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Sister called a 'traitor,' brother blames ex-wife for son's rejection of stepmom. AITA?

Sister called a 'traitor,' brother blames ex-wife for son's rejection of stepmom. AITA?


"AITA for telling my brother he's wrong to blame his ex wife without any evidence simply because he doesn't want to consider other possibilities?"


My brother has a 7 year old son with his ex . They divorced 2 years ago and my brother is now remarried. My brother and his ex share custody of their son. My SIL has been in their lives for 18 months and living with them for 10 months.

In March my nephew had to draw his family for school. He drew his mom, his maternal grandparents, my brother and me, my husband and our daughter. He did not draw my SIL.

My brother and SIL quizzed him on this and he said my SIL isn't his family so he didn't draw her. They told him that was wrong and my SIL is his family, she's his bonus mommy and he has two moms now and not just one. My nephew told them no and he ran to his room crying. He didn't change the drawing or add my SIL to it.

My brother immediately blamed his ex for this. He decided there was no way my nephew could just not like my SIL or not be close enough to her yet to count her, it had to be his ex. This led to him starting a fight with her and filing for full custody but they never made it to court because his reasoning was weak.

My brother and my SIL decided my nephew needed counseling and got him in after a month and after one or two sessions Mother's Day came and went and there was another "incident" because my nephew didn't call my SIL on Mother's Day or make her anything. This was also nephew's mom's fault according to my brother.

Then last week my brother spoke to the counselor my nephew sees and she told him she didn't believe his ex was involved in this. He dismissed her opinion and came to vent to me.

He basically shut out what the counselor said because he wants to believe his ex is to blame. I told him he's wrong to blame his ex without any proof and he should be open to other possibilities for why my nephew feels the way he does.

He told me I'm stupid and naive if I think it's not his ex and he explained how amazing my SIL is and how it can't be her fault (I never claimed it was). He asked what kind of sister I am when I side with his ex over him. AITA?

Here were the top rated comments from readers in response to the OP's post:


He sounds like TAH to me. You gave him your honest opinion. You didn't say it to hurt him or your nephew. And there is always more than one side to a story that involves more than one person.

It sounds like your brother wants to blame his ex for everything. I'm betting he blames her for the divorce? the kid sees things the way he sees things. And basically he's right. He's old enough to know that stepmom is not his mom, why should he give her something for mother's day?

That's most likely no one's "fault" it's just how it is. You might let him know that vilifying your nephew's mother to him is not going to win stepmom any points in the nephew's book, it's just going to make it worse. Maybe your brother should be going to counseling with.

The OP responded here:


I never heard him blame her for the divorce. But he blames her for their son not being more excited and into his wife. He believes she should be encouraging their son to call SIL mom too (or mama).

He believes any distance has to be all from the ex and couldn't be due to anything else, including how quickly they moved in their relationship (8 months of knowing before marrying). So, what do you think about this one? If you could give the OP any advice here, what would you tell them?


Would he want his son calling another man dad? With him alive and involved in his life. NTA and all he is going to do is push his son away.

The OP again responded:


My brother would never want that. Not while alive and not if he were to pass. I already know he'd be furious if my nephew called any man a dad kind of name.


Maybe you should point that out to him then. Maybe tell him that it isn’t fair he would want his ex to encourage their child to call his new wife mom or any variation of the word especially since he would NEVER want another man to be called dad. Besides, it’s not his ex wife’s responsibility to make that relationship, and with young kids it takes time.


"my nephew didn't call SIL on Mother's Day or make her anything."

Oh come on. There's not a kid in the world who thinks about what they're going to do for Father's Day or Mother's Day without an adult reminding them they should make a homemade card.

If this kid didn't do anything for SIL on Mother's Day, that's on the dad. I'm sad for the kid. He simply doesn't want a "new / bonus mom" which is pretty normal. NTA.


NTA. Poor kid! The dad needs to get family counseling with the son because apparently he’s not capable of seeing things through his son’s eyes on his own. I’m glad his auntie is more empathetic.


NTA. He needs to stop trying to force this "bonus mommy" onto a kid who doesn't want it. He's old enough to know who is and who isn't his family, and right now he doesn't consider stepmom to be part of it.

Attempting to force it on him will only cause him to go the complete opposite direction. If stepmom can't handle it, she should get some therapy herself. If dad can't handle it, he should also seek therapy.

So, what do you think about this one? If you could give the OP any advice here, what would you tell them?

Sources: Reddit
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