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Mourning stepdad finally tells in-laws, 'those kids are not my problem.' AITA?

Mourning stepdad finally tells in-laws, 'those kids are not my problem.' AITA?


"AITA for dropping off my step kids with my in-laws and saying that they are not my problem any more."


My wife passed away just before last Thanksgiving. It came out of nowhere and I am somewhat broken. To make it worse my step kids have decided that since I'm not their father they don't have to obey me any more.

They are teens and they have never been my biggest fans. They love their dad and I was only ever their mom's husband. However when Deena was alive they treated our home well and me with respect.

After she died they became monsters. Yes I know their mom died. It sucks. But that was my wife and the mother of my children. I am also having a tough time dealing.

Their paternal grandparents are also berating me for not being more understanding of all they are going through. I have tried. I have offered them counseling. I have given them space. I have been there for them. I am at my wits end.

The last straw was when we were over there for supper last week. I said it was time to go so I could get the littles to bed. My step kids said that they didn't want to go and that I should leave them and come back for them. It is a two hour drive.

I said no. Their grandparents said I was being too hard on them and that I should let them stay. I am having a hard time with two small children, the loss of my wife and two teen monsters without having my in-laws pile on to make my life more difficult.

So I did. I also packed up their stuff. Instead of coming back for them I dropped off their stuff at their grandparents' house. I have two kids under five to take care of. I don't really have time to baby two teens that are just making my life harder.

My house is clean for the first time in weeks. My kids are sleeping through the night. My step kids are loving with their uncle in the same city as me so they can finish high school with their friends.

Everyone on their dad's side is against me. I really don't care. I was told by both of them and by their father that I am not to try and parent them. So I'm not. I actually do not have any parental rights over them. Their dad was not even okay with me being a contact for them at school. So his parents bare the contact.

My wife left behind a small life insurance policy which I will divide between the four kids. But I was the breadwinner in my house. I bought pretty much everything there for the last eight years. So now it's all mine.

My in-laws are calling me an ahole for abandoning the kids but I have two kids that need me more. The older two have a dad as well as grandparents to help them. My kids do too I guess but they also have me and I want them to have a peaceful home.

Here were the top rated comments from readers:


INFO: if the teens don’t have you as an emergency contact because of their father why did they not go to live with their father immediately or nearly immediately after your wife’s death? I am very sorry for your loss also and feel bad for everyone here, to be certain.

The OP responded here:


Their father works at a FIFO camp. He has no permanent home.


Well, he needs to step up and get that changed. Sucks for him but not really your problem.


The father even said OP must not parent them but at the same time doesn't want to step up? Hell no!!


I am probably going to be the minority, but I think NTA. The have lost their mum, absolutely right, so you would expect trouble and playing up etc, but what I don't understand is why their Dad has not swooped in... If you were such a hindrance, where is he?

As long as everyone is happy, including all kids and yourself, I wouldn't fret about anything as I cannot see what you have done wrong here. You haven't left them on the streets, you have left them with Family and they are happy. If Daddy is so worried, he can step in can't he!


NTA. If what you say is true and you've done everything within your power to help them grieve and transition going forward without their mom then what else can you do? It sucks the other two kids losing that day to day contact with their siblings, but it may be better for all involved especially if the teens hold contempt for the little ones.

If they're father wasn't willing to step up right away then that says a lot about the dad and the in laws ins my opinion. Wash your hands of that family as they will only try to harm you going forward.


NTA. Why are you looking after children who you have no parental rights over and who hate you? What the hell happens if you need to give medical consent for something?

They're acting out, but they have a living parent and grandparents who can step up and look after them (though as they're now living with their uncle it looks like the conflict was about them not wanting to do this but also not supporting you in doing this.)


NTA. First and foremost I’m deeply sorry for your loss. You’re doing your job, and that’s to take care of yours. It sounds like these kids’ family is perfectly content letting you handle raising their kids/grand kids, and then being critical when things don’t go according to what they want.

What‘s curious to me is that their father is still alive and they aren’t with him. After “the dust settled” following their mother dying, he should have become their primary parent. But instead he’s part of the peanut gallery criticizing you. You did nothing wrong. Don’t let these people make your life more miserable than it is. I hope you can find peace.

So, do you think the OP is in the right here? If you could give them any advice, what would you say?

Sources: Reddit
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