Blended families can be complicated, and there is no ‘one size fits all’ way of making them work.
But now, one dad has come under fire for refusing to allow his son to refer to his younger brothers and sisters as ‘half’ siblings.
Tragically, the 15-year-old son, named Sam, was just six when his mum was diagnosed with cancer, and she died a year later. His dad remarried when Sam was eight, and went onto have three more children, aged five, three, and 18-months.
It was Sam’s uncle who raised his concerns. Explaining the situation on Reddit, he wrote: ‘Sam has always called his younger siblings his half siblings and this has always bothered my brother and sister-in-law.
‘They have corrected him repeatedly, taken him to therapy, individual and family, and have continued therapy for almost six years. It started while sister-in-law was pregnant and Sam was saying the baby was a half sibling, not just a sibling.
‘They have changed therapists every few months when they don’t like the progress being made. While doing all this they continue to correct Sam every time and my brother has told Sam’s friends that Sam is wrong and he has siblings, not half siblings.’
The uncle went onto to explain that his brother and sister-in-law even ask family to correct their son when he uses the phrase ‘half-siblings.’
‘My brother has our parents and our sisters correcting Sam every time they hear him say half siblings or half sister/half brother. I was told I should correct him too.’
However, the uncle does not correct his nephew. He said: ‘I have said it does not feel right to gang up on him and try to harass him into submission on this topic.
‘They tell me Sam clearly isn’t willing to work with a therapist to get to a point where the half doesn’t matter so there’s nothing wrong with nudging him along with correcting him when he “slips up”.’
The difference of opinion has caused issues between the poster and his brother.
‘My brother has been on my a*s for the last couple of months about my lack of effort to correct Sam.
‘He has told me that my five year old niece has started to question why Sam is cold and why he always says they’re half siblings. [My brother] said she has already asked him if Sam loves her or if she did something wrong.’
The poster continued: ‘I told him I don’t agree with the lengths he’s going to. I said after nearly six years if nothing has changed does he really want to break his son to get what he wants?
‘I told him he might wish things were perfect and that Sam adapted to everything perfectly, but he lives in this reality and not in that dream.
‘[My brother] said right now Sam is turning into someone he doesn’t like and is turning into a real a*shole and f*ck me for judging him on his parenting.
‘My brother told our mom he’s disgusted with me and thinks I should reflect on my actions.’
The poster asked for opinions on Reddit – and they overwhelmingly sided with him. In fact, many said his brother and sister-in-law were ‘abusing’ Sam.
‘Your brother is actively abusing Sam and not respecting his valid feelings,’ wrote one commenter. ‘Sam lost his mother and has been put into new relationships and this is how he feels comfortable addressing them.’
Other agreed: ‘You can’t force a relationship, but your brother and sister-in-law are abusing your nephew. Keep being on Sam’s side, he needs someone to be.’
Others said the parents were constantly switching therapists because the professionals were siding with Sam: ‘Any competent therapist would be pushing back against the parents in this situation, so once the parents hear from the therapist that they’re doing something wrong, they move on to the next one.’
And one commenter made the valid point that, no matter what Sam’s dad thinks, referring to his ‘half’ siblings is accurage.
‘He’s factually correct,’ they wrote. ‘They are his half-siblings. Your brother can rage about that until he’s blue in the face, but it’s true.’
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