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Dad Offers To Stop Telling Kids He Loves Them To Prove Point To His Emotionally-Distant Father

A man hugging his son with their backs to the camera.

Almost every parent comes up with a pet name for their kids.

Redditor Appropriate_Flan_164’s names for their son and daughter are a bit unconventional and inspired by The Simpsons.

The Original Poster (OP) recently got into an argument with his own father about these nicknames.

This led him to subReddit “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA).

He asked:

“AITA for embarrassing my father by offering to stop telling my children that I love them.”

He went on to explain.

“I call my kids Boy [age 15] and Girl [age 16].”

“I love the Simpsons and I always thought it was funny that Homer referred to Bart as Boy and Bart called him Homer. With my father everything was yes sir no sir.”

“I also constantly tell my kids that I love them and am proud of them.”

“For some reason the name thing puts a wild hair up my dad’s a**.”

“He was over last weekend and he was vociferous about how I’m hurting his grandchildren by not calling them by their names. I told him that my kids were happy and to leave it alone.”

“He just wouldn’t drop it. So I called my kids over to where we were talking and I asked them if they wanted to be called by their names instead of Boy and Girl.”

“I said in return they would have to call me Sir not daddy or dad.”

“I said I would accept Father in emotional conversations. But that I would no longer remind them every day that I loved them and was proud of them.”

“They both did they were happy with the status quo. They know what my relationship with my father is like.”

“My father got all pissed off and said that’s not what he wanted at all. So I asked him how often he told my sisters and I he loved us or was proud of our accomplishments or just as people.”

“He said it was a different time. That his father was worse than him.”

“So I asked him if he thought my kids were happier than myself and my sisters were growing up. I pointed out that my kids are happy. They are reasonably well adjusted.”

“Now he is being pissy and my mom says he is upset that I think he was a bad father.”

“He wasn’t. He was just emotionally distant. I hated it.”

“My sisters both had some therapy to help them choose better men. They both “fell in love” with any guy who gave them attention.”

“My daughter knows her worth and won’t settle for anything but the best. My son has no problem hugging me and telling me or his mom about his life.”

“They are teens, I know I don’t know everything going on with them. But I’m doing my best to be there and give them the support I never had.”

“My kids know they are loved. I don’t just say it. I try my best to show it.”

“My dad thinks I’m being an a**hole for pointing out where he didn’t do great as a father when he tried to criticize my parenting.”


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:

“You’re totally NTA for that interaction with your father.”

“Where you might be in dicey territory is the parenting choice of using your children as props and threatening, even in jest, to withhold affection.”

“It sounds like you have a healthy parental bond, and your kids are old enough and know you weren’t serious.”

“But if they had any ambiguity about that, then you’d be an AH for causing it just to illustrate a point to your father.” – BigBayesian

“‘said in return they would have to call me Sir not daddy or dad. I said I would accept Father in emotional conversations.’”

“‘But that I would no longer remind them every day that I loved them and was proud of them.’”

“NTA for saying that as like a message to your dad.”

“But I hope you have a private conversation where you let them know that if they ever do seriously want you to call them by their names, you would, of course, do it and not make them change how they address you or love them less.”

“I’m sure they probably already know, but I think it’s worth covering your bases and making sure they know you said that as a joke to your dad, not as an actual rule you’d follow.” – Sufficient_Cat

“ESH. The whole comment about you calling them by their names means they have to call you Sir Instead of Dad…. Sorry but no.”

“If your kids are generally happy with what you call them, then fine, but to expect to be called sir? Hell no. You are their dad. They can call you dad.”

“Your dad sounds like an arse no matter what.” – Nessie51

“Maybe don’t put your kids in an awkward spot to make a point.” – Gertrude_D

“No judgment on your dad, but YTA for telling your kids you’ll call them by their names, but they have to call you sir, and you’ll no longer tell them you love them. That is extremely manipulating.”

“Also, it’s weird that you call your kids boy and girl and not their names.”

“Also you should seriously go talk to someone about the issues in your childhood and try to make peace with them.” – junctionalMustard

“YTA for both making your parenting choices about your own amusement (the name thing) and a means to stick it to your father, instead of having your parenting choices be fundamentally about the well-being of your children.”

“Children are not play things or a way to make a point to other people.” – miligato


“It is possible to think it’s a mistake to be calling them boy/girl without being a hypocrite.”

“Your problem is with your childhood, not this thing.” – Sensitive-Turnip-326

“Info: do you only call them boy or girl? Or is it more of a nickname?”

“But you should look up research on the power of names. And maybe realize the joke you’re mimicking is that Homer is a bad father?”

“If you only call them boy and girl, it will have an effect.” – Kaiisim

“YTA. I think you intentionally and needlessly trolled your father, and you dragged your children into it in a way that was emotionally manipulative.”

“And I agree with your father about calling your children Boy and Girl.” – atmasabr

“ESH. Your dad because even though he might not understand it, if your kids are ok with it and don’t mind, then sure you can call them Boy and Girl.”

“You are also an AH because telling your kids you’ll only tell them you love them if they let you call them Boy and Girl is not how it should be.”

“‘I love you’ should not depend upon the names you call them, and they should still be able to call you dad/daddy.”

“Your father may not have been a great dad, but you’re not being a good one either if you’re putting conditions on saying I love you to them.” – lostinlilak


“Feels kinda icky you used your kids to make a point to Dad.”

“Sounds like dad is jealous of your relationship with your kids and has no way of actually articulating it, so he devolves to insulting you.” – terpischore761

“YTA, what did you gain from hurting your father?”

“Where do you think he could have learned better?”

  • “He did slightly better than his own dad, but was by no means perfect”
  • “Exactly like your father, you also are doing slightly better than your father, but you’re by no means perfect either”

“You are both the same. Just doing a bit better than how you learnt from your own dads.”

“So many men your dad’s age only learn how to love by loving their grandchildren .”

“He is now able to point out the thing you’re able to change to be a better dad.”

“Do you think he wouldn’t travel back in time and change his parenting if he could ?”

“You didn’t have to make his personal growth into an occasion for deliberate cruelty.” – HappySummerBreeze

“YTA Pulling your kids in for some weird manipulative crap where they get the option of being called by their names if they agree to be loved less is some nasty sh*t.”

“They aren’t props to use against your dad when he’s bugging you about something.” – HowardAndMallory

“YTA. He just wanted you to call them by their names. While he should’ve been more emotionally available for all of you, that wasn’t the debate.”

“You could’ve just said they are my children, and I will address them the way I please. If they ever show discomfort in being called boy or girl, I will gladly call them by their proper names. Period.”

“YTA.” – Dazzling-Raccoon-201

“YTA. It’s totally reasonable to question why you don’t call your children by their names. It’s rather odd.”

“And then you pretty much asked your children a leading question to humiliate your Dad. It sounds like he’s aware of his failings, but that doesn’t mean he can’t point out yours.” – Whyevenlive88

What’s in a name?

Written by B. Miller

B. is a creative multihyphenate who enjoys the power and versatility of the written word. She enjoys hiking, great food and drinks, traveling, and vulnerable conversation. Raised below the Mason Dixon, thriving above it. (she/her)