The first thought on the minds of most step-parents is their hope that their step-children will love them like they were a real parent.
And very often, many children hope that they will be loved by their new step-parents as if they were their real child.
And with a bit of time and love, and possibly some effort, this can often become a reality.
The only thing needed for this to happen is acceptance.
Redditor Thereshegoeswithymhe had a tradition of sorts which showed how much he loved his children.
But the original poster (OP) angered his second wife when he declined to include his step-son in this tradition.
Wondering if he was in the wrong for doing so, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**Hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for not tattooing my stepson’s name on my arm with my kids’ names?”
The OP explained how he wanted to celebrate the birth of his daughter like he did his first two children, but rejected his wife’s idea to also include her son, his step-son in this tradition.
“I’m 36 M[ale], my wife is 35 F[emale].
“I have two kids from my first marriage, 9M and 7F.”
“I have been married to my wife for 4 years, we have a 1 F daughter.”
“She has a 8 M son from her first marriage.”
“The kids all live with us.”
“My kids’ mother has visitations one weekend a month, her son’s dad isn’t involved at all.”
“I have the names of my oldest two kids tattooed on my arm.”
“I just recently added the name of my youngest daughter.”
“My wife and I were talking about the tattoo, and she asked me if I’ll tattoo my stepson’s name in the same round as our daughter’s.”
“I told her I have no intention of tattooing his name.”
“She was shocked and asked me why.”
“I said I only have the names of my children tattooed.”
“She said I am excluding her son and he is part of this family too.”
“I refused to tattoo his name and proceeded to only tattoo my daughter’s name.”
“Wife called me all sorts of things.”
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 – Everybody Sucks Here
The Reddit community was somewhat divided on whether or not the OP was the a**hole for refusing to tattoo his stepson’s name on his arm with the rest of his children,
Most felt that the OP had every right to decide what he wanted tattooed on his arm, even if they understood why his wife was upset.
“NAH on the tattoo part.”
“You have every right to decide what names to or not to have permanently tattooed on your body.”
“However, your wife can be upset with you over it.”
“You said that SS (step-son’s) dad isn’t involved in his life.”
“This means to SS, you are likely his dad and will be the only dad he’ll ever know.”
“This might not hurt him now, but it will likely hurt him later.”
“When you decided to merge families, you should’ve thought about how this effects your parenting.”
“You’re now a dad to four children.”
“Just because one doesn’t share DNA with you doesn’t mean you are any less of a dad to him.”-Boomgtd_
“Ohh, rough one.”
“Your wife is correct that leaving your stepson’s name off creates a division between your children that all of your kids can see every time your arms show.”
“This is only going to lead to drama and hurt feelings.”
“But it’s your body and you don’t have to add your stepson to the family tattoo.”
“So, NTA because it’s your body.”
“But seriously, I would re-think this.”
“This boy has only you for a father and by not including him in the family tattoo, you’re telling him that he’s not part of your family.”- consectariana
“I think definitely NTA.”
“And I say this because I have known people that did get their stepchildren tattooed on them.”
“Guess what happened?”
“The marriage didn’t work out, and the actual parents refused any contact for the stepchildren.”
“Not saying this will happen to OP, but for me this is the equivalent of tattooing your SO’s name on you…you just don’t do it!”
“I will say that a nice alternative to make the stepson feel included would be to get a tattoo that doesn’t have his name, but represents him somehow.”
“Then he’s included without having his name and it’s different from the others so it would be even more special.”- superduperjnh
“OP, my advice to you is NEVER ask Reddit a question related to being a step-parent.”
“You are damned here if you do or if you don’t.”
“If you tattoo the kids name on you, you would be forcing yourself on a kid who already had a biological father out there somewhere and Reddit would be telling you you have no right to force this kid to accept you as his father.”
“As it stands now, they have instead judged you as a bad stepfather for not forcing yourself on the kid as his dad.”
“Whatever you do, just realize Reddit will tell you that you’re a bad step-parent and whatever you have chosen to do is wrong.”- magicpenny
“Because you choose what to tattoo on your body, not anyone else.”
“I suspect your wife is upset that her son doesn’t have a father in his life and was assuming you’d step into that role and love him as much as your other children, hence the request to tattoo his name on your arm.”
“Has there been any discussion about you adopting him since the father isn’t in the picture?”
“Would you even be willing?”
‘Why or why not?”
“Asking so you can think about it, not for a response.”
“Regardless of your answers and whether you get his name tattooed, it’s really important that he feel as important as the other children in the home and not ‘second class citizen’ to them.”- Wild-Pie-7041
“It’s your body, you aren’t obliged to tattoo your stepchild’s name on there simply because you have your biological kids’ names done.”
“It’s not like you have known him and raised him since birth, and not everyone is always super close with their step-kids, doesn’t make them a bad person.”
“Who knows, you might feel differently in a few years anyway and change your mind.”
“It’s your body, and what you get permanently tattooed on there is entirely your decision and yours alone.”
“Just because you’re not getting his name tattooed, doesn’t mean you exclude him or separate him and your kids in other areas of life.”
“I feel like a lot of people are assuming you’re treating him differently just because you don’t want to get this tattoo, which is a hell of a reach.”-Severe-Daikon-7645
“He’s not your son and it’s not wrong to acknowledge that.”
“You can’t change how you feel about it.”
“Of course he is part of the family.”
“He is her son and your step-son.”
“That doesn’t mean you don’t still treat him with dignity and kindness.”
“Because that’s how you treat a stepchild who lives with you.”- theseaseethes
“My sisters’ father has my name tatted.”
“I don’t speak to him and we have no relationship.”
“Even if you and your wife remain together, your relationship with her child is something separate.”-depressedblackthot
“Your bio kids will always be your bio kids no matter what.”
“If you and this women ever end up separating he is no longer your step-son and you’ll just have some random kid’s name tattooed on your arm forever.”- Aggressive_Gur_308
Other’s, however, were less sympathetic to the OP, and felt that refusing to also tattoo his stepson’s name on his arm was insensitive, as he is the only real father figure his step-son has ever known.
‘You’ve been a father figure to him for half his life, poor boy will probably be shattered when he realizes you don’t actually see him as yours.”- Fickle_Style7745
“Look, no one else gets to dictate what you put on your body, but you made it incredibly clear to your stepson where he stands on this family- on the outside.”
“And right now he’s eight, and he’s not going to notice.”
“But when he gets older he will and you are going to have to tell him why.”
“You have also sent a clear message to your wife where her child stands in this family.”
“Don’t start getting butt hurt when she makes sure to prioritize your stepson over you older children, you made it clear the dynamics you expected.”
It goes without saying that people have every right to choose what they do with their own bodies.
But seeing how tattooing their names on his arms seems to indicate how much the OP loves his children, it’s hard not to also sympathize with the OP’s wife and step-son.
And it might take more than a conversation to come to a conclusion that pleases everyone in this case.