Grief is a deeply complicated emotion, and it can show up in a lot of ways.
Navigating emotional differences while someone is grieving can be immensely prickly, since their energy is in a completely different galaxy. So any disagreement or misunderstanding feels like it's turned up to 100.
AITA for yelling at my ex and telling her to stop trying to make our kids perform for her after the death of her husband?
My ex-wife and I share two children. Our daughter is 13 and our son is 11. She was remarried for 7 years and has two children with her late husband. He died a week ago. My kids were not close to the man. He was a harda*s and the kids found him overly strict (and I agree) and they didn't like being around him.
The relationship at best was strained but they confided in me over the years that they hoped their mom would leave them. She loved the guy though and when he died last week she was a mess. Our kids were with me when it happened and she wanted to see them so I brought them over.
They comforted their mom and she told them, repeatedly, it was okay to cry, it was okay to miss him, that they were all going to miss him. The kids said nothing. She kept repeating it. I told her I thought the kids got it. When the kids saw their mom again she was halfway through planning the funeral and asked if they would be able to do a reading or something for the funeral.
The kids said they wouldn't be able to. She was with them a while and then said, since they weren't crying much, maybe they could take a reading and see how they did on the day. Kids told me about it when I spoke to them and they asked if I could talk to their mom. I told my ex not to force the reading. The funeral day came. I showed up for my kids.
They were hanging back with me a lot, and they told me their mom kept watching them, which I witnessed myself. For the funeral I sat behind them since she wouldn't let them sit with me. She told us that all her husband's kids should be seated up front and I didn't have the heart to tell her they weren't his kids on the day of her husband's funeral when she was such a mess.
So I bit my tongue and supported my kids. It was after the service when everything went down. The kids came to sit in my car for a while and we were laughing about something. Ex came over and asked how they could be laughing when they had just buried their stepdad and why did they show no grief at all over the loss of the man who was part of their lives for 7 years.
She said it was almost like they were glad he was gone. She told them they should have been looking way more somber after he passed. She told them if they really didn't care they clearly needed help because her husband loved them. I stepped in and told her to lay off the kids, they were kids. She told me to stop interfering in how SHE parents our kids.
My daughter ended up getting mad at her mom and told her she wasn't sad he was gone, he was an a*s and she had always hoped she would leave him. She stormed off and my son followed.
Ex was going crazy and I yelled and told her to cut it out and to stop trying to make our kids perform a grieving routine over her husband. I told her they were trying to support her and she should be proud of them for that. She started yelling back at me about what an a**hole I am so I walked away. AITA?
NTA. It doesn't matter how much she wants to believe something; if your children don't miss him then they don't miss him. I don't see that you've done anything wrong here. You've tried to support your children and even went as far as:
'I didn't have the heart to tell her they weren't his kids on the day of her husband's funeral when she was such a mess. So I bit my tongue and supported my kids'
Many people wouldn't have been so restrained. Your priority is, and should be, your children.
'told her to cut it out and to stop trying to make our kids perform a grieving routine over her husband. I told her they were trying to support her and she should be proud of them for that.'
You needed to speak up for them because no-one else was going to.
NTA but why on earth does your ex think these kids would grieve for a man who was a hard a*s with them? Might be time to revisit custody agreement...doesn't sound like the kids need that kind of emotional bs directed their way.
NTA Sometimes stepparents and step kids do not bond. It can't be forced.
NTA. Grief can really do a number on people and I think she may be lashing out as a way to cope. It’s understandable but not okay, and you did a great job of shutting her down. She should go into grief counseling ASAP and I think it could be worth it to have a conversation with your kids about the things she said and why they’re wrong. Best of luck.
NTA. Everyone I know has laughed at a funeral at some point (to be fair my uncle can throw together beautiful eulogies which have built-in humour). The kids were being respectful and respectable at a funeral where they were only there to support their mom. They were laughing in private about unrelated things. Your ex needs to take a few deep breaths.
Clearly OP is NTA, he's just a dad doing his best to look out for his kids.