Every household typically has some kind of system in place for who is expected to do certain chores.
This often includes children once they are of an appropriate age, but the system may not be without its struggles, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Alarmed_Studio_6546 decided to have his daughter wash the dishes, because she was closer to the sink than her brother, when the two siblings could not agree about whose turn it was.
But when she accused him of being sexist, the Original Poster (OP) decided it was time for grounding.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for grounding my daughter without consulting with my wife?”
The OP and his wife typically talked about their children’s discipline together.
“My wife and I have a 15-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter.”
“We make a conscious effort to always talk everything over together when it comes to our kids, the big stuff and the small stuff.”
The OP asked his daughter to do the dishes.
“On Thursday night, my wife was working late and told me to just have dinner without her.”
“After dinner, which was frozen pizza, please don’t judge me, I asked both of them whose turn it was to do the dishes.”
“My son said he did them the previous night, my daughter said she’d done them.”
“It was starting to escalate into a screaming match of, ‘No you didn’t, I did,’ so I told them both to cool it and asked my daughter to do them since she was closest to the sink.”
The thirteen-year-old argued with the OP.
“She said the only reason I was making her do it was because she’s a girl.”
“I said that wasn’t the case.”
“She followed it up with the only reason I was making her do it was because she’s the youngest.”
“I told her I was done with this discussion and told her to do it, trying to help her realize it’d be quick and easy.”
“I received a response of folded arms and a ‘No.'”
“With that, I sent her to her room.”
“She yelled that she ‘f**king hates it here’ and slammed her door.”
“I told her she was grounded, and then I did the dishes.”
The OP’s wife did not agree with how he handled the situation.
“My wife came home, and while I was telling her what happened, my daughter came downstairs and told her that I lost it for no reason and that I grounded her.”
“I reminded her she was being punished and told her to back up to her room and stay there.”
“My wife asked me why I went ahead and just grounded her without talking to her first.”
“In her opinion, what should’ve happened is, that I should’ve done the dishes and told my daughter that once her mom got home, the two of us would discuss how to deal with her.”
“However, I thought swift action was in order.”
“My wife told me she felt that we are no longer a team 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 didn’t like the OP’s initial solution of deciding based on proximity to the sink.
“YTA. Because she was closest to the sink? Come on, dude. You could have asked your wife whose turn it was, or told them to do it together. Or done it yourself and done a better job keeping track of whose turn it was in the future.”
“My problem is not with you grounding your daughter without consulting your wife, it’s with you grounding your daughter when she frankly had a point.”
“Like… if your son was lying about having done the dishes yesterday, you let him get away with it, forced your daughter to do his chore, then grounded her for standing up for herself. It’s not great.” – Temporary_Badger
“What stupid reasoning to determine who should do the dishes (whoever is closest? Are you insane??). What horrible ramifications if it is the daughter that was telling the truth.”
“Sure, it’s poor taste to ground her without consulting the spouse, but in my opinion, it is secondary to the overall poor conflict resolution going on here.”
“OP wouldn’t have needed to ground anyone if he had handled this better. YTA.” – Spiffy_Posidean16
“I mean, so far we know that all his son has to do to get out of doing the dishes whenever he wants to is:”
“To lie about whose turn it is, and”
“To stand further away from the sink than his sister.” – puppyfarts99
“The OP sounds like the type to leave the kitchen to do other things right after dinner, especially since OP made frozen pizza for dinner, usually the meal of somebody who doesn’t do a lot of cooking.”
“OP’s daughter’s comment about being the one chosen to clean because she’s a girl could’ve very well come from watching her parents’ relationship.” – Pulling_Them_Off
“Congrats for cementing in your daughter’s mind that this actually was closet sexism! You literally had no justification for making her do them, and letting her brother off the hook.”
“If the d**n dishes were gonna be so quick and easy, YOU SHOULD HAVE DONE THEM and then sorted out who was lying later. You know, exactly like your wife said.”
“And then you just overruled your wife, and also forbid your daughter from pleading her case to her mother?”
“You know what, you’ve cemented in MY mind that that this is closet sexism! I hope your need for ‘swift action’ is worth the justified loss of respect from your daughter, and the loss of trust from your wife.” – SnarkyBeanBroth
Others came up with alternate solutions for who should have done the dishes.
“In my opinion, even if he told the daugther to do the dishes, just maybe say that, ‘Okay, we’ll see who did them yesterday, and if it was also you, then your brother has to take two days in a row now’ would have been better.” – rosepeachchat
“The OP could have said, ‘Your mom will know whose turn it is when she gets home, so whoever’s day it actually is best get it done, or you’ll be doing dishes for the rest of the week for lying about it.'” – TheLoveliestKaren
“They clearly need a better system (one that doesn’t rely on anyone’s memory) for determining whose turn it is.”
“In the past for a daily chore, I’ve used a system with my kids which assigns the task to Kid A on odd-numbered days and assigns it to Kid B on even-numbered days. It’s pretty fair overall, and never a question of whose turn it is on any given day.” – puppyfarts99
“In my opinion, OP’s job here was to make sure whatever kid lied would learn not to do it again. Personally, I think the best way to do that would have been to leave the dishes until after OP verified the chore so that the correct, lying kid got the chore regardless of the lie.”
“(Given, I’d also say OP should have given the liar a chance to fess up, like, ‘If I have to ask your mother who did the dishes last, whoever is lying will both have to do the dishes and also be grounded. If you fess up now, you can do the chore now and move on and not get grounded…'”
“Then if nobody fesses up, dishes can wait until he hears back from Mom. Liar accomplishes nothing, learns lying to a parent about chores is not going to effectively get them out of chores.)” – Kittenn1412
“1000%, OP, YTA.”
“If the kids can’t agree on who did the dishes last, AND you/your wife don’t know, then if it were me, I would have given the kids like 10 minutes to figure it out/work together to do the dishes and restart the alternating schedule the next day.”
“If they both refuse to do it then I’d say do it yourself and chalk it up as a learning experience for you/your wife to keep better track of the chores and then figure out an *APPROPRIATE* punishment for both of them.”
“‘You do them because you’re closer to the sink’ is bulls**t and arbitrary, not as egregious as it would be if you DID make your daughter do them just because she is a girl, but honestly it is pretty d**n close.” – AdmiralSassypants
But some did think the daughter deserved to be grounded, dishes or no dishes.
“I am going to go against the grain, but NTA. It doesn’t matter if she was close to the sink, the point is he told her to do something and she talked back, told him no, cursed at him, and slammed the door.”
“She was disrespectful to him her father. He was not wrong to ground her. Then, when his wife came home, they needed to discuss what the punishment would be.”
“When I was growing up, and your mother or father told you to do something, you did it without talking back. Because we respected our parents. The way his daughter acted, she had no respect.”
“Then for her to run downstairs to tell her mom on him, like he is a child, tells me she can play the two against each other. She is 13 and still a child, and the bottom line is she disrespected her father.”
“It doesn’t matter who did the dishes the night before, she was told to do something, and she should have done it.” – SpiritIntelligent934
“Executive decision. Discussion later. If the brother was lying, he gets dishes for a week. You shouldn’t have to have your wife’s permission to tell the kid not to curse.” – JulsTiger10
“The best remedy for the situation would have been for both kids to do the dishes. But hindsight is 20/20.”
“A team player has your back. Your daughter’s behavior required an immediate response. NTA.”
“Seriously, your wife has never disciplined your children without your input, every time?” – Youwhooo60
“NTA. You’re the parent. You did nothing wrong. And your wife should 100% back you up.”
“Your child acted like a brat. What is going to happen if one of you is gone for an extended period of time? You should trust each other to make judgments when it comes to punishing the kids. Full stop.” – AlbatrossSenior7107
“I can’t believe the number of YTA ratings.”
“Do the dishes. Why? Because you’re standing right there. Just do the d**n dishes. Okay fine.”
“Three minutes later they’re done. It was frozen pizza. Rinse some sauce off the plate and throw it in the dishwasher. This is not difficult. My early elementary children literally did this last night.” – ExacerbatedMoose
“NTA the punishment was reasonable, could you have talked to the mother first? Of course you could have, but you needed to make a quick decision, you can still discuss the length of the grounding.”
“She’s overreacting for assuming that y’all aren’t a team anymore, sometimes a person in a team just had to make a decision.” – stratjr123
The subReddit was appalled by how this situation worked out, but for varying reasons.
Most of the sub took issue with the OP’s original solution of who was closer to the sink, and they later were upset with how the OP responded to his wife and refused to let his daughter speak.
Others, however, took issue with how the daughter disrespected her father, and how the OP was later questioned for responding to that disrespect.
There appears to be a serious rift in the OP’s household, and a system needs to be worked out so the family of four can all comfortably continue living there.