A kind uncle shared a story about how his sister-in-law got mad at him for excluding her kids when taking his niece for ice cream.
Traditional Ice Cream Outing
According to the OP, his brother has a 14-year-old daughter from a previous relationship, and every time they (OP and the niece) meet, he takes her out for ice cream. This has become some sort of tradition for them.
The brother remarried, and his wife came with two other kids from her previous relationship.
A few days ago, the OP was visiting his mother and brother, and the whole family was around.
Take My Kids Too
As usual, the OP told his niece to prepare for their traditional bonding moment over ice cream. The sister-in-law asked the OP to take the other two kids as well. The OP declined, telling her that it was their tradition, but she insisted. When he refused, she told him the kids were upset that he was giving his niece special treatment.
He still refused, and they left with the niece leaving the sister-in-law seething with anger.
The OP turned to the Reddit community to learn whether he did wrong in sticking to taking only his niece for ice cream despite his brother’s family expanding.
The Masses Weigh In
Reddit community members had different opinions regarding this story. Some sided with the OP, while others thought he should have been more accommodating since the other kids were also part of the family.
One user said, “If this truly was about the tradition of a special time with your niece. I get it. But you could have offered to bring home something for the others. And it depends if you do not exclude for most of the other time.”
Another pointed out that a tradition would have still held even with the others present, “Firstly, the tradition still holds even if you invite other people. You role modeling to your niece that our family tradition holds more importance than people. Plus, they are kids enjoying ice cream. It does not lessen the value of your tradition with your niece. Neither is it too much to pay for a cone of ice cream for two boys.”
Let Them Get Their Own Ice Cream
Another sided with the OP noting the kids were old enough to get their own ice cream, “You can have traditions that don’t include everyone, so as long as you don’t exclude them from everything like holidays, birthdays, etc, I don’t see an issue with this. If the older kids wanted ice cream too, then they could’ve gone separately anyways because they’re old enough.”
It Wouldn’t Hurt To Invite the Boys
“Was she offering to pay for her kids to go? Did your niece want them to come? The boys are 15 and 17. It’s not like you would have to chase after 2 little kids. What’s the harm in letting them hang with you guys for one outing?” asked another person.
One user spoke from a mother’s perspective, “I understand it is a tradition, and I think that’s very sweet, but I’m also a Mum, and I can understand her being upset her kids are upset.
Why Not Come Up With a Compromise
If they’ve actually mentioned feeling excluded, though, I think your brother and her should have pulled you aside and spoken to you about this privately and tried to work out a solution.”
One person told the OP to note that the family had expanded, “I understand wanting to keep a tradition, but at the same time, the step-kids are also your niece and nephew. Maybe try to find something you could do with all three of them in addition to the ice cream? That way, they’re included, and you keep your tradition.”
You Have No Obligation to Bond With Them
“The fact that her father remarried and chose to bring more kids into the mix doesn’t mean you magically have a bond or an obligation to them,” disagreed another user, “Every kid is not gonna be included in everything, and everyone’s gotta learn that at some point, it’s not cruel for you to want to keep things as they were and if niece isn’t asking for them to be included, I don’t see any reason to do so.”
You Should Treat All the Children Equally
According to one user, the OP should treat all kids equally, “I have 10 bio grandkids and 6 bonus (step) grandkids. Each one is treated as if they are my absolute favorite. The kids didn’t ask to be put in a family where they were not considered family. Don’t take it out on them. Establish small traditions with them too. You might be surprised how much you fall in love with them.”
It was rude for OP to exclude the others; according to another user, “I think it’s fine to schedule some time with your niece to do something one-on-one. However, when your other siblings are already present, it’s incredibly rude to exclude them. Why do you not want to build a relationship with them, also? Having them come to the ice cream shop is not going to make it less special for you and your niece.”
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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.