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Son tells dad, 'I'm not feeding your stepkids, they are NOT my family.' AITA? UPDATED

Son tells dad, 'I'm not feeding your stepkids, they are NOT my family.' AITA? UPDATED


When this teenager is fed up with his stepsiblings, he asks the internet:

"AITA for not making food for my dad's stepkids?"

I (16m) make my own lunch for school. I started making them when I was 11 and my mom was sick with cancer and now I make all my lunches.

My dad refuses to give me lunch money for school, said no way in hell to making them (mom made his and now he pays for lunch every day) and doesn't want to give me permission to eat outside school (which is an option with parents consent) because he'd need pay for that.

So I make them. I work part time and so I started paying for the ingredients I use in my lunches.

My dad got married 2ish years ago. His wife has three kids who are 5, 7 and 8 now. For about a year there's been this issue where my dad and his wife want me to make all four lunches.

They said if I'm making my own I should make my "siblings" (and I say "siblings" because they're not my sibling) lunches too to save their mom time and to streamline everything.

I was like no and my dad's wife was shocked. She called me out for making stuff only for myself. She said it's crazy that I would look at my "siblings" and not want to make a few things for them too.

It escalated to where they said I shouldn't get to eat their dinners if I won't participate in taking care of the family. So I buy my own dinner stuff now and make my own.

Now they're calling me out for doing that. They said I could make dinner for all four of us and then we could eat dinner earlier and my dad and his wife could do something else.

My dad's wife didn't make lunches for her kids on several occasions to try and make me relent. Their teachers ended up feeding them and writing to her about it. She was super pissed and asked me if I was ashamed.

I told her they're her kids and her problem, not mine. I also suggested she take it up with my dad if she's unhappy and wants help feeding her kids because it's not my job. She said if dad won't feed me, he won't feed her kids. I shrugged her off.

Monday was a big day in all of this. I was home for hours alone and made a nice dinner. I was eating when my dad's wife came home with her kids, who were hungry and she exploded on me and asked if I'd made the kids dinner.

I said no. She demanded to make it up to them I make them lunch for Tuesday (yesterday) and I said no. She called me a bunch of names and told me she fg hates me because I'm supposed to be a decent kid and yet I won't help feed her kids and it's not how you treat family.

I told her because it's not my job and we're not a family. I pointed out she married a guy who isn't a good dad to his own kid, and how her only interactions with said kid were attempting to dump responsibility onto him (me)

so she really has no reason to think I owe her anything. Which of course let her to calling me all kinds of things, including an ass. AITA?

Before we give you OP's update, let's take a look at some of the top responses:

timetim writes:

Hi OP. In answer to your title question -NTA. Your father should be providing food for you. That is his responsibility. You are not responsible for feeding your dad's girlfriend's children. Your dad's girlfriend does not sound any better of a parent than your dad.

I am so sorry that you've had such a hard time since your mom's illness and her dying.

It sounds like the best thing you can do is to prepare for your future. There will be teachers or other staff at school you can talk to and who might be able to help or at least support you mentally. Can you think of relatives, that if they knew how tough your life is, might help you?

You sound like an independent (you've had to be) and resilient young man. You have done extremely well in standing up for yourself. Your education is most important but in the immediate future your day to day well being is what is vital.

Work as hard as you can at school. Gather any essential documents - passport, birth and other certificate, bank and savings books together. And hide them. Make sure your money is somewhere safe, preferably not in the house.

Ask teachers about scholarships, if you want to stay in the education system as who knows what cooperation you will get from your dad. Or apprenticeships or other ways into the job market.

I think you need to have a getting away kit for emergencies, in case things get bad, but also for the longer term.

bfan72 writes:

NTA. Please go to a trusted adult at school. You are still a minor and your stepmother and father have documented neglect from the other kids. CPS will definitely get involved with your situation being brought to their attention.

Anyone that works with children in my state are mandated child abuse reporters. It wouldn’t be you calling child protective services it would be the adult you speak with.

Everyone is correct about getting your documents and keeping money aside. If you have a trusted adult in your life see if they can put your money into an account and get a debit card for it.

Leaving money in your house can be an issue. You aren’t always home and they will go through your room. If possible get a hidden camera for it. No one should ever deal with this. At least they have messed up with the other kids and had it documented.

snapssgrayunderpants writes:

NTA. Although your dad's wife is a pain in the ass, she isn't the problem. Your dad is the problem. He won't step up and help his wife. He'd rather offload his chores onto you and enable his wife to harrass you. This is a very weird hill for your dad to die on.

One possible approach: Learn the following key words and casually drop them into your conversation when speaking to your dad or his wife: parentification, Child Protective Services or CPS, emancipated minor.

Casually mention you are talking to various teachers/counselors at school for advice on how your dad's wife can the problem of how to feed her kids herself.

If that doesn't make them back off, post a request on social media for helpful tips about fast food prep for busy moms since your dad's wife is really struggling getting meals for her kids, then sit back and watch as your dad is contacted by concerned friends and relatives.

Another approach would be to ask for payment for making lunches plus your dad buys all the food for everyone's lunch including yours. You might be able to prep lunches for the week and just freeze, refrigerate until needed. Get paid for making dinners, too. That might be a good way to make some money.

jedi writes:

NTA. The guilt and shaming tactics are so awful. I’m sorry you’re going through this. Her anger at you is as misplaced as you said.

She married a man who would not be a partner for her in helping with her children, and instead of being mad at herself for making such a poor decision, or even at him for being such a worthless partner, she’s aiming it at you because she sees you as the weakest one in the equation.

The fact that she would choose not to feed her own children to try and guilt you into feeding them is so awful! Gah! You have done nothing but tell them the truth. You have no obligation to them. Quite the opposite.

You didn’t get to choose your father, you certainly didn’t get to choose his new wife, and you are still a minor. All reasons they are the ones who are supposed to be supporting you, not the other way around.

caramel6 writes:

NTA your dad set up this toxic situation by not ensuring you have food. Blows my mind that a person would expect their child to manage their food like you are plus more kids.

Like it’s never occurred to them that feeding you is actually their responsibility??? I’m a parent of a 16 year old and while I don’t pack their lunch.

I do make sure food/money is provided so they can either pack it themselves or buy at school, your dad is terrible. Are your grandparents around? I wonder how they would react to this.

graacc writes:

This is all pretty messed up. But honestly, part of living in a home with other people in a family involves mutual interdependency. You are revolting against this… you keep delineating that this is not YOUR family.

You clearly feel separate… but your step mom and dad are trying to include you. So there’s clearly history here. Technically you are NTA. If you don’t want to be part of their family you don’t have to be and your behavior will ultimately exclude you.

But I do wonder in the long run if you may regret what you’re doing. As you know from your mom, parents eventually get sick and die, and our sibling connections become so much more important.

No, they aren’t blood relatives, but living with kids in those developmental years can create a bond that lasts a lifetime.

They can remember you as a vague person that lived under their roof or have fond memories of how you made them lunches sometimes and left them notes and participated in their growth, which is a fun dynamic decades later when you are all adults.

But it’s your choice and it neither is right or wrong it’s just a question of who you want to be and what kinds of relationships you want with these people 10 years down the road if any.

cyclopsreaddd writes:

NTA. As previously mentioned, you are being subject to parental neglect & abuse. Your father and his wife are responsible for seeing to that all minor children are fed, clothed, sheltered, and educated—period! You are not obligated to care for nor feed her children.

You have been given great advice regarding contacting the authorities (CPS), and by speaking to someone in your school they are mandated by law (in most states in the USA) to report this abuse to CPS.

However, before you make that move be certain to have all of your documents in hand, your passport, birth certificates, library card, Birth mother's death certificate, etc., (if you can't access the originals, get government issued copies) and have them stored in a safe & secure place away from your home.

Are you in contact with any relatives on your mother's side? Are they aware of your predicament? You could petition for emancipation and the state could provide you with major assistance (as someone in the feed suggested).

Additionally, this is so uncaring of the adults not to care that you have lost your mother at such a young age, and the younger children of the stepmother are also suffering bc of their neglect.

They have made it difficult, if not impossible, for you to bond with them. So sad bc they are really young and won't fully understand the toxic dynamics at play here and will internalise your reluctance as dislike for them and they won't understand why. Small children should not have to be placed in such a dysfunctional situation as this.

And now, OP's update:

We're not a family. So we have never communicated. My dad only talks to me when he's telling me to do what his wife wants.

She only talked to me when she wanted me to cook for her kids. I don't talk to them unless I have to because they're not my family. Family therapy is pointless because there is no family.

I have the best group of friends who support me and I can talk to about all this shit. They were with me through it all. My mom getting sick and then dying and my dad basically just checking out completely and deciding we're no longer a family. Without them I would have run away by now.

I don't have family/relatives I can turn to for help. It's really just my friends. Therapy won't fix anything because we're not a real family. My dad hasn't acted much like my family in years and his wife has never acted like we're an actual family.

She just expected it to be that way and that I'd feel some kind of family connection to them from nowhere. It was always going to be impossible and the fact she knew she was marrying a shitty dad is all I need to say she would never be someone I would want or accept into my family.

What do YOU make of OP's story? Any advice for him?

Sources: Reddit
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