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Woman bans BIL from Christmas after he tells foster son to stop calling her mom. AITA?

Woman bans BIL from Christmas after he tells foster son to stop calling her mom. AITA?


When somebody disrespects your family, the gloves are going to come off, even if they're also family.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a woman asked if she was wrong for disinviting her BIL from Christmas because he doesn't respect her relationship with her son. She wrote:

"AITA for disinviting my BIL from Christmas because he keeps telling my son to call me by my first name?"

My husband has three brothers. Charlie and Mike are in their 30s, while Spencer is 5 years old. Spencer is their half-brother from their dad’s second marriage. Their father passed away shortly after Spencer was born. Two years ago, Spencer’s mother went to prison. My husband and I began fostering him.

It didn’t take long for him to actually feel like our son. As it was, my husband and Spencer didn’t have a very brotherly relationship given the 30-year age gap. He already was more of an uncle. 6 months ago, Spencer’s mom lost her parental rights. My husband and I have been working on adopting him. It should be finalized after Christmas! Spencer is so excited.

He’s been calling us mama and daddy for a little over a year now, so this is just basically all legal, not changing how we feel in our hearts. Charlie and Mike have been supportive of the whole ordeal for the most part, but we’ve faced a road bump recently. When Spencer began calling us mama and daddy, Charlie found it odd. He said that we weren’t his parents. I said legally, yes we are.

I said he doesn’t have to be “Uncle Charlie” if he doesn’t want to be, but we are raising him. Charlie says that we’re basically erasing their dad from Spencer’s life. I said no, we talk about him AND Spencer’s bio mom often. This won’t be a secret. As it is, Spencer is very smart and is aware that he only came to live with us two years ago. Mike and my husband have both told Charlie to let it go.

I’ve noticed, however, that when talking to Spencer, he refers to me and my husband by our first names. Or he’ll say “ask your brother”, referring to my husband, or “go show your sister-in-law” when referring to me. Spencer is confused because he knows my husband is his brother but he doesn’t look at him like that. We’ve tried talking to him about it but Charlie claimed “it’s force of habit”.

We were trying to let it go but then one day, Charlie corrected Spencer when he called me “mama” and said “no, that’s Kate”. Spencer got confused and said “no, that’s mama!” Charlie told him that I’m not his mother. This only upset Spencer further. I’ve had enough, frankly. Spencer is our son. We have him in therapy and have also asked Charlie and Mike to attend family therapy with us.

Only Mike has agreed. I told my husband that I don’t want Charlie at Christmas (we’re hosting) if he’s just going to upset Spencer and undermine our place as his parents. My husband said it’s completely up to me. So, I told Charlie either he stops correcting Spencer or he can’t come. Now, Charlie is mad and says I’m keeping his brothers from him at Christmas.

I said if my husband wants, he can go visit him. And if he wants to see Spencer, he can promise to stop undermining my place. Charlie called me dramatic. MIL wants all of her boys at Christmas and says that I can put up with it for just one day. She said it’s hard for her to be around Spencer but she does it for us, so I can put up with Charlie and “see his side”. AITA?

EDIT: To add, my husband has been advocating for Spencer and does stand up to his family. It’s not just me.

The internet jumped on with plenty of thoughts.

YouthNAsia63 wrote:

Who is hosting this Christmas party, you, or your MIL? If you are hosting, OP, then you can make the guest list and ignore any comments from the peanut gallery. If MIL wants to spend time with Charlie, she may certainly do so, but she may do it elsewhere.

Charlie needs to learn to keep his mouth shut. What your little boy calls you is not up to him, and it’s none of his business. If Charlie doesn’t behave, Charlie can’t come to the party. It’s that simple. NTA.

OP responded:

I am hosting. If MIL was, I’d never dream of asking her to alter the guest list.

blaringlyquiet wrote:

NTA and it sounds like your husband needs to back you up in front of your family by speaking to both his mother and brother separately. Either they respect the family you're forming and believe that you have this child's best interests at heart, or they don't.

owls_and_cardinals wrote:

Telling a 5-year-old to 'go see your sister-in-law' is not 'force of habit'. Charlie is being very purposeful and his excuses like this also make him deceptive. I think your instinct and boundaries with him are perfectly reasonable and appropriate. Let Charlie be mad.

He brought this on himself. NTA. But I feel you need more support. You shouldn't he handing down this rule solo, your husband should be leading the charge and the communications because it is his brother who is misbehaving and causing problems.

Same with handling the MIL (hubby needs to handle her). She can host 'her boys' if she wants to and it doesn't have to involve you being around someone who consciously and constantly undermines the hard work you've put into raising Spencer.

Charlie doesn't have 'a side' in this. He's just inserting himself into something that doesn't really have all that much to do with him, and he isn't doing even the bare minimum to contribute to the situation becoming resolved. You don't need to accommodate that but you also shouldn't have to be under extra pressure from others to play nice. Ask your husband to step up.

13auricles wrote:

Well since your MIL has a hard time being around Spencer, then she can go celebrate with Chuckles the Clown.


D3xnDinah wrote:

NTA. I’d die on this hill. If MIL wants control of the guest list she can host, otherwise she can respectfully f#$k all the way off.

OP is clearly NTA here, Charlie is being a prick.

Sources: Reddit
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