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Step-kids and Clothing

  • Okay, I need some help from the more experienced step-moms. My step-daughter has problems with bring things back from her mom's house. This past weekend she left her tennis shoes that fit her best at her mom's house and is having to wear the ones that don't fit so well for PE. She has also left her good boots there (for multiple weeks until we told her she *HAD* to bring them back) as well as jeans, skirts and jackets. Sometimes this isn't a big deal when she wears something similar back - one pairs of jeans for another pair of jeans. But it's gotten to the point where she doesn't have stuff here that she needs because she leaves it there. We've talked to her about it. We've talked to her mom about it. But it never seems to work out. We don't want to be the meanies that don't let her take nice stuff over there, but we'd like things to come back to our house that are nice too (if we send brand-new jeans we don't want holey torn up old jeans coming back). Or when she wears a jacket there and then doesn't wear any jacket back at all.

    The other part of the problem is that she has a step-sister that is her same age and size. Lots of times we've seen (and heard through my step-daughter) that her step-sister is wearing her clothing. If her mom deems something "too small" for my step-daughter she passes it on to the sister - regardless of if it is actually too small or if she's about to grow and getting a little chubby. And then if we ask for a specific item to come back, her mom claims that she bought it or that one of her friends bought it. I'm so frustrated. We're not made of money and can't replace everything that her mom refuses to send back.

    I don't know what to do besides start labeling things so that we have proof we bought them and that they should come back.

    Any advice? Do I just need to get over it since it is just stuff?
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Jenni on 4th March 2008
  • This has always been a tough one for me. When my big kids were little, I was really careful about what went to their mom's house and what stayed with us -- any clothing that was a gift from my parents, for instance, stayed here, and so did anything I bought for them. I was just as careful about sending back whatever belonged at their Mom's house, though, so maybe I'm an anomaly!

    As they got older, and started growing like weeds, I decided that it was just silly to hold on to something that might not even fit them the next time I saw them (seriously, they grow fast. Our 14 year old daughter is now about 5 foot 9.). And it seemed just plain wrong to hold on to something they loved to wear just because it was a gift from my parents or because I bought it for them. So, now, whatever they wear most or whatever fits them perfectly I just sent with them. They also know, though, that if they forget to bring it to our house, that's on them... I'm not going to chase down their favorite shorts, they're old enough -- at 14, 12, and 9 -- to decide what they're going to wear where.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse on 5th March 2008
  • Lylah,

    If it weren't for the step-sister wearing her clothing, I wouldn't care so much. But it bugs me. Particularly since her mom complains to us about sending clothes to her step-daughter's house because her step-daughter's mom lets the other kids that she has wear those clothes. (If that sentence makes sense).

    And when she was living with her mom full time I also didn't care quite so much. Because then she'd wear them way more than she would at our house. It did irritate us when her mom gave stuff that we KNEW still fit her to her step-sister, but we mostly just lived with it. But now she's here full time and it irritates me more because we are running out of stuff more often because it gets left at her mom's house.

    We've even reminded on the day that her mom brings her back home that she needs to remember things.

    Ack. Okay. I'm going to breathe and learn to deal. The older she gets the more she will take responsibility for her stuff and the less I will allow myself to care about these things.
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Jenni on 5th March 2008
  • My ex is responsible for stocking his home with clothes for the kids and I stock my house with clothes for the kids. The only thing that goes back and forth is what is on their backs at the moment they transfer from one parent to the next.

    Kids (especially teen girls) trade clothes with friends, sisters and even step-sisters. This has been happening between gal pals for YEARS. With that in mind I say pick your battles. The clothes belong to your daughter and where she decides to keep what should be entirely up to her. When she doesn't have what she wants she'll start to figure out the concept of planning ahead. If you are worried about the cost of the clothes make her start paying for part of her wardrobe. That will MOST DEFINITELY teach her to care more about her clothing!!
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by KathyHowe on 5th March 2008
  • You don't say how old your step-daughter is. If she's old enough to care about her clothes, that in itself should prove the motivation to bring them back. If she doesn't care about her clothes, then don't let her take the good stuff over.

    I love Kathy's idea of having her contribute her own money towards her clothes. With our teens, we have contracts written up detailing how much they contribute and how much parents do.

    Something we used with our kids (both mine with their dad and my steps with their mom) was that they couldn't take over any nice clothes to the other parent's house until certain items came back. It was moderately effective. Having them buy their own was more!
    Flag as inappropriate Posted by MaryP on 6th March 2008

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