We’ve likely all dreaded a get-together at some point because we were worried about finding something to talk about with someone we’d just met.
But if we were to feel that way about our own children, that might be a cause for concern, cautioned the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor ThrowawayMarie67i20 was worried about her husband’s bond with their two daughters, as well as him possibly showing favoritism for their son because he struggled to find something in common to do with their daughters.
But when he accused her of meddling in their relationship, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was being too pushy.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for compelling my husband to include our daughters more in his hobbies instead of just our son?”
The OP was concerned about her husband’s relationship with their daughters.
“I have three children, 2 twin girls (8) and 1 boy (5).”
“My husband had always preferred a son but he remained neutral when our first two were daughters.”
“Don’t get me wrong, he loves our daughters but somehow has this poor misunderstanding that they would not be able to enjoy the things he likes because they are girls and leaves it to me to bring them out or engage with them…”
“Before he at least used to involve them in fishing or soccer and his other hobbies, but after my son was born, my husband completely stopped engaging with my daughters in his hobbies and only involves our son.”
“He leaves the bulk of it to me because they have ‘more in common with me.'”
The OP tried to help the situation.
“I involve all three of my children equally in whatever I do, be it sports or gardening or even teaching them coding (I’m in tech).”
“It is quite disheartening to see the indifference, and my girls are maturing fast, and I am worried they will catch on to the idea that they are lesser than.”
“I have communicated multiple times and suggested that when he takes our son out to fish or do sports, he should bring our daughters too, so they can learn.”
“But he says he prefers one-on-one bonding sessions with our son and communication with our girls and that he can’t change his parenting style.”
“Our girls are athletically inclined as well. I used to be in competitive tennis for most of my schooling years, and I train both of them and my son every Saturday or Friday, depending on my free time.”
The OP decided to try another tactic.
“Last Saturday there was a community football game which was set up as part of a charity with a mini carnival.”
“I was shocked to find out that my husband bought only two tickets for him and our son even though there were plenty available for our daughters to join.”
“Even if he believed they wouldn’t have enjoyed the game, they could have participated in the carnival.”
“In that anger, I bought 3 tickets last-minute and brought our daughters along as well but sat separate and enjoyed the carnival and game by our own means.”
“Ironically enough, my husband thought I was being condescending by doing that, even though I was giving him a taste of his own medicine.”
The OP felt conflicted.
“I might be the AH for reacting like that, but after multiple failed avenues for communication, I decided to resort to underhand pettiness.”
“He also told me after that it is not that he doesn’t care for our girls but just that he does not have anything in common with them, which boils my blood.”
“He said that even though, as I said, both of our daughters are very inclined in sports and love spending time with their father.”
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 felt that the OP’s husband was being a terrible father.
“That’s what you two need. He’s never going to hear it from your woman mouth.”
“Your husband is being an a**hole to the girls and raising a spoiled special entitled son in the process.”
“He will ruin all three kids with this crap.”
“NTA.” – Lurker_the_Pip
“He is a bad parent to all three children.”
“He’s turning his son into the golden child, a toxic dynamic. He is teaching his son that there is only one way to perform masculinity which is toxic and dangerous to the son’s wellbeing. Lastly, he is cramming that kid so hard into a box that if his son doesn’t share his Dad’s interests as he grows up, it’s going to be really tough.”
“The girls are dealing with sexism, obvious favoritism of their brother, missing out on a relationship with their father, and other things.”
“He is a bad parent to all three kids. The OP needs to acknowledge that and stop trying to pacify him with this good parent nonsense or she will be failing her kids too.”
“OP, change the narrative. It’s not ‘He’s a good parent.’ It’s ‘He’s being a bad parent but I believe he has the capacity to be a good parent if he puts in the work to change his attitude and actions.'” – Obiterdicta
“I would really like to know how this man is a good parent when he barely engages with his daughters.”
“If it’s because he’s just pleasant to the daughters, says hi to them with a smile, or asks what they’re doing, then I’m a great parent to every random kid I’ve had to interact with for clearing that bar.” – Anomalyyyyyyyyy
“About a week before my dad died, he finally acknowledged that he had favored his sons. My three sisters and I were with him. Neither of my brothers saw him or came to visit. My dad knew he had been wrong.”
“Your husband is doing damage to your children. Your daughters need their dad to treat them equally, include them in all outings, etc.” – Flat_Reason8356
Others took issue with the husband’s concern about having things “in common” with his daughters.
“When we announced to my parents that we’re having a baby, my dad immediately said he’s gonna start looking for go-kart cars. None of us know which one we’re having. He just wants to bond with his grandchild in his hobby.”
“OP’s husband is very wrong. Where is his one-on-one bonding time with the girls? Does he only do activities with the three of them and then only his son? His two other kids are missing out on a parent. The girls also deserve time on their own, even if they’re twins.” – unluckysupernova
“At present, he is an awful parent! I can’t stand grown-a** adults who claim they can’t spend time with their own children because ‘they have nothing in common with them.’ So frigging what??”
“Do I like listening to them talk about or watching my boys play Fortnite? No. Do I really want to listen to the synopsis and character breakdown of an anime show? No. Do I want to go and see Paw Patrol Live? God no.”
“Do I do it all anyway with a smile on my face because it is important to my boys? H**l yes.”
“If he really loves his kids as he says he does, he should have to capacity to change for the better for them. Reassuring him he’s a good parent will only make him feel that if he’s a good dad, what is the need to change? He needs a good old dose of honesty and reality to shock him into wanting to do better for his children.”
“I grew up with a father like this and we had a terrible relationship for so many years and I was very resentful of how my brother was treated favorably for no other reason than he was a boy. We only started mending it in my late 20s and I only got him for 10 years as an adult, living 3.5hrs away, before he died.”
“My brother grew into a cruel, spiteful entitled brat who still believes he is better than all of us even though he is a recovering alcoholic and meth addict and very few people in the family still talk to him (2 to be exact).”
“He is ruining all of your children, including your son. They will grow to have awful relationships with him and each other and this will seep into how they have relationships with others. Get him to stop this now and if he can’t, you need to remove those kids from the situation before he can do far more harm than good.” – Natural_Writer9702
“When I became interested in the arts as a young teen, my parents would never take me to a museum, a concert, the theater, poetry slams, etc., because they ‘weren’t interested’ and ‘will be bored.'”
“(I was still too young for a driver’s license and lived in a rural area with no public transportation, so this meant I didn’t get to ever go except a couple of times when invited by a friend’s family.)”
“They went to all my brother’s sporting events and took him to major league games because both my mother and father enjoy baseball. To this day, they don’t see anything wrong with how they spent way more time with him than me because they had ‘more in common’ with him. It was fine with them if I was bored out of my skull when I was dragged along to my brother’s little league games, but not okay for them to be bored at a museum with me.”
“Years later I watched them do the same thing to my niece, their only granddaughter. They complained about her not spending much time with them, but when pressed about it, come to find out, it was because they never wanted to do anything she was interested in.”
“She liked fashion, shopping, dance, and gymnastics. They had no trouble taking their grandsons fishing, to baseball games, etc. I suggested they should make equal time for some of their granddaughter’s interests and again was told they didn’t like anything she wanted to do.” – PM_ME_YOUR_LOLCATS
“It breaks my heart that I seriously doubt he ever indulges in any of the girls’ hobbies with them.”
“My dad used to always include both my older brother and me in his hobbies growing up, but some of my favorite memories are when he indulged me in mine. This included him sitting daintily having hours-long tea parties with my dollies, with tiny food he would have painstakingly prepared. The image must have been charming but hilarious.”
“A good parent gets stuck in with your children’s passions regardless of whether they’re the same as their own. So disappointing for the girls.” – elag19
After receiving feedback, the OP shared an update.
“I appreciate the advice and expertise received, and I do plan to show this post to my husband. Maybe a multitude of perspectives could do him some good.”
“I have suggested couples counseling before, which my husband was not interested in. Regardless, I will try again to convince him perhaps to get personal therapy too so that he can work through any issues he might have.”
“I don’t think my husband is misogynistic, but after reading through the judgments, I do agree that he might have some biases and misconceptions that need changing before it severs the relationship he has with our daughters.”
“I love all my children equally and want them to have a wonderful relationship with their dad as I did with mine. I know he can make a change if he tried. Thanks once again.”
While the OP tried to the positive side and see the qualities in her husband, the subReddit was more concerned about the message that was sending to her husband as an out. As long as he believed he was a good parent, despite being an unequal one, he would never do anything that would benefit his daughters or his relationship with them.