Most of us can agree that pranks are only funny if everyone ends up genuinely laughing.
But there are some kids, and even their parents, who refuse to see it that way, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Small-Raspberry-6561 was well aware that her son liked to prank people and that he sometimes took it too far, but his most recent prank against his sister was inexcusable.
But when her husband called her a bad parent after punishing their son for the prank, the Original Poster (OP) began to wonder whose side her husband was actually on.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for making my son clean up after his sister in the bathroom?”
The OP’s almost-teenage son loved to pull pranks on people.
“I (40s Female) have two children, ‘Dax’ (12 Male) and ‘Mia’ (14 Female).”
“My kids don’t get along super well. Dax thinks ‘pranks’ are really funny, I guess like every 12-year-old boy, and he annoys Mia with them a lot.”
“It’s something my husband and I have been working on as it’s the source of many fights between them.”
“Dax gets a lot of prank ideas from YouTube and TikTok and will often recreate what he sees. Most of them are harmless (something like a fake spider in her food, etc.), but this time, I think he went too far.”
The OP found her son’s latest prank to be inexcusable.
“Dax thought it would be funny to put Saran Wrap over the toilet before my daughter went to the bathroom. He says he got the idea online.”
“I don’t know if this is a thing, but it’s a terrible prank. Basically, he put plastic wrap under the toilet seat, so if someone sits on it, well, it pretty much makes a mess all over the toilet bowl and floor instead of going in the bowl. Yeah I know, ew.”
“So he set this up right before Mia went in the bathroom to pee. When she got in there, she sat on the seat like normal, peed, and since there was plastic wrap over the hole, her pee collected on it and got everywhere, all around the ground on the toilet, and on her.”
“She came to me crying. She was embarrassed because she’s a teenage girl and this is… disgusting.”
“I told Mia to shower and not worry about the mess.”
The OP punished her son for the bathroom prank.
“Here’s where I might be the AH… I went to my son and yelled at him for what he did. I told him that’s not an appropriate prank and he’s old enough to know that’s not okay.”
“And then I made him clean it up.”
“He started crying, saying it was unfair I make him clean his sister’s pee.”
“‘It’s gross and I’m going to be sick,’ he said, and ‘It’s from her body so she should clean it.'”
“But it was all his fault and literally his mess to deal with. I don’t know why I should humiliate my daughter further or why I should have to clean it.”
“And the biggest thing, he needed to learn.”
“I told him the mess was his fault and he should think about the repercussions of his actions next time, because this is what his prank caused. And then I stood in the doorway and watched as I made him clean all of the urine off the floor and toilet.”
“I think it was an appropriate punishment considering it’s really just the natural consequence of what he did, and it doubles as a general lesson in how to clean a toilet, which he has to learn at some point anyway.”
The OP’s husband did not see it that way.
“Well, my husband disagreed. This all happened while he was at work, and after he got home, Dax complained to him.”
“He told me I was overly harsh on our son and ‘put him in danger’ by exposing him to germs.”
“But I gave him the same gloves I use when I have to wash the toilet and it’s not like he was unsupervised.”
“But my husband is mad at me and told me I want ‘too far’ and that’s ‘bad parenting.'”
“Of course, my son is mad at me too. But my daughter is on my side.”
“AITA? Am I a bad Mom?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some reassured the OP that the punishment did not make her a “bad mom.”
“So your daughter should have been exposed to germs instead and had to clean up a mess she in no way had a hand in making? What is that?”
“NTA. Cleaning the toilet isn’t torture or harsh punishment. It’s a household chore someone has to do. He just made it dirtier for himself by pranking his sister. Maybe he’ll knock it off finally and poor Mia will get some peace.” – Weekend_Breakfast
“First off, way to parent!”
“12 years old isn’t too young to learn about accountability, and your husband should know that. It’s not like your daughter ‘missed the toilet’ and got urine all over the place, and you forced your son to clean up her mess.”
“Of course your son is mad. It’s disgusting and he didn’t think about the repercussions of a ‘prank.'”
“Think your husband would have found it funny if he were the victim?” – mr_stuffins08
“NTA, but your husband is, and you can see why Dax thinks it’s okay to pull this s**t on his sister.”
“What the f**k is your husband on about ‘you put him in danger by exposing him to germs’? He cleaned a toilet, for f**k’s sake. We all do it. In fact, lots of 12-year-olds do it as part of their chores!”
“You should ask your husband if he’d prefer it if he left Dax’s messes for him to clean up when he finishes work in the future.” – Slight_Nail_5869
“You were right. There wouldn’t have been pee on the floor if he hadn’t played his stupid prank. Your husband should back you up. He isn’t doing Dax any good.”
“I am tempted to advocate for his internet access to be restricted, because he has shown he isn’t using it responsibly.”
“By the way, what did your husband think was suitable punishment? NTA.” – Accomplished_Two1611
“You should nip that s**t in the bud. The fact that your son thought his sister p**sing onto herself is a funny joke portends bad things for his future. He isn’t eight or five; he’s 12 and should have developed some empathy, a sense of boundaries, and propriety by now.”
“You got yourself a husband problem. The fact that your daughter’s father doesn’t see that he should be standing up and showing her he won’t stand for his daughter to be humiliated like that… that it’s okay for her to be humiliated and abused, but it isn’t okay for her brother to be humiliated or held responsible or to face consequences for his actions… is setting an awful example for her future relationships and expectations of the men in her life.”
“If you read nothing I said, please read this: Her dad’s treatment of her will set the example and resonate for the rest of her life, and in this case, he is failing HARD.”
“That’s his true failing here. He is being a boy-dad and forgetting he’s a girl-dad, too.”
“NTA.” – DenizenKay
But others didn’t think the OP was the AH for the punishment, but rather, for TikTok.
“YTA for still allowing him to watch YouTube and TikTok.”
“But you were right to make him clean up the mess he made with his plastic wrap.”
“Your husband an a**hole and an idi*t. Maybe y’all should separate. You take your daughter, he takes your son. Boom, you’ve removed the toxicity from you and your daughter’s lives.” – everlyafterhappy
“So your husband doesn’t believe in deleting TikTok (the main source of these bullying, unfunny, and potentially dangerous pranks), and you don’t make him remove the videos from the app? Where he gets his reactions/positive reinforcement, likes, and clout?”
“You’re not AH for trying to hold him accountable but YTA for allowing your daughter to be pranked against her wishes, displayed to the world for her brother’s amusement and clout, and removing her sense of safety and security in her own home.”
“If your husband is sooooo concerned with his son’s well-being, why is he completely discounting his daughter’s?” – AriesProductions
“NTA. The kid caused a mess, so the kid cleans up the mess.”
“Your husband is an idi*t. Your daughter’s pee won’t threaten your son’s life (massive eyeroll). Did he never change diapers when your kids were small?”
“Additional YTA for not regulating the garbage your kid is watching on TikTok. Delete and block that garbage from his devices.” – FritosRule
“You should do the same thing my brother did with his son… go on, erase his prank videos, and ban him off the internet for a few months.”
“My nephew was acting like he was some sort of internet star and ended up pranking someone badly and damaging stuff. He was about 11 at the time. My brother erased everything he put online, took him off the internet, and didn’t let him go online unless supervised.”
“My nephew is much better behaved now.” – MissCrabucket
Some challenged the OP to be a better advocate for her daughter, who was being bullied.
“Frankly, YTA for allowing your son to bully your daughter. It’s only a prank if it leaves both parties laughing. Otherwise, it’s just abuse. If you think it’s fine for him to play these ‘pranks,’ then let him play them on you, but your daughter should be able to opt-out.”
“You are not providing a safe, secure home for your young daughter, and you are teaching her she must accept abuse from boys for their entertainment. You’re also teaching your son he can treat girls however he wants, no matter what they say or how they feel.”
“Ask your daughter if she’s okay with being your son’s target. If she’s not, you are morally obligated to make this stop, whatever it takes.”
“Take his phone. Change the WiFi password. Take every privilege he has away from him, one by one, until you have taught your son to respect a woman’s ‘no.’ You are raising a bad son and not protecting your daughter. YTA.” – IHQ_Throwaway
“For the punishment, NTA at all.”
“I’m sorry to say, but YTA for making your already-sensitive teenage daughter live with an in-house bully. Which is awful. She can`t even feel relaxed and safe in her own home.”
“Restrict your annoying son to pranking only his father. With no other casualties.”
“I wonder how harmless your husband will find it then.” – Sad-Card-1030
“These pranks are not harmless. Your daughter doesn’t think they’re funny. No one does except the inconsiderate brat you’re raising. No, not all 12-year-old boys think hurting and scaring people is funny. He made a 14-year-old girl cry, and it’s ‘the source of many fights between them.'”
“YTA for letting it get this far. I’m sorry your husband isn’t helping you, but YOU need to stand up for your daughter. Her brother is BULLYING her. He’s TRAUMATISING her, and you’re LETTING him with your ineffective ‘punishments.’ YTA.” – the_siren_song
“YTA for allowing your son to terrorize his sister and for allowing your son to grow into a bully. Most 12-year-old boys do not bully people disguised as pranks.”
“No wonder your kids don’t get along. Your son should only be allowed to prank his dad, who is also probably a bully.”
“Everyone but your daughter sucks.” – RUKiddingMoi
The subReddit didn’t see an issue with the punishment the OP had chosen, but there were far greater issues at home than the punishment for one of many pranks.
Rather than taking issue with the punishment, they were far more concerned about how the OP’s daughter was treated and how her mental health eventually would be if her brother didn’t stop bullying her and if her father didn’t start equally advocating for her.