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what do I get a 12 year old stepson

So I have a stepson that we see during the christmas holiday and summer vacations and our child support order is really high. (It still includes $600 a month daycare that he has not been going to for 2 years, but that is another story ), I received a list from him this year and everything on there was a mim. of $100. I know that his moms side of the family will buy everything on the list, which makes it hard to compete when you just don't have the means. We also have 2 kids together and we usually spend the same amount on each kid. with money tight this year, I want to buy more for my kids and tell him he is getting more from his family. Is that bad? it is just that he belittles the gifts we give him and calls him family and talks about how tacky our gifts are and then his family tells him how better it is at home and they got him better stuff.

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Asked by pokesmom at 8:28 AM on Dec. 10, 2008 in Tweens (9-12)

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Answers (10)
  • He sounds ungrateful and needs someone to put him in check. I would get him less since you only see him twice a year. If money is tight this year and his family is going to do well for him then you need to keep your funds for your kids so they can have a nice Christmas as well. I don't think that is bad of you at all.

    Answer by TilmannsGirl at 8:41 AM on Dec. 10, 2008

  • If youre having him for Christmas this year then you should buy equally without showing favortism to one over the other bc even though youre an adult and you can rationalize why youre doing it he is 12 and will just think you dont favor him. The way we work it in our home is if the noncustodial has them for Christmas they buy the bulk, on years the Custodial has them they buy the bulk. That way its really just ever other year.
    I would suggest getting him alot of small things that add up. Like maybe a small stereo for his room ($35), some CDs, Movies and a $20 dvd player, or an MP3 player to keep in your home (you can get them for $30 at BigLots. Then some clothes and things like that.

    Answer by gemgem at 8:44 AM on Dec. 10, 2008

  • After reading the other answer I do want to add that if it is in your home and you are opening all gifts together then you do need to make sure it appears to be even between your kids and his so he doesn't feel left out. You could always save a few of your kids gifts and give them to them later and he would never know if he only sees you twice a year.

    Answer by TilmannsGirl at 8:58 AM on Dec. 10, 2008

  • Give him a gift card for a place like Best Buy or Target or one of those general Visa gift cards for what you guys can afford for him. If he complains about it, take it from him and say, "I'm sorry this isn't good enough for you," we'll find a good use for it. Let him complain and moan about you taking it, but maybe it will teach him a valuable lesson.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:19 AM on Dec. 10, 2008

  • I agree with Gemgem.....I think you should give him a gift card and maybe some DS games OR Wii games or whatever system he has.

    Answer by momofsaee at 2:11 PM on Dec. 10, 2008

  • I feel for you if you are paying for daycare fees not needed. I agree with other posters that you should spend less on him than the two children that you have together. Sounds like he is double dipping from both families.

    Does your stepson have internet access at his house? Is he allowed to use a computer at his house? You might consider getting him a yearly subscription to The internet is a scary place for kids. provides a place for kids to play games, interact with others, and earn prizes all while online in a safe environment. Here's the link:

    My daughter is signed up...she loves the site.

    Answer by Musingsfromme at 2:34 PM on Dec. 10, 2008

  • First of all, I would go to court and have the child support reviewed, if you are paying for child care that he is not going to then you shouldn't have to pay for it. As far as the gifts, I'd get his snotty lil butt a piece of coal. He needs to learn how to be greatful for what he has, and he's clearly not.

    Answer by feesharose at 2:57 PM on Dec. 10, 2008

  • It is never fair for the non-divorced/two home kids who don't get double of everything. Get him one big gift. He is 12 and getting a bit old for the whole played up xmas thing anyway. Or get him the same amount of gifts, but get cheaper ones. If he is going to be in ingrate he will stick his nose up no matter how much you spend on him.

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:02 PM on Dec. 10, 2008

  • You have to do what you feel is right. 12 is a bit old to be going all out anyway, he is old enough to understand that Xmas isn't about gifts and that times are rough. Shop for the things he likes but look for bargains so you don't have to spend as much. I also agree that often those kids get extra of everything. Two birthdays, two Christmases, two this, two that to go with their two sets of households. Enough already. Just because the parents are not together doesn't mean the kids should always get extra. I hate it when people feel that need to point out that the child was part of the dad's life before you. Minor details. You are his wife. You are his future. A good husband will not forget that. That being said, be a good step mom. I don't think something like not lavishing SS with gifts will make DH resent you, especially if DH is already shelling out unnecessary money. What does DH think of this question? I'd ask him.

    Answer by PROGENITOR at 11:14 PM on Dec. 10, 2008

  • You only see him 2 times a year. So if he acts like a butthead  every time you have him for visitation I'd tell him Santa knows when you are naughty or nice. And what you get him is at you and you hubby's discretion. I'd forget about the mom's side of the family thing, there is no telling what they put in that child's head. And there's not much that can be done. I would look into that daycare thing you can have the sign in and out sheet forward to an attorney for proof of attendance and the court cut down the child support or make her pay it back. 


    Answer by Anonymous at 12:11 AM on Dec. 12, 2008

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