Yes, blended families are now more of a norm in the United States.
Nonetheless, challenges remain with forming a stepfamily, and the most difficult of these is parenting. Bringing in children from a previous marriage can create friction with the children’s inability to immediately accept the authority of the stepparent.
It is why the American Psychological Association advises that “stepparents should at first establish a relationship with the children that is more akin to a friend or camp counselor rather than a disciplinarian. Couples can also agree that the custodial parent remain primarily responsible for control and discipline of the children until the stepparent and children develop a solid bond. Until stepparents can take on more parenting responsibilities, they can simply monitor the children’s behavior and activities and keep their spouses informed.”
However, these three children who lost their father found themselves “abandoned” by their own mother when she moved them into her new husband’s home and away from their grandparents. When her children expressed their resentment for their mother’s decision to cut them off from their paternal grandparents and move them out of their beloved home, she told them that she has sacrificed her life enough for them and she wanted to be happy.
It was a tragic family story that Original Poster with the username u/Constant-Cicada-5769 shared on Reddit’s r/AmItheA–hole forum. According to OP, their mom further told them that she moved them away from their grandparents so that her new husband’s kids would not feel rejected by them as well. Her husband’s kids came from an egg donor, the reason why his ex-wife rejected them, along with her parents.
But their own mom just worsened the situation, with OP and siblings feeling antipathy toward their stepfather and his kids. In fact, two of OP’s siblings have returned to their original home after finishing high school, with OP intending to follow suit.
What were the reactions of the AITA community members?
Galla01 commented, “Let me get this straight. You were moved away from your family not too long after your dad had passed away because the stepfather’s kids did not feel accepted? I am not surprised you’re annoyed. During grief, and at such a young age, you need family around you. Your mother did this completely selfishly, uprooting yours and your brothers’ lives to appease your stepdad. Yes you could argue that it’s not fair that the grandparents didn’t accept the kids, but at the same time, that should’ve never been made to feel like your issue. I am not saying the grandparents should try develop a relationship with the kids. I’m just saying the kids are kind of stuck in the middle of this, and the parents are entirely to blame for this mess. So I feel for the kids and the other family.”
Consistent-Leopard71 likewise remarked, “NTA. Your stepfather and stepsisters were your mother’s choice, not yours and your brothers’. ‘Sacrificing’ contact with your extended family to appease your stepfather’s idea of ‘fairness’ towards his daughters was again your mother’s choice, not yours or your brothers’. Your mother’s claim that she that she ‘did her best’ is BS. She did what was easiest for her to make life work with her new husband and his daughters. This was never about you and your brothers; it was about her and her choices. You and your brothers’ choosing not to continue playing happy family after graduating high school isn’t about punishing her, it’s about finally being able to make your own choices.”
Meanwhile, Ginger_Anarchy also sided with OP, “Something tells me that the ‘the sacrifice was worth it’ line was mom’s oft-repeated mantra throughout OP’s childhood, and it was her way of trying to convince her sons that it was without actually really doing anything to make them feel like it was. Also referring to cutting all ties with extended families as a necessary sacrifice would just breed resentment.”Whizzco