A frustrated father wrote in a Reddit subthread, asking if he was in the wrong for arguing with his ex-wife regarding how their children were asked to grieve over the death of their step-father.
A Broken Home
The Original Poster (OP) shares two children with his ex-wife, a 13-year-old daughter, and an 11-year-old son.
The ex-wife had remarried and had two children with her late husband before his recent passing.
Stepfather Passed Away
The children did not have a close relationship with their late stepfather, finding him to be overly strict and difficult to be around.
This strained relationship had been a source of tension, and the children had confided in OP that they wished their mother would leave him.
Despite the strained relationship between her children and her late husband, OP’s ex-wife deeply loved him.
When he passed away last week, she was devastated. OP had their children with him at the time of the tragedy, and his ex-wife expressed a desire to see them.
He brought the children over, and they comforted their mother as she repeatedly told them it was okay to cry and miss their late stepfather.
However, the children remained silent, prompting OP to reassure his ex-wife that he believed the kids understood her message.
Planning the Funeral
OP’s ex-wife had already started planning the funeral when the children saw her again. She asked if they would be willing to do a reading during the ceremony, but they declined.
Although their mother was understanding, she suggested they take a reading and see how they did on the day since they weren’t showing much emotion.
He Told Her to Stop Pressuring the Children
When the kids spoke to OP about it later, they asked him to talk to their mom.
He advised his ex-wife not to pressure the children into doing the reading, as they had already declined, and forcing them would only add to their stress during this difficult time.
Avoiding Their Mother
On the day of the funeral, OP was there to support his children. However, they seemed to be staying close to him and avoiding their mother, who was keeping a close eye on them.
During the service, OP was seated behind his children since their mother insisted that all her late husband’s children be seated up front.
Avoiding an Argument
Despite the fact that the other children were not related to OP’s children, he decided not to say anything to avoid causing more distress to his ex-wife on such a difficult day.
After the service was over, things took a turn for the worse.
After the funeral service had ended, OP’s children joined him in his car, and they shared a moment of laughter.
However, their ex-wife approached them and expressed her confusion over their behavior.
Accused of Being Happy
She asked how they could be laughing after just burying their stepfather and why they had not shown any grief for the man who had been a part of their lives for seven years.
She suggested that it almost seemed as if they were happy that he was gone.
Her Late Husband Loved Them
She admonished them, saying that they should have been more somber after his passing and that if they truly did not care, then they needed help.
She also reminded them that her late husband loved them.
In Their Defense
When OP’s ex-wife confronted their children about their lack of grieving at the funeral, he stepped in to defend them, reminding her that they were just children.
However, she told him to stop interfering in her parenting.
The Hurtful Truth
OP’s daughter became angry with her mother and told her that she wasn’t sad that her stepfather was gone because he had been difficult to be around and she had always hoped her mother would leave him.
The argument escalated as the ex-wife became increasingly agitated, and OP’s son followed his sister in storming off.
The Argument Escalates
Frustrated, OP yelled at his ex-wife to stop trying to force their children to perform a grieving routine over her late husband.
He told her that the children were trying to support her and that she should be proud of them for that. However, his ex-wife began yelling back, calling him names, so he walked away to de-escalate the situation.
Signs Things Were Not Right
Many Reddit users on this thread agree that OP is not to blame for this situation.
They commend him for defending his children and not forcing them to perform a grieving routine over their late stepfather.
Some even suggest that there may have been signs that his children did not have a close relationship with their stepfather, which their ex-wife was overlooking.
Supporting the Kids Was the Right Thing to Do
While some Reddit users understand that grief can cause people to act irrationally, they believe that the ex-wife’s behavior was inappropriate and that she should seek counseling to deal with her loss.
Many also recommend that OP talk to his children about the things their mother said and why they were wrong.
Overall, Reddit users empathize with OP’s situation and feel that he did the best he could to support his children.
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