I have a 7 year old step son and a new baby on the way. My husband and I plan to have more children together after this one as well. I was not a part of the raising of my step son for his first 6 years and there are some things about the way he has been brought up that I not only disagree with but I feel they are not how I want our new baby or the ones after to be raised. My husband is constantly buying my step son things. At least once a week he is buying the child a new toy or more. I also have reason to believe there is more gifting going on behind my back. This child is obsessed with getting new things. We can’t go anywhere without him asking to get something. We went to Disneyland for a week and the child was more interested in spending time in the stores than doing rides. I was horrified. I have tried to subtly bring up to my husband that this does not work for me. I have tried to point out that it is not how I want the younger ones raised and there can’t be two different sets of values for the different kids, I have tried to point out that financially it isn’t practical when we have multiple kids and it needs to be curbed before there are other children so he doesn’t resent them for it, nothing seems to have made an impact even though he never disagrees when we have these conversations. I feel like I need to get a little more vocal about the issue if there is to be any changes made and I am desperate for advice on how to go about it.
What if you start giving him little chores & an allowance for doing them? Then he's not getting something for nothing, he's earning it. And he may also take great pride in buying things for himself. You could set the chores as things he should be doing or helping out with already (like put his clothes in the hamper) with some other simple little things thrown in (like dusting a bookcase or helping to dry the dishes). You could also make up a chore list that he can check off when he does something so he can see if he's earned his allowance.
That being said, my kids have chores to do but don't get an allowance because my dh is constanly buying them things (mainly DVDs that they watch often). But if they don't do what they need to do, they can't get what they want. So I guess we're really just paying them in DVDs instead of money... Good luck!
Is your husband the primary custodial parent of your step son?
The reason I ask this, is because it sounds more than anything to me, that your husband feels like your step son needs the gifts in order for him (the father figure) to be important. That giving the gifts is how he percieves himself being a good parent for your son and making up for lost time during the rest of the week if he isn't the primary custodial.
If you are custodial parents, then the issue is probably a lot deeper than a simple he likes getting gifts, so I keep giving them to him. Instead of saying we can't afford to keep giving gifts like this, he can't get so many, ask your husband why he feels like it's so important for him to be constantly gift giving, and then move forward from there. By asking why, I think it would help move the conversation to a deeper level instead of what may be percieved as just trying to change someone.
I do think that kids should get an allowance, so that they learn how to spend their own money. But I don't neccessarily think allowance should be tied to doing chores. My reasoning behind that is that if you get your allowance for doing your chores, there isn't the idea being fostered that sometimes we need to just do stuff because it makes life for everyone in the family easier. However I do think it is fair to give allowance if a kid goes above and beyond and does extra help around the house or more difficult chores such as mowing the lawn, etc.