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Stepmom ‘Uncomfortable’ Helping Husband Parent His Adult Children Who Are Her Same Age

Man having and argument with a young man and woman.

Maintaining a good relationship with stepchildren or stepparents can be a very fine line.

Stepparents are often eager to earn their stepchildren’s approval, particularly in cases of divorce.

As a result, they may show a lot of leniency when disciplining them or avoid disciplining them altogether.

Redditor laurgar726 gained two stepchildren with her marriage.

When an issue between her husband and his children began to escalate, the original poster (OP) didn’t feel completely comfortable joining her husband in discussing the matter.

Particularly as both of the OP’s stepchildren were close to her own age.

Unfortunately, the OP’s husband felt somewhat betrayed by her unwillingness to stand by him when discussing the matter.

Wondering if she was being unreasonable, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I the A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for not wanting to parent my husband’s adult children who are my age?”

The OP explained why she didn’t feel comfortable joining her husband in a rather serious conversation with his children:

“Let me start by addressing the age gap.”

“I was in my 30s when I met my husband, and as I don’t want kids of my own or to be a parent, I liked that his kids were grown and that he wouldn’t want any more.”

“I pursued him.”

“We’ve been together 8 years.”

“He has two kids from his first marriage that are roughly 35 & 40.”

“Occasionally, they would ask for money here and there, and he always gave it to them.”

“Sometimes it would be paid back, sometimes not.”

“Personally, I believe that the way to help them is by saying ‘no’ so they can figure out their own finances (and have told him this on many occasions), but it’s not my business to tell him how to parent his kids.”

“Over the past couple of years, things have gotten out of control, particularly with the younger one.”

“They have a baby now, so obviously expenses have risen.”

“Asking for money is monthly and has clearly become the ‘solution’ to money problems.”

“Their mom also recently received an inheritance, so now they think she’s a cash cow.”

“She has confided that the younger kid owes her over $10k!”

“I have not totaled what we are owed (the asks are generally between $100-$500/mo), and I’m sure that it’s more than my husband lets on.”

“Tonight, he wanted to have them over for dinner (and to see the grandbaby) to talk about their finances and what they’re going to do.”

“New jobs?”

“Move to a cheaper part of town?”

“Figure out why they are asking for money every single month and what to do about it.”

“This is too much parenting for me to be involved in, and I let my husband know that.”

“I would make plans to be elsewhere so as not to be in the uncomfortable situation of acting as a parent to people who are practically my own age.”

“He said that it was fine and that he would go by himself to the store.”

“I asked him to wait for me and that I would go with him because there is no money in his account (he just gave them $150 each), and we could use my card.”

“Then he got upset and said, ‘You’re not part of this’.”

“Which, yeah, I’m not going to parent your adult children, but I can supply the food for you to make them dinner.”

“I grabbed my coat and was ready to go and he was still upset and no longer wanted to have them over at all and texted them to cancel and told them he didn’t have enough money to make them dinner.”

“Now he’s complaining that he ‘thought we were a team’ and that I can do whatever I wanted to do tonight.”

“I haven’t made plans yet because it all happened so fast.”

“He’s acting like I ruined his plans with his kids.”

“I love my husband, and we have a great relationship.”

“We ARE a team, I just don’t feel like I should be involved with parenting his kids.”

“We’re so close in age that it makes me extremely uncomfortable.”

“It’s not my place.”

“I did not raise them, so I’m not sure why I should be expected to start doing so now.”

“I do not need my husband financially and have a good career in which I make plenty of money to support myself.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

The Reddit community largely agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for not feeling comfortable parenting her adult stepchildren.

Everyone agreed that the OP parenting two people her own age was bound to get an awkward result. However, some wondered if the OP’s husband wanted him to parent his children or just support him as he talked to them, in which case she should still be present for the conversation, even if she didn’t contribute to it.

“First, a conversation in which your husband attempts to counsel them about their finances is parenting, at least in this instance.”

“It’s not the same as a friend who isn’t loaning money speaking to a friend about finances.”

“Also, not the same as a friend who owes you money!”

“They’re his kids.”

“They’re adults, but he’s still parenting them.”

“I am in my 30s, and if I had to have this conversation with my parents, I definitely wouldn’t want some person my own age involved in trying to give me that advice.”

“Second, it’s gross that everyone is assuming you need his money.”

“Even without the edit, there’s nothing in the post to encourage that assumption.”

“You mentioned separate accounts and having money in yours.”

“And you met him in your 30s!”

“Not exactly a kid.”

“I think it’s perfectly reasonable not to want to be involved in the difficult conversation he was planning.”


“That being said, if he needs your support, talk to him about what kind of role you can take.”

“What does he envision for you?”

“Is there a supportive and understated position you would be comfortable with?”-RobinhoodCove830


“I don’t mean for this to come across as rude, but trying to ‘parent’ your husband’s kids who are around the same age as you would be weird.”- throw_havingdoubts

“Firstly, he and his ex raised them to be like this.”

“You had zero hand in raising them, and you should have zero part in parenting them now.”

“Second, something is fishy.”

“He invited them to dinner and didn’t have money for food.”

“He planned to have you pay for it.”

“He also turned on a dime from okay with you staying out of it to sulking about it.”

“He is weak when it comes to his kids and expected you to do this for him.”

“Do not get involved!”

“He and his ex should deal with this and not make you the patsy.”

“NTA.”- DubiousPeoplePleaser


“He got upset that you wanted to pay for their dinner?”

“It seemed he was fine with you staying out of the financial discussion dinner until you offered to pay for their groceries for it.”

“Then he wants you involved.”

“Honestly, I’m just confused here.”- ParsimoniousSalad


“But he’s just proven that he considers YOU as also the kids’ atm.”

“He thinks that just because you are not funding the kids directly, it’s just his business.”

“He gave away all his money until he’s so broke he can’t buy food. he thinks you are a team because you’ll pay your money.”

“I suggest you pay your share of the bills and keep the rest to yourself.”- rebootsaresuchapain


“He’s angry with his kids and deflecting onto you.”- AgingLolita


“I think your husband may be upset because he was hoping you’d be there and you could be the ‘bad guy’ to his kids since he can’t say no.”

“You can be supportive and still take yourself out of situations.”

“It can actually be healthy for relationships.”- TooTallBrawl1919

The OP later returned with an update, sharing how she and her husband ultimately decided to handle the situation:

“I appreciate everyone’s opinions on both sides here!”

“I convinced him to keep the dinner on schedule.

“As the day has progressed, he actually started to get more and more nervous about ‘the talk,’ so I think those who said he wanted my support are spot on.”

“Had the dinner but decided to hold the talk for when mom can attend so we are all together on what needs to happen.”

“Talked it out w/husband as to everyone’s expectations and my involvement.”

“Thanks to everyone who helped me look at this from all sides!”

There’s no denying that the OP was between a rock and a hard place in this situation.

As if she was the one who confronted her husband’s children, it would not go over well.

That being said, conversations about money seldom end well, so it’s understandable that the OP’s husband wanted her there when it took place.

Thankfully, it seems they came up with the best possible solution to handle this problem.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.