A Redditor who goes by the username “Throwra53456” recently sought advice in the “Am I the A–hole” (AITA) subreddit regarding an upcoming Christmas holiday party and the proper etiquette connected to a blended family.
“AITA for calling my wife ridiculous for saying that she won’t attend my family’s Christmas over some stockings?” asked Throwra53456 in a post written on Thursday, Dec. 8.
The man explained that each Christmas, his mother has a tradition of hanging customized stockings by the fireplace for each of her grandchildren.
However, she does not have a stocking for her own son’s nine-year-old stepson — even though Throwra53456 has been married to his wife for three years.
“I asked my mom and she said that she loves her step-grandchild but does not feel comfortable yet to have a stocking with his name and hang it in her home,” wrote Throwra53456.
“Apparently, my wife refused to drop it and chose it as a hill to die on and even told me she would not be attending the Christmas party if mom doesn’t do it,” the Reddit poster continued.
“We started arguing about it for days.”
The man said he “finally blew up” and said that his wife’s request for her son to be included in the Christmas stocking tradition was “not reasonable,” Throwra53456 said.
“She started crying and called me ‘blind’ for not seeing how my family are treating my stepson,” he continued.
“I said they love him and some stocking isn’t going to prove anything,” the poster added.
“She said she wouldn’t go then, and I called her ridiculous for deciding not to go over something so trivial.”
Throwra53456 said his wife is not speaking to him as a result of the argument, prompting him to turn to Reddit for advice.
On the AITA subreddit, Redditors can reply to posts saying that the poster is “NTA” (“Not the A–hole), “YTA” (“You’re the A–hole”), “NAH” (“No A–hole Here”) or “ESH” (“Everyone Sucks Here”).
Users can “upvote” responses they think are helpful and “downvote” ones that are not.
The majority of Redditors who replied to the post were not taking Throwra53456’s side in this case; they called him out for what they felt was his uncaring attitude toward his stepson’s feelings.
The top-upvoted comment called Throwra53456 a “real piece of work” for standing by his mother — and not demanding a stocking for his own stepson.
Others responded that they were shocked a man would have this response to his wife’s legitimate concern for her son.
“[Throwra53456]’s wife is essentially telling him, ‘I will not attend a family gathering where my son will be visibly treated as not part of the family,’ and [Throwra53456]’s on here wondering if he’s an AH for telling his wife she’s overreacted,” wrote Announcement90 — adding, “YTA.”
“Go apologize to your wife, then call your mom and tell her that you will not attend any gatherings she hosts until she starts treating your stepson as an equal [of] the other children in your family,” Announcement90 continued.
“Then apologize to your stepson for thinking that a nine-year-old feeling ‘less than’ is A-OK,” the same Redditor added.
Others were critical of Throwra53456’s mother’s views of her step-grandson and the relatively benign act of hanging a stocking in her home at Christmas.
“YTA. Your mother is singling out a child from a Christmas tradition that your family has. Your stepson is now part of your family,” wrote Reddit user booksandmints.
“If your mother can’t even bring herself to have a sock with his name on it, then your stepson deserves better than your family,” the same user added. “It might only be a stocking to you, but to your wife and your stepson it’s going to look like a hell of a lot more than that.”
One Pennsylvania psychologist and child custody evaluator told Fox News Digital that the wife’s behavior and concern for her son are “more than reasonable.”
“As much as there may be concern about creating conflict, more attention should be given to what is best for the stepchild and, in turn, the marriage,” Dr. Eric Bernstein, a Pittsburgh-based psychologist, told Fox News Digital.
Bernstein told Fox News Digital that while there may be other factors influencing the grandmother’s decision to exclude her step-grandchild from the family tradition, “the decision to not confront the mother may represent a passive approach and invalidate the significance of the stepchild.”
There are, however, alternatives that could appease all sides of this story, said Bernstein.
“If the mother remains disinclined to create a stocking, consider making a stocking for the stepchild and bringing that to the celebration in a statement that you are in alignment with your stepson but not in opposition to the mother,” he said.
For stepparents, Bernstein said it is important to “support the child and embrace [him] as part of the family.”
He continued, “The equivalent of the decision to disregard a stepson’s needs and otherwise defer to the mother’s discomfort is akin to bringing all the children to an ice cream store and giving the stepchild a napkin to hold while the other children lick their cones in delight.”
He added, “The mother’s apparent resistance or rejection is potentially more about other issues and not so much the child’s needs.”
Bernstein also said that on this “joyous holiday,” the parent should prioritize his stepchild — and “remind him that you are there to celebrate him as part of the family.”