The internet has come to the defense of a man who shared in a now-viral post that he allows his stepson to call him “dad.”
Posting to Reddit’s “Am I The A**hole” forum on Thursday under the username u/yinisbeg, the man explained that his 15-year-old stepson expressed wanting to call him “dad” after getting into a heated exchange with his biological father. Now, the son’s biological father is upset.
The post quickly garnered more than 11,000 upvotes. Additionally, the story has received hundreds of comments from those who believe that the boy has every right to call his stepfather “dad,” despite his biological father’s feelings.
At the beginning of his post, the man explained that he met his now-stepson about four years after the child’s parents divorced.
“I instantly felt a connection to him, my paternal instincts spiked up,” the man wrote. “From that moment on I started spending as much time with him as possible.”
Now, the man acts as his stepson’s “full-time” caretaker.
“I love him so much, I consider him my own son,” the man shared.
However, the son recently got into it with his biological father, who said that his son’s stepfather would “never see [him] as his own child.”
Upset, the teenager ran home to his stepfather, who managed to calm him down. Then, the boy asked his stepfather if it was OK to call him “dad.”
“My wife’s ex-husband called me yesterday to berate me for allowing this to happen, saying that because of me he’ll never be able to rebuild the relationship with his son now and that I crossed some huge boundaries,” the man concluded.
Of course, this isn’t the first blended family to argue about parental titles.
Writing to author and licensed therapist Ron Deal, a concerned mother said that her ex-husband makes their son feel guilty for wanting to call her new husband “dad.”
In this situation, Deal said that the best thing the mother could do—and by extension, any parent in a similar position—is “take the pressure off” her son.
“I wish that your son were free to decide what label he used for his stepdad. His father’s feelings will surely impact his decision. If your son now backs away from calling stepdad ‘Dad,’ do not pressure him to do so,” advised Deal, adding that this would create a “no-win” situation.
“Tell him, ‘I know you are in a tight spot between your Dad and your stepfather. Please know that whatever name you want to use is okay with us. The real joy here is you, not the labels,'” Deal encouraged.
As previously mentioned, Redditors praised u/yinisbeg for allowing his stepson to call him “Dad,” and argued that, ultimately, it’s the boy’s decision.
“He’s 15, it’s his choice and the only reason to refuse would be if you didn’t feel the same way. You do. It’s awesome,” commented u/Cevanne46. “That doesn’t have to stop his dad [from] also being his dad. Unfortunately, his behavior might push it that way.”
Newsweek has reached out to u/yinisbeg for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.