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Dad Sparks Drama With Ex-Wife After Insisting Son Quit Sports To Spend More Time With Him

Teen boy bowling.
Maskot / Getty Images

Children require lots of things.

Clothes, food, water, even affection!

The most important of these requirements is time.

Time is the one thing you can spend on your kids that can make the biggest difference.

So, what happens when that time is taken away from you by things you aren’t interested in?

That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Active-Isopod7973 when he came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.

He asked:

“AITA? I want my son to stop playing sports”

A bit of background.

“I 42M have 1 son with my ex-wife. We have been divorced for nine years. She has full custody. I get him every other weekend.”

Then right to the problem at hand.

“My issue is that he has played soccer and bowling for years. It has interfered with my time. He seems to have something every Saturday.”

“I asked his mom if he can take a break. She told me if I wanted him not to play, I have to tell him.”

“So I called my son; he is 13.”

“I told him that him playing sports is taking too much of my time.”

“Plus, I don’t like that he has broken two bones. And countless bruises and scrapes. I am afraid people will think he is abused.”

“Just two weeks ago, he showed up with three cuts on his legs. When I asked his mom, she was like who knows? He is always out and about.”

“So after I told him. He basically said he wants to keep playing, that soccer is his favorite, and bowling is fun too.”

“He basically told me I never go anyway, so it’s no big deal. Now he is right. I never played sports, so I don’t get the fun.”

“I called his mom and said he wants to play, but I won’t contribute anymore.”

“I did say again that I don’t like the idea of him playing. He has broken two bones. I did tell her I may consider talking to a lawyer.”

“She laughed.”

OP was left to wonder,


Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided: YTA

Some responses were very direct.


“Also, no judge is going to force a 13-year-old boy to quit playing two sports he loves just because dad is too lazy to get his @ss up on the weekends to attend.”~ Cheap-Awareness-5522

“‘Dad is too lazy to get his @ss up on the weekends to attend.'”

“This is what confuses me fr.”

“What does he want his 13-year-old son to actually do?”

“Sit around his house every weekend he’s at his dad’s?? No child of divorce likes spending time at other parent’s house with literally nothing to do.”

“His sports give him a sense of normalcy.”

“When I was young, I was terrified to make plans on the days my dad was supposed to have me.”

“I would have had such an easier time if he supported me doing my own things on the days he didn’t have anything out of the ordinary planned.”

“I spent so much time sitting on his couch having major FOMO because of what I knew I was missing (friend’s birthdays, general fun plans, etc.).”

“If my dad made plans with me to do fun things, I wouldn’t have missed out so much.”

“It sounds like OP’s dad wants all the benefits of being a parent without the work.”

“If you love your kid, you need to do enjoyable things with them!”

“They’re growing up fast, and they don’t want to miss out on things just because you want to look at them and talk to them.”

“Dad needs to treat him like a person, not an accessory.” ~ moth_girl_7

“This guy is so far up his own @ss that telling him it will have negative effects on his child won’t do anything to sway him, because in OP’s mind, it’s just ‘me me me'”.

“His ‘abuse’ excuse is also centered on how HE will be perceived by others. He doesn’t even care about the actual injuries.”

“OP, why don’t you just give up on the two weekends a month you have with your kid because you obviously don’t like him, and I’m sure mom would be happy to have him.” ~ bedazzledfingernails

Commenters tore apart OP’s excuses.

“Toootally YTA.”

“And you provide with the worst excuses one can find, trying to justify your sh*tty behavior.”

“My issue is that he has played soccer and bowling for years. It has interfered with my time. He seems to have something every Saturday.”‘

“So, why are YOU not part of it?”

“You can take him to his game(s), watch and encourage him, and then spend the rest of the day(s) with him.”

“That’s what a supportive father would do, and that’s how your child will be happy.”

‘”I am afraid people will think he is abused”‘

“Dude… really?”

‘”I did tell her I may consider talking to a lawyer”‘


“Grow up, and be the father you’re supposed to be. Being there for your son and what makes him happy.” ~ youshallneverlearn

There were, of course, personal stories.

“When I was doing family law, I had a modification hearing that was about something as asinine as this (dad’s Thursday nights and an occasional weekend were upset by 15-year-old’s theater practice/performances).”

“The other attorney is apologetic to me (privately) about how stupid it is, and we go to the judge prior, and he also tells the judge the issue and how belligerently dumb his client is.”

“I didn’t even get a chance to cross the other party – after the OC questioned his client, the judge said she had heard enough and proceeds to rip dad a new a-hole about how immature he is and for wasting the court’s time.”

“And I got attorney’s fee awarded for the hearing despite not actually saying anything.” ~ Am_I_Bean_Detained

“I raised 3 boys.”

“Every pic I have of them, at least one has a bruise, scrape, or bandage somewhere on their bodies. That means they’re having fun playing and getting as dirty as they can.” ~ MAyoga265

“I have two sons. Have you ever watched them compare bumps, bruise, scratches, cuts, scars, whatever with their friends?”

“My gosh, the stories they weave! It’s hilarious!”

“My kids were proud of their battle scars.”

“I now have a 7yo grandson who works in his dad’s woodshed and his Papa’s auto shop and loves it. And yes, he gets hurt, but he knows where the first aid kit is and generally handles it.” ~ Opposite_Pineapple16

“Exactly! Ugh, this post pissed me off so much…”

“My parents got divorced when I was 9, I lived mostly with my mom, but I went to my dad’s place Tuesday and Thursday evenings for dinner and every other weekend, and for a few weeks/year during school breaks, when we’d usually go on a trip.”

“I had been riding horses since I was ~4, but when I was around 10 or 11, I started competing in horse shows.”

“And by the time I was 12 or 13, all I wanted to do was ride and be at the barn and, particularly during the summer, was going to shows sometimes 2x/week, which really cut into my dad’s time with me.”

“You know what he did in response? He took me to dude ranches out west for our summer trips and rode horses with me.”

“He drove, sometimes 4 hours round trip in a day, to watch me compete and spend time with me (overall, he was probably at more shows than my mom).”

“He always loved photography as a hobby, so he got really good at taking pictures of me and my friends riding – to this day (I’m 43 now, lol) I have soooo many pictures he took at shows – and I know he gave up a lot of his custody time so I could be at the barn.”

“He wasn’t a perfect parent by any means and definitely had his flaws, but all these years later, what stands out most is that he showed up, took an interest, got involved, sacrificed a lot so that I could participate and excel in the sport I loved.”

“And used it as a way to bond and spend time with me.”

“That’s how a parent should respond to a situation like this, IMO.”

“OP, you’re a huge, gaping AH.” ~ jericha

Some people thought there might be deeper issues here.

“NTA, but you totally have autism.”

“Not understanding how other people have different perspectives to your own? That anyone could be interested in things that you aren’t interested in?”

“This sub is often very perceptive, but I’m amazed no one else has picked up on that.” ~ Not_Stupid

“I think I understand why you are not married anymore.”

“Maybe you’re NTA in a traditional sense, but there’s a lack of understanding of the feelings of others. Are you ND by any chance?” ~ Specialist-Curve-465

What happens when your time with your child is infringed on by something you don’t understand?

You work to understand it.

Time with our children doesn’t just mean breathing the same air or sharing a meal.

Time represents the moments spent laughing together.

The little acts of support that inform our children that we’ll always support them – even when we don’t agree with them.

Go to the games, watch the plays, and listen to them talk about Pokemon for seven hours.

Time is the most valuable resource we can give to our kids.

It isn’t your time. It’s theirs – you’re just holding it for them.

Written by Frank Geier

Frank Geier (pronouns he/him) is a nerd and father of three who recently moved to Alabama. He is an avid roleplayer and storyteller occasionally masquerading as a rational human.