Many people find themselves in the difficult position of having to decide whether or not to take their niece or nephew on holiday without their stepsister or stepbrother. This can be a delicate situation, as you want to be fair to all of the children involved. A netizen recently asked, Am I a jerk for agreeing to take my niece on holiday but not her stepsister? Here’s the full story for you to conclude:


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This concerns OP’s daughter, Maddie, her brother’s (Jason) daughter, Bella, and his wife’s (Tracy) daughter, Sarah. All three girls are 11 and go to the same school. 

Bella And Maddie: Best Friends Forever

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Bella and Maddie have always been close, so close that OP’s family jokingly calls them ‘the twins’.

They do the same extracurriculars at school and often have sleepovers, etc. OP wasn’t really surprised that when she picked the two girls up a few days ago, Maddie asked if they could have Bella come travel with them for the summer. 

This Year’s Summer Trip

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They always go away for pretty much the whole summer, this year will be to three countries in continental Europe. 

OP had no problem with Bella coming along, so said she would talk to Jason about it. They agreed that Bella could come, Jason (and his ex) would cover the cost of her flights, a subsidized contribution to accommodation and give her a credit card for any expenses (obviously OP will pay for most things but this is for souvenirs or emergencies). The girls were thrilled.

What Happened Over The Weekend?

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Over the weekend, OP got a call from Tracy, who was upset that OP didn’t invite Sarah on the trip. Tracy said it was cruel of OP not to offer to take Sarah as well since she knows she has trouble socially at school as well as trouble getting along with Bella. 

Accused Her of Thinking Sarah Is NOT Family

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Tracy said OP not inviting Sarah on the trip showed that they didn’t think of her as family. Tracy said Sarah is devastated over this. OP explained that she didn’t invite anyone on this trip, Maddie did. To OP, her inviting Bella is like her inviting a friend, it’s not a “family” trip, the girls are just also friends.

Tracy’s Next Move 

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Jason is now getting pressure from Tracy not to let Bella go on the trip if Sarah isn’t going, and he says he does see the point of it being unfair and exclusionary. 

Jason’s ex is now arguing, saying Bella should go anyway, and OP agrees. OP thinks not allowing Bella to go because of Sarah is going to cause more problems between them. Jason asked if OP would consider bringing Sarah on the trip as well, and she said no. 

OP’s Final Stance 

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“This is my holiday, too, and I don’t want to spend it refereeing bickering between girls who are forced to spend time together. I also don’t want to foot the bill for Sarah’s trip, as Tracy has a long history of not giving Sarah a reasonable amount of money to do things and expecting whoever is around to just make up the difference.

I would feel bad if Bella doesn’t get to come because of this, but I don’t think it’s fair to anyone to take Sarah on this trip.”, says OP.

Your Justifications Are 100% Understandable 

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“Not the jerk. My family is structured similarly to yours, and I understand your justifications 100%. Even if the verdict makes us both exclusionary jerks, know that I feel your pain.”

What Tracy Is Demanding, Can Backfire 

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“Tracy is doing well at ensuring the girls get along even less. Does she think her daughter will have a good time playing third wheel to two girls who don’t want her there?

It is not Bella’s job to make up for her step-sister’s social awkwardness. As her mum, Tracy should be encouraging her in activities she enjoys and finding friends that way.”

Why Does Sarah Even Want To Go?

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“I am perplexed why Sarah would even want to go. Agree to not punish Bella for her stepsister being awkward, this will improve with time and maturity. Tracy needs to tend to her own housekeeping and help her daughter get through an awkward time in life.”

It Is Your Trip, DO As You Please!

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“It is your trip, you take your daughter, your niece, and you don’t HAVE to take anybody else.

Tracy doesn’t get to punish your daughter because she asks to bring her cousin, especially since she knew her all her life and we don’t know how long they both knew Sarah.

By the way, bringing two 11-year-olds on holiday is already quite a hassle, I do not even imagine having one more! It won’t be holidays anymore but babysitting all the way…BTW I wonder if it is not EXACTLY the aim of Tracy by asking you to take Sarah!”

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This article originally appeared on Mrs. Daaku Studio.

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