Relationships between stepparents and stepchildren tend to walk a difficult line.
Being the new spouse of one of the child’s parents, stepparents often work hard to gain their acceptance.
And stepchildren might work hard to win the support of their new stepparent, in an effort to keep the new family dynamic as happy as possible.
Luckily, Redditor Resident-Step-2917 had a strong relationship with their stepson, even supporting him in ways his own father refused to.
But after angering her husband by helping her stepson with something her husband was firmly against, the original poster (OP) took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for taking my stepson to get a haircut.”
The OP first let readers know about a major development in her stepson’s life, which has sadly put a strain on his relationship with his father.
“A few weeks ago my stepson (13 M[ale]) came out to his father (40 M[ale]) and I (32 F[emale]) as transgender.”
“His father has never believed in someone being transgender and was not open to it when his son came out.”
“He always deadnames him and uses she/her pronouns when referring to him and talking to him.”
“I’ve tried to get him to come around even suggesting going to a support group for parents with transgender teens, but he is not ready to change.”
“I’ve told him that this treatment of his son is only going to blowback on him later but he’s convinced ‘it’s just a phase’.”
Further complicating the situation was the fact that the OP’s stepson didn’t get to spend as much time with his more accepting mother as he would like to.
“A couple years ago my husband got primary custody of his son because his mom had a bad trip with drugs.”
“But she’s since been clean since early 2019 and has been fighting for more custody.”
The OP found herself in a somewhat challenging predicament when her stepson asked for her help in doing something she feared her husband wouldn’t approve.
“My stepson asked his mom for the haircut but she’s afraid to take him because my husband will probably document it in the custody case and vilify the action.”
“Which left my stepson to ask me because we both knew his dad would say no.”
“As a step-parent I recognize there are certain boundaries I shouldn’t cross, but I couldn’t look at this child who has been treated so horribly since coming out, and just wants to feel more comfortable in his identity and say no.”
“I took him to a barber shop where he got his hair buzzed.”
“He was extremely happy with it and his mom thanked me for taking him. “
But as was to be expected, the OP’s husband wasn’t at all pleased, leading the OP to second guess her decision.
“My husband on the other hand was furious and hasn’t said much to me since and has been sleeping on the couch.”
“People from my own family told me that I crossed boundaries and that it wasn’t my place to take him to get a haircut.”
“The way I see it, I would rather take him to a professional than him cut his hair himself and come to resent living with us, and me for never sticking up for him even though I’ve told him he has my support every step of the way of his journey.”
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 had the full support of the Reddit community, firmly declaring that she was in no way the a**hole.
Everyone agreed the OP’s husband’s behavior was inexcusable, and that he needed to begin accepting his son for who he is.
“NTA – the only boundary being crossed is him misgendering his son.”
“Also, it’s hair… It literally grows back.”-megidio.
“You’re countering emotional abuse here, which is more important than following parenting norms.”
“Your husband’s actions are reprehensible.”
“They are emotionally abusive and are likely to permanently harm his relationship with his son.”
“While it is true that transgender kids sometimes revert to their birth gender, even if this would turn out to be ‘a phase’ for your stepson, you still need to respect his identity through that phase.”
“So saying ‘it’s just a phase’ is not a counterargument to respecting your stepson’s identity.”
“He’s permanently damaging his relationship with his son regardless of which gender the son eventually goes with.”-PetrogradSwe.
“NTA- If you are playing a parenting role in this boys life you have every right to help and support him in what ever way you see fit not just fill in for the parenting your husband doesn’t want to do.”
“Your husband is being an AH and going to loose his child over this.”-Actual-Zebra-5284.
Many went so far as to commend the OP for taking her stepson to get his haircut, believing her support likely means more to him than she could possibly know.
“NTA you’re supporting the kid that’s all that matters.”
“Accepting trans kids is suicide prevention!!”- taylor_harvey.
“The child should have bodily autonomy.”
“The child wants a hair cut, the child gets a hair cut.”
“You are assisting the child to make their own choices.”
“Be there to support your step child.”
“NTA You’re a great step mum and your step son will thank you later.”
“At least one person is standing up for him in his home.”
“It must be a comforting feeling.”- suncomesup.
“I am a trans teen and what you did is saving your stepson life, even if his dad doesn’t see it yet.”
“You are a great stepmom which very few are lucky to have.”
“I hope his dad’s changes because he is not going to talk to him once he turns eighteen.”
“Your stepson is free to send me a message if he wants as I came out around two years before him.”
“I wish him good luck anyhow.”-NinjaHat43.
“I’m transmasc, like your stepson.”
“although I”m in my 20s and have been fully transitioned for years (i.e.: have all the medical treatments i want and am socially, hormonally male).”
“i also helped mentor a group of queer/trans youth for several years, which was mostly other trans kids.”
“so I have a little experience with this type of stuff, and you did the right thing, without a doubt.”
“His father is ignoring overwhelming statistics that trans kids without supportive families are at a much higher risk for mental illness and suicide.”
“And that’s compared to other LGBT+ people, which is already very high risk.”
“If he wants to risk his son’s life and keep insisting he has a daughter, the right thing for you to do is support his son unconditionally.”
“Like HE is supposed to do.”
“If he isn’t going to love and care for his child, someone else should step in to make sure that his son is safe and cared for when he’s with his dad. thank you for doing that.”
“Trans people are at higher risk for substance abuse, suicide, mental illness, and other awful things, than any other LGBT population.”
“With the kids i would mentor, ALL of them (20+ kids from all different places) had considered suicide.”
“But the kids that would continually struggle, and had multiple suicide attempts or would self harm, did not have supportive parents.”
“None of them.”
“The kids with parents that are loving, they struggled too, but it wasn’t nearly as much as the kids with no other support.”
“The adults in the program helped, but it’s not a replacement for a parent.”
“Having a supportive family reduces LGBT+ people’s suicide risk by 50%.”
“Supportive adults save lives, point blank.”
“It’s the right thing to do, if you have any sense of ethics or humanity.”
“Please, for your stepson’s sake, you need to keep supporting him AND keep having hard conversations with his father.”
“If it’s possible to convince him to love his child, you are potentially the only person who could do it.”
“And in the event of a divorce, if he really doesn’t want to support his kid, you can stay in contact with your son and support him from afar, and if it’s really bad, he can try to stay with his mom full time.”
“You’ve given him a great thing, you have no idea how much that had to mean to him.”
“I vividly remember my first ‘boy’ haircut, and my first time shaving, and I remember the first time I got someone to use the right pronouns.”
“it made me feel like I was walking on air, like nothing else could hurt me.”
“When my mom got me my first electric razor, I bawled my eyes out for an hour I was so happy to be seen.”
“Having an adult in your life that gives a f*ck, that will even do the uncomfortable things to make sure you see that you have support, is literally lifesaving to a trans kid.”
“There is no universe where someone would ever be the a**hole for doing that.”
“Thank you, genuinely.”
“Keep doing what you’re doing, because you are keeping your stepson safe.”
It seems like this boy is pretty lucky to have the OP as a stepmother.
One only hopes that his father will come round to see his son for who he truly is, and give him all the love and support he needs and deserves.