A young man on Reddit has received over 11,000 reactions to date to the contentious family situation he shared on social media just a day ago, with a clinical psychologist telling Fox News Digital on Friday she feels “heartbroken” by the “profoundly troubling” personal drama described in the post. 

The teen, aged 16, lost his mom in recent years to cancer and is now apparently trying to manage a standoff between himself, his dad and his dad’s new wife — who brought her own three young children to the household — amid a dispute over who should be doing what within the home.

“I make my own lunch for school. I started making them when I was 11 and my mom was sick with cancer, and now I make all my lunches,” wrote the teenager on the Reddit page known as AITA (“Am I the a–hole”), going by the username “New-Potato5893.”  

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The teen added, “My dad refuses to give me lunch money for school, said no way in hell to making them (Mom made his, and now he pays for lunch every day), and doesn’t want to give me permission to eat outside school (which is an option with parents’ consent) because he’d need to pay for that.”

The teenager went on, “So I make them. I work part-time, and so I started paying for the ingredients I use in my lunches.”

He shared more context: “My dad got married 2-ish years ago. His wife has three kids who are 5, 7 and 8 now.”

For about a year, the teen continued, “there’s been this issue where my dad and his wife want me to make all four lunches. They said if I’m making my own” — then he should make lunch for his “siblings” as well “to save their mom time and to streamline everything.”

He clarified, “I say ‘siblings’ because they’re not my siblings.”

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He added, “I was like, ‘No,’ and my dad’s wife was shocked. She called me out for making stuff only for myself. She said it’s crazy that I would look at my ‘siblings’ and not want to make a few things for them, too.”

The teenager also wrote, “It escalated to where they said I shouldn’t get to eat their dinners if I won’t participate in taking care of the family. So I buy my own dinner stuff now and make my own. Now they’re calling me out for doing that.”

He added, “They said I could make dinner for all four of us, and then we could eat dinner earlier and my dad and his wife could do something else.”

He wrote, “My dad’s wife didn’t make lunches for her kids on several occasions to try and make me relent. Their teachers ended up feeding them and writing to her about it. She was super pissed and asked me if I was ashamed.”

He also said, “I told her they’re her kids and her problem, not mine. I also suggested she take it up with my dad if she’s unhappy and wants help feeding her kids because it’s not my job. She said if Dad won’t feed me, he won’t feed her kids. I shrugged her off.”

The teenager then said, “Monday was a big day in all of this. I was home for hours alone and made a nice dinner. I was eating when my dad’s wife came home with her kids, who were hungry, and she exploded on me and asked if I’d made the kids dinner.”

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He went on, “I said no. She demanded to make it up to them, [that] I make them lunch for Tuesday … and I said no. She called me a bunch of names and told me she … hates me because I’m supposed to be a decent kid, and yet I won’t help feed her kids, and it’s not how you treat family.”

Wrote the teen, “I told her because it’s not my job and we’re not a family. I pointed out she married a guy who isn’t a good dad to his own kid, and how her only interactions with said kid were attempting to dump responsibility onto him (me), so she really has no reason to think I owe her anything.” 

The boy added, “Which of course [led] her to calling me all kinds of things, including an a–hole.”

He then asked others if he was wrong for not preparing food for the three young children belonging to his dad’s wife — with users of the platform decisively rendering him “not the a–hole.”

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Fox News Digital reached out the original poster for further comment and updates, and reached out to a psychologist as well for insight. 

Said Dr. Kathy Wilkerson, a clinical psychologist based in California who specializes in relationship issues, “I am heartbroken that this child has had to endure such significant loss and neglect at a young age,” she told Fox News Digital in an email on Friday. 

“An 11-year-old should be nurtured and protected, particularly during a family crisis like a parent’s serious illness,” she also said. “The neglectful behavior displayed by the father, especially during such a painful time, is profoundly troubling.”

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She added, “If the father couldn’t make basic provisions like lunch, it’s unlikely he addressed the child’s emotional needs or helped them process their grief after their mother’s passing. This neglect would have compounded the trauma and potentially caused severe emotional harm.”

The psychologist had more concerns: “It is distressing to hear that the situation has not improved. Now 16, this child is being pressured to prepare meals for the entire household, including other children and adults,and expected to pay for the costs associated with those meals. This is entirely unacceptable.”

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She said, “It is not the responsibility of a child to care for other children in the house. The adults should be providing for the children, not the other way around. The adults in this household are behaving irresponsibly, and placing such burdens on a child is emotionally abusive.”

She also noted, “I am impressed by the original poster’s resilience and ability to set boundaries despite the difficult circumstances.”

She said while it’s “unfortunate” the teen has to do this within his own family situation, “it is reassuring to know,” she added, that he has “the support of friends and teachers.”

In further edits to his post, the teenager said he’s been able to rely on friends and others for support. He also said, “The reason I feel bad about this is because the [little] kids are the ones who suffer from this whole [situation] and I know this is not their fault.”

Said Wilkerson, “The OP [original poster] is certainly not at fault in this situation. On the contrary, it is the father and stepmother whose actions are highly questionable and potentially harmful.”

She added, “I hope things get better for this child. I send him a very big hug and I’ll make him a sandwich any day.”

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In the top “upvoted” comment on the post, a person on Reddit said the family is in a “toxic” situation, and that they should all be “in therapy” — to which the original poster replied, “Therapy won’t fix anything because we’re not a real family. My dad hasn’t acted much like my family in years and his wife has never acted like we’re an actual family. She just expected it to be that way and that I’d feel some kind of family connection to them from nowhere.”

He added, “It was always going to be impossible and the fact she knew she was marrying a sh—- dad is all I need to say she would never be someone I would want or accept into my family.”

Another responder to the drama offered advice and support to the teen.

“Your father should be providing food for you. That is his responsibility. You are not responsible for feeding your dad’s girlfriend’s children,” this commenter wrote. “Your dad’s girlfriend does not sound any better of a parent than your dad.”

The commenter added, “I am so sorry that you’ve had such a hard time since your mom’s illness and her dying … It sounds like the best thing you can do is to prepare for your future. There will be teachers or other staff at school you can talk to and who might be able to help or at least support you mentally.”

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The same commenter also said, “You sound like an independent (you’ve had to be) and resilient young man. You have done extremely well in standing up for yourself … Your education is most important, but in the immediate future your day-to-day well-being is what is vital.”

Another person wrote, “You need to sit down with your school counselor to explain [your dad’s] refusal to provide you lunch money [and the whole] dinner thing. Your dad has a legal obligation to provide you food. The counselor will keep an eye on you & if they decide to call CPS [child protective services] to look into your house, all of you kids will be better for it.”

Another person sounded the same theme: “Please contact other family members who can intervene on your behalf or who could let you live with them. This is outrageous behavior and you should not have to pay for your food at 16. Talk to someone at school about it if you have no family willing to help you out.”

Finally, another poster wrote this: “The world is a gentler place outside of that house.”

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