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Man threatens to kick out 'ungrateful' stepson, responses change his heart.

Man threatens to kick out 'ungrateful' stepson, responses change his heart.


AITA for setting boundaries with my stepson?


I (47m) have a stepson (16m) who for the purposes of this post, we’ll call “T”. I’ve been married to my wife (48F) for two years and have two daughters (7F & 9F) with my ex.

Since the day T moved into my house he has been nothing but disrespectful. I understand that change, especially change this drastic (moving, getting new siblings/ a new parent) is hard for a kid but some of the stuff he does just crosses a line.

For example, I transferred him to a really great private high school when he moved in because I wanted him to have the best opportunities. He always complains that he doesn’t like his new classmates, that the school is too far away (it’s 15 minutes further than his old school, which is practically nothing) and that he doesn’t like the environment.

He doesn’t understand that later he will thank me for this, I would have killed for an opportunity like this at his age!

Additionally, he always breaks rules we have set in place. I have asked him to surrender his phone to the living room at 9pm to have some family time but he says he wants to talk to his old friends.

He constantly claims not to like the food his mother or I make even when he hasn’t tried it. His mother and I try to have a date night once or twice a week and he always claims he is too busy to watch his step sisters.

We have asked him repeatedly for the passwords to his social media accounts and he refuses to hand them over… etc.

I’m sick of the disrespect in my own house, so I set some boundaries. Either he starts treating me with respect and listening to me, or he can find somewhere else to live.

Obviously I wouldn’t really kick him out, but I’m hoping this scares some sense into him. My wife, however, said I took it too far and need to apologize and tell him I wasn’t serious. I feel like this will undermine my authority though. AITA?

Here is what the initial post led people to say:


YTA. So you rip this kid out of his school and away from his friends and you’re pissed that he isn’t kissing your ass in gratitude. Then you change up all of the rules he’s ever known and are pissed that he’s resistant to the change. You expect him to give up his social life to watch your kids so you can go out and you don’t understand why this would upset him.


YTA your rules are VERY controlling.


Maybe YTA, why do you want his social media passwords? Is he not allowed any privacy? But looking after his step sisters once or twice a week doesn't seem unreasonable if they're well behaved. Yes you might've sent him to a good school, but a combination of that and taking the phone away probably makes him lonely and misses his friends.


YTA. Threatening to kick him out over minor disrespect is going too far, and will damage your relationship and his trust in you. Apologize sincerely, explain your frustration, and speak honestly from the heart.

Also, it sounds like your stepson has been uprooted from everything he knows without having much choice, despite being nearly an adult. Was his old school a bad one?

The private school may be “better”, but one can still be highly successful with a public education. Did you talk to him before you made this choice for him? It sounds like he’s pretty resentful, and he may have good reason to be.

Also wanted to add - your kids are YOUR kids. Your stepson is not obligated to babysit them. He’s allowed to say no. Are you offering to pay him?

And he’s entitled to some privacy. I think demanding the passwords to his social media is kind of invasive. Maybe compromise on him putting you or his mother on his friend list.

There was then a quick update a few hours later with additional clarification that the OP thought was necessary:


I just want to clarify a few things because they seem to be causing confusion in the comments. He did not change schools when he was sixteen. We had him change when he was 14, when he moved in to my house, so about halfway through his first year of high school. Also, he did know about the change, we talked to him about it beforehand. He wasn’t excited but he did know that he would be changing schools.

Thank you for everyone who has taken the time to comment, and thank you further to the people who have offered helpful advice. I didn’t come here to be vindicated, I came to find out if I was doing everything I could for my stepson and clearly I am not.

I am going to try to fix what I have done wrong, I’ll offer him the option to switch back schools (although I understand that it might be too late) and I will drastically ease up on the restrictions that we have been set in place.

Furthermore, I am going to sit down and apologize, I want him to know he is cared for and that I was wrong.

After that update, people doubled down:


Step parents are real parents. That much does not change with this post.

With that being said: you are a sh*t parent and your step son is well within his rights to break those rules, which are in place to make you feel like a dictator and give you power over him, they are not there at all for his own good. Shame.

Understand that he's not your daughters age, he's nearly an adult. He can't possibly be under the same rules your daughters have.


Step parents aren’t though; at least not immediately. I mean how many times has a single mom gotten married and then pushed ‘OUR son’ etc? That kind of relationship grows over time with the kid and the step. Being a stepparent is hard AF; you have to be aware of your new role and develop a relationship with the child that is mutually respectful.


A family, like anything else, needs structure and a hierarchy! That hierarchy cannot be led by a early teen child. It just doesn't work!


I really like how you are demanding your stepson respect you but you refuse to show any respect to him. That’s pretty messed up, but not surprising.

As long as you show this poor kid zero respect, you are going to get zero respect.

You aren’t his dad. You are his stepdad. Take a gigantic step back and let his mother parent him without your input and rules. Maybe you will eventually end up with a better relationship. Until you do that, it will be the same as it is now. You are the more adultier adult. You need to start acting like it and take the first step.


Therapist here: YTA-14 is a horrible time for you to come in and start changing everything he has known. I would be much more concerned if he wanted to babysit his 7 and 9 year old sisters. What isn’t said is his father is out of the picture.

It was him and his mom until you showed up, changed everything and added new rules. You would do well to let him go back to his old school where he knows people (provided he keeps a 3.0 average if you must) and forget taking his phone for family time, he is 16.

You are not important to him now and that is age appropriate. I would let him eat what he wants as long as he makes it and cleans up after himself. He is not your built in babysitter, save the money on the private school and hire a sitter.

You came in just as his hormones are telling him he is a man and making the rules and changing everything and demanding respect instead of earning it. Try talking to him like an adult and treating him like one instead of trying to bully him into cowering to you.

At this point, it seemed like the story was over. But then, over a YEAR later, the OP came back with a surprising update that showed a true change of heart.


A little bit more than a year ago, I asked for advice on how to deal with my stepson. I was ripped to shreds in the comments, and deservedly so. For those who haven’t read the post: I didn’t feel like my stepson was respecting my authority after I imposed overly strict rules upon him.

I’ve had a few people ask for an update, but first, I wanted to clear up one thing. Many people assumed that I took an under privileged kid and put him in a school full of rich kids. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Before we married, he and his mother were very well off. We both have really well paying jobs, the only reason he was in a public school was because the schools in our area are really great.

The only reason he was switched to the private school is because it is a STEM school and I thought that would be beneficial to him.

Now on to the update. After reading the comments telling me how horrible of a stepfather I was, I felt sick. This may seem unbelievable but I was genuinely trying to do right by him and I was beside myself realizing that I did more harm than good.

My stepson never knew his father, and I jumped at the chance to have that special father/son bond with him. I eased up on many of the restrictions I placed, he no longer has to surrender his phone and while we still do have family time, it’s about once a week instead of every night.

He no longer has a bedtime and while his mom follows him on his socials (I do not) I no longer demand his passwords to anything.

The only time I have asked him to babysit is in the case of an emergency but surprisingly, now that I’ve stopped, he’s been offering to babysit every once in a while.

As for the school issue, he is still at the school we switched him too. We had many long talks about this very issue and he ultimately decided to finish out his high school career at the school because, while he missed his friends, he was able to recognize that this new school offered him the best opportunity to get into the college he really wants to attend.

Since all of this, the relationship between my stepson and myself has drastically improved. For his 17th birthday we offered to get him a car and he and I had a really nice time picking out the right one.

I’ve taken him to a few basketball games which he loves (and I’ve enjoyed learning about the sport from him). He actually got a girlfriend and came to me for advice about dating which is not something that would have happened before.

I will say this, I am blessed with an incredibly smart, kind and compassionate stepson; Other kids may not have been so forgiving, and rightfully so.

I urge other stepparents out there to really listen to their stepchildren instead of automatically trying to take over, you may not be as lucky as I was.

This new information and altered dynamic sparked a a surge of new comments from readers who had read the innitial post.

The original post is cringey, but good on you OP for acknowledging your mistakes and actively working to fix them.


I'm glad your relationship is better but I wanted to point something out. In your previous post, it was all I statements. Not me and his mother decided... you left her out completely of your retelling of the situation. Why is that?

Did she agree with the changes, or did you two even discuss them? As a grown up child of divorce, my step came in and tried to completely change the family dynamic and I refused to be around him at all. Maybe your wife was on board, but that post was all about you.

The OP felt that it was important to respond to this question.


Hi, I wanted to reply to this question because it’s a great one and I couldn’t really get into in because of the character count. My wife( along with my previous AITA post) was one of the biggest things that made me change.

She has been a part of every important conversation because she is his mother first and foremost. She has also had many a private conversation with him that I have not been privy to nor should I have been.

You’re right, the post was all about me but that’s because I wanted it to reflect my relationship with my stepson now, however that isn’t to say that his mother isn’t as actively involved in this whole situation as I am.

Comments continued on:


Wow, what a great update! They ripped up a new asshole on your original post (which you deserved, of course) but I know it couldn't have been easy to hear since you genuinely didn't seem to have had ill intentions.

Unfortunately, a lot of people react badly to such harsh criticism to the point that they'll shut down and get super defensive instead of asking themselves why their actions have caused such a strong reaction with so many people.

But you seem to have bucked that tend and accepted that you were in serious need of some outside perspective and self reflection, which I can certainly respect. Good for you!

I gotta say, the fact that your stepson was so readily willing to forgive after getting treated so poorly for 2+ years by you is a real testament to his good character. He sounds like a very kind hearted and intelligent young man that any parent would be proud of.

It's so good that you were finally able to recognize that before the relationship was too damaged to be repaired. And the fact that he's offering to babysit now that he's not being forced into it tells me that he really is a sweetheart.

I hope you keep up the good work cuz if you do, I'm sure this relationship will continue to flourish and grow into a familial love and bond.


That's a really great update, OP! I'm so glad you listened intead of insisting you're right like every other AH here.

You've clearly done the right thing by listening - look how much happier both you and your stepson are, because you listened to him and didn't hold out because 'I'm your dad, you have to respect every single rule i impose on you, however outrageous!'.

There's so many people like that in this sub, it's great to see someone who isn't like that. Thanks for listening to us haha!


This is exactly why I love the AITA page, because every now and again the internet helps misguided folks see the light and improve their lives and their relationships :) A huge well done for a) posting in the first place, b) accepting the verdict and c) correcting the mistakes.

Luck and happiness to you and your family :)


What? AITA did good? An AH turned over a new leaf? Will wonders never cease! Sorry for the snark OP.... congratulations on all the progress. That's really nice to hear a good outcome. Good on your stepson for being big enough to forgive, and good on you for making the changes.

It is always nice to see someone receptive to criticism online and hear about the benefits of their transformation. Do you think they made the right call after listening to readers?

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