No two people parent exactly the same way, even in couples.
In some cases, this can be great for a child, but at other times, it can be confusing or even harmful.
Unfortunately, it could even go so far as to have health implications for a child, according to the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor 7201083 began to question what to do about her boyfriend after she felt like her parenting was being jeopardized.
But after receiving criticism, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was doing the right thing.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for telling him (my boyfriend) to stay out of my kids’ bedrooms?”
The OP had a routine in place with her two sons.
“My BF (boyfriend) of 4 years just recently moved in with me and my 2 sons. My boys are 10 and 5.”
“There is a lot to note here and I’m not sure if these are red flags or not because it does seem like a control issue, but the way he explains it makes it appear as though he has their best interests in mind.”
“My youngest and I are on a routine… my oldest goes to different summer camps every year and has been for roughly 3 years, so usually it’s just me and my youngest here during the day in the summer.”
“I work from 6 pm to 4 am and get home around 4:30.”
“I wait up until I need to get my oldest on the bus at 6 am and then I feed my youngest his breakfast, give him his tablet and have him go sit on the couch so I can get some sleep.”
“It’s probably not the best thing to do, but it’s the only way I can sleep.”
“If not, he will be in and out of my bedroom every 5 minutes because he has a pretty severe attachment to my oldest and just wants him home. The tablet distracts him so I can get some sleep.”
“I usually sleep from around 6:30 to noon, when I get up to get my son lunch, and then we go about our day.”
“(My sister, aged 17, lives with me and is here full-time to make sure he isn’t doing anything he isn’t supposed to be doing, but generally he is a good kid and doesn’t get in trouble.)”
After her boyfriend moved in, he tried to change the routine.
“Well.. since my BF moved in 2 months ago, it seems like he has tried everything in his power to uproot this routine.”
“He claims it’s because he doesn’t want my son on his tablet all the time BUT this is also coming from a guy who does nothing but sit on his computer playing video games when he is home. He does his schooling online (he’s in his 3rd year of online college) but that takes up very little time, and then he has a part-time job, 3 days a week.”
“For the past 2 weeks or so, I have stuck with the routine, giving my son his tablet in the morning and having him sit on the couch.”
“First, it started off with him telling my son to go to his bedroom (which is fine, I guess) but it slowly turned into him taking the tablet away altogether and telling him to go play with something; which results in my son coming to wake me every 5 minutes, asking when his brother is coming home (my youngest has autism so it’s an obsessive thing).”
This change to the routine did not work for the OP.
“This morning was no different.”
“My BF gets out of bed for no other reason than to go into my kid’s room and take the tablet.”
“I immediately get up, rip the tablet from his hands and tell him to stay out of my kid’s room. It’s been 3 days and I have gotten maybe 2 hours of good sleep because of him.”
“He says I’m an AH because all he is trying to do is set a good example and make my son aware that he can’t be on electronics all the time (my son is only on it while I am sleeping, he never touches it otherwise).”
“I argue that he is doing it to control my household because he has it in his head that he is the man of the house and we need to follow his rules now.”
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 encouraged the OP to kick her boyfriend out for trying to parent a child who was not his.
“Ask him to leave. Now. You are NTA, and this guy has so many red flags you could make bunting. The man of the house? So you must follow his rules? Jesus wept.” – ClareSwinn
“Interfering with her child and also with her sleep!!! When she’s already not getting enough hours as it is. Not ok.”
“It would be one thing if he was actively playing with the younger son but he is really just trying to steal the living room or make a point or something. It would be actually helpful if he made lunch so op could get more sleep but he isn’t doing that either it seems.”
“She needs to tell him she’s parenting and he can accept that or gtfo” – Creative-Training175
“Why did you invite this dude to live with you? As a parent, you need to put your kids first and if he can’t be kind and respectful to your children and abide by your established rules of the household he should not be around them at all.”
“He does not get to decide what is best for them, or override your decisions or take things away from them just because. Your children trust you to keep them safe and you are not doing that because you invited a bully into their house.” – Music_withRocks_In
Others questioned the OP’s reliance on a screen for her son.
“She isn’t the a**hole?”
“She sleeps from 6:30 to 12 whilst her 5-year-old sits unattended and alone with a tablet for company… Every day.”
“That is ridiculously bad parenting. It is negligent and neglectful.”
“I am blown away by people overlooking this.”
“Do you know how insane it is to leave a 5-year-old alone for 5 hours?” – PeepsandQuackers
“My judgment is straight ESH. The mother needs to figure something out because you can’t just shove a screen in front of a 5-year-old and leave them alone for hours on end.” – kitkamran
It seems the OP is definitely in a tough position with her work schedule, which some of the subReddit could appreciate, but the choices she made were more questionable, specifically the arrival of the boyfriend in the home and the overuse of the tablet. Though she has to do something to make ends meet, the sub wasn’t convinced that this was it.