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Man grounds stepson for telling son he's not his bio-dad, wife says 'don't ground him.'

Man grounds stepson for telling son he's not his bio-dad, wife says 'don't ground him.'


Navigating co-parenting as a step-parent is supremely tricky. You have to set boundaries to protect your bio kids, while finding ways to connect with your stepkids naturally, all while agreeing with your partner and finding a way to have a united front of sorts.

When you throw multiple kids of varying developmental ages into that mix, it can be a really complicated dynamic to navigate as a couple, and as individual step-parents.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a man asked if he was wrong for grounding his stepson.

He wrote:

AITA for grounding my stepson for telling my son that I’m not my son’s bio dad so he doesn’t have to listen to me?

With my late wife, I have 3 kids (12F, J 11M, and 7F). My late wife passed away when our youngest was 7 months old. I have always known that J is biologically not mine. We temporarily split just after our eldest was born, we were both young and stupid at the time. During the split, she had a one-night stand which resulted in J.

We reconciled just before she found out she was pregnant. It is clear that he is not mine biologically, he is white with light brown hair and green eyes. His mother was half Indian and half white, I’m black. As far as I am concerned, J is my son. I’m on his birth certificate, I fell in love with him the moment he opened his eyes. I love him like I do my daughters. I have never sat J down and told him that I’m not his dad.

I have been married to my new wife for the last 18 months. Her son (W 15M) moved in with us 6 months ago. He used to live with his dad but after a series of disagreements with his stepmum, it was decided he would come live with us. Since he has been living with us, it has been a difficult adjustment.

W and J have been at loggerheads because W thinks he should have J’s room as it is bigger and has a big TV and PS5 in it because W is the oldest. My wife has tried suggesting that we swap the rooms but I have refused as this was J’s room long before they moved in and I’m not making J move rooms because W wants the room that is 6 feet longer than the room he is in.

On the weekend, I came home from running an errand with my youngest to J and W arguing, with W telling J that I’m not J’s biodad so that J doesn’t need to listen to me. W called J an idiot for thinking that someone like me could be the father of someone as pale as J. J was completely heartbroken at hearing this.

I’ve spent the weekend reassuring J that as far as I am concerned that he is my son, but I have also explained what happened and that I would support him if he ever wants to search for his biodad. I told J that there is nothing that will stop me from loving him like I do his sisters.

I was angry with W for telling J this, and I told him that he was grounded for the next month because that was an incredibly cruel thing to do. I have also confiscated the family games console from the living room (the girls don’t play it, J plays on his own, only W and I use it) and have told him that I will be not putting it back for a month.

My wife is angry that I’ve grounded W, saying that it's not my place to punish him and that J would find out I’m not his biodad eventually as it's obvious that I’m not his dad. She wants me to put the games console back and unground him. AITA for grounding my stepson?

The comments came flying in.

HolyGonzo wrote:

It really does not matter that J would have eventually found out on his own. It's W's intention to be cruel (AND undermine your authority) that is landing him in hot water. That's punishment-worthy. NTA.

Spike-2021 wrote:

NTA! And, wow, your wife is TA - as is her son W! In what universe does she find this behavior acceptable? Stick to your guns or your entire home situation is going to be run by W and supported by your wife. This is not okay on ANY level! BTW, J is so lucky to have you for his Dad and you are amazing!

13urneracct wrote:

NTA. Even if J were to eventually find out, it was up to you to tell him, not W. As far as your wife saying it 'isn't your place' to punish him...uhh, is! She say anything about it not being W's place to say your not J's biological father?

If she ain't say nothing about that, then she should be saying NOTHING about the punishment. You're absolutely not in the wrong and sound like a stand up dude. Good luck.

amberallday wrote:

YTA for subjecting your children to a woman who is clearly only out for what she can gain for herself & her son. She does not seem to respect your opinion at all. Why are you with her, again?

After receiving lots of feedback, OP left a long and definitive update:

Edit: Yes, I know that J should have always known that I'm not his biodad. My late wife didn't want him to know when she was alive, she didn't want him or our girls to think less of her for it. However, when she died, my son struggled a lot with her death and still struggles but it working through it with a therapist. He struggles with feelings of being abandoned by his mother and I didn't want to add to that.

I had been thinking of telling him soon as he is in a better place thanks to his therapist and his counselling. Not long after I made this post my 9-year-old, L, came in and asked if I could change her bedding. She's got a stomach bug and had vomited in bed. In changing her bed, I discovered she had pictures of her mother under her bed.

I asked her why these were under her bed and she admitted she had pulled them out of the recycling because she had seen wife throw them out. Apparently, my wife threw them out as she didn't want to see any pictures of L's mother. L also told me that my wife didn't like them talking about their mother and wants them to refer to wife as their mother.

I was upset when I heard this as I had made it clear to wife when we started getting serious that I didn't want her to be a replacement for their mother, I wanted a partner who would help in raising them. Something I thought she understood. Some redditors have asked if we have a prenup. We do, this caused a lot of arguments at the time as I refused to progress with marriage until we had a prenup.

Wife is unable to claim the house (it's in trust for the children anyway) or anything that I brought into the marriage. I did not see wife this morning before she left for work, but I'll be telling her and W to leave and ending the marriage. My children have to come first. I will also be sitting J down at the weekend so that we can have a proper talk about what has happened and I will answer as many questions as I can.

Unfortunately, I do not know who his biodad is. My late wife never did, he was just someone she met on a night out with friends, but I will reach out to her friends and see if they know/remember anything about them.

So, that settles that.

Sources: Reddit
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