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MIL says stepmom is 'stealing son's childhood'; she says 'he just likes to bake!'

MIL says stepmom is 'stealing son's childhood'; she says 'he just likes to bake!'


'AITA for treating my stepson like an adult?'


So I (25F) have a step son, Riley (8M). My husband Harry (29M) has full custody, and his job has just sent him away for a whole month so I'm taking care of Riley.

Now, I will admit I don't know much about children. I'm the youngest person on both sides of my family and growing up I spent most of my time in hospital/getting bullied by cousins so I genuinely have no clue about what kids get up to.

Obviously, I know the basics like homework, play dates etc but I never really paid much attention to what Riley did every single day when he had nothing scheduled because my husband took care of them.

I asked my husband about how I was supposed to entertain Riley, and he said that I should just let him do his own thing until he says he's bored but that didn't feel right to me. Like I should bring him home from school and just let him sit in his room with his iPad? That does not sound healthy.

I decided that I should teach things like baking, card games board games etc. So far, he's learned how to make cupcakes with minimal support, and he's learned how to play chess, checkers and 5 card games.

I've also taught him things like how to lay a table and table etiquette, a few silly little magic tricks and how to do a really sh*t British accent to annoy my British father. I made sure he stayed on top of his homework and social obligations too.

He spent last weekend with my in laws, and when I went to pick him up MIL was very annoyed at me. Apparently, he kept asking her to let him bake all weekend, and he refused to do anything besides card games with FIL all weekend too.

She said that I wasn't letting him just be a child and entertain himself because I felt inadequate as a stepparent which I guess is true. She complained to my husband and she's been pestering him to let Riley stay with them until he's back.

He's also annoyed at me because he told me to let Riley get up to his own thing and instead I overthought it and they said I was treating him like an adult and was stealing his childhood.

My parents also said that it was weird of me to be so worried about Riley keeping himself busy and this all could've been avoided if I chilled out. AITA?

Here are the comments that got the highest ratings:


NTA. Are they seriously mad that you engaged with a child, taught him life skills in a way that he enjoyed so much he asked to do it again, and enjoyed playing card games?

They’re angry you’re so much better then they are. It’s not good for kids to spend all their time on screens. Interacting playing games and baking are great activities for a kid, and are in no way forcing adult responsibility on a kid. You and kiddo are the only two who aren’t a**holes.


NTA- It's deeply concerning to me that your in laws see avoidance and neglect as a better parenting style than being engaging and actually teaching him things.


For just a moment, I thought maybe the kid was going to complain to the in-laws about being forced to do activities that he hates. Instead, they're upset that their grandchild is...... (checks notes) having fun! The horror! I'm glad this child has at least one person invested in him.


YOU ARE AMAZING (there is a reason that was in caps). NTA


So your in-laws are mad that he wanted to do activities that involved actually paying attention to him? He has very healthy hobbies. You’re not giving him adult responsibilities, you’re giving him freedom to explore himself and enjoy the hobbies he has. You’re in no way damaging him. ETA verdict NTA in any way!

So do you think this stepmom is doing anything wrong or is she encouraging her stepson to be himself?

Sources: Reddit
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