When someone doesn’t abide by your rules at a gathering you’re hosting, they don’t get to revolt against you! An internet user asked, “Am I a jerk for not allowing my cousin’s stepchild in the family photo?” 

We need you to find out!


Image Credits: fizkes, Shutterstock

The Original Poster’s (OP’s) (M30) family grew up taking a big family Thanksgiving picture that is used for Christmas cards.

“I kept the tradition going with my family. We host Thanksgiving every year, and it’s always around 20+ people. Most families we hang out with are from my wife’s side since mine are pretty scattered around,” says OP. 


Young blond curly hair caucasian man isolated doubting and shrugging shoulders in questioning gesture.
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The past pictures were acceptable according to OP, but some tended to wear pajama-type outfits (mostly pajama pants and a t-shirt) to Thanksgiving. 

“No big deal to me, but the past picture was mixed with mostly nicely dressed people and then a random few in pajamas,” says OP.   


Portrait of uncertain young stylish stubble man with trendy round glasses wears demin blue shirt, shrugs shoulders being puzzled or confused. Caucasian unsure male make gestures doubtfully with hands.
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This year, OP texted each family and asked them to have a nice but casual outfit for the picture, but feel free to dress however they want for the rest of the day. OP even said jeans and a nice shirt are okay for the photo.  


Closeup portrait photo of young boss student wear bright neon t-shirt eyebrow up misunderstanding hand up irritated isolated on purple color background.
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So it’s Thanksgiving Day. OP’s wife’s cousin Sarah’s family arrived, which included three stepchildren. Two were dressed in pajamas but had a change of clothes. 


couple fight
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Sarah goes up to OP and says, “Please don’t be mad”. A second later, the oldest stepkid, Sam (Non-Binary) (14-15), came dressed in an entire goth outfit, chains, black makeup, and spiked dyed hair.

“Normally, they dress slightly goth, like they prefer black but nothing crazy. Never before have they even gone close to this ‘hardcore.’ They said, ‘Hope you like the outfit. I’m wearing this for the picture.’ I forgot what I said, but it was barely anything. I say to Sarah, ‘They can’t wear that in the picture,'” says OP.  


Young couple disputing in the kitchen
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He (OP) did not add anything else. His wife gives him a look but then walks away. OP gets back to cooking for the 20+ people. 

“Picture time comes, and we take the group photo with Sam included. Then I tell Sam I would like a few pictures without them in it,” says OP.


couple fight ignore
Image Credits: Roman Samborskyi, Shutterstock

Sam tried to get argumentative, and OP said, ‘You knew I asked people to dress nicely just for a group photo. You purposely dressed like this to spite me, and I have no idea why.’ 

“It was awkward, but Sarah told Sam to step aside, and we took the photo,” says OP. 


What do you want? Portrait of irritated brunette man with small beard and mustache in casual shirt raising arms in anger, asking why, furious expression. indoor studio shot isolated on pink background
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The day goes on okay, and OP knows people probably talked. Today, OP saw some Facebook posts mentioning the situation, which annoys him. 

“I stand by my decision and am unsure if I’ll respond privately or not. So, Am I a jerk for kicking Sam out of the family photo because of how they dressed?” asks OP. 


wondered woman pointing up with finger and asking WTF
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“Not the jerk. Sam was included in pictures, and a few were asked to sit out. As OP was planning this for Christmas cards, I understand the point of view. It sounded like they just wanted to be edgy and shocking for the card, teenage thing. That doesn’t mean OP has to accept it.”


Closeup portrait, dazed, nerd young man with big glasses messed on face, open mouth, embarrassed, failed excuse me isolated white background. Negative human emotion face expression feeling
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“Not the jerk. No way. Because the bottom line is this is your picture. You requested a light dress code for your photo that you organize annually. Sam chose to disregard and disrespect. You even included them in a group picture.

It is the thing you do every year. You have the right to request whatever you want. Plus, everyone has the option of saying they don’t want to participate. Sam’s actions indicated they did not want to participate.”


Young Russian girl isolated on yellow background having doubts while raising hands
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“Not the jerk, OP. You asked respectfully, and they decided they wanted to be a jerk that day and make a statement. If they have an issue, their parents can do their Thanksgiving dinner. 

How hard is it to respect others instead of forcing your reality onto others? Would it have killed them to dress nicely for 30 minutes? Respect is a two-way street, not one-way. It’s earned, not given, and the way Sam was acting was disrespectful.”


Photo portrait of lovely young lady sorry forget shrug shoulders cute wear trendy orange clothes isolated on blue color background.
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“The kid dressed that way to spite you. What did they expect? It’s a good way to learn that people won’t always work to tolerate your nonsense. You set expectations and seemed tolerant of their style in general, just not in this deliberately exaggerated form, which actively went against your expectations. Not the jerk!”

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This article was originally published on Mrs. Daaku Studio.

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