Sweet Sixteen

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Registered: 12-31-1969
Sweet Sixteen
Thu, 10-04-2012 - 5:09pm
DSD will be 16 in about a month and a half...we had been hearing about how she wants/thinks she's having one-now whether any plans have been made or not (that part is unclear)...

Now back in June DF lost his job-sadly that job was very lucrative and afforded DF much more disposable income-he was able to get another job within a 2 week period, but it is in no way as lucrative as the other one and has made it so he has to be working his second job far more just to cover regular bills...

Additionally, he has had to have multiple conversations recently w/both DSD and DSS 9 about how he just doesn't have that "extra" money that he once had. Also, let me be clear-if he had it-he would be generously giving/doing for them where appropriate as he had been-on top of paying a lot of CS...

At this point we don't know for sure whether there will be one or not...also there has been no communication from ex about one at all (that's not unusual b/c she never communicates about anything unless it's to argue w/him about $)-I guess I'm somewhat concerned that we will get to the 11th hour hear nothing and then hear that he should pay for x,y,z or what is typical, she will badmouth DF to kids for fact that he didn't contribute...

I know I can't change this situation-but wondering about how it could possibly be handled if it were to come up...I also know I'm getting anxious over something that may or may not even happen-if it does it is likely to be at a firehouse, homemade food etc., but if ex doesn't communicate about it before the fact-how to deal with it?
Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
In reply to:
Thu, 10-04-2012 - 6:42pm

My short answer is your DH just needs to ask the xW about it.  We all know how she is, but really I don't know what else he can do. 

Has he talked to DD specifically about a sweet 16 party? 

For what it is worth, I hate this kind of stuff, too.  I feel like I just can't win when it comes to DD's birthdays.  I don't want her thinking she gets two parties every year, so it makes it hard.  I refuse to start the two party thing, yet I don't really care to share a party with her dads family, unless it is in a public place.  To top it off, often her other grandma comes to town, sometimes with little notice to me. 

One year, on my weekend, we didn't invite her step-sister and all heck broke loose right before the party. 

I tell ya', you just can't win.  So I just do the best I can and remember it is DD's birthday, not mine.  :smileyhappy: 

The good part is that you are a 3rd party, and don't have to take responsibility for anything.  That is the great things with being the step-parent! 


iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
In reply to:
Fri, 10-05-2012 - 3:28pm

When my DD turned 16, we just had what I'd consider a regular party for her--we did go to a laser tag place with some friends and they had pizza.  It still was not cheap, but to me, 16 was just another birthday--18 would be more important since you'd be an adult.  Well some of her friends had these big parties in halls w/ a DJ that must have cost a ton of money.  And we do not live in a rich area.  I do think that as much as he hates this, he does have to call, text or email (whatever is easier) his ex and say "DD has mentioned something about a birthday party.  have you planned anything?" and I also think that he has to tell her directly that she cannot just "assume" that he will pay for anything that she has not cleared with him beforehand.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
In reply to:
Mon, 10-08-2012 - 10:39am
Ah yes.....birthday parties planned by the exW and (fully expecting to be) funded by the SO .............................................................

I have a closet of THOSE T-shirts/also. :smileywink:

What saved ME here, was that SO and I have separate funds. I forget your situation on that one, but if it's separate funds, then my advice to you is simple:

not your problem.

What needs to happen, as other poster mentioned, is your DH needs to decide for himself what he's willing to do or not do then call up exW directly, tell her that directly, and hold his ground. Plus, be forthright with DD re: what he can/cannot afford/participate in, and that he's told her mom this also.

He could have the conversation with DD that he has $_____ to spend on her birthday. Would she like that as gift OR towards a party OR part to party and part to gift, etc.

Any way you cut it---DH is going to have to be vocal about his situation, AND stand firm in whatever he decides.

(FWIW, mine was never good at standing firm with the ExW,.....but you've heard those tales before :smileyhappy: ...)

Best wishes---
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Mon, 10-15-2012 - 8:52am

lol..."THOUGHTS?" you ask? .... :smileywink: :


The only *mistake* I can see that you/DH made (and maybe I'm mis-understanding), but I dont think it was made CLEAR to DSD that Bella was planning to go with DSD and purchase a dress for her sunday am. In retrospect, I think it (might?) have helped if it had been made perfectly clear to her that there WAS a definite plan to go shopping AND pay for/purchase a dress for her---but it was happening sunday am with Bella/Bella's $$, and not saturday afternoon with her friends/Dad's $.

BEING A TEENAGED GIRL,....I'm doubting that would have eliminated the tantrum re: not being able to go with her friends (although it would have been nice if she could have gotten a ride with her own friends, "just looked", then returned to actually purchase on sunday am with Bella/dad.)

Whatever---it's over.

As far as where to go from here----I guess it depends on how upset your DH is and how much he wants to continue jumping through hoops. If he's already left messages she doesnt answer, I guess he can just let it be. Of course I agree with you that for (whatever) reason exW is determined to make the kids think their dad "doesnt care". HAH---fwiw (hope this isnt too depressing to you)----over here, (in my parallel world universe, lol)----10-plus years post divorce, the ex-W is STILL playing those games--just this week infact,--long story, but .......yeah, what's with exW's DELIBERATELY trying to get their kids to believe they have a father who DOESNT love/care about them? How sick to want to see your own children hurting this way.......y'know? It's like the exW/women cant see beyond their own anger/hurt that their actions are hurting who they actually love the MOST ---their own kids---, much more than hurting their exH's.
Your DH knows the real situation,...AND *eventually* DSD *WILL* start seeing what really has been going on..........................*IF* your DH is "ok" with just sitting tight and letting it be for now..........then that's probably best/easiest thing to do. (and, BTW, will most likely REALLY infuriate exW that her exH is not crawling/snivelling in order to deal with this.... ! )

Keep us Posted!!

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
In reply to:
Mon, 10-15-2012 - 12:17pm

Hi Bella,

Well, you already know how twisted I think the xW is.  However, I do have perspective being the xW that receives the CS and also splits costs with DH.  Child support is for the kids, but it is not dollar for dollar "I got $100 from xH, so I can afford to buy DD a $100 dress."  It just doesn't work that way.  CS is just that, support.  Which includes food and shelter, safe transportation, etc.  Does not mean the parents still don't have to split some costs of other things.

Make no mistake, I am not picking sides here.  Just prefacing it all with some perspective for anyone reading this thread. 

Just yesterday, I purchased a Halloween costume for DD12.  I told her my budget was done and if she needed anything else it either needed to come from her dad, or from her own money.  So I do think we need to take some of what DSD15 is saying with a grain of salt.  I could totally see my DD saying the same thing to her dad.  What his W thinks of that, I have no clue. 

It sounds like the weekend was just a comedy of errors.  And with a teenage girl, hold on to your seat!  I hate it when the get mad and take it upon themselves to leave or get picked up.  At least she left a note!  I do agree though that DF should have let xW know that DD15 had left.  If she was older or driving herself, then maybe not. 

You two did the right thing by still going to her sporting event. 

I agree with your friends that DD15 will probably get all snuggly again closer to her birthday.  That is one thing my SO struggles with his kids.  They get older and turns into needing a car, or car repairs, or deposit for an apartment, etc. etc. 

I know I am not offering much help here, sorry!  All I really have is perspective to offer.

For the most part I just follow SO's lead.  I still talk to his DD21 on FB, even when she is not talking to her dad.  But I am careful.  SO's birthday day did not go well.  But I still had a great day with his kids.  Doesn't make sense, I know.  But we didn't let their dad's bad mood ruin our day!  My SO is pretty good at not telling me what I can, or cannot do, when it comes to his kids.  But, I also have common sense, and don't do anything wacky or inappropriate. 

So I guess what I am saying is if DD still needs a dress, and you are available, then you do what you were going to do before the fireworks.  But obviously don't call and offer to take her on your own.  Only if she talks to your DF first. 

Enough rambling out of me.  I know it is hard when parents spend money differently.  Trust me, I know!!!


iVillage Member
Registered: 11-25-2007
In reply to:
Wed, 10-24-2012 - 8:50pm

Bella, you have received some great perspectives here. I particularly liked the one about CS being not $ for $ and the example given. Granted I have been fairly fortunate that I have gotten garnished and mostly reliable CS, (though thats all coming to an end soon) but like the one poster mentioned, when there are major extra's they need or.and our money is tight I will or now as the kids have gotten older, they will ask their dad if he can go half on something. I have been fortunate that my ex isnt an a......e, and he does help with their clothes purchases, and mostly he has come through to help with these extras - but I also try not to have unreasonable requests AND I/we are doing 99.9% of everything as he is unvinvoled in the parenting/daily juggling etc. Back to your DSD and the last situation that turned ugly, I also agree and had been thinking myself that she had not known that you were planning on taking her for the dress.  I dont have the awful PA issues you deal with and do sympathise there.  But I do have a DD15 who is my easiest and most responsible child of the 3 and do find that at this stage I am more and more the bank and the taxi, rather than the person she wants to be with and rarely am invited/wanted by my DD unless she either has no friends to shop with (rare) or I am practically needed to be there.  And buying a dress for the school dance etc is often something they tend to want to do with their friends if possible.  Its hard and humbling at times,  but I also acknowledge and know that this is the norm at this age and for me having been through worse (and still going through) with her older brothers, I have learnt to pick my battles and also learnt to "manipulate" occasions to be with her ie. if I run to a local store for something, I usually ask if she wants to come - yeah I will spend more, lol but I get time with her and the little extras she may get also help keep her cooperation with say chores and occasional help from her. 

As someone said, life with teenagers is an extremely challenging, then you add in divorce, then in your case add in PA issues - there are bound to be some disagreements and upsets.  The trick is how we deal with them - and there is no right or wrong, maybe one way would be better than another way - type thing.  I do know its a huge lesson in strategizing and 'biting the tongue' - but even then there will be times that they do not like us or mad at us simply because they are not getting what they want.  Post an update when you can - has there been any more developments re the birthday?

mom_uk2socal - Mom to DS22, DS19, DD16

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
In reply to:
Mon, 11-12-2012 - 6:18pm

Hi bella, isn't the big 16 coming up any day now?  I hope you can post and update us.  We are all curious....


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-07-2008
In reply to:
Mon, 11-12-2012 - 6:57pm
Having some problems posting from my phone...at this point DSD bday is one week from today...unfortunately DF hasn't asked about party and ex hasn't said anything either-there has been no indication from DSD that there is one and I have a hard time believing she wouldn't have said something at this point... We will have them this coming weekend and her bday is on Monday-so we got her a nice jewelry gift/bottle of perfume-also plan to take her to dinner of her choice...it will be interesting I'm sure... About 2 weeks went by and DF and DSD finally resolved the argument...she basically admitted some her mother's role in parts of what happened and things that were said-unfortunately not surprising-but it is nice to hear that we're not alone when dealing w/the trials and tribulations of the teenage years...