A lot of people will ask for the truth, but don't actually want it.
In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a woman asked if she was wrong for telling her stepsister's son the truth about blended families. She wrote:
When I (26f) was 7 I lost my dad. My mom remarried when I was 9. My stepsister (29f) was 12 at the time. We had very different experiences with the whole blending of the families. I didn't really want it to happen and wasn't exactly looking to make them my new dad and sister.
They never really became that either but I have accepted that they are family. With my stepsister, her mom chose not to be in her life and she always longed for a family, where she had a mom and maybe some siblings.
It made us all living together uncomfortable with me and her wanting very different things and her dad and my mom really unhappy with how I felt about us becoming a "real family" as they would put it. We're all okay now. Not so close. But no hate or animosity there anymore. At least it was hidden well until this. So my stepsister married when she was 20 and had her son then too.
She lost her husband 2 years ago. Her son is now 9. My stepsister has met a man, a widower, and he has two kids under three. They are trying to get to the point where they move in together but her son is not really blending with them, which is how she said it. He's not unkind or rude. But he's not really making an effort is how she views it. And he has said he doesn't want to be part of the new family she wants.
They decided to go away for the weekend together and see if that would be a good experience and whether it would help them bond. She said her son ignored when the 3-year-old wanted to hold his hand and then he didn't want to sit with her partner who was also looking at the stars on their first night there. He also didn't want to take photos with them all.
So she decided I needed to talk to him as someone who also lost my dad. She said the adult me could give him a more mature insight into everything. I told her I would talk to him but I would not read from a script. She told me to just be honest. I did talk to her son. I assured him that how he was feeling was okay and that I had felt the same way.
I told him it was okay for his feelings to change and I answered honestly that mine hadn't really, they had just softened so I could like them as people even if they weren't my dad and sister. He liked hearing that and he said he really did believe that would be how he'd feel and I assured him it was okay. He was honest with how he just didn't feel the way his mom wanted to and I related with him with that.
My stepsister did not like that and a couple of days later she was calling to curse me out and saying I didn't help her like I had said I would. She told me her son was more sure now that he didn't want to try and be a family with them and she told me I was so selfish to ruin her life the way I had ruined my mom's. I told her my concern was with her son and how he was doing. She told me to go f$%k myself. AITA?
NTA. You did the right thing by validating his feelings honestly. Lying to him wouldn’t have served him well. Good job.
And OP responded:
Yeah, it really doesn't work the way people think it will. And a lot of kids can see when it's a lie vs the truth.
NTA, we need to stop lying to children to try and show them the "best way to live". Life is messy and there are hard truths, but that doesn't make them any less true. Tricking kids into thinking everything always works out like a Disney movie isn't going to help them when they encounter hardships.
It sucks that your sister can cut you off from your nephew and that he'll end up going through the same BS you went through. Please try and be there for him when your sister does the whole "idk what's wrong with him, all I ask is that he gets along with the family" and kicks him out so she can go play house with her new family.
NTA. The stepsister is choosing a man over her own child. She is a huge AH and her son deserves better.
NTA. Sometimes the adults forcing the blended family thing need to step back and let these people get to know one another instead of introducing them to their new close family member. If they had just met on the playground they’d get a chance to feel out if they even want to be friends.
They don’t even get that option when they’re thrown together just before becoming family members. It’s chaotic and crazy. And who wants to split or fight for attention when they’re 7-9 years old and lost their one parent? No kid ever!
NTA it must’ve been so refreshing for him to hear that his feelings are valid and completely normal.
OP is NTA here, if anything, she gave her stepsister's son a dose of much-needed understanding.