Woman Not Allowing Ex’s 5-Year-old Daughter at Christmas Sparks Debate

The internet is left divided after a woman refused to let her ex’s daughter attend their Christmas celebration.

Published on Reddit‘s r/AmITheA****** forum, a woman under the anonymous username u/Christmas_Joy231 shared her story to get opinions from the “AITA” readers.

The original poster (OP) began her story by briefly explaining that she and her ex-husband share custody of their 13-year-old daughter. He and his current wife have a 5-year-old daughter together. She wrote that her daughter and half-sister get along very well and see each other a lot; however, she mentioned that the half-sister is never at the OP’s home.

Unfortunately, her ex’s wife was recently diagnosed with cancer and asked if his daughter could spend the holidays with the OP’s side of the family since they won’t be able to have any holiday parties.

Above, parents argue in front of their daughter. Published on Reddit’s r/AmITheA****** forum, debate sparked as a woman refused to allow her daughter’s half-sister to attend their Christmas traditions.
Estradaanton/iStock / Getty Images Plus

She wrote, “He said it wasn’t fair for his daughter and asked if I could “include” her in my family’s celebration. He pointed out how the girls will have a great time together bonding and making memories, but I said I was sorry but my family’s traditional celebration is a sacred thing and I do not feel comfortable including anyone else.”

“Plus it’d be awkward having her in my home. He said that his daughter may not be family to me but she sure is to her halfsister. He asked me to stop and ‘think’ about what’s best for the kids here,” the OP continued.

She suggested to him that she spent the holidays with her grandparents but argued that he and his parents aren’t speaking. He began to tell her how “cruel” she was for not including her daughter’s half-sister. She admitted that he began to cry while arguing with her so she cut off the conversation as she wasn’t comfortable anymore.

Even when he left, he was texting her about how “selfish and unfeeling” she was.

When she discussed her predicament with her family, they agreed that it would be “awkward.”

Newsweek reached out to u/Christmas_Joy231 for comment. We could not verify the details of this case.

Introducing a new member to family holiday traditions

“Easing into introducing a new family member to their holiday traditions is best to avoid overwhelming feelings,” Dr. Jaclyn Gulotta, Ph.D., LMHC, told Newsweek.

She suggested families have an open mind and stay realistic about any concerns they have by communicating any feelings or expectations. Also, keeping a secure and stable environment can help reduce any stress or anxiety one can feel.

“Having a family discussion and check-in will help to introduce this new family member, how they will add to their established holiday traditions and how they can start something new,” Gulotta explained to Newsweek.

Newsweek has published several articles regarding the holiday season including how to keep a “perfect” Christmas tree, the best edibles to give as gifts or even bring to a holiday party and travel experts reveal the seven-holiday destinations for warm seas and winter sun.

Redditor reactions

Some Redditors showed sympathy for the woman and her boundaries, understanding how awkward it could be for everyone else besides the half-sister.

“[Not the a******]. That child doesn’t know you or your extended family, only your daughter. This could be her last Christmas with her mom and he’s wanting to take that away from her. Even if it’s just the 3 of them in pajamas eating cookies all day. He’s [the a******],” a deleted Reddit account wrote, receiving the top comment of over 22,000 upvotes.

“[Not the a******]. I don’t understand why exactly his daughter would have a better time at your house instead of with her father. Like, just because they’re not having a Christmas celebration doesn’t mean they can’t spend time together,” u/Aggravating_Start411 commented.

Not everyone agreed, though. Plenty called her out for being “downright cold.”

“[You’re the a******]. You’re well within your rights to refuse. You don’t owe your spouse anything. It’s your holiday and you can celebrate it however you want,” u/julgwill said, but continued, “You are still the [a******] here. This child has a sick parent, she’s only five, and you have the chance to show kindness and embrace the true spirit of Christmas. Instead, you’re choosing to be a hard-nose about it, and in so doing, making a lot of people’s lives bleaker at a time when you could be making them brighter and more hopeful.”

U/sci_fi_bi questioned, “[You’re the a******] oh my goodness, that’s downright cold. That little girl may not be your kid, but she is your daughter’s sister, and that makes her family! What kind of message does this send to the child you are raising?! Rejecting a 5yo family member over the holidays, while her mother is being treated for cancer? Is this how you want her to learn family should be treated?”

If you have a similar family dilemma, let us know via life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.

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