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Man tells ex's kid to not call him 'dad'; ex says he's being a 'jerk.' AITA?

Man tells ex's kid to not call him 'dad'; ex says he's being a 'jerk.' AITA?

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"AITA for not letting my kids' sister call me dad?"

I have split custody for my two sons Diego(12) and Sasha (10) with my ex Josie. About a year after we split up Josie got pregnant from a one night stand, and had a girl, Eva. That guy never stepped up.

He's pretty broke so doesn't pay child support and would stop by every now and then when Eva was young but hasn't been seen since she was 4 or 5. I'm pretty good friends with Josie and will invite her and all 3 kids over sometimes when I have cookouts and stuff like that.

Through the years ive watched Eva for Josie as a favor here and there. They go to the same school so sometimes ill pick all three of them up and drop them off at Josie's on her weeks when she's busy but I have some time.

I don't play a fatherly role though and don't really want to. The other day when I picked them up from school Josie asked me if I want to stay for dinner. We had a nice meal and hung around a while when I go to leave and Diego and Sasha hug me goodbye and say 'bye dad'.

Eva also gave me a hug and called me that as well. I figured it was a mixup and go 'what was that Eva'. She goes 'oh sorry..mean to ask if I could call you that now.' I told her Id rather her call me my name. Im not comfortable with that, I don't want that responsibility on me.

She seemed sad and I thought that was that, but since then Josie told me im being a real jerk. Saying its not like she's asking for child support from her but I should still let her call me that and be flattered. I don't really like it though and am afraid of future expectations if she gets used to it. AITA for that?

Clarifications:

I want to be clear that the only part I said was 'I'd rather you just call me (name).' The, 'Im not comfortable with that, I don't want that responsibility on me,' was me explaining myself here, I didn't say that out loud to her.

I don't personally want to be uncle or some nickname, I feel most comfortable going by my name. I have sibs with kids who call me Tio and I like that just being their thing.

I'd really rather keep it to my name tbh. I can be an adult influence, I think I've done a good job of that. But not trying to be parental. I can't do parental halfway. I don't want a 'I have two real kids and a kinda kid' situation.

I feel like once I let her think of me like her dad, I cant treat her differently, and I just feel differently since she's not mine. The money parts a big piece of it. I don't see how I can be like sure call me dad but im not paying for your stuff like I do my kids, and I don't want to pay for her college if she goes or anything like that.

Here's what people had to say:

MapMammoth1712 says:

I had a stepdad like you,, I always felt less because of him. Do what you need to do for you and yours but you told her she was less.

TruthWorldly1515 OP responded:

I'm not a stepdad, ive never been in a relationship with Josie while Eva's been alive.

MapMammoth1712 says:

You have a role in your family's life, you are the father to the other children. Truly you made a child feel like shit, you did not have to say it as you did. You could have been nicer but you decided to be so honest that you made her feel so much less.

TruthWorldly1515 OP responded:

Im not the father though, she had her after we were broken up

The-Answer-Is-57 says:

Soft YTA. She doesn't have a father figure. You're as close as it gets. She's a kid. Her brothers call you dad and to her that's who you are. Please don't make her feel like an afterthought like this.

If you really, really don't want the child to call you dad, then have all three kids call you by your name. I understand your misgivings about the D-word, but I worry more about the affect on the child of being made to feel excluded from what she experiences as her family. You, as an adult, can process the difference, but she cannot.

TruthWorldly1515 OP responded:

My kids cant call me by my first name, thats a respect thing. They call me dad because im their dad

TeeBrownie says:

NTA. I maybe would’ve offered up “uncle” as an alternative. Not that your ex would ask for it, but in some states just behaving like the father and playing the role makes you liable for child support. Instead of being mad at you, your ex needs to have a conversation with her daughter.

TruthWorldly1515 OP responded:

This is the biggest piece for me. I dont want to be paying for her livelihood or future college if she starts to think of me this way. But also I like her like I like my friends' kids, not like a daughter. Lots of my friends have kids I adore but not in a parental way

nerdgirl71 says:

That’s not your child. You’re doing enough to include her with your kids periodically. Letting her call your dad sets her up for heart ache down the road. It was good to set that boundary now. Josie also needs to talk to her, get her some therapy to deal with an absent father. You are in no way responsible for filling that void. NTA

TruthWorldly1515 OP responded:

Yeah its a boundary I dont think Id want to relent. I pride myself on how hard I work for my kids. Been working on college funds for both of them to be the first ones in our fam to go to a university and I feel like if I set that Dad expectation, Ill have to share with Eva.

And I know it may sound greedy but I want all my hard work to go towards my kids. Eva's a nice kid but it just isnt like that for me

ebernal13 says:

NTA, but poor kid; she’s lonely and doesn’t really know any better. It’s not her fault either. Josie should really talk this through with her. Kind of a bummer and unfair to both you and the kid.

Sources: Redddit
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