Content Warning: this article mentions sexual assault
Some secrets in our families are incredibly painful, and we find ourselves trying to cover them up, so we don’t have to face them.
But that can seriously impact our children, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Oldthrowaway23 was at his wit’s end when his wife repeatedly demanded their daughters to cover up when their uncle was around to avoid giving him the wrong idea.
When he saw his wife’s reaction, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if he was wrong for trying to put a stop to it.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my daughters they don’t have to wear pants around my brother-in-law?”
The OP had an okay relationship with his brother-in-law (BIL).
“(38 [Male]) Dad here, and I have two daughters, (13 [Female]) Amy and (16 [Female]) Ava, and my wife is the same age as me.”
“So my wife has a younger brother, let’s call him Mike, he’s around 32.”
“He’s my brother-in-law, I guess you’d call it. He’s an OK guy. My wife really likes him cause that’s her younger brother.”
His brother-in-law was about to come over.
“So today in the afternoon, my daughters and I were chilling at home in the living room just watching some TV.”
“Then my wife came in and she said, ‘Kids, Uncle Mike is gonna come to visit go wear some pants.'”
“My daughters like wearing shorts around the house, outside cause it’s comfortable, and as a father, I don’t have a problem with that. Especially here in Florida heat.”
“My wife usually doesn’t like the daughters/girls in general to wear shorts. She doesn’t like them wearing shorts cause she believes it’s inappropriate and that showing legs/skin is a bad thing.”
“So she always tries to enforce them to wear sleeves, pants, etc, which my daughters have told me before they don’t like.”
“My daughters prefer to wear normal shirts and normal shorts. Not fully sleeved clothes, and not long pants as my wife wants them to.”
“They like wearing shorts, they like wearing normal clothes/shirts, and they tell me they feel comfortable in that, not the clothes their mother wants them to wear.”
His daughters weren’t totally comfortable with the brother-in-law visiting.
“My daughters have told me before that Mike has given them the creeps, and often he’s made them uncomfortable, and they don’t feel comfortable around him.”
“Ever since my daughters have told me that, I told my wife that he isn’t welcome in our house if our kids aren’t comfortable.”
“My wife at that time didn’t believe me, I guess. She just ignored it, you could say.”
The OP’s daughters also didn’t want to change their clothes.
“Coming to what we discussed in the living room, now my daughters said, ‘Ehh, why is he coming? Why do we have to wear pants around him?'”
“My wife said, ‘Cause he’s my younger brother and he’s your uncle, so you better respect him, and I’m your mother, so you do as I say.'”
“I told my wife, ‘Babe, the kids told me before they aren’t comfortable around Mike, and this is their house and they are free to wear what they want. You can’t force them to change into pants, and they don’t want to. They are comfortable in what they are wearing and it’s fine.'”
“My wife got upset at me and told me I was being an AH for not letting her brother come to our house and that I’m being mean and just judging him cause he’s an innocent guy.”
The OP had mixed feelings.
“But I know thought what I did was good for my daughters as their safety is my number one priority.”
“But I also feel some guilt.”
The OP also edited his post to clarify how he told his wife about their kids’ discomfort.
“I told my wife numerous times that Mike isn’t allowed in the house because as my daughters said they felt uncomfortable around him.”
“I’ve told my wife that many times before but she has dismissed that and just ignored it.”
“Today when she announced he was coming, and he was on his way. I told her that he isn’t coming inside my house, and since my daughters told me they don’t like being near him.”
“I told my wife she can meet him outside or wherever they want to go outside. But he’s not welcome inside my house, at all. That’s the boundary/line.”
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 said the daughters’ comfort should come first.
“If your teen daughters are not comfortable being around him, that’s reason enough for him not to be in your house.”
“Your wife can visit with him someplace else.” – QuinGood
“I believe your wife knows on an instinctive level that’s why she tells them to cover up.”
“Keep protecting your lovely daughters, so they grow up comfortable in their own skin and feel no shame for their bodies. NTA” – mulkof3
“Trust your kid’s guts.”
“NTA and also, they can wear whatever they want.” – noginvcxvxzrfs
“NTA. Keep this person out of your house and away from your girls. They have their intuition for a reason.” – Sharkgirl007
“As someone who was made to change into pants and long sleeves, even though my uncles were all very normal and respectful people that I loved, I’m so happy you aren’t entertaining your wife.”
“I grew up hating my body and thinking I have to hide it in case a creep was around the corner. I wore clothes larger than my size, thinking that anything that fit me is inappropriate.”
“You’re a wonderful father.” – just_lurking_b99
Others agreed and said the mother’s priorities were in the wrong order.
“Also obviously, OP’s wife is not a good advocate for her daughters. They have to show their uncle respect AND they have to cover up around him in case… what? He’s tempted to molest them?”
“She is clearly implying that if he touches them inappropriately, they will be at fault for dressing the ‘wrong’ way.”
“Urgent family counseling is needed to protect the girls and to help the mother reassess her priorities.” – DrunkOnRedCordial
“I wonder if good ol’ Uncle Mike is the reason mom feels uncomfortable with the daughters ‘showing too much skin’?”
“Perhaps there were incidents in her childhood that she was told were her fault for deliberately enticing him? Because ‘boys will be boys’ and ‘can’t help themselves’?” – rabbitsandrum
“The wife is protecting a predator. I don’t want to be extreme but was she taught to be modest because something happened in the family??” – honeymochie
“If he’s her brother and everything is fine… then she shouldn’t be worried about what her daughters wear around him.”
“If she’s proactively telling them to cover up because he’s coming over…”
“NTA, but your wife is.” – ntigo1
“It gets even worse: she doesn’t even like it when they don’t wear pants in general, because they ‘show skin’. Sheeesh, she should like stop sexualizing her kids for five minutes.” – Hermiona1
“It’s clearly their fault because he’s only creepy because they’re not wearing pants.”
“NTA. Your wife’s denial does not deserve respect or tolerance.” – JuliaX1984
Though his wife was angry with him for being “mean” by not wanting her brother in their house anymore because of their daughters’ expressed discomfort, the subReddit felt differently.
Part of a parent’s job is listening to their children, especially when something is troubling them or repeatedly makes them feel uncomfortable.
The mother might be trying to keep her family together by allowing her brother to come into her home, but she’s also ignoring the concerns and preferences of her children, which is an entirely different problem.