'I refuse to make sure things are equal between my daughter and stepdaughter.'

Managing relationships within a blended family can be challenging for all involved, and one dad has a controversial opinion about financial inequality between the teenagers in his household.

In a recent AITA (Am I The Asshole) post on Reddit, this anonymous dad and stepdad posted about his two very different daughters and why he refuses to make things equal between them. 

"My wife and I each brought a daughter from previous relationships into our marriage," the dad begins on the Reddit post about his very different teenage daughters who are just one year apart in age.

"My daughter has always been athletic and outgoing. Growing up, she played basketball, softball, soccer, volleyball, and even golf. In middle school, she picked up tennis and never looked back. I paid for her to have private lessons and when she found out how much I was paying for those lessons, she decided that’s what she wanted to do as her teenage job."

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The obviously proud dad describes his hard-working daughter and her success both at playing and coaching tennis, and how she has reaped the financial rewards. 

"She’s now a junior, is one of the best players on her high school team, and teaches tennis lessons. She teaches elementary school kids and charges $75 per hour per kid. With her skills and outgoing personality, she has a waiting list of kids and makes about $1,200 a week. She could make more but I limit her hours so that she can concentrate on school."


He compares this with his stepdaughter who has a low-paying regular teenage job at a nearby burger restaurant.

"My stepdaughter is reserved and not very athletic. We always tried to sign her up to the same sport and team with my daughter but she either objected or quit a couple of weeks in. I get it, sports are not for everyone so I never made her feel bad about it. She recently turned 16 and got a job at a burger place nearby. She’s making $13 an hour and brings home less than $200 a week."

This discrepancy in the teenage girls' weekly earnings is causing major drama between him and his wife because now she wants his daughter to help hers out financially.

"My daughter recently decided that she wants to be independent by buying her clothes and electronics with her own money. Obviously, she can afford the latest styles and gadgets. She recently brought herself the top-of-the-line Mac. My stepdaughter is jealous of her sister and has been very vocal about it.

"While we were in bed last night, my wife said it was unfair one is making so much more than the other. I answered that there’s nothing we can do about it and it’s a good life lesson for the girls. My wife then suggested we have my daughter use her money to help my stepdaughter buy the same things, or we cover the pay difference between the girls."

The dad first thought his wife must be joking, so he laughed, but it turned out she definitely wasn't finding it funny.


"We whisper-argued for about an hour before we went to sleep. This morning she brought it up again and said I’m refusing because I’m playing favourites and that’s an a**hole move for a parent. We argued until we had to leave for work."

The nearly two thousand comments on the post mostly agree with the dad and point to his wife being 'entitled' to even make this request of his daughter.

"Your wife is asking you to both punish your daughter for her success and to reward her daughter for her (comparative) 'complacency'," one Redditor comments.

"It’s surprising your wife wouldn’t be able to see how unfair that actually is. There is no logical reason to force your daughter to share her (incredibly impressive) income with her stepsister."

One of the more moderate comments focuses on the life lessons available to both daughters in this situation.

"It is a good lesson for both girls. The one who makes less is learning she needs to learn valuable skills to pay for what she wants. The one who makes more, is reaping the benefits of consistent effort."

Certified Relationship coach Katie O' Donoghue says that in every family, issues around finances can create challenges if not handled well by all involved.

"Open communication is key to solving this kind of dilemma as well as creating appropriate boundaries when it concerns the responsibilities of each person," Katie tells Mamamia

She believes that whilst it is difficult for parents to see their children in unbalanced financial circumstances, it's not the responsibility of the teenager to be financially supporting her sister in this scenario - unless she came up with the idea herself.


"The couple should sit down and discuss their differing views calmly and empathetically, and come up with a plan as to how they, as parents, can support their daughter and step-daughter instead of passing that responsibility onto the more financially successful daughter. 

"This might include a budget around their finances or some sort of financial plan where they can take into account the differing needs of each daughter. That said, each daughter has chosen their own career path and therefore, it's their responsibility to choose to continue on that career path knowing the financial gains that are available to them, or not. 

"Moreover, rather than comparing their daughters' financial circumstances, to promote harmony amongst the family, it might be best to be supportive of everyone's own unique journey in a way that fosters autonomy between them -  above all else."

As for the stepdaughter, one Reddit user has some work-related ideas to share that might help her increase her income: "House cleaning is a good side gig. People love a high schooler willing to do chores. I paid a kid $50 last week."

What do you think about this dad's dilemma? Let us know in the comments.

Katie O'Donoghue is a Relationship Coach and the host of the Self Explained podcast. You can find more about her on Instagram or her website.

Feature Image: Getty.

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