So, what does a caring uncle do when their nephew is being routinely ignored by their stepsiblings? Take him out for some fun every once in a while! What's the harm there? Stepmom thinks, a lot. Here's the uncle's Reddit post:
My brother has an 8 year old son Caden. Caden's mom died when he was a baby. My brother married Simone 2 years ago almost and they blended families. Simone has Bella 10 and Archie 9. Bella and Archie's dad died when they were 4 and 5.
Caden was really excited about Bella and Archie and having siblings. My brother and Simone told him that he'd have a brother and a sister and they'd be buddies for life and really made him eager to live with Bella and Archie.
But his experience with them has not been a positive one. They don't want to include him in anything, they seem to go out of their way to not spend time with him.
Examples I have witnessed and have been told about by Caden: Bella and Archie will be outside playing with kids in the neighborhood and when Caden tries to join in and play with everyone Bella and Archie will go inside or they will go do their own thing away from the other kids and Caden.
Caden said sometimes Bella and Archie have said no to him joining and Simone will tell her kids they cannot stop him from playing with everyone else.
I witnessed this myself at Christmas. Kids in my parents neighborhood were outside playing with their new toys and stuff. Caden joined a little after and Bell and Archie left the larger group playing together and went off on their own. When their mom noticed, she went outside to say they should join the group again and they said no, because they didn't want to play with Caden.
Sometimes my brother or Simone will break up the kids into different groups for some fun family time and Caden is always told they don't want to do that stuff with him.
When my brother takes them Bella or Archie will try to wander off, when Simone takes them they always try to put her in the middle of stuff so it's not like they are playing or having fun with Caden.
Several months ago, when I realized how much it bothered Caden, and how sad it made him, we started doing a water park or trampoline park near us for the occasional fun day out.
He'd ask to invite his stepsiblings and given they are my step niece and nephew, that made sense. The kids have never said yes. They have been offered and they will say they don't want to come.
So I still take Caden. But now, Simone is bothered by this.
Last time we went, Caden had such a good time and he said it was the most fun he'd ever had, because he got to stay late on the trampoline for helping another kid who was there. I guess Simone was bothered by him enjoying that so much when her kids weren't there.
I told Simone the Bella and Archie have always been invited but they never come. She told me I shouldn't be taking Caden either then. My brother said maybe it's better to just lay off for now and not to bring Caden along.
Simone wasn't just happy there though, and told me to consider my actions because I was being deliberately hurtful to her children. AITA (Am I the a-hole)?
Reddit said NTA (not the a-hole) and had a few things to say about Simone...
NTA - It might help to explain to your brother that if the stepsiblings were allowed to dictate whether Caden gets to go, that is deliberately hurtful to Caden. Why should their feelings be granted more importance than Caden's?
That is what Simone is demanding - that Caden be brushed aside and her children be granted control over his ability to have fun, go out, and have relationships that do not include them.
Caden is already in a disadvantageous spot, through no fault of his own. The stepsiblings have each other all the time; they already have the power to exclude him from activities within the house itself.
You brother should *NOT* be granting the stepsiblings the power to then exclude him from having fun and relationships with other people. What do the step siblings even say about this? What have their SAID about their feelings?
Their opinion is always a very hard no and have never expressed they want to come. I don't know that they'd ever feel guilty about Caden being stopped though. They give the impression they don't like Caden or care about him. Which Caden feels too. The sad thing is he was told they would be his brother and sister and they'd be friends but that's not what has happened.
Tell your brother (alone) that his kid is lonely. Tell him what Caden has been telling you: that Bella and Archie very obviously bail on every group Caden joins and he is crushed by it.
Tell him that you will KEEP inviting Bella and Archie out for Caden's adventure days, and if that's 'hurtful to them' then you're at a complete loss as to HOW. Keep doing those days for your nephew OP, you're his hero.
And try to avoid being trapped into conversations with Simone for the foreseeable future if you possibly can. She's working out some weird resentful-stepmom energy there...keep yourself out of the mix. Maybe your brother will see it plainer for himself if you're not there to blame. NTA, as you already know.
9/10 chance Simone is also trying to force the step-sibs to call OP’s brother dad. She seems obsessed with trying to force a perfect blended family scenario onto her unwilling children. I think we’ve seen enough posts on this sub to know exactly how this will turn out. I still feel terrible for Caden who is caught in the crossfire.
I’m not sure about this. I think she just doesn’t give a sh*t about her stepson, and will defend her precious babies, even when they are exclusionary and unkind.
Simone obviously sucks and she is raising too bratty AHs. They are purposely excluding Caden in every way possible. OP is going out of his way to bring some joy into Caden’s life. Simone needs to reel in her rude children that are borderline bullying Caden. You can’t force a happy blended family dynamic if the other two kids don’t want it. Caden should be allowed to have fun too.
As far as OP's options, it looks like they'll have to hope Caden's dad comes to his senses.