An estimated 10-20% of all families in the United States are stepfamilies. And while that is a significant portion of the country's population, there are still many folks who feel like they are "outsiders" in their blended familial units. Divorce Source cites "One study [that] shows....fewer than 20 percent of the adult stepchildren feel close to their stepmothers."
And while it's a pretty common occurrence for adults who've entered a family to feel like outsiders in a "tribe" they've just become a part of, heck there are tons of movies and long-running TV shows about this very phenomenon, there are plenty of kids and teens who experience the same anxieties that grown-ups do. It can be argued that these fears are compounded by youngsters who are still reliant on a family unit to help them navigate transitions into adulthood.
To put it bluntly: if you've got a step-kid, you should probably be doing everything in your power to really make them feel like they're part of the family through actions. Which is what a lot of Redditors are saying this one 14-year-old's step-family did the exact opposite when it came to a surprise party he helped plan for his step-sister.
In a post submitted to Reddit's "Am I the A**hole" sub, user @FuzzyLow3395 wanted to know if he was in the wrong for "ruining" the birthday surprise after an argument went down between him and his step-grandparents. OP explains that his mother remarried his step-dad (John) who has two teen daughters (Kayla and Janice), and he views John as his dad and Kayla and Janice as his sisters.
The trouble started when Kayla's grandparents (John's folks) wanted to throw a family-only birthday party for her, which OP gladly helped out with. However, when it came time to actually enjoy the party, the grandparents asked what OP and his mother were doing at the party because it was biological family members only.
OP didn't appreciate that very much and decided to ask what their deal was and the course of their back-and-forth arguing, Kayla had stumbled upon them (very sitcom-esque) and the surprise they had planned for her was unfortunately ruined.
The grandparents then told the 14-year-old he ruined the party and took Kayla, Janice, and John, his step-dad back to their house to have their own party. It's unknown if the grandparents borrowed this Bender quote from Futurama as they left.
OP wanted to know if he was in the wrong or was blowing "everything out of proportion" for the way he reacted, but there were throngs of other Redditors who said that he had every right to be upset.
While many expressed that they thought his grandparents were immature and just plain mean for leaving out not only a 14-year-old from a surprise party that he helped put together, but then blaming him for it falling through once he stood up for himself, they also were shocked John, his step-dad, left the party.
Some argued that John doing so exhibited he wasn't willing to put his foot down. In the comments section, OP said that Kayla thought her grandparents were being unreasonable but that he shouldn't have talked back to them and could've handled the situation differently.
However, there were many Redditors who said that it lay on John's shoulders and that he shouldn't be "caving" into his parents' demands like that, as him leaving his wife and OP to go to their house for the party essentially demonstrates where his loyalties lie.
What do you think? Did John act out of pocket and instead should've stood up for OP? Or is it like the teen Redditor says and is a more "complicated" family dynamic that isn't so black and white?