Mom to Heartless Teen: Yes, My Husband Is Not Your Real Father, But You Must Treat Him Like a Human

Every September 16, National Stepfamily Day is celebrated.

It was founded by Christy Tusing-Borgeld in 1997 for reasons she shared in an interview with The Stepmom Project:

Photo: YouTube/BBC Ideas

“A lot of heartache! Dealing with exes on both sides. At first, we all merged together just fine. After a few years, things became incredibly hard. I was on the computer one night looking for some help and support for our stepfamily, and there just wasn’t a lot out there. I also noticed that night that President Clinton proclaimed ‘National Parents Day.’ This sparked the fire. I went to bed that night telling my husband that there should be a National Stepparents Day. But the more I thought about it, I wanted to include all the family members in such a day. So National Stepfamily Day was conceived.”

Today, stepfamilies are able to get most of the support they need from caring organizations and individuals. Stepfamilies are now common, but with bigger challenges than a normal nuclear family.

According to the US Census Bureau as of 2022, there were 59,488,129 biological children, 1,422,076 adopted children and 2,396,311 stepchildren in this nation.

Photo: YouTube/BBC Ideas

Stepfamilies have advantages, such as having more adults to take care of the kids, and having more family members means children have more people to talk and play with.

However, a stepfamily may also have negative effects on some children, which were cited by the Better Health Channel on their website. Some of them experience difficulty in adjusting to the situation due to certain reasons, such as the following:

  • The child may still be mourning the break-up of her original family and, just like most kids from broken homes, still wishing for it to get reunited, even if it was not a good family.
  • Photo: Pexels/Daniel Kondrashin
  • A new relationship dashes the child’s hope for her family to be reunited, and there may be attempts by the child to sabotage the new relationship to get her old familly together once more.
  • Jeaousy and confusion may arise when the child sees that her other parent has a new relationship too.
  • The child may not want a stepfamily, in spite of the adults deciding to start over again with new partners.
  • The child may harbor resentment or hatred for her stepparent, which may fade away in a short period or last years.
Photo: Pexels/Ennie Horvath

In yet another viral post about stepfamilies on Reddit’s r/AmItheA–hole forum, a mother is at a loss as to what else she could do to make her daughter at least treat her stepdad like a human being. Not to love him the way she loved her dad, but to acknowledge his existence in their family at least.

Here is this mom’s post, with the username u/Both-Collection5383: “I am a mom of three. My oldest daughter, Gracie, is from my first marriage. She’s just turned 17. I have Milo, 10, and Lyric, 7, with my current husband. My ex-husband and I separated days after Gracie’s first birthday because he told me he wanted to see other women and wanted me to wait for him. I did not, and I filed for divorce. He always remained part of Gracie’s life, but he made it clear he only wanted me when it suited him. After the divorce, I met my current husband. Gracie was four before she was introduced to him. Her dad was angry when I found someone else. He hated my husband, and Gracie always knew it.”

OP went on to tell that she went to the courts to stop her ex from slandering her new husband in front of Gracie. However, the courts simply sent them to co-parenting classes. And since Gracie idolized her dad, she was distant from her stepdad.

Photo: Pexels/RODNAE Productions

The situation worsened after Gracie’s dad died when she was eight years old. Since then, Gracie treated her stepdad like nothing. Everyone else in their family and close relatives mattered to the girl, but she behaved like OP’s husband was not part of their family at all.

OP lost her patience one day when, for the nth time, Gracie disregarded her stepdad. She had an assignment related to engineering, and she told her mom about going to OP’s brother-in-law to help her with it.

OP continued to relate in her post, “I asked her why she had to go to all that trouble when my husband could have answered the questions for her. She said it made more sense to her to ask her uncle. This is when I told her I don’t like how she does that, how she treats my husband like he’s not there, like he’s not part of the family. I told her we never ever asked her to replace her dad or to consider them the same, but she excludes him and keeps him out, and he has only ever been kind to her. I told her it was something I would like her to work on. She got mad and told me I chose to marry him, she didn’t choose to have him in her life.”

Photo: Pexels/cottonbro studio

Her daughter further told OP that her relationship with her stepdad was not her business. And OP responded to this by saying that she’s her mom and she loves her, and she’s the wife of her stepdad and she loves him. It’s why she wanted them to get along.

But Gracie refused to listen to her reasoning, and, up to now, she has not talked to OP. OP now wonders if she did anything wrong in their last conversation.

What was the opinion of the AITA community? NTA. But OP was advised by many commenters not to force her daughter to accept her stepdad the way she wanted. She should instead give her daughter time; perhaps when she’s finally matured, her attitude toward the husband would change. Whatever happens, they as her mom and stepdad must continue to show her love and kindness. It’s the parents’ obligation, and it’s also the right thing to do. You love not just the people who love you back. You must be kind to everyone, even to those people who are unkind to you.

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