Although most people have the same physical needs (food, shelter, clothing, security, stability), their emotional needs may differ. And while we all want (and need!) love, respect, and support, the specifics can vary greatly from individual to individual. The same applies to children. Some might want a closer relationship with their parents; others might want a little more space.
A redditor, who goes by the username u/adoptadddd1652, wrote a very powerful post on the AITA subreddit, asking for the opinion of the community on his family situation. The OP is a man who hopes to adopt one of his wife’s children, the youngest daughter. However, he doesn’t want to do the same with the teenage son and explained exactly why.
The internet reacted surprisingly to the story. Scroll down to read the full message, in the father’s own words. Be sure to share your thoughts and feelings on this in the comments, Pandas. Remember that adoption is a sensitive topic, so be nice.
Developing a relationship with someone who already has children can be rewarding but difficult
Picture credits: Allen Taylor (not the actual photo)
A man has explained why he’d love to be a stepfather to his wife’s daughter, but would rather not adopt his teenage son
Picture credits: Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas (not the actual photo)
Picture credits: adoptdaddd1652
The father explained that he felt a real connection to his wife’s daughter. He was absolutely thrilled when the eight-year-old girl asked him to adopt her. However, on the other hand, his fifteen-year-old son does not see him as a potential stepfather, “just” his mother’s new husband.
“He never liked me and has no interest in bonding with me. He won’t come one-on-one with me and never really has, barely talks to me, doesn’t want me to come to his school sports, doesn’t want me to know about his life or his friends or his hobbies, etc. The few times I managed to convince him to come somewhere with me out of necessity, he seemed like the most unhappy kid ever and so I stopped forcing him now,” the OP writes.
The problem is that, according to the postman’s wife, he should adopt both children in the interest of “fairness”. She doesn’t want her children to be treated differently or anyone to be left out, and doesn’t seem to fully understand her position. That’s why u/adoptedaddd1652 turned to the AITA community for advice. And they’ve been delightfully supportive.
Some redditors had really good advice. Someone suggested asking the teenager if he’d like to be adopted and telling him he can always change his mind if he ends up saying ‘no’. Someone else pointed out that treating children fairly can mean meeting their very different needs. The path to happiness may be very different for them: the daughter may prefer adoption; the son might need space and independence.
As in almost all areas of life, open and honest communication is the best way to go. The first step to solving any complex family problem is to get everyone on the same page. Find out each other’s goals and expectations and look for reasonable compromises. Being part of a family usually means that we don’t fully get what we want because we have to adapt to the wants and needs of our loved ones. So everyone should have at least some flexibility.
The cold, hard truth is that you can never force someone to like or respect you: it comes with time, naturally. If you’re making genuine efforts to connect with someone, consistently, but there’s no coming back, you’re just going on with your life unwillingly. Friendships and relationships (whether family, platonic, or romantic) are two-way. And a person can’t do all the heavy lifting and expect to always lay aside all their needs.
According Australian parenting website ‘Raising Children’, becoming a step-parent can give you the chance to play a central role in a child’s life and strengthen your relationship with your partner.
“To begin with, your partner’s child may feel shy or even uncomfortable around you. Its good. It may take you and your partner’s child some time to find ways to build a relationship that works for both of you,” the website explains. patience is the key. “Sometimes you may also have to deal with negative reactions from the other parent of the child. This could affect how your partner’s child feels and behaves towards you. Also, you and your partner might have different ideas about parenting, guiding children’s behavior, work-family balance, etc.
Building a genuine relationship with your future stepchildren will take time and effort. The more time you spend together, the more aware you are of their interests and ambitions, the better able you are to lend a hand and support them as they grow and develop. Meanwhile, talk to your partner about their children’s tastes, hobbies, and character. Remember: you are meant to be a team. And don’t take it personally if the links you’d like to see aren’t growing as quickly as you’d like. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. NPR insists that you need to be patient as it may take a long time for your stepchildren to see you as their parent.
As you care for your family and remember to spend quality time with them, remember to also keep your own needs in mind to avoid exhaustion and burnout. Be sure to eat healthy foods, exercise, sleep well, get outdoors, and focus on your hobbies and passion projects when you can.
Some netizens had good advice for the man
Here is what other members of the AITA community said to the author of the message
#stupid #wanting #adopt #wifes #children