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Mom Disinvites BIL From Christmas After He Tells Her Adopted Son To Call Her By Her First Name

Man talking to young boy
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Redditor prudentmom and her husband have a unique dynamic with his siblings.

While much of this unique dynamic is rooted in a lot of love, the complications have caused a bit of tension.

The Original Poster (OP) is at her wits end after some comments from her brother-in-law and has decided he is not welcome at Christmas.

This drove the OP to subReddit “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA).

She asked:

“AITA for disinviting my BIL from Christmas because he keeps telling my son to call me by my first name?”

She went on to explain:

“My husband has 3 brothers. Charlie and Mike are in their 30s, while Spencer is 5 years old. Spencer is their half-brother from their dad’s second marriage.”

“Their father passed away shortly after Spencer was born.”

“2 years ago, Spencer’s mother went to prison. My husband and I began fostering him. It didn’t take long for him to actually feel like our son.”

“As it was, my husband and Spencer didn’t have a very brotherly relationship given the 30 year age gap. He already was more of an uncle.”

“6 months ago, Spencer’s mom lost her parental rights. My husband and I have been working on adopting him. It should be finalized after Christmas!”

“Spencer is so excited. He’s been calling us mama and daddy for a little over a year now, so this is just basically all legal, not changing how we feel in our hearts.”

“Charlie and Mike have been supportive of the whole ordeal for the most part, but we’ve faced a road bump recently.”

“When Spencer began calling us mama and daddy, Charlie found it odd. He said that we weren’t his parents. I said legally, yes we are.”

“I said he doesn’t have to be ‘Uncle Charlie’ if he doesn’t want to be, but we are raising him. Charlie says that we’re basically erasing their dad from Spencer’s life.”

“I said no, we talk about him AND Spencer’s bio mom often. This won’t be a secret. As it is, Spencer is very smart and is aware that he only came to live with us 2 years ago.”

“Mike and my husband have both told Charlie to let it go.”

“I’ve noticed, however, that when talking to Spencer, he refers to me and my husband by our first names.”

“Or he’ll say ‘ask your brother’, referring to my husband, or ‘go show your sister-in-law’ when referring to me.”

“Spencer is confused because he knows my husband is his brother but he doesn’t look at him like that. We’ve tried talking to him about it but Charlie claimed ‘it’s force of habit’.”

“We were trying to let it go but then one day, Charlie corrected Spencer when he called me ‘mama’ and said ‘no, that’s Kate’.”

“Spencer got confused and said ‘no, that’s mama!’ Charlie told him that I’m not his mother. This only upset Spencer further.”

“I’ve had enough, frankly. Spencer is our son. We have him in therapy and have also asked Charlie and Mike to attend family therapy with us.”

“Only Mike has agreed. I told my husband that I don’t want Charlie at Christmas (we’re hosting) if he’s just going to upset Spencer and undermine our place as his parents.”

“My husband said it’s completely up to me. So, I told Charlie either he stops correcting Spencer or he can’t come.”

“Now, Charlie is mad and says I’m keeping his brothers from him at Christmas. I said if my husband wants, he can go visit him.”

“And if he wants to see Spencer, he can promise to stop undermining my place. Charlie called me dramatic.”

“MIL wants all of her boys at Christmas and says that I can put up with it for just one day.”

“She said it’s hard for her to be around Spencer but she does it for us, so I can put up with Charlie and ‘see his side’.”


“EDIT: To add, my husband has been advocating for Spencer and does stand up to his family. It’s not just me.”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

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

Redditors decided:

“Who is hosting this Christmas party, you, or your MIL?”

“If you are hosting, OP, then you can make the guest list and ignore any comments from the peanut gallery.”

“If MIL wants to spend time with Charlie, she may certainly do so, but she may do it elsewhere.”

“Charlie needs to learn to keep his mouth shut. What your little boy calls you is not up to him, and it’s none of his business.”

“If Charlie doesn’t behave, Charlie can’t come to the party. It’s that simple. NTA” – YouthNAsia63

“‘MIL wants all of her boys at Christmas’”

“Well then she can host, at her house. Your house, your kid, your rules. If Charlie doesn’t like it, then these are the consequences of his actions.”

“He’s the adult and needs to learn to act like one. Spencer has experience enough in his young life and doesn’t need someone confusing him and stirring up unnecessary drama.”

“The only one who clearly has a problem with this arrangement is Charlie and I’d start to question what is real issue is.”

“NTA” – litt3lli0n

“NTA. Charlie isn’t slipping up. This isn’t a habit. He’s doing it deliberately.”

“And since he won’t stop, he loses the privilege of coming to your home. If your MIL doesn’t like it, she can host him at her house.”

“If he doesn’t like it, he knows exactly what he needs to do or what NOT to do.” – FuzzyMom2005

“NTA – This so called brother is doing so much harm by trying to force his viewpoint on Spencer.”

“You’re doing all the right things in a situation that was decidedly fairly terrible and moving forward by making it official.”

“You, your husband, and, most importantly, Spencer are all excited. Charlie is not.”

“There could be a dozen reasons why he’s acting this way, none of them are healthy to expose Spencer or yourselves to.”

“This is not ‘force of habit’, it is purposeful alienation and it’s going to bite him in the rear in a few years when Spencer hates him for it.”

“IMO, I wouldn’t allow contact at all until you figure out why Charlie is actually doing this and then proceed from there, regardless of MIL’s woe is me act” – Sassafrass_And_Brass


“What your husband and you did for Spencer is admirable! Kudos to you for giving him a loving home. Since you’re legally adopting him, you are, in fact, his mom and dad.”

“Spencer can call you whatever he feels comfortable with and having a grown an** adult correcting him and confusing him is rude to you and your husband.”

“His own behaviour is what’s keeping him from his brothers.” – okstar63

“Why are family members so quick to dismiss the wishes of the parents.”

“If Charlie wants to teach him, he should have adopted Spencer but as it stands, it is simply not his place.”

“Stick to your guns and tell your husband he needs to back you up.”

“NTA” – SnooOranges9679

“Telling a 5-year-old to ‘go see your sister in law’ is not ‘force of habit’. Charlie is being very purposeful and his excuses like this also make him deceptive.”

“I think your instinct and boundaries with him are perfectly reasonable and appropriate. Let Charlie be mad. He brought this on himself. NTA”

“But I feel you need more support. You shouldn’t he handing down this rule solo, your husband should be leading the charge and the communications…”

“…because it is his brother who is misbehaving and causing problems. Same with handling the MIL (hubby needs to handle her).”

“She can host ‘her boys’ if she wants to and it doesn’t have to involve you being around someone who consciously and constantly undermines the hard work you’ve put into raising Spencer.”

“Charlie doesn’t have ‘a side’ in this.”

“He’s just inserting himself into something that doesn’t really have all that much to do with him, and he isn’t doing even the bare minimum to contribute to the situation becoming resolved.”

“You don’t need to accommodate that but you also shouldn’t have to be under extra pressure from others to play nice. Ask your husband to step up.” – owls_and_cardinals


“If Charlie cares about Spencer, he will do what’s in the best interest of the child. He’s trying to insert his own resentments into the mix and that’s clearly not in Spencer’s best interest.”

“If he felt that strongly about it, he could have sat down with you and your husband to have an adult conversation.”

“You don’t walk into someone’s home and start trying to change how they raise their kid. You did the right thing by offering Charlie a choice.”

“If MIL has a problem with that, tell her it’s Charlie’s choice and he’s making it himself.” – TYJerry

“NTA. Your household. Your rules.”

“Charlie doesn’t get to override what your husband and you agree on. Spencer is a smart boy and your husband and you have been honest from the start about his parents.”

“You aren’t erasing his parent’s memories at all. You then decided to go to family therapy and Charlie declined.”

“Charlie doesn’t get to make the transition and healing moment harder for his nephew and if he is beginning to argue with your son I would not have him around Spencer.”

“MIL needs to get on board because it isn’t about her. She can be disinvited if it’s too much for her. Your husband and Mike support you, so they need to show it.”

“Your man can’t say it’s on you and up to you, that isn’t a united front, and he should be communicating and laying down the law to his brother.” – SweetSerenityxx

Hopefully, Spencer will grow up feeling only the love from this situation.

Written by B. Miller

B. is a creative multihyphenate who enjoys the power and versatility of the written word. She enjoys hiking, great food and drinks, traveling, and vulnerable conversation. Raised below the Mason Dixon, thriving above it. (she/her)