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Woman tells widowed brother, 'Don't pressure me to raise your kids.' AITA? UPDATED 2X.

Woman tells widowed brother, 'Don't pressure me to raise your kids.' AITA? UPDATED 2X.


When this woman is fed up with her widowed brother and his dependence on her to help with his daughters and stepdaughter, she asks Reddit:

"AITA for asking my brother what he expects me to do regarding his daughters and stepdaughter?"

My (F) brother was widowered young and had two girls at the time. They were 3 and 4 when their mom died. When they were 7 and 8 my brother married his second wife and he also became a stepfather to his wife's 7 year old daughter.

For the sake of making the post a little easier my nieces will be Mia (14) and Ella (13) and my stepniece will be Katie (13).

About once a month I have all three girls for a day of fun. I live near a water park and I take my small kiddos so taking the girls is easy and it was a tradition that started with Mia and Ella and later included Katie when my brother became her stepfather. That's something that still continues today.

My brother has mentioned to me that he and his wife are concerned that Mia and Ella don't consider Katie their sister and really only tolerate her.

This has come from comments Katie made to her mom about feeling like an only child still and feeling as though Ella and Mia don't really want her hanging out with them and that they only say yeah because they don't want to get into trouble for excluding her.

My brother mentioned that Ella and Mia never fight with Katie but they never seem to have a great time with her either.

He said even when Ella and Mia are fighting, neither will go to Katie to hang out, they do their own thing or hang with friends. And when they're together they will hang out and Katie only joins if she asks them. They never ask her or make the effort to include her.

My SIL told me Ella and Katie should get along way better than they do. She told me Ella doesn't show any interest in Katie that way though, despite them liking the same things.

Both my brother and SIL said they try to cultivate the individual relationships with Katie by taking Ella or Mia out someplace with her. But that it doesn't seem to make Ella or Mia any closer to her. If anything they go along with it out of obligation.

My brother told me that Ella and Mia don't even notice when Katie goes home to her dad sometimes. Katie splits her time between her mom and her dad. So she'll be there for a week and then she's with her dad for a week.

He said he never even realized how little attention they pay to Katie until recently. They did realize the closeness wasn't there but just the level at which they really don't notice her is alarming to them.

He then told me I need to help them out more with this. Excuse me? I'm not going to raise your kids. And his request confused me because I already take all three for a fun day out once a month and I have babysat for them on occasion.

I'm just not sure what he expects from me when I have my own kids. I told him that. I asked him what exactly he expected me to do and he told me I should know what he expects and I should be a little more willing to help so Katie doesn't feel like she's on her own. He told me I was intentionally being obtuse.

I said yeah don't pressure me to raise YOUR kids. It became more tense than I expected and it made me wonder AITA for asking him that?​​​​​​

Let's take a look at some of the top responses:

bulbasaure writes:

NTA. He’s upset that you asked because he doesn’t know himself either. There is nothing you can do, nor do you have any obligation to “do anything” about this.

This is something your brother and his wife have to work towards. It is in no way is your issue, this is not a concern you have to work on.

He didn’t answer because he can’t. He got defensive because he wanted to make this someone else’s problem and deflect responsibility.

spiritualnotice7 writes:

When families blend, there's often friction cause parents try to force the kids to get along. I think bringing all kids to the Waterpark is a nice thing to do. NTA as there's not much you can do on your side.

Your brother could have a conversation with his kids to see if there's a reason they avoid Katie but I think it's best not getting involved. It you start doing things with just Katie or just Katie and another neice, the others would feel resentment.

gravegirl48 writes:

NTA but has anyone talked to Mia and Ella's about this? It seems everyone is trying to do something to make a difference but never talked to the girls about why they may be doing it.

There may be no solution but that everyone is polite to each other or there may be a very valid reason why they are like this. Your brother and sil took Katie's side without getting Mia and Ella's side.

Maybe they see favoritism and that's why they're like that. Especially since Katie mentions how she feels and your brother and sil automatically jump to making changes to appease Katie but never said they had a conversation with his daughters to see what their take on it is.

eviljc writes:

He doesn't know what to do and expects you to know. He just doesn't want to admit that he doesn't know.

The only thing you can tell him is "I am willing to help, but I don't know what it is you want me to do specficially. Please tell me what it is, in as much detail as you can, that you want me to do and I will do what I can.

But as they are you kids, you would know better than I how to proceed, so please tell me. If you don't have any ideas, just say so, but I am pretending to not know, I honestly don't."

Like you said, you have your own family to take care of, so playing guessing games with your brothers kids is not something you have time for. He needs to state exactly what it is he wants. NTA.

fishermanwife writes:

I hate when blended family parents expect their kids to just fall in line and decide someone is family because you are sleeping with their mom. It’s so annoying.

What’s funny is this is the dynamic of me and my two sisters. One sister and I are incredibly close, we do everything together (our whole life, now into 40s) we are the best of friends.

Most people think we are twins and I’ll be honest we are as close as two non creepy humans can be. Our other sister is there. We love her, we want the best for her, but we just don’t connect with her.

She’s not a bad a person or even unlikeable. We simply just don’t connect on a deeper level. We have the same mom and dad. We we’re raised in the same home too. Just never bonded more than the sisterly minimum.

Some people just don’t mesh. I would die for both of my sisters, but I’d only wanna go to a concert with one of them.

Then, OP provides these two updates:


SIL is just dad's wife in their eyes. They don't refer to her as their stepmom. They don't appear to dislike her. But I would say they have other woman in the family (including me) who they view in a more maternal light.

Especially the women from their mom's side. They have done that for some of their family activities. I know because I heard about it from both my brother and my SIL. No bonding happened.


I noticed Mia and Ella were not close to Katie exactly. But I didn't see anything concerning. They weren't rude to her and they would stick close together if I let them explore a little away from me and my kids (who are younger).

But they were very clearly closer than they were to Katie. I don't know Katie as much as I know my bio nieces but she's a sweet kid.

Looks like OP is NTA here. Any advice for her or her brother?

Sources: Reddit
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