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Guy Called Out For Excluding Brother’s Stepkids From Family Tradition But Not Biological Niece

Teenage girl with an ice cream cone.
Eternity in an Instant/Getty Images

Many people have a tradition, be it annual, monthly, or even weekly, which they have with friends or family.

How sacred people keep these traditions, however, differs significantly.

Some people have no trouble welcoming others to join in over the passage of time, feeling “the more the merrier”.

Others, however, like things to stay the way they are, and keep their traditions purely between those who it started with.

Redditor Minimum-Minute-8859 fell firmly in the latter variety, telling his brother’s stepchildren that they couldn’t join him in a tradition he has with his niece, their stepsister.

A decision the original poster (OP)’s brother and sister-in-law (SIL) didn’t appreciate one bit.

Wondering if he was being unfair, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**Hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for excluding my brother’s stepkids?”

The OP explained why he didn’t include his brother’s stepchildren on a recent outing with his niece.

“My (27 M[ale]) brother has a daughter(14) and 2 stepkids (15 F[emale],17M).”

“A few days ago I was visiting my mom and my brother and his family were also there.”

“My niece and I have this tradition that there is this ice cream store near my mom’s home and we like to go together whenever we are there.”

“So we were getting ready to leave when SIL asked me to take her kids as well.”

“I said sorry but this is our tradition and I’m not taking her kids.”

‘She insisted that I should take them because they are upset that I only ever take my niece.”

“I said no again and left with my niece.”

“Now she thinks I’m an a**hole”


Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation, by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

The OP found little to no sympathy from the OP, who generally agreed that he was, indeed, the a**hole for not letting his brother’s stepchildren join them in his outing.

Everyone agreed that the OP’s decision gave the impression that he didn’t want to get to know his brother’s stepchildren, with others failing to see a justifiable reason why going out for ice cream with his niece was something they couldn’t join in.

“Firstly, the tradition still holds even if you invite other people.”

“You’re rolemodeling to 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.”

“But you could have saved all the trouble by telling your SIL that you wanted a one-to-one time with your niece and have private conversations with her.”

‘Perhaps, that would have been more understandable to other people.”- bvoomy


“It is not that hard to just include them when they are there visiting too.”

“I have a step granny that just doesn’t look at me as her family while she coddles my baby brother (her bio grandchild) It kinda sucks u know.”

“And I’m a grown-up.”

“Imagine being a teen in this situation.”- glitterchibi


“It’s an a**hole move to take 1 of 3 kids out for ice cream.”

“Be a human being and consider their feelings.”- OkCantaloupe6112

“In my opinion YTA.”

“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 are 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.”- fitzy2whitty

“Having time with individual kids is important in blended families (and tbh any larger families) so that they don’t feel like they’re getting lost in the mix.”

“BUT I do think it’s also important to establish activities that everyone can enjoy together so that kids don’t start to resent each other.”

“If the family’s been blended for a while, then I think going for ice cream as a unit sometimes makes sense (perhaps choose a different shop to preserve your tradition with your niece?).”

“Also, if you have two additional teenagers who actually want to hang out with you, then that’s kind of a bonus niece and nephew, and I think that’s really lovely.”

“I’m leaning NAH if the stepkids are relatively new in the family, but YTA if they’ve been a blended family for a decade (not for the tradition itself, but for the handling of it).”- JangoJFET

“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?”

‘In my opinion, it was a d*ck move unless she was expecting you to pay for them, but even then….it’s freaking ice cream.”

“It’s ok to be the cool adult and let the kids hang with you while you spend $20 on some ice cream.”-Luscious_MaIfoy


“Traditions can expand to include more people.”

“Instead, you decided to make a very blunt point that you don’t consider your SIL and her children part of your family.”- morgaine125

“It really depends how your behavior is.”

“Additionally, to this scenario.”

“But just based on what you’ve shared, YTA.”

“It’s ice cream.”

“Those are your nieces siblings and eventually she’s going to flaunt it and make them feel bad or feel uncomfortable and not want to go because it’s a jerk move.”

“Either way, it’s very rude.”

“I mean you don’t have to take anybody’s kids anywhere, but why be that person.”- stilettoz_n_bluntz


“To the kids it looks like favoritism because that’s what it is.”

“I get that they’re not your niece but you could still be kind and take all the kids.”

‘Why be so unkind?”

“Unless you can’t afford it there’s no reason you couldn’t invite them.”

“Poor kids.”

“It’s hard enough to be feel included when you’re a step and you just reaffirm that they aren’t as wanted/loved.”- No-Personality1840


“They are also your niece and nephew.”- frimrussiawithlove85


“My mother’s family was very exclusionary towards my step-siblings.”

“Trips are only for ‘real’ cousins.”

“We got Christmas gifts but they never did.”

“By contrast my stepfather’s family was very inclusive of myself and my sister and always treated us as part of the family.”

“It’s his family that I choose to spend holidays with as an adult.”- redshadow310

“And OP will flip a gasket when the stepkids’ family goes out for dinner WITHOUT her niece.”

“It’s their family tradition, after all.”

“I wonder how OP’s brother is going to react?”

“I see another AITA coming from the SIL’s side.”

“YTA.”- Nuicakes


“If she had a friend over you’d bring her along.”

“If there are other kids, you bring them along.”- Amareldys

Some, however, sympathized with the OP wanting to keep his tradition between his niece and himself, even if they still didn’t think he handled it as well as he could have.


“I think NAH?”

“I understand it being 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.”

“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.”-kokonikoreteureshii

“I think it’s ok to have a tradition with your niece that is only for her. It’s good to consider her as her life is changing.”

“I myself couldn’t leave two kids behind, though, teenagers or not.”

“It’s just ice cream. It’s fun to share, and a nice gesture because they’re just teens.”

“I’ve been left behind while cousins went out to the carnival and such, and while I understood I had to stay behind sometimes, I’m in my 30s and still remember who invited me places as a kid.”-Expensive_Service901

“Eh I’m gonna say NAH.”

“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.”

“It was kinda rude of your SIL to insist, but I understand making sure your own kids aren’t excluded from things.”- UnalteredCube

While a select few even fully understood the OP wanting alone time with his niece, agreeing he didn’t do anything wrong.


“This isn’t about ice cream.”

“This is about niece having some one on one time with her uncle.”

“Her dad may have remarried, but it doesn’t mean that her relationships with her relatives have to change.”

“Blending families is hard, and forcing the stepkids in on every interaction niece has with someone is only going to cause a lot of resentment.”

“It’s good for everyone to have some breathing space and to do their own things at times.”-ArwenandEowyn

With blended families, it’s important to ensure everyone always feels welcome at all family gatherings.

Even if this is a tradition the OP looks forward to every year, telling his brother’s stepchildren that they couldn’t join made them feel anything but welcome.

Something the OP will hopefully realize after some reflection.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.