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Dad is honest with kids about why he doesn't buy their half sibling anything, 'the kids were confused.' AITA?

Dad is honest with kids about why he doesn't buy their half sibling anything, 'the kids were confused.' AITA?

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"AITA for telling my kids why I don't buy their half sibling anything?"

The mother of my two children (10m and 9f) cheated on me during our marriage and became pregnant with another man's child. I learned this when I caught her with the man in question and after quizzing her, she admitted there was a strong chance he was the father of the baby she was pregnant with. I ended our marriage right there and took a DNA test when her youngest was born and she was not mine.

So in the divorce custody and support was only factored in for our two kids. I paid some child support because I made more than her but we had 50-50 custody time with the kids and I remained an involved dad. My ex lived with her youngest's father October of last year when he took off without a word and dipped from their lives. She has been in pursuit of child support ever since but he cannot be found and he quit the last known job he had, so she has been unsuccessful so far. This has led to her struggling and I buy more for the kids we share so they don't suffer because of the failed relationship with the affair partner.

Last month my ex told me she was struggling to keep up with the expenses for her youngest and she asked me if I would maybe buy some stuff that included her too. I said no, that I was responsible for my kids and I would not become financially responsible in any way for the child she made while cheating on me. She begged and told me they will have different lives if I don't help at least for now and I told her that was not my problem and maybe she'll think about that in the future before she starts an ongoing affair.

She told our kids about asking me and encouraged them to ask me for them. The kids were confused because they have always known their half sister is not my child but they started to doubt because of how their mom talked (saying good men take care of all their children and loving a child who is part of your family should never be that hard). The kids approached me and asked me about it and told me their mom wanted them to ask me for stuff for their half sister.

So I explained to them that she is not my child or part of my family but she is still part of theirs. They asked why since my oldest has some memories of his mom and I being together while she was pregnant. I said their mom got pregnant with their half sister while we were together but DNA proved she was not mine and I did not raise her for that reason.

I told them I am still their dad and nothing has changed but I was never really their half sister's dad and don't want to buy her stuff like I do for them. They understood and when they went back to their mom's she called and cussed me out for telling the kids more details than she wanted them to know. I said they had always been aware they had a different dad to her other child and that needed to remain clear because I was not claiming her now that her father has abandoned her. She called me a cruel d-k. AITA?

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

zombiezmaj said:

NTA. I'd be tempted to offer to take primary custody of your 2 kids to relieve her of their financial burden so she can just worry about her youngest.

MrsPomMummy said:

NTA. Your ex tried to make you out to be the bad guy and force your hand, banking on you not wanting to involve the kids. That was super wrong of her and good on you for not taking it. Stand your ground there.

That being said, when she says she can't afford stuff for the youngest kid, are we talking fun things like toys or basic necessities like diapers? Obviously you are neither responsible for the youngest kid nor are you the asshole for refusing to engage. Your ex made her mess.

But if it's the latter and you can afford it, I would consider buying her occassional basic necessities if you get the feeling that she genuinely cannot afford them (not just giving her money). Ultimately, the kid would be the one suffering and she is innocent in all of that. I would use it to show to your kids the importance of being compassionate, even to strangers you have no responsibility towards (and stress that!!!).

author124 said:

NTA - you're not obligated to financially support your kids' half-sister, and it doesn't sound like your explanation encouraged a divide between them or similar; if your ex didn't want them to have more information about the situation at hand, she shouldn't have tried to use them to manipulate you.

sephyir said:

Well, NTA. I'm strongly against talking badly about the other parent to shared kids (no matter how justified), but here it was your ex who muddled the waters and clarification was needed. I do feel sorry for the youngest kid though, not her fault that your ex cheated or her father left, but she's going to pay for it. Still, clearly not your responsibility.

Cann$bis-aficionado said:

NTA. She wanted to spin a narrative to paint herself as a victim in the cruel world, and you won't allow her to lie to your kids making you look bad for her betterment. Good on you.

Katapotomus said:

NTA your ex put you in a position to have to answer your children. You actually did a pretty good job by explaining your non-relationship to the baby while not diminishing their relationship to their sister. Those kind of discussions are not easy. Make sure to document this situation. What your ex did with the kids is manipulative and may fall under your family courts definition of abuse. Hopefully she'll refrain from this behavior in the future but better to be prepared if not.

Everyone was on OP's side for this one. What's your advice for this family?

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