Playing Favorites: A Step-Parenting Dilemma

3 girl friends having a cushion fight playfully on the couch.

Losing a loved one can be an incredibly tough and emotional experience for anyone. This is exactly what one social media user went through recently.

The original poster (OP) shared his story, and it has since sparked a debate about step-parenting and what it means to be fair.

OP details that his father had passed away, and he flew to his hometown to attend the funeral. He was accompanied by his wife ‘Candace,’ his daughter (16) ‘Shiloh’ and his stepdaughters (19 and 17 years old).

After the funeral, they booked two hotel rooms; one for the parents and one for the girls.

However, Shiloh called her father crying after an argument with her step-sisters later that night.

The step-sisters insisted that Shiloh must sleep on the floor, even though there was enough space for all sisters to sleep on the bed.

When the father arrived at the room, he spoke with his stepdaughters about it, but they couldn’t explain why they told Shiloh to sleep on the floor.

So OP ended up booking a separate hotel room for Shiloh.

When he returned to his room, Candace called him out for playing favorites with his daughter and unnecessarily spending money.

Since then, Candace has been bringing up the incident, stating that the father mishandled the situation.

Was OP Playing Favorites?

While the original post raises many questions about the fair treatment of step-children, the responses to the post are also thought-provoking.

One user, _neontangles, suggests that the step-sisters were likely trying to bully Shiloh and OP’s wife should’ve heard the full story.

“What I’m getting from this is that your step daughters were trying to live up to the Disney depiction of step-sisters and were shocked when they couldn’t just bully her into getting what they want. What’s extra gross is that they did it when coming back from Shiloh’s grandparent’s funeral. Talk about cruelty.

“What is wrong with Candace if she sees this as playing favorites? Her daughters tried to make yours sleep on the floor for fun. Sounds like the apples don’t fall far from the tree. Have you pointed out your daughter is also upset because of the situation, and she is playing favorites?”

However, it’s the response from user Lethik that brings to light the most important issue.

Lethik thinks that the step-sisters got more than they bargained for.

“Worse: The stepsisters got what they wanted, but were upset that the person who they took advantage of was accommodated.”

Another user, Ryeong, also comments on the situation, stating that while the father is not in the wrong for booking the hotel room, he needs to address the issue now.

“What should have been an act of goodwill by Candace in taking over room arrangements so he could handle grieving became a power move. The fact she thinks Shiloh, the only one with a real bond to the recently deceased grandparent, should’ve sucked it up and slept on the floor is very telling.

“This is a hill to die on, OP. Don’t trust her to make arrangements in the best interests of anyone going forward, and have a serious sit down about how this whole thing was handled, including her attitude towards the girls and the way she tried to DARVO this to make it your fault. You do not want your child spending years being bullied and I can promise you that those girls learned it from someone – I’m betting it wasn’t their bio dad. Make sure Shiloh knows she can come to you because bullies can choose to keep going and just get better about hiding it.”

Another user, J3ks46, also came to the rescue of OP. “Not to mention she is making the trip not about him losing his father and grieving but about her daughters feeling slighted. I mean, his daughter also just lost her grandfather, and they think, hey, let’s make her sleep on the floor.”

Bizzybody2020 feels nervous about the complexity of such relationships.

“It’s things like this that makes me really, really nervous about these types of relationships… if Candace is so willing to behave this way, and doesn’t see anything wrong at all with making her grieving step daughter who just lost her grandfather ‘suck it up’ and sleep on the floor – what else would she think is “fair” between all the girls?!”

Similarly, another user, Mrmemo, also did not find OP playing the favorites and even went on to share what he should have done in such a scenario. “At no point did I see OP “playing favorites.” Were it me in that scenario, I’d be hard-pressed to not have my kid sleep on the bed while the stepkids “figure it out.”

The Verdict

These comments raise the issue that the stepdaughters’ behavior towards Shiloh was unacceptable. They insisted that she sleep on the floor despite there being enough space for all three girls. This behavior is not only insensitive, but it’s also bullying.

It’s not surprising that the father intervened to protect his daughter. He did the right thing by getting a separate hotel room for her.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments. Do you think OP from the social media post was in the wrong?

Featured Image Credit: IgorVetushko /

This article originally appeared on Ash & Pri.

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Pri Kingston

Ash & Pri are the Founders of and have spent the last decade building their way towards financial freedom and a lifetime of memories. Having successfully achieved their early retirement goal in under 10 years, they look forward to sharing their financial sense with like-minded people. Read more about Ash & Pri in the 'About Us' section.