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Teen Punished For Refusing To Take Down Photos Of Her Father She Put Up In Stepdad’s House

Dusan Jovic/Unsplash

Blended families are not for the faint of heart. And for one guy on Reddit, things with his stepdaughter turned into a full-on conflict over something seemingly simple: her insistence on having pictures of her father around the house.

When things got dramatic, he wasn’t sure about how he’d handled it all. So he went to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit for perspective.

The Original Poster (OP), who goes by Throwaway-Monday7 on the site, asked:

“AITA for punishing my stepdaughter after she refused to remove the family framed photos she put all over my house?”

He explained:

“I (M[ale] 37) have been with my wife for 2 years. I have a stepdaughter ‘Nancy’, She’s 16 and she’s difficult, so difficult to deal with.”

“She generally has little to no respect for me, She’d respond to me saying ‘what do you want weirdo?’, or ‘I’d do this or that once you divorce mom and leave us alone!’. Honestly? I don’t know what her fu*king problem is and I don’t care at this point. I still, however, expect her to respect me and my home and my boundaries.”

“Lately, I started seeing framed photos of her, her mom, and her dad being distributed around the house, like the livingroom shelf or the kitchen counter. I brought it up with her and her first thought was ‘hmm jealous much? Does it serve as a constant reminder of the fact that you broke this family up'”

“I have to admit… this pissed me off beyond measure. I told her to remove them because I didn’t agree on having them around in my house, specifically not her dad. She acted nonchantly about my request and basically ignored me. I warned her that I’d remove them myself and she blew up at me saying this is her family, this is a part of her life and I should respect that.”

“I reminded her this is my home and she should have some respect and stop leaving pictures of her ‘happy’ family around, period! I encouraged her to take them to her dad’s house instead, that would be more propriate in my opinion.”

“She kept arguing then walked out while mumbling under her breath ‘motherf-cker’ I ended up punishing her, and then getting my wife to remove the photos. My wife kept asking me to let the punishement go since the photos are no long there but I refused because Nancy hurt my feelings and disrespected me in my own home.”

“She must’ve told her grandparents who came after me even on social media crying abuse and mistreatment, And my wife has been acting like I started this and that I’m the one at fault or the one who deliberately was looking for a fight.”

Redditors were then asked to judge who was in the wrong in this situation based on the following categories:

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

And as you might guess, they were not on OP’s side on this one.

“YTA.”

“‘Honestly? I don’t know what her fu*king problem is and I don’t care at this point'”

“You’re the adult and you clearly don’t want a relationship with your stepdaughter. Don’t marry someone with a kid if this is your attitude.”

“‘my house’ ‘my home’. So..does Nancy not live here or…?”

“‘My wife kept asking me to let the punishement go since the photos are no long there but I refused because Nancy hurt my feelings and disrespected me in my own home.'”

“Again, ‘my home’. It’s clear from your language that you see Nancy as an irritation and not part of your life. Also, she hurt your feelings? Boo stinking hoo, her whole life has been uprooted this last 2 years.” –happybanana134

“I am going to jump on the the top comment here. My former step daughter did the same thing. Except just in her room. I was in there with her and she pointed it out. I said ‘that is a wonderful picture, your mom is beautiful! I see where you get your looks from.’ And she was stunned. I already knew her mom was spiteful I was not going to let that affect our home life at all.”

“OP has a lot more control over his emotions and environment than he thinks he does. He helped create this mess and allow hate fester. Get your head out of your butt and act like adult. YTA” –LucyMcGooeyPants

“100% – It sounds like you‘ve made it very clear that this girl is not welcome in your home or your life. Spoiler alert – it’s her home too.”

“Is her behavior childish? YES – BECAUSE SHE IS A CHILD! What’s your excuse??”

“Honestly, you can’t understand why this girl might want to see photos of her family in her home? Or might want to push boundaries to claim a little part of your home – especially considering you clearly detest having her there?”

“YTA! If you made her new family a little more welcoming, perhaps she’d be happier to leave old family photos in her room. Though the fact that you’re so bothered by simply seeing evidence of your wife’s first marriage (photos, her daughter!) suggests you’re not just an AH, but an insecure little man…” –beeeeeebee

“How did it go with her before you married her mom? And why did your wife previously separate form her daughters dad?”

“You do understand…. Fiancé and her children are a packaged deal right. You had little business getting married if this was occurring.”

“It’s all conjecture on my part. Even if the birth father is around and she’s not legally your child (titling her as step daughter)…. You still need to be a father figure.”

“Any smart kid will use you over reactions and insecurities against you. You have a smart kid, that’s great. Now stop being an AH, just deal with it calmly.. she’ll eventually move out.”

“Or get a divorce,as you have to make your wife take down the photos, as if she didn’t want to deal with her own daughter. If neither of you want to be parents, you could legally disband.” –v3ndun

“Honestly I’m wondering if OP is the Mom’s former AP. It would sure as hell explain the animosity. ‘You broke up this family’ is pretty specific. Her Mom’s lack of response could be out of guilt.”

“But you know what they say about making assumptions. Either way YTA OP. You clearly aren’t even trying to mend whatever gap is between you and the stepdaughter. Also you don’t seem to respect her at all. Teenagers can be awful, but there’s usually some form of reason for it. And your wife needs to step up.” –elleprime

“I can tell by your verbiage that you don’t consider this child your family by all your invoking of “in my home”. It should be our home. It is HER home too.”

“Family therapy stat. And either work on the relationship with your stepdaughter and be the bigger person (quit whining about pictures hurting your feelings) or move into separate homes.”

“Edit to add: YTA” –stineytuls

Although not everybody agreed that OP was in the wrong.

“Unpopular opinion but NTA. Your step daughter purposely put those pictures out to create tension, and you communicated that you didn’t like it and she should move them somewhere more appropriate. You didn’t throw the pictures away or destroy them, just asked that they get moved.”

“She doubled down because she saw she was getting a rise out of you and then continued to be rude and disrespectful. However it also sounds like your wife is an enabler and chooses not to punish her for her bad decisions or stick up for her husband so she’s an AH too. Your wife needs to put her kid in therapy so she can get over her issues with her parents divorce.” –gxbcab

“NTA. First, for those folks (I’m assuming the teens that lurk around here) that think a step-parent can’t punish a stepchild – hell yes they can. They are an adult that shares coparentong responsibilities, not some squatter her mom is hooking up with. A stepparent can especially discipline a 16 year old that is purposefully being a brat, cruel, manipulative, and trying to undermine her parents authority.”

“Calling an adult a ‘motherfvcker’ in their own home is never acceptable. In fact, her steady harassment and tactics with the photo is also abusive (yes, abuse goes both ways!), and just because she’s a teenager doesn’t let her off the hook because her feelings are hurt that her bio parents split up.”

“She can be mad, and it’s expected that she’ll act out – but if this girls behavior is as OP describes it, well… that girl needs professional help and a new household. It doesn’t matter if that relationship started out of infidelity… it’s not any of her business.”

“Also, OPs wife needs to act like an adult and stop letting that kid run the house, and stand by her spouse. She sounds like she lacks a spine out of fear of hurting her kids feelings. Everything about this sucks but OP is definitely not the AH. Adults are allowed to have feelings and boundaries, too.” –geedunkgeek

Hopefully OP can learn to have a bit more empathy for his stepdaughter.

Written by John Sundholm

John Sundholm is a writer, content producer and performer originally from Michigan. His writing has also appeared on YourTango, Delish and Medium, and he has produced content for NBC, The New York Times and The CW, among others. When not working, he can be found tripping over his own feet on a hiking trail while singing Madonna songs to ward off lurking bears.