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Woman pays for niece's schooling, but not stepniece's; is called AH for 'favoritism.'

Woman pays for niece's schooling, but not stepniece's; is called AH for 'favoritism.'


'AITA for not paying for my stepniece's school?'

My brother has been married to his wife for about 10 years. He has a 14yo daughter and she has a 15yo daughter. My niece is extremely smart and her teachers believe that she will have a very good future so in order to help her, my sister and I have been saving money for her college.

Now that my niece is going to go to highschool we were talking about which school she should go to. My brother mentioned that there is an extremely good, but also very expensive school that he wished he could send his daughters, but unfortunately he can't afford it so our niece will have to go to the same highschool as our stepniece.

After discussing this for a while we let him know that we have set a college fund for our niece and that based on our calculations we can afford to use some of that money to send our niece to that school. SIL asked if we can do the same thing for her daughter and we told her that we can't because the rest of the money is for our niece's college.

She thinks we are both a**holes for showing favoritism.

Here's how people judged OP:

Cold_Light_299792458 writes:

NTA. It’s already very generous of you and your sister to provide for your niece. Your SIL and her family should look what they can provide for the 15yo. You are not responsible nor obliged in any way to provide for her.

It may be useful however to have a talk with your niece and make sure she doesn’t feel guilty in any way for this decision (not saying anyone will guilt-trip her, just that sometimes good, sensitive people feel guilty for the good threat come to their life).

Academic_Stranger498 writres:

I think you should be proud of helping your niece, and don't feel guilty that your money isn't extending to your step-niece.

ABSMeyneth writes:

OP's not the AH, but I get where the SIL's coming from. They've been married 10 years, together longer, so OP's brother has been a parental figure for her daughter since she was what, maybe 2?

It's probably hard to realize after all this time her husband's siblings don't think of her child as family. I'd probably feel a certain way about it too - and honestly wouldn't let the money be used for high school. It's a NAH for me.

OkSeat4312 writes:

You don’t give CPR to everyone in the room when one person needs it. There is no rule that says you have to parent every single kid the same way. I have 3 kids and I sent them to 3 different schools on the basis of WHAT WAS BEST FOR THEM.

The idea that you have to spend equally on your children is bad parenting 101. You GIFT equally, yes. You set up inheritances equally, yes. You don’t parent equally, because what works for one kid doesn’t work for another…

BUT-let me correct you on one thing. Never call your niece “smart”. That is parenting mistake #1. Now I know you’re not the parent, but it’s still a mistake.

OP jumped in and started responding to comments:

No-Damage6751 OP said:

'You’re showing favoritism simply because one is your niece and the other isn’t.' Isn't that a good reason for favoritism though? Because they can't afford to offer stepniece a good future my niece has to suffer?

Stepnice is just ordinary, not smart like my niece so I DO know her. We are closer to our niece and she is the smart one. And like a good aunt I want my niece to have the best of everything also my brother is ok with accepting the money for my niece's school.

They are not twins there is no reason they can't be separated.

After reading OP's responses people had more to say:

OkSeat4312 writes:

Changing my vote to YTA-based on your additional comments. I think you’re showing favoritism simply because one is your niece and the other isn’t, when she’s been in your family for a decade.

That’s definitely an AH move. This money IS a gift and the girls should be given equal consideration. That doesn’t automatically mean they have to go to the same school, but consideration should be the same.


YTA. Your brother sees both girls as his daughters, they have grown up together and he want things to be fair. Saving for college is one thing but offer a huge gift for one of them when they both still live at home and are this close in age, that's a-hole behaviour.

Especially since you made this offer _after_ your brother said they couldn't afford the other school for the girls and you only offer a solution for one of them.

Enough-Process9773 writes:

Yes, YTA. OP's justification for favouring her brother's daughter with an expensive private high school but ignoring her brother's stepdaughter who has been part of OP's family for ten years is 'We are closer to our niece and she is the smart one'

Sources: Reddit
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