated it and worked hard. Kids that have less given to them aren’t inherently more virtuous, or better people.

ChickenBurgers · 15/09/2022 20:23

Ignore everyone saying it’s too much, if you have the means to do this (which you obviously do!) then what someone else thinks is too much is irrelevant. I also don’t think you should be reducing it just to appease their new step sister because it’s her dads problem if she feels it’s unfair, would be unfair to your own kids and they don’t even live there the majority of the time anyway.

Peeeko · 15/09/2022 20:24

YANBU. The amounts are irrelevant imo. It's nothing to do with you whether the child of some guy you don't really know is upset about your children's pocket money amount.

If that's what you want to give to your children then that is your choice and I wouldn't be swayed by what some random kid has said about it.

Peeeko · 15/09/2022 20:27

womaninatightspot · 15/09/2022 20:21

Discuss with children, give them 10 quid a week each and put the remainder in savings for them. Same result but everyone has same disposable income.

Why should OP care what some random child he's not related to is upset about?

As the mum in this situation I'd just be telling my children to be sensitive when discussing pocket money in front of their step sister but that's it. She can't and shouldn't stop her ex from giving their children something just because her step daughter is upset she doesn't get the same.

It's life. Some people have more than others. Her step siblings dad has absolutely no obligation to be fair to her.

shedwithivy · 15/09/2022 20:41

latetothefisting · 15/09/2022 17:16

Agree it would be completely ridiculous to stop your children's pocket money because their step sister gets less. If step sister took violin lessons or won a sports scholarship to pay for university should she have to stop these if your dc aren't musical/sporty? If step sister had a pet dog or whatever would your step sister be happy to give them up if you didn't allow your kids one? If your parents have passed away should step sister not be allowed to visit her granny because its not fair she still has hers while your dc don't? Etc etc!

Could you ask your ex wife to tell step sister that this goes towards things that she might buy stepsister, it's just a different way of doing it? Even if it still doesn't work out exactly the same, she can be vague and fudge it, she doesn't have to go into full details of what you spend on your dc.

Ultimately though stepsister needs to learn that life isn't fair - surely some of her friends get more pocket money than her?

However nearly £220 a month by the time they reach 18 is a huge amount of disposable income - my only issue with kids having that much money is the same as kids who are given the latest iPhones and that it will be a huge shock to the system if/when parents stop providing it. To put into perspective they have to work 32 hours at the minimum wage to earn that. Just something to think about as at some stage - when they are at uni or in their first job they'll probably end up with significantly less disposable income than when they were 15, which can be really gutting at a time when you are supposed to be enjoying the start of your independence!

Wise post

GiantTortoise · 15/09/2022 20:42

It's a lot of money, but your kids do seem to be buying sensible things with it. I agree with you OP that this is your call.

lightisnotwhite · 15/09/2022 21:12

Some people have more. That’s life. I was also lucky because ‘dad’s rich’, but I still appreciated it and worked hard. Kids that have less given to them aren’t inherently more virtuous, or better people

This is not mortality about rich and poor. These children are part of a new family with their mum. It’s unfair and unrealistic to expect life to be the same. They won’t lose out, they can still get the money when they are with dad and saved in the bank.

Imthedamnfoolwhoshothim · 15/09/2022 21:24

lightisnotwhite · 15/09/2022 21:12

Some people have more. That’s life. I was also lucky because ‘dad’s rich’, but I still appreciated it and worked hard. Kids that have less given to them aren’t inherently more virtuous, or better people

This is not mortality about rich and poor. These children are part of a new family with their mum. It’s unfair and unrealistic to expect life to be the same. They won’t lose out, they can still get the money when they are with dad and saved in the bank.

They aren't family. And absolutly nothing to do with OP

Why do you think he should care?

whumpthereitis · 15/09/2022 21:27

lightisnotwhite · 15/09/2022 21:12

Some people have more. That’s life. I was also lucky because ‘dad’s rich’, but I still appreciated it and worked hard. Kids that have less given to them aren’t inherently more virtuous, or better people

This is not mortality about rich and poor. These children are part of a new family with their mum. It’s unfair and unrealistic to expect life to be the same. They won’t lose out, they can still get the money when they are with dad and saved in the bank.

Yes, with their mother, not their father who sorts their allowance. Her choice in husband has nothing to do with OP, and does not oblige him to change a system that’s worked, and is working, well for him and his kids.

Of course they’d be losing out, and I’ve already explained why. Life with their father hasn’t changed, so why would it change? You are right though in that it is indeed unfair and unrealistic to expect life to be the same for everyone, which is a lesson the stepsister needs to learn. What’s also unfair is OP penalizing his children because their mother married a poorer man with a jealous kid. That isn’t OP’s problem, and nor is it his children’s. The ex and her new husband have to solve it without involving OP, or alienating her children. Ultimately, the stepsister has to suck it up.

lickenchugget · 15/09/2022 21:34

lightisnotwhite · 15/09/2022 19:14

I don’t know. I can see that from the kids point of view it’ll be very much us and her. The step daughter won’t be able to much with them unless they sub her.
Its not a great message for teens especially as they don’t earn the difference in money.
Can’t you tell them that they’ll get £10 to spend at their mums and you’ll stick the rest in an account that they can spend at yours.

Why do they have to appease some unrelated, jealous person they did not choose?

The SS needs to realise life isn’t fair. You can’t just not like something and have your dad demand it’s changed to suit you.

whumpthereitis · 15/09/2022 21:38

Actually I’d say the real problem here is that the mother, who agreed to, and never had any previous issue with this arrangement, is willing to fuck over her children to make her new husband happy.

sheepdogdelight · 15/09/2022 21:39

luxxlisbon · 15/09/2022 17:39

It’s also interesting that posters some posters are claiming £30 a week is a totally insane amount of money.
Genuine question, what do your teens do on the weekend for £10 a week?? Do they not socialise?
It’s funny seeing people claim these kids are more likely to get into drink and drugs when actually a fiver would get them smashed in the park but £30 means they can spend their night at Nando’s and the cinema. I know where I would rather my 14 year old was!

Nandos and the cinema is two lots of socialising.

As to what my teens did - they go to the cinema, but just have a drink afterwards and sit and chat.

Or go for a walk or a cycle ride

Or they'd walk round the shops trying on unlikely clothes and looking at makeup.

Or go to somewhere cheaper like McDonalds

Or (summer) meet in the park with food from the local shop

or they'd go round to each others houses and club together to get a pizza

Or watch a film

Or actually DD has a group of friends that meet every couple of weeks to play board games and chat

At 16, everyone gets part time jobs and then they start with slightly more expensive socialising.

DC get £50 a month (that includes phone, makeup, buying presents and socialising) and generally have money left over.

Many adults don't have £50 a week just to spend on socialising. If your DC think that is normal, that's indicative of the circles you live in, not an essential.

lightisnotwhite · 15/09/2022 21:40

Why do you think he should care?

Because his kids have a new family to settle into? As someone else said blended families are normally shit for the kids. If the adults involved can do something about it they should.
His kids can have the money but just less in the other kids face. What’s wrong with that.

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