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Dad Called ‘Cruel’ For Forcing Son To Watch Brother Over Spring Break After He Berated His Mom

Tween boy arguing with his mother
Brothers91/Getty Images

It’s true that kids sometimes say the darnedest things, whether they’re funny, clever, or mean.

The most important thing is how these statements are responded to, and that discipline or a conversation is provided when needed, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

When Redditor Gloomy-Bluebird-4531 came home and heard his tween son berating his own mother for how she was doing the laundry, he knew he had to step in.

But when his mother criticized him for how he was raising her grandson, the Original Poster (OP) was furious about her meddling.

He asked the sub:

“AITA for making my 12-year-old son take care of himself and his ten-year-old brother for a week?”

The OP was shocked when he heard how his son was talking to his wife.

“I came home about a month ago and caught my son yelling at his mom about his clothes.”

“He was asking her how hard it was to make sure his clothes were cleaned.”

The OP took immediate action.

“I took him to the laundry room and made him do laundry for the family. I taught him what clothes could go together and what should not.”

“My wife is a teacher, and she works her a** off to make sure we have a nice home to live in.”

“She tells me what she needs me to do, and I take care of it. Beyond my share of the housework, I mean.”

The OP decided to take the punishment a couple of steps further.

“Well, my kid needs to be punished and I thought of the best possible way to do it.”

“I’m sending my wife to Mexico with her school friends over spring break. I’m going to work from home that week and keep an eye on the kids.”

“It won’t be difficult because I’m putting the older one in charge of the younger one. He will be doing laundry, making breakfast and lunch for both of them, and making sure the kitchen and dining room stay clean.”

The OP’s son was upset.

“He said it’s unfair to make him work over spring break.”

“I asked him if he thought it was a full-time job to do all that I was expecting of him.”

“He said yes, it was a full-time job.”

“I pointed out that his mother and I both have full-time jobs and still manage to do everything that he is whining about.”

His son then got his grandmother involved.

“He called my mom to see if he could stay there for spring break.”

“She tried to tell me I was being cruel to her poor baby.”

“I asked her what exactly she and my father would have done to me if I had yelled at her for not doing my laundry.”

“She said that it was a different time.”

“I said he could stay with her if she was willing to tell him, in front of me, all the punishments I endured when I lived at home.”

“She said he could not stay there.”


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 applauded the OP for stepping in and standing up for his wife.

“This is a great husband and dad! He should be cloned!”

“He understood his wife needs a break.”

“He ensured that his kid who was disrespectful to his wife is getting the appropriate wake-up call.”

“He drilled home the importance of equality in chores with your partner.”

“He made his kid be responsible when he would rather play, which is how he needs to get ready for adulting.”

“This makes so much sense.” – Turbulent_Patience_3

“OP’s son will look back one day and realize it wasn’t punishment, but a life lesson. I’d vote for him as the father of the year.” – Snoo-25079

“NTA. And as an overworked, underappreciated wife and mom of three, I WISH there were more husbands like this! Keep being a good partner for your wife.” – mygivead**nsbusted22

“I also would have a talk with mom and see if this is a regular occurrence, or if he snapped and yelled one time. 12 is old enough to know that it’s not okay to yell and belittle people.”

“But it’s also young enough to get overwhelmed about one aspect of life, not have the emotional maturity or insight to know how to handle it, and take it out on another part of your life.”

“Again, it’s not okay to yell at mom. But if this was a one-time thing, then he may be having something else going on in his life that he doesn’t know how to talk about. It wouldn’t excuse his actions, but it would warrant a conversation on how to handle what’s bothering him, and future stressors.” – Constant-Bowl

“NTA at all. In fact, you’re being a great role model and Dad (even if he doesn’t thank you for it now and grandma is trying to guilt trip you).”

“YOU made it clear to us as the audience that you help with your share of the chores.”

“(Hopefully) This likely means that both boys also have their share of age-friendly chores, if they don’t yet, now is the time to start! (For the younger, pick up toys, fold towels, put away silverware, feed the dog, etc.)”

“You can make chores or task cards to help break down each chore or room that says how to complete correctly. Make age-appropriate ones for each out of index cards (can add pics for the younger one!) And give them a number of tasks or a room each day! They have been a great tool for my girl who is Autistic, 12 now, and started at 3!”

“You’re showing it is not okay to speak to his Mom with this disrespect and hopefully during this week you reiterate that Mom has to do all of this on top of her full-time job, AND tell him to just imagine how she felt when he said that to her after her long day of work.”

“This one is a multi-concern. First, it concerns me that your son called his grandma to try to get around the punishment that had been given to him, that shows a lack of responsibility for what he did wrong, a lack of understanding of what he did wrong, and lack respect for your punishment authority.”

“B. Grandma was pushing against your punishment, and willing to let the punishment be set aside after it was communicated to your son, showing (to your son and you all) a lack of respect for both you and your wife. This is a problem and will keep happening until clear boundaries are set that undermining you as parents, or inferring you’re being unfair won’t be allowed.”

“C. Your wife deserves your mother’s respect too and she should be appalled at the way your son spoke to his mom and her daughter-in-law (telling him he said the crime he gets to do the time).”

“By setting clear boundaries with both of your sons and your Mother and their Grandmother, making your son take responsibility for his words and actions, having your sons participate equally in the household chores and upkeep as people who LIVE IN THE HOUSE EQUALLY as we all should (cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, yard work, etc.), you being a caring and respectful husband who values his wife while knowing she needs time for herself (them seeing this too).”

“All of these things are going to combine into a great recipe for your boys being wonderful partners when they grow up. Well done, sir.” – shadow_dancr

Others urged the OP to consider how his son was being raised by other people and content.

“NTA, but in addition to having him learn about the household tasks your wife normally handles, you also need to find out where he learned this behavior. Is he listening to incels on the internet? How could he possibly think yelling at his mother about his laundry was something he could or should do?”

“I think you have a deeper issue that you need to work on with your son. I also think if your older son has been exposed to misogynistic attitudes, you should make sure your younger son doesn’t pick up on it, too. They both need to learn that women are partners, not maids, and that they need to pull their weight.”

“As parents, both you and your wife have a responsibility to teach your boys to be good citizens and good partners. If they are going to have successful, healthy relationships as adults, they need to learn how to take care of a household and contribute equitably.”

“Your sons should be completing household chores, not just during the week your wife is gone, but regularly until they move out. Assign age-appropriate tasks and rotate them so that by the time they move out, they have learned the skills they need in order to take care of their homes.”

“I think your plan is a great start and I wish you luck!” – miyuki_m

“Where is the attitude coming from? Obviously not you, or grandma… Have some conversations with your kid and try to find the root of this, because it’s something he’s picking up from someone or somewhere.”

“I’ve got a 13 and an 11 and while they can bratty in all the usual ways, I’ve never gotten anything like what you’ve described.”

“Oh and NTA. Good parenting and standing up for your wife, and demonstrating a healthy relationship.” – Matilda-17

“It’s really scary if you aren’t hyper-aware of what your kid is up to on the internet. There are content creators that are scary far-right but smart enough to start slow with the ideology.”

“Even my partner, as an adult man, accidentally fell down a far-right rabbit hole with a YouTuber he used to enjoy, it started very slow a comment here, an idea that seems reasonable there, and before my partner knew it, he was buying into an ideology that he’d never come to on his own. Thankfully he snapped back and clued into what was happening.”

“And my partner is an adult who is not easily swayed by others. Imagine how easy it is to get a child at an impressionable age to believe you. OP should look into who his child is following content-wise.” – LokiCatofMischief

“My brother is also on the spectrum (he’s 20 now), and he definitely fell into that alt-right rabbit hole back in the earlier YouTube days. Thankfully he’s completely turned around now.”

“But it took a long time. Even then, we had to start on the bigger things when he was older because there are some things you’re just not equipped to understand when you’re that young. There’s a lot of nuances that come with unlearning cleverly concealed problematic talking points.”

“I feel like you may end up going through the same thing with your son, but about sexism. Good luck to you both.” – seensham

“At 12, it is likely behavior he is learning within his peer group. I have four kids, with the youngest now in high school. We encountered similar behavior on occasion, and it usually manifested within the friend group and then festered out. OP’s kid is learning how to navigate and push boundaries.”

“This isn’t necessarily an issue of misogyny, more likely based on perceived entitlement.” – Realistic-Site-3952

The subReddit was full of praise for the OP after he not only addressed the concerning behavior and stood up for his wife but also put together a related, age-appropriate punishment that would teach his son the severity of his words.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit