Lots of people probably thought that stories about ‘evil’ stepmothers holding a grudge against their stepchildren were something meant only for fairytales and storytime before going to bed. Sadly, they occur in real life, too.

One stepmother faced major backlash both online and in the media for the way that she treated her stepchild. She asked a Facebook group to edit her stepson out of the pictures in a family photo shoot, while also adding that she loves him.

The internet was outraged by her demands. People quickly shared the story about the stepmom and the story went viral.

Bored Panda reached out to the child’s biological mother to talk about her first reaction to the story breaking online and in the news, as well as how much support she got from her friends, family, and the online community.

“My first reaction: I was pissed, because I had to find out from my youngest son’s grandma because she saw it on a stepmom’s Facebook page she follows. Her post was posted on Saturday from what she told me, and she and his father didn’t even inform me of how her original post was,” the biological mom told Bored Panda. Scroll down for the full interview.

A woman asked people to photoshop her stepson out of the family pictures taken during a professional photo shoot

This is what the child’s biological mother said

“I didn’t know until Monday. And she didn’t try to apologize until after I had called my son’s grandma asking if she knew. The internet’s reactions to me is honestly amazing. I would expect anyone to stick up for a 3-year-old. Honestly, I’m not sure what I plan to do next,” the child’s biological mother revealed.

She continued: “Emotionally, it started out very badly. I was pissed to an extreme, but now I’m really happy about this situation, because of all the support me and my son are getting through this situation.”

“My family and friends are very supportive to me and my children through any situation.”

Bored Panda also asked her what advice she would give to new stepparents who want to get closer to their stepchildren. Here’s what she had to say: “Honestly, my advice would be, get to know the children before you get married. Build a relationship with them. And if your not willing to do that—Do Not Marry Their Parent.”

“I do want to add that the support we are getting from everyone all over the world is amazing, and me and my whole family appreciates everything.”

And here’s what the kid’s stepmom said after the story went viral

We get it, it’s not always easy getting to know your stepchildren; but that’s life for you and there’s bound to be difficulties in any family, whether they’re biologically related to you or not. Fortunately, there are some things that stepparents can do to get closer to their stepchildren.

All Pro Dad explains that most stepparents find it hard to reach out to their stepkids at the start. However, you should never set unrealistic expectations about creating the perfect family: start off small by building respect with the child before expecting them to love you and you loving them back.

Openness is also very important. Even if your stepchildren probably won’t open up to you at the start, it’s important that they know that you’re always there if they need someone to talk to. Furthermore, you should be supportive and not try to replace the kids’ biological parents; your relationship will be unique, there’s no need to replicate one that already exists. And when it comes to disciplining your stepchildren, well, it’s best to let the parent do that until you earn the kids’ respect.

Here’s how internet users reacted to the situation

Bored Panda also reached out to Redditors Foilfun and Smokegenovese who posted the story online and helped make it go viral.

Foilfun said that they reacted with “sadness” when they first saw the story online. “Seeing the boy she wanted photoshopped out sitting by himself next to his step-siblings on the blanket just sort of broke me. But my reaction has changed after seeing it absolutely blow up. What really gets to me now is seeing people tell stories about being step-children who felt unloved (or at least not as loved as their step-siblings) growing up. That’s been my biggest takeaway from it.”

“I can’t help but feel like it’s a fundamental misunderstanding of what family means. She probably didn’t mean anything malicious by the request, but the fact that she made it—or wanted it in the first place—makes me sad,” Foilfun said. “The mother made the choice to step into this family; that means she made a choice to step into all of the family. Stepson most definitely included. He’s just a little boy. He doesn’t know what is going on and he didn’t have a say in the matter. She most certainly does. She was given the chance to raise him as her own (or some complicated version of “her own”) and her response was to photoshop him out.”

Foilfun explained that they don’t have a stepparent nor do they want to have children of their own, but they said that they do know loving households look like: “They certainly don’t have to be blood to be family. I think that if you’ve made the choice to be a parent—step or otherwise—the responsibility is the same. These kids are the future. They’ll take both the best and the worst of you with them. If I were a father, I can’t help but feel like this would constantly be on my mind. Want to be a better parent of any kind? Don’t treat your kids like “kids.” Treat them like the future. They didn’t ask to be here, but you get the chance to help them realize they can be everything.”

According to the Redditor, they didn’t expect the compassion that internet users showed when they read the story: “Both for this kid and for the mom.”

“I don’t want to see anybody hurt, but I also don’t want to see a world where kids continue to be pawns in their parents’ games and spats. Calling this mentality out whenever we get the chance is an important step if we’re going to see healthier generations going forward—ones that are better than we are.”

Meanwhile, Redditor Smokegenovese said that they believe that “no one should be in a family that treats them like utter [crap] and doesn’t love them even as a stepchild.” In the Redditor’s opinion, the stepmother “deserves to be on the news.”