He and his daughter agreed that he would get her a car if she got good grades throughout high school, and she did. Now, his stepdaughter expects the same, except she’s got terrible grades!
Agreement Between a Father and a Daughter
Before OP’s (Original Poster) 19-year-old daughter, Christina, started high school, she and OP made a deal that if she kept a GPA above 3.9 throughout her freshman and junior years, he would buy her a $20,000 car to have in her senior year. Then, if her GPA dipped below 3.9 at any point, he’d take the car away.
A Deal’s a Deal
All throughout high school, Christina kept a grade of 4.0. So, OP made good on his promise and let her pick out a car before her senior year.
Cue the New Family
Then, during Christina’s sophomore year, OP met his 40-year-old now-wife, Jenny. She also has a 17-year-old daughter, Emily, from a previous marriage.
A few weeks before OP posted this story, Emily started senior year. Then, a few days later, she texted OP, asking when he would take her to look at cars.
What she said surprised OP because he didn’t realize she expected a car.
Compared to Christina, Emily has a 2.7 GPA and “spends more time curating her Instagram” than doing her homework.
So, OP wrote, “I explained to her that Christina received her car as a reward for good grades, not as a given.”
Conditions and Stipulations
Eventually, OP felt terrible about what he said, thinking he didn’t give Emily the same incentive he gave Christina. So, he told Emily that if she could get a 3.9 GPA throughout her senior year and get into an accredited college or university, he would let her pick out a car upon graduation.
Fair or Unfair?
OP thought it was a fair deal—maybe it was even unfair toward Christina, who he made keep an above 3.9 GPA for all four years of high school. However, after Emily went to school, Jenny pulled him aside and told him it was “unfair” since Emily had different circumstances than Christina.
Used to a Glamorous Life
For context, OP explained that Jenny’s ex-husband, Emily’s biological father, was extremely wealthy, and he, in OP’s words, “spoiled the crap out of her.”
OP wrote, “Everything she wanted, all she had to do was ask for, for the first 12 years of her life. She didn’t try in school because her dad promised he would get her into any college she wanted and give her a job at his company afterward.”
But when Emily was 12, her father was arrested for serious tax fraud and is currently in prison. Although Jenny has her own money, it is nothing compared to the “life of luxury” she and Emily were used to.
OP noted, “I think Emily is very hurt by what happened, and she also hasn’t had the chance to develop a work ethic.”
Even with his wife’s attempts to change his mind, OP told Jenny that the only wrong thing he did was not help Emily develop a work ethic sooner and that he hopes for her to rise to the occasion, clean up her act, and get the car. He also told his wife he would do everything he could to help Emily research colleges and perfect her application, but Jenny was closed off.
OP said, “She and Emily have both been giving me the cold shoulder the past couple of days and still think I’m treating Emily unfairly. I really don’t know what to do. I want to give Emily a goal that is challenging but attainable, but at the same time, I don’t want to put a strain on my relationship with my family.”
Redditors Speak Their Minds
For users, OP was already so kind to offer Emily such reasonable conditions, even if it wasn’t his responsibility to give her a car. Jenny and Emily should be grateful for what OP’s doing instead of trying to guilt-trip him into doing what they want.
The top commenter wrote, “Not the a**hole. You are amazingly generous to make this offer to Emily, a person who you have only known for a few short years. The conditions are absolutely fair and reasonable by any measure. No one is owed a car. Jenny is way off base here and is being an a**hole for demanding this. She is undermining her own argument. Her solution to Emily not having developed a good work ethic is to give her a car instead of developing a good work ethic. No. Full stop.”
The same user added, “I’d keep the offer on the table as a take-it-or-leave-it. If Jenny is more focused on spoiling her daughter and trying to make you the ‘bad guy’ here, you should take a very hard look at your relationship with her. She looks very bad in this light.”
Just Think About It
Some Redditors think Christina could develop hatred toward OP if he gave Emily a car without facing the same challenges she faced and earning it.
“Not the a**hole. Your biological daughter was rewarded for her hard work. Your stepdaughter wants the reward without the work. Your daughter will resent you if you give in on this. Your stepdaughter will resent you, without cause, if you don’t. Do the right thing,” a commenter advised.
Good Parenting Is the Key
People also think Jenny should start being a good parent to her daughter and not pass the blame and responsibility to OP.
A commenter wrote, “Not the a**hole. Your wife is the problem here. She needs to start parenting.”
Another person said, “Not the a**hole. It’s up to her mother and father to deal with this. You had a deal with your daughter before they were part of your life. Your daughter upheld this, and so did you. Because your stepdaughter was spoiled previously does not mean you have to keep that standard.”
Work for It
Some people in the community think that if Emily tried her best instead of being the lazy person she is, she may deserve a car. But still, it’s not OP’s responsibility to give her one.
A Redditor wrote, “Not the a**hole. Emily is lazy as f***, and both she and her mom expect you to pick up the slack now that her dad’s in jail. Sure, getting Emily a car would be a nice gesture if, and only if, she proves herself less lazy and self-absorbed than she currently is. However, you don’t owe her anything. And yes, her mom should be contributing to the total cost.”
What do you think OP should do? Should he give in to what his wife and stepdaughter want?
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This post first appeared as He Bought His Biological Daughter a Car but Refused to Do the Same for His Spoiled Stepdaughter. His Wife Says It’s “Unfair,” Giving Him the “Cold Shoulder.” Was He Wrong? on Quote Ambition.