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Dad Balks After Ex Demands He Stop Giving Daughter Lunch Money Because It Makes Stepsister Jealous

Joshua Rondeau/Unsplash

In blended family situations, it can be really complicated for ex-partners who can’t offer their kids the same resources, whether it’s time together or funds.

Situations like this can easily lead to feelings of entitlement or envy, stressed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor daughterlunch started putting the pressure on one of her daughters because of wanting her stepdaughter to feel the same benefits.

But when her ex-husband refused to play along, the Original Poster (OP) was shocked.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for telling my ex-husband to stop giving my daughter lunch money?”

One of the OP’s daughters had lunch money, and the other didn’t. 

“I have a daughter, Emily (16 female) with my ex. She chose to live with my ex and his wife and kids the majority of the time because she has to share her room with her step-sister Laura (15) at my house.”

“My ex gives Emily $25 a week to buy lunch.”

“Emily’s and Laura’s school is down the street from a lot of restaurants so, instead of buying school lunches, she leaves campus to buy herself and her friends’ lunch.”

The OP took issue with this arrangement.

“The problem is she sees Laura at school and won’t get her anything even though she gets her friends lunch all the time.”

“I talked to Emily about it and she said it’s because her friends pay her back and Laura can’t.”

“Emily knows we can’t afford to give Laura that kind of money and I know she works part-time and gets an extra allowance from her dad, so I asked her to occasionally buy Laura lunch to make her feel better. She refused.”

The OP tried to reason with her ex-husband.

“I called her dad and hoped that as a parent, he’s understand what I was trying to do but he said Laura’s feelings are not his or Emily’s responsibility and that if she wants to buy lunch off-campus, she should get a part-time job like Emily.”

“I tried to explain that Laura is in sports and she has ADHD and depression so it would be hard for her to work but he said that’s my and my husband’s problem and hung up.”

The OP reached out to her ex again.

“Laura came home crying the other day because Emily came back with food from her favorite restaurant and didn’t give her anything or offer to share.”

“I called my ex and told him that he needs to stop giving Emily lunch money and have her make her own lunches because she was hurting Laura.”

“He refused to listen to me and told Emily that I’m telling him to not let her go out at lunch because of Laura.”

“Emily hasn’t spoken to me except to say that she’s going to stay at her dad’s full time for a while.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some said the OP was teaching her daughter, Laura, to be entitled.

“25 dollars a week is 5 dollars per school day. Emily isn’t swimming in money, and she works for what she has, she doesn’t have to be funding your stepdaughter’s wants.”

“Laura doesn’t work because she is in sports, that is her choice and not Emily’s nor her dad’s responsibility. Laura is old enough to understand that, and the main reason she is getting hurt right now is that you are leading her to think she is entitled to somebody else’s money.”

“Every time that Laura comes crying due to this, look at yourself and at your husband because your parenting is the reason she is getting heartbroken at not getting what you lead her to think she is entitled to have.” – Slow-Bumblebee-8609

“The OP should be grateful that she can teach Laura the lesson that life isn’t equal on such a small scale, because it’s a reasonably safe bet that Emily is going to enjoy other, larger-scale financial advantages in the future.”

“Better that Laura learns this lesson now, by not getting lunch from a restaurant, than in a few years time by seeing Emily have her college education fully paid for while Laura has to forgo college or take on debt to attend because the OP and her husband can’t afford to pay.” – Mysterious-System680

“OP is YTA. Even if Emily’s friends traded days then one person goes to pick up food for the group, Laura would still feel entitled to free food from Emily just because they’re stepsisters.”

“It’s also weird that Emily seems to have her own group of friends but Laura is keeping up with what Emily does during her lunch hour.” – BooRoWo

Others were concerned by Laura’s focus on her sister’s lunchtime activities.

“Laura’s so invested in Emily’s lunch activities that she comes home crying hours after lunch because Emily got herself a treat with money that Laura is not even entitled to?”

“Laura is not your ex’s child and should therefore be taught that she is not entitled to anything provided by that parent to his child, who lives in his home. She wouldn’t be upset if some other kid who lives in someone else’s house wasn’t sharing their lunch money with her, right?”

“The idea that you would deprive your first child of something just because her other parent provides that and you and her father can’t or won’t provide that for your second child is just wild.”

“Talk to Laura’s counselor for her ADHD about whether she could balance her extracurriculars and a part-time gig, or maybe you and she could come up with a way for the two of you to do a project for an extra income stream together, like selling things on Etsy, consignment, or eBay or something.”

“But acting like Laura is entitled to everything Emily has is wrong, as Emily primarily resides in a completely different household with different life circumstances.” – orangemoonboots

“I went to a tiny high school (like 300 people so you know everybody) and I never bothered my sister because she could afford lunch because of her part-time job. I was 12 and she was 16 and I understood that it was HER money and HER choices and it had nothing to do with me.”

“OP is just enabling her not-so-younger daughter’s behavior by trying to force the oldest to feed her sister and trying to stir s**t with their ex.”

“YTA” – Logical_Practice5915

“If dad stopped giving $25 a week for lunch I’d bet Emily would definitely still buy outside lunches and now get them more out of spite than anything else. Probably make sure they were Laura’s favorites too.”

“If Laura wants these lunches so bad she can pay for them herself. Emily pays for her lunches and her friends pay for their lunches too by paying Emily back.”

“All these kids are paying for and being responsible for their lunches but Laura wants to keep her extracurriculars and free restaurant lunches instead of school lunches.” – GoodQueenFluffenChop

“Why is Laura tracking Emily’s day-to-day lunch activities? Do they go to a tiny school? I never paid attention to what my older brother was doing, or where he was going, during lunch in high school.”

“I can’t imagine expecting him to take me along simply because we’re related. I wasn’t going to elbow my way into his friend group.”

“Emily works. Laura doesn’t. The why doesn’t matter, because life isn’t universally equal. If Emily started using her own money instead of getting any from dad, is Laura still somehow entitled to it?”

“Why would Emily give anyone the money she worked for? Her stepsister is not her responsibility.”

“OP, stop teaching Laura unhealthy expectations for what she is entitled to! She is plenty old enough to understand that everyone does not have the same options and experiences in this world.” – DragonCelica

The subReddit thought the OP’s older daughter avoiding her should have been enough to inform her that she was doing something wrong.

Without encouraging her younger daughter to get a part-time job or offering a similar lunch money situation, the OP was hardly in the position to demand how her other daughter spends her funds.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.