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Stepmom Asks If She's Wrong For Making Stepchildren Pay For Their Own Hobbies Using Their Allowance

Photo: Prostock-studio / Shutterstock
Mother and daughter baking

A 32-year-old stepmother married into a family of three — her 52-year-old husband, Frank, and two daughters from his first marriage, Alice, 11, and Brenda, 13.

Everything seemed to be going well and she’s been in their lives for quite some time.

However, recent developments made her feel that maybe she had been doing something wrong, so she went to the subreddit “r/AmItheA--hole” to ask for advice.

She and her husband started making the children pay for their own hobbies.

Prior to the decision, their allowances were only $25 a month, but in order to account for the purchases that would fund their hobbies, they raised it to $75.

“Brenda has a passion for baking,” she writes in her post, “She likes to watch shows about it and then try to follow recipes and even create her own. She also will try to mix ingredients without recipes just to see what will happen.”

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She and Frank have fully supported Brenda’s hobby as she “finds the research and process of baking to be relaxing and fun.”

They’ve also bought all of the bowls and utensils she uses, allow her to use all of the kitchen appliances they have, and made sure to teach her to clean up after herself.

“However, she doesn't eat or want to really share her creations,” she explains. “She just likes the process and then will toss it. She will go through a more than pound of flour and 8 sticks of butter in a week.”

Alice isn’t like Brenda, and her hobby consists of purchasing video games to play or using real money to purchase in-game currencies to play with her friends.

“With growing food costs and to teach them the value of a dollar,” she continues, “Frank told both kids he was increasing their monthly allowance from $25 a month to $75, but with the stipulation that they both pay for their own hobbies.”

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Both kids have shown an increased hesitance to buy the things that fuel their hobbies.

Although they’ve continued on with their hobbies, they’ve noticeably started spending much less.

Brenda has brought up to her parents that she feels it’s unfair, but they’ve explained their reasoning to her several times.

“We have argued that this is supportive and also a teaching tool to learn that things cost money and how to save for things you want,” she explained, "which both kids have demonstrated by saving and minimizing their purchases.”

Candy, Frank’s ex-wife, has also confronted them about it, although she doesn’t even let Brenda bake at her house because she “Doesn’t have time to deal with it.”

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Readers’ opinions are split on whether or not she’s doing the right thing.

One of the largest concerns from readers on Reddit is the amount of food that is being wasted to fuel Brenda’s hobby.

“YTA (you’re the a--hole) for allowing her to throw out that much food. What a waste,” reads the top comment. “If she doesn't want to eat it, that's fine, but why do you allow her to refuse to let the rest of the family eat it?”

The mother responded in kind, adding that the allowance limitations were also an attempt to limit the amount of food being wasted.

Not only that, but she reasoned that her daughter alone isn’t single-handedly contributing to the global food shortage.

“Baking is an expensive hobby and the costs make even less sense if you aren't even going to eat or share the stuff you're baking,” wrote another user, who declared her NTA (not the a--hole).

“Also.....is an allowance not money that comes from the parents??? Frank is still effectively paying for Brenda's hobby, while also teaching her how to spend money wisely. Good for you.”

For the most part, it appears that readers were only unsupportive of the food being wasted, but shared that she and Frank were teaching their children valuable lessons.

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Isaac Serna-Diez is an Assistant Editor who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics. Keep up with his rants about current events on his Twitter.

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