Should New Adult ‘Step-Siblings’ Be Considered Immediate Family?


Families are the foundation of this great country of ours, and they come in all shapes and sizes. But keeping a family functional with positive, healthy dynamics is a massive challenge—especially in the world of blended families. 

When people remarry, how their kids will be blended into the new relationship can get tricky depending on their age. This fact reared its ugly head in a recent Reddit post where a woman asked if she was in the wrong for not wanting to invite her new step-siblings to her wedding. 

A Look At The Dilemma

Subreddits are the place to go when you need advice and feedback from anonymous internet users, and the r/wedding subreddit is no exception. It’s a “place for brides, grooms, friends, and family to discuss and share their wedding plans, ideas, and experiences.” And recently, Redditor u/Maximum_Ad9709 asked the following question:

Am I wrong to not invite my new step-siblings to my wedding because we are not close?

In her post, the 30-something woman explained that her 65-year-old mother had recently married her boyfriend of six years—a man who is also in his mid-60s. The woman said that she and her two siblings are all in their mid-30s, while her mom’s new husband has two children in their 20s. So, everyone involved in this situation is an adult.

According to the poster, the whole time her mom and new husband were dating, she had only met his daughter three times and his son four times.

“We have never spent a holiday together, gone on a trip, had a dinner with everyone at their home, or done much at all as a group,” the woman clarified.

After sharing that bit of backstory, she got to the main point of her post. She said she is getting married in November, and she only wants people at her wedding who she and her fiancé are close to and those “who have an impact on our lives.”

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“I want to look out at the people sitting there witnessing my marriage and see the faces of people I love and truly feel connected to,” the bride shared.

Because of her desire to keep things small and intimate—and share the moment with the few important people in her and her groom’s lives—the bride does not want to invite the adult children of her mom’s new husband.

However, her mother is insisting that she invite them because they are her “immediate family now” and they are her “step-brother and step-sister.”

The bride wanted to know—was she in the wrong to exclude them?

Does Marriage Necessitate New Family Bonds?

Family dynamics can get really strange when a parent with adult children remarries later in life. As the poster explains, she likes her new step-siblings, but she doesn’t feel obligated to invite them to her wedding when her mom married their dad at an age when everyone was well into adulthood.

She said it was her mom who married him, not her. And it was her mother who made the commitment to adopt new people into her inner circle. Honestly, we couldn’t agree more. 

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Just like the poster, we also think it’s unfair and unreasonable for her mother to claim these new step-family members are her immediate family. And the comments section definitely backs up this viewpoint.

“They’re at an age where I’d consider them ‘mom’s husband’ not stepdad, and ‘mom’s husband’s kids’ not step-siblings. So I don’t think you need to invite them at all. Especially as you don’t seem to have much of a relationship with them,” one person responded.

Another concurred, “Lol. No, you don’t need to invite them. Siblings and parents obtained after you or they are both adults aren’t the same for most people as those you grew up with.”

While we admire the mother’s intention of wanting to foster a relationship between her children and her new husband’s family, a wedding is not the appropriate place for that. If they haven’t made an effort to come together as a group for the past six years to form a new family, there’s no need to start when it’s going to cost $300 a head.

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