in , , ,

Teen Tells Stepmom It’s ‘Not His Job’ To Pack Lunches For Stepsiblings When He Makes His Own

Teen boy making lunch
mixetto/Getty Images

In most households, children are expected to contribute in some way.

Whether it be cleaning, yard work, helping out with the family pet or even something as small as bringing in the mail, most families hold an expectation that everyone helps at least a little.

But when it comes to meeting the basic needs children, that responsibility should fall on the parents or guardians.

For one Redditor, however, that isn’t the case.

A 16-year-old who has been making his own lunches for years because his father refuses to pay for school lunches is now expected to make lunch and dinner for his new step-siblings even though both his father and stepmom are present, so he turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit to seek feedback from fellow Redditors.

Redditor New-Potato5893 asked:

“AITA for not making food for my dad’s stepkids?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I (16/m[ale]) make my own lunch for school.”

“I started making them when I was 11 and my mom was sick with cancer and now I make all my lunches.”

“My dad refuses to give me lunch money for school, said no way in hell to making them (mom made his and now he pays for lunch every day) and doesn’t want to give me permission to eat outside school (which is an option with parents consent) because he’d need pay for that.”

“So I make them.”

“I work part time and so I started paying for the ingredients I use in my lunches.”

Now, there are more mouths to feed.

“My dad got married 2ish years ago.”

“His wife has three kids who are 5, 7 and 8 now.”

And OP is expected to take care of his step-siblings’ lunches, as well.

“For about a year there’s been this issue where my dad and his wife want me to make all four lunches.”

“They said if I’m making my own I should make my “siblings” (and I say “siblings” because they’re not my sibling) lunches too to save their mom time and to streamline everything.”

But he’s not okay with that.

“I was like no and my dad’s wife was shocked.”

“She called me out for making stuff only for myself. She said it’s crazy that I would look at my “siblings” and not want to make a few things for them too.”

And now tension is rising.

“It escalated to where they said I shouldn’t get to eat their dinners if I won’t participate in taking care of the family.”

“So I buy my own dinner stuff now and make my own.”

“Now they’re calling me out for doing that.”

“They said I could make dinner for all four of us and then we could eat dinner earlier and my dad and his wife could do something else.”

They even tried to make him cave by not feeding the kids.

“My dad’s wife didn’t make lunches for her kids on several occasions to try and make me relent.”

“Their teachers ended up feeding them and writing to her about it.”

“She was super pissed and asked me if I was ashamed.”

“I told her they’re her kids and her problem, not mine.”

“I also suggested she take it up with my dad if she’s unhappy and wants help feeding her kids because it’s not my job.”

“She said if dad won’t feed me, he won’t feed her kids.”

“I shrugged her off.”

And then it hit the fan.

“Monday was a big day in all of this.”

“I was home for hours alone and made a nice dinner.”

“I was eating when my dad’s wife came home with her kids, who were hungry and she exploded on me and asked if I’d made the kids dinner.”

“I said no.”

“She demanded to make it up to them I make them lunch for Tuesday (yesterday) and I said no.”

“She called me a bunch of names and told me she f**king hates me because I’m supposed to be a decent kid and yet I won’t help feed her kids and it’s not how you treat family.”

“I told her because it’s not my job and we’re not a family.”

“I pointed out she married a guy who isn’t a good dad to his own kid, and how her only interactions with said kid were attempting to dump responsibility onto him (me) so she really has no reason to think I owe her anything.”

“Which of course let her to calling me all kinds of things, including an a**.”


OP has offered the following explanation for why he thinks he might be the a**hole:

“I refuse to make food for my dad’s stepkids.”

“The reason I feel bad about this is because the kids are the ones who suffer from this whole sh*tstorm and I know this is not their fault.”

“I don’t feel an obligation to do this for them and it probably says a lot about me as a person.”

“The fact it has become such a conflict is all because I refused to even consider it so I might be TA.”

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 the OP was not the a**hole.


“This whole family dynamic is toxic and you guys should be in therapy.”

“and if your step siblings teachers have had to feed them multiple times, stepmom is probably gonna get a call from CPS relatively soon.” – ChildofObama

“NTA Both your father and his wife are their abdicating their parental responsibilities.”

“At a minimum they have an obligation to feed, cloth and shelter their children.”

“I hope you can confide in someone about this situation and get support and help.” – Peony-Pony


“Document everything and tell her if she refuses to feed her kids again, you’re calling cps.”

“Op, I think the you’re the reason she married your dad.”

“She was well aware your dad was nothing more then half your DNA.”

“She saw you, and how independent you are and said “oh boy! Free babysitter! And he cooks, too! I can dump my kids on him and finally have a life!” but, then, obviously you refused to play her game and that pisses her off.”

“I don’t see that relationship lasting after she loses the kids and the deadbeat she married refuses to help.” – R4eth

“NTA – Why is she doubling down on withholding food from her five year old (and the others)?”

“That is abuse.” – puntacana24

“Hi OP”

“In answer to your title question -NTA.”

“Your father should be providing food for you. That is his responsibility.”

“You are not responsible for feeding your dad’s girlfriend’s children. Your dad’s girlfriend does not sound any better of a parent than your dad.”

“I am so sorry that you’ve had such a hard time since your mom’s illness and her dying.”

“It sounds like the best thing you can do is to prepare for your future.”

“There will be teachers or other staff at school you can talk to and who might be able to help or at least support you mentally.”

“Can you think of relatives, that if they knew how tough your life is, might help you?”

“You sound like an independent (you’ve had to be) and resilient young man. You have done extremely well in standing up for yourself.”

“Your education is most important but in the immediate future your day to day well being is what is vital.”

“Work as hard as you can at school.”

“Gather any essential documents – passport, birth and other certificate, bank and savings books together. And hide them.”

“Make sure your money is somewhere safe, preferably not in the house.”

“Ask teachers about scholarships, if you want to stay in the education system as who knows what cooperation you will get from your dad.”

“Or apprenticeships or other ways into the job market.”

“I think you need to have a getting away kit for emergencies, in case things get bad, but also for the longer term.”

“If you can tolerate staying at home, this will be cheaper for you, but it sounds so miserable and acrimonious.”

“This is not what home should be like.”

“I hope you have friends and people you can talk to. This is most important.”

“No one can be totally alone, especially not at 16.”

“Well done OP and I hope you find friendship and warmth in your life.”

“Blessings on you.” – Time-Tie-231


“You need to sit down with your school counselor to explain through whole refuse to provide you lunch money & wanting to refuse you dinner thing.”

“Your dad has a legal obligation to provide you food.”

“The counselor will keep an eye on you & if they decide to call CPS to look into your house, all of you kids will be better for it.” – Here_IGuess


“I’m a parent and my oldest makes her own lunch, because she likes doing it.”

“If she felt fed up with it at any point, I would take over again in a heartbeat.”

“She doesn’t make lunch for her younger sibling, and I wouldn’t even ask that of her.”

“I’m the parent, it’s my JOB to make sure all my kids are fed.”

“Good for you, standing your ground.”

“Your stepmother is batsh*t crazy, if you ask me.”

“And your dad isn’t much better either.”

“It’s not your responsibility OP.”

“It’s crazy to me you even pay for your own ingredients.”

“I’m sorry they’re putting you through this.” – Dreaming24-7

While OP can hopefully find some solace in the support offered by his fellow Redditors, it doesn’t sound like he has an easy road ahead of him.

Hopefully, he can use some of this advice to his advantage and find a way to endure his living situation while prioritizing his own well-being.

Written by AB Keith

AB Keith is an educator turned roadtripper who is currently teaching virtually while touring the USA. Her dream is to visit all the national parks and create a series of nonfiction children's books about NP adventures through the eyes of her dog, Backpack Benny.