Nobody said parenting was easy and it can be even trickier for a stepparent to establish some ground rules.
In this case, Mumsnet user UlrikaUmbridge doesn’t seem to be on the same page as her spouse who has full custody of his two children, aged 21 and 15.
On Tuesday, the stepmom, who has three of her own children, turned to the internet for advice. The post, titled: “To think my SD1 [stepdaughter] is an entitled brat?” has over 225 responses.
The lengthy post highlights how the eldest stepdaughter lives rent-free in their home and even runs her hairdressing business from their basement. The user points out the stepdaughter was supposed to pay $118 per week but the parents haven’t received a dime.
A stock image of woman arguing with daughter. A woman has turned to the internet for advice about her ‘entitled’ stepdaughter. gpointstudio/iStock/Getty Images Plus
Explaining the story, the stepparent explains she has been in her stepdaughter’s life for a decade. They state the eldest daughter has been a “handful” since she was 16 and regularly argues with her dad then flies to her mom’s house in Western Asia.
“[She] will refuse to speak to us until 2/3 weeks later she’s crying down the phone wanting to come home. And, of course, we welcome her back with open arms,” she wrote.
Eight months ago, the dad built a studio apartment and salon for his hairdresser daughter to work in. They agreed she could work rent-free for six months but she must stick to the below “ground rules.”
- To avoid waking the other kids up, she must stay out if she doesn’t return by 10 p.m.
- Her boyfriend can only stay on weekends
- She must babysit one night per week
The original poster added: “She is on our electricity and gas. I have a rule that the heating goes on at 5-8 p.m., no earlier or later. She insists on putting it on at 9 a.m. ‘because it’s bad for business otherwise.'”
The stepdaughter threatens to live with her mom every time they ask for the agreed rent that covers the cost of utility bills and food.
“She is costing us a fortune and is making a decent amount of money—has booked three holidays this year, a swanky new car and parcels of clothes and makeup turn up at least three times a week,” explained the woman. “I understand he wants her here, and I genuinely do too, but we can’t fund her forever surely?”
Newsweek reached out to Hannah Keeley, who is best known as America’s #1 Mom Coach, who states the problem “lies with the husband.”
Keeley said: “Of course, she should pay rent. Of course, she should stick to the ground rules. Of course, she should support the family. But when we live by these ‘shoulds,’ all we do is ‘should’ all over ourselves and make zero progress in the meantime.
“One of the biggest problems of parenting adult children is that we will often make decisions without really assessing whether we, as parents, have the strength and determination to execute the necessary consequences that come as a result of those decisions.
“In this situation, the parents created an arrangement for their adult child without forecasting what actions they would take if that arrangement did not work out, and if—and this is a big ‘if’—both parents had the fortitude to execute these actions. Instead of complaining, get very clear on the logistics of how you will execute your decisions, including every single scenario you can imagine.
“For example, in the scenario where she threatens to go live with her mom, how will you both respond? Do you both have the strength to allow her to do this? If both parents don’t get on the same page when parenting an older child, then you may as well find a way to get comfortable allowing the child to write the book for you.”
‘Rigid and Unreasonable’
More than 200 people have commented on the Mumsnet post and 65 percent of 1,086 respondents have voted “you are not being unreasonable.” But there seems to be a mixture of opinions on the comments.
One user said: “You are very unreasonable to say she has to be in by 10 or stay out. It’s her home.”
“I mean, imposing a 10 p.m. curfew on a 21-year-old, and only having the heating on for three hours in the evening? Very rigid and unreasonable,” said another.
Another person said: “I think she’s not unreasonable about the heating, but she should be covering that on top of the agreed rent. A 10 p.m. curfew isn’t reasonable either, but there’s no reason she should be waking others when she comes in and she should be paying rent.”
“Alternatively, if your DH [darling husband] is trying to make up for lost time together when she was growing up, what about getting her a flat nearby so she can still spend time together with you as a family, but have some adult independence? If that’s financially feasible of course,” suggested another.
Newsweek was not able to verify the details of the case.
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