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Mom tells kids not to cheer for stepson at sports anymore; dad says, 'he needs therapy.'

Mom tells kids not to cheer for stepson at sports anymore; dad says, 'he needs therapy.'


Having a blended family isn't always easy, especially when there's a child mourning a deceased parent. But how much does that excuse their behavior?

A frustrated mother and stepmom found herself in a huge dilemma, she came to Reddit to see if she made the right choice. You decide who the a-hole is...

"AITA for telling my husband my kids will not be supporting my stepson at sport games anymore?"

u/AdhesivenessAny4098 writes:

My husband and I have been married for 6 years and together for 8. He has a 15 year old son Lucas. Lucas' mom died when he was 5 years old. I came into our marriage with Brynn who is 11 now and Miley who is 9. Together my husband and I have Alec who is 5. So Brynn and Miley are Lucas' stepsisters and Alec is his half brother.

Lucas has this trinket box with a couple of small trinkets inside of it that his mom left for him when she died. He keeps it in his room mostly but he likes to sometimes walk around with it in his hand.

I have always told my kids it is not theirs, they are not to touch it unless Lucas says they can and they cannot pester him about it. When we first got married Miley was really fascinated with it and did want to touch it but I nipped it in the bud since it was so special.

Regarding the dynamic. Lucas is very closed off from me and the kids. I have always done my best to bond with him but he is so withdrawn around me and therapy, which we did when we first got married, did not get us onto a path of being close, though I never expected to be his mom and I don't want that considered.

About a month ago were having dinner and my husband cracked a joke that Lucas seemed to care more about the trinket box than us after Lucas refused to let Alec get a closer look at it. Lucas said, very seriously, that the box meant more than me and the kids and he would gladly trade us to save the box if anything happened to it.

My husband was shocked Lucas spoke so seriously and the girls got upset about it. Alec wasn't paying attention when it was said. My husband took Lucas aside to speak to him and I spoke to the girls.

They told me Lucas had said that before, that he would trade our lives to save his box, that we better hope he's never asked to save one of us or the box because the box would win. He said this to them on a few occasions over a period of time. They never told me because they didn't know how to bring it up. He told Alec the same as well.

My husband said Lucas would need some therapy, because Lucas saw nothing wrong with saying that honestly. I told him he was saying it more to the kids when we didn't overhear. My husband said therapy would get to the bottom of things. A few days later Lucas is telling Brynn that he'd save his friends over the box but not her.

I told my husband about it and he said it would be mentioned to the therapist (he had a consultation with one the next day). Lucas argued that he didn't need therapy and just because he doesn't care about us or our lives doesn't mean there is something wrong with him.

I told my husband that given Lucas' attitude toward the kids, they will no longer show up to cheer him on at any sport games or the like. My husband argued we are still a family.

I told him my kids do not need to cheer for the boy who has told them to their faces multiple times that their lives are meaningless to him. My husband thinks I am overreacting and I would be wrong to do this. AITA (Am I the a-hole)?

What do you think? Is OP overreacting, and could potentially cause further harm? Or is she right to protect her kids against verbal abuse?

Reddit could not decide on a singular ruling, though their arguments were passionate.

EnvironmentalLuck515 says:

NAH (No a-holes here). Lucas obviously has issues. However, he also doesn't have a fully developed frontal lobe and he lost his mother very young. Withdrawal would only damage him more. You are hurt, the kids don't understand, but you are an adult and the only mother he has. If he were biologically yours you wouldn't abandon him for this.

OP responds:

I am not his mother. I have accepted that I am just dad's wife to him. I do not expect or ask for more. I am still going to be here for him. I just don't want my kids subjected to this or expected to continue to deal with that as if nothing wrong is happening to them.

EnvironmentalLuck515 follows up:

How does going to his games 'subject them to this'? He is still a child. Withdrawing your support from him will have lifelong consequences. You are understandably hurt and the kids are understandably confused. However, if he is playing a sport, they aren't being subjected to anything. Why ask here if you are already firm in your opinion?

OP answers:

In my opinion it sends the message that people can treat you terribly if you are family and you just have to let it happen and support them as though things are good while they are treating you badly on an ongoing basis. To them it feels like they are being punished (the girls feel that way at least) because they feel he hates them and wishes they were dead.

Quirky_Dog5869 writes:

YWBTA (You would be the a-hole) if you go down that path. Now don't get me wrong I get that this hurts and Lucas needs to learn to shut it instead of saying these things out loud. However he's 15 and the 'I would friends but not all of you' is clearly a pubescent way to stick it and be rude. I mean which teenager hasn't said hatefull things to it's parents/siblings?

Either way he is being honest and he's allowed to value others and other things over anyone else and so are you. But if you really/honestly want to be what you always tried to be, then be the adult and better person in this situatie and kill him with kindness. If you don't go cheer him on, don't do it out of spite.

To which OP says:

I will be going to cheer him on. I just don't want my kids to be there.

Primary-Criticism929 wants to know:

Why the f*ck does this topic of saving someone over the box keep popping up like that? ESH (Everyone sucks here), execpt the kids. Honestly, it sounds like this toxic environnement was brought by the adults. You husband comment during dinner should never have happened. Why would you ask something like that to a teenager who is clearly missing his mother?

From OP:

Apparently he wanted my kids to know their place and to not get the idea that they mean anything to him (his words). They say it always came out of nowhere. Though the time at dinner my husband definitely brought it on by making that awful joke.

Sparky81 comments:

YTA (You're the a-hole) - He's just a boy, he lost his mother, and misses her a lot. He's in pain and dealing with it the only way he knows how. That box might as well be a part of his mother. Yes, he's dealing with it poorly, but you're still being petty over it and not understanding what he's dealing with. He might not even understand either.

He's just a child and you're an adult. Your reaction to it is only going to push a wedge further between him and everyone. Therapy is going to take time.

OP defends herself:

I understand that and I have always defended that his box is sacred and it's his right to say if anyone can touch/interact with it. But my kids are also just kids and having that said to them multiple times is where I am coming up with problems. What he has said to them has hurt their feelings and I know that.

milee30 says:

It's not just the children who need therapy. You and your husband helped create and foster this dynamic. You're part of the issue here to be blunt.

And don't try to claim you're in therapy because no reasonable therapist is going to support your idea that when a hurting teen says something lashing out at younger step/half siblings the best way to fix that is to retaliate by not supporting him. If you're in therapy, you need another therapist.

But Caitastrophe3 disagrees:

A therapist would say that forcing young children to event for the person saying hateful things to them is unnecessary. Therapy takes time and the younger children have a right to boundaries while this is being handled.

My career is child development…yes the whole family needs therapy but not taking the younger siblings to the oldest sports events isn’t about retaliation, it’s about supporting the other children in the situation and giving a healthy distance to express feelings and not force a relationship while pursuing more therapy.

BoopityGoopity says:

NTA (Not the a-hole) I feel like I’m going to get a lot of flack for this. Mortality is hard on kids. It really really really sucks that your stepson is struggling so much with his mother’s passing/family blending, but that doesn’t give him the right to continually bully and deride other children.

If this was happening in a school setting, where a kid was telling other kids their lives are meaningless to them blah blah blah, that would be very not okay. Teaching your kids boundaries is important.

Forcing them to go to his events after he speaks repeatedly like that (which clearly upsets them) is teaching them that their feelings don’t matter. There are consequences to all actions and despite his grief, it’s not an excuse to mistreat others.

This is extremely complicated...

Do you think OP is handling it well? Or is there another a-hole in this story to blame?

Sources: Reddit
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