Stepmother reveals in viral post why she’s throwing in the towel on parenting her teen: ‘I’m done’

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A fraught family story described on Reddit has gone viral with some 2,500 reactions and nearly 1,000 comments in just several hours as a stepmother revealed she’s run out of patience with a difficult situation and is no longer taking care of her stepdaughter in the way that she had been.

A woman (who did not reveal her location) said that her stepdaughter, “Sally,” is 17 years old and in a “pretty crucial year academically, [as] the grades she will get will affect her next year when she’s a senior.”

The Reddit user, named “Glittering-Record-49,” reported that the teen has “been wanting the new iPhone 15 and I told her if she upgrades her scores and gets at least two A+, we will buy her one.” 

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Then the young woman’s “test results came around — [and] she didn’t meet the criteria her father and I set in any way,” wrote the woman on the subreddit known as AITA (“Am I the a–hole”). 

Instead, the teenager “ended up failing a subject.”

Woman worried about the news on her mobile phone

A stepmother who’s been helping to parent a teenager told her daughter (not pictured) that the young woman could not have a new phone “until [she] makes up for what she failed and [does] better in her end-of-year finals.” (iStock)

So the stepmother, according to the post, “told her no phone until [she] makes up for what she failed and [does] better in her end-of-year finals.”

This wasn’t received well, the user indicated.

“She didn’t like that she isn’t getting her new phone now and hated that we [established] a new criteria for her until her finals and began to be mouthy,” wrote the woman on Reddit.

“I told her the position we have is very firm [and] nothing will change until she does better.”

The teenager “came in so excited that her mother had [bought] her the new phone” and that it would be shipped within two weeks. 

Glittering-Record-49 noted that “Sally’s [biological mom] lives in another country and rarely gets involved” with the girl.

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She added, “Occasional phone calls and that’s it.” 

However, the teenager apparently “called her [mom] crying that she wants the new phone,” wrote the Reddit user. “Her mother called me [and] I explained the situation, but she hung up without answering.” 

split of reddit logo

The husband “said that he and [the teen’s] mother talked and decided to get [the teenager] the phone now” — shocking the woman who shared her personal story on Reddit. (Getty Images/iStock)

Then, two days after that, the woman reported, the teenager “came in so excited that her mother had [bought] her the new phone” and that it would be shipped within two weeks. 

“I asked my husband about it,” wrote the stepmother on Reddit, “and he said that he and [the teen’s] mother talked and decided to get her the phone now.”

The stepmother then said that she was “shocked” by this development and “thought we had an agreement.”

The husband said that, yes, they did — “but her [biological] mother decided to get her the phone. So I was like, ‘And why did you agree?’”

 “Fine. I’m done. I’m not her mother and will never get involved with her.”

In her post, she told others that her husband seemed to have no answer.

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“Then he told me that I should stop interfering with [the teenager’s] business and that I’m never being her mother.”

The stepmother indicated she’s been taking this quite hard.

She wrote, “If I shouldn’t interfere, why do I cook for Sally? Drive her to practices? Take care of her room and clothes? Take her out on dates? Buy her stuff with my own money? Attend all her important events? Attend the parents’ meeting at school every semester? And do everything her mother failed to do?”

mother daughter

“Stepparents often face challenges like adjusting to the existing family culture and dealing with tension from other parents and kids.” (iStock)

Said the frustrated stepmom, “After that I told my husband, ‘Fine. I’m done. I’m not her mother and will never get involved with her.'”

She added about her stepdaughter, “She’s nearly 18, so she will be on her own anyway — and if she needs a mother, she has her biological one. She could travel to her or her mother could come to her, too.”

Plenty of stepparenting resources and websites have reported on the trouble spots that stepparents face as they help raise children who are not theirs biologically.

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“Stepparents often face challenges like adjusting to the existing family culture and dealing with tension from other parents and kids,” noted Parents, a resource for moms and dads.

Fox News Digital reached out to a psychologist for professional insights into the family drama.

“The dad undermined his wife’s authority and did it without discussing it with her.”

“It’s a marital issue rather than a parenting issue,” said Erica Komisar, a New York City-based psychoanalyst, author and parenting expert. 

“The dad undermined his wife’s authority and did it without discussing it with her. Kids need limits and they need some structure.”

She added, “It is absolutely fine that the stepmom and dad set a limit. The dad put the relationship between the daughter and stepmom in jeopardy by not taking responsibility himself.”

The majority of Reddit responders deemed the stepmother “NTA” (“not the a–hole”), with the top upvoted response absolving the stepmother of fault and sharing a related personal story.

reddit app logo

On Reddit, another stepparent shared her story of angst and upset — and revealed the surprisingly happy ending in her own situation.  (iStock)

Wrote the commenter of this post, “Hubby needs to take over 100% all things Sally from now on. Literally. Stand your ground. I wouldn’t even put a plate on a table for her.”

Added this same person, “She totally manipulated you and her father both to get her way. I would completely stop ALL personal efforts that benefit her.”

The individual — also a stepparent — went on to share her specific story.

“Something clicked … We are now very, very close.”

“My stepson did this very thing at that same exact age over a car and a cell phone. We had the same parameters that he had to follow to get those things, plus he had to get a job and save up 6 months’ [of] insurance before we would allow him to [get a] license.”

Wrote this stepparent, “His [biological mom] took him down, bought him a car and then asked me for 50% of the money for it. Yeah, I told her to pound sand.”

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After anger, tension and other drama, this stepparent reported that a few years later, “by his second year [of college],” the stepson “showed up at our home and spent quite some time apologizing for how he treated me [while] growing up.”

She added, “Something clicked inside him … We are now very, very close and he has never disrespected me again.”

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Instead, she reported, “he’s stood up for me” in a number of circumstances.

She wrote, “He is now 27 and this year I received a handwritten note in my birthday card telling me how thankful he was for me in his life. Priceless.”

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