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Dad Upset After Son’s Stepdad Asks Him Not To Wake Kid Up Late At Night After Returning From Trip

child sleeping with father in background
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Shared custody of a child can be coparenting or a competition.

For parents who opt to make their child the rope in a tug-of-war, their own needs and wants come before their child’s welfare.

A father asking if he handled things wrong during a conflict he provoked in his ex’s home with his son’s stepfather turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

PianistFragrant4191 asked:

“AITA for waking up my son after his stepdad told me not to?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

I have an 8-year-old son named Dylan and I share custody with my ex Danielle. Danielle is married to Chris and I’m married to Christine.”

“Christine and I took a week vacation this week. Dylan didn’t go because he had school and was with his mom.”

“But he has spring break next week and I’m taking him and my older son/Dylan’s half-brother to Palm Springs. Dylan is very attached to me and Christine and my older son.”

“We did FaceTime with him and he’d cry saying that he missed us. We came back last night and I asked Danielle if it was cool if we came by to see Dylan even though we’re picking him up tomorrow.”

“Unfortunately we didn’t get there until 11pm, but it was fine because Danielle and I always have things to discuss. Dylan was asleep.”

“We were getting ready to go and Danielle said she was going to take a bath and we could see ourselves out. I took some of Dylan’s stuff outside and then came back into the house.”

“Chris looked at me like ‘why am I back’ and I causally mentioned that I was going to say ‘Hi’ to Dylan. Chris said Dylan was dead asleep.”

“I said I’m sure he is but he probably will be upset if me and my wife left without seeing him. Then it got weird.”

“He said ‘hey man. Can you just not wake him up?’. I was like what? He said it’s a hassle getting Dylan to go back to sleep and he wanted to go to sleep himself.”

“I said I was going to put him back to sleep anyways. He started complaining that it took him an hour just to get Dylan to go to sleep.”

“He even took him in the shower, melatonin and gave him his noise machine to play. I said you’re not going to tell me I can’t say bye to my kid, but like I said, I’ll make sure he goes back to sleep.”

“Talking about 15 minutes. He was pretty mad. Dylan didn’t even wake up, so I just left him a Godzillia plush toy that my wife got him while we were on vacation.”

“Now there’s clear tension between me and Chris.”

The OP summed up their situation. 

“My son’s stepdad told me not wake up my kid after I came back from a vacation. I told him he can’t tell me what to do with my kid, especially if I’m just saying ‘Hi’.”

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 unanimously declared the OP was the a**hole (YTA).

“If this was sincerely about your child’s needs and not your wants, you would see that the child was asleep and it was very late at night. You had no business going to your ex’s house and disrupting their household so close to midnight on a weekday.”

“Everyone works and goes to school, that is not okay at all. You could have waited to see your child the next day.”

“This entire situation was you flexing and caring only about yourself and your impulsive immediate gratification. Don’t go to your ex’s unless you are picking up or dropping off. YTA.” ~ MercyForNone

“Nope, he didn’t even say ‘Hi’. He got there at 11 pm, didn’t say ‘Hi’ to his son, but he ‘needed to discuss things’ with his ex.”

“Only after Danielle suggested he should leave—apparently she was too polite to tell him directly—he remembered why he was there at all. OP, how long did you hang out in there, disrupting a household you do not belong to?”

“And was the Earth in danger only you and Danielle could help with since you decided your ‘discussion’ just HAD to happen at 11 pm, and not the next day when you were picking up Dylan? YTA.” ~ cedrella_black

“My money is on he didn’t say ‘Hi’ from the start because Danielle had already told him no or he knew she’d say no. It doesn’t sound like he expected Chris to tell him no and turned into an a**hole (YTA) over being told no.”

“OP should be limited to the front porch until he acknowledges he crossed a boundary as a visitor in another family’s home and apologizes to Chris for being disrespectful enough to ignore being told no after waltzing back in the house uninvited.” ~ jmd709

“Who is this dude to think that it’s ‘fine’ to show up at someone’s house at 11:00 p.m. outside of an emergency or a college house party?”

“And then to demand to wake up a sleeping 8-year-old?”

“It’s not fine, and the fact that he thinks it is shows that he doesn’t have any common sense or respect for others.” ~ Mistyam

“In general waking up someone just to say hi or bye and then leave is pretty dumb so YTA.” ~ forgeris

“YTA with added A for making this into a weird powerplay with Chris.”

“Leave the toy, maybe leave a note and then just leave.”

“They explained to you that they struggled to get him to bed, so why not just respect their parenting (and your son’s need for sleep) and drop it?” ~ kfk_esque

“Or keep the toy and give it to him when he comes to you. You have no business showing up at that hour.”

“You are selfish to show that man that you can come there whenever you want. For crying out loud, you are married and so is your ex.”

“Don’t walk into another man’s house like that! Is that the sort of thing you want to teach your son to do? What a fool.” ~ Kitchen_Breakfast148

“YTA. Chis had valid points and you just wanted to try to establish power over him in his own house.”

“I’m really curious though about what was so important that you had to talk to your ex about at 11pm when you would be over to see your son the next day and could have spoken then.”

“You sound like you are a difficult person to coparent with and don’t have respect for boundaries. Take the judgement, you are a selfish a**hole and should work on repairing the relationship with your ex and her husband.” ~ Blue_Ander71

“I mean..I can see why he’s an ex.”

“Also, he has an older son who is this kid’s half brother. That means he is an ex 2x.”

“Given his behavior, not going to be surprised if he parts ways with Christine too.” ~ AffectionateCable793

“YTA. This is preposterous. Your child was asleep, there was no reason for you to try to wake him up to see you. You were leaving! Grow up, you sound petty and childish af.” ~ lihzee

“YTA. It’s Chris’ home, it was 11pm and he asked you not to. If it was me as the ex you wouldn’t be allowed in my home until you apologize and only when kiddo is awake.” ~ Artistic_Tough5005

“Of course YTA!”

“How is that even a question?”

“What a crappy immature move. Is this some kind of weird flex against Chris?”

“You’re an a**hole. To your kid, your ex, and his stepdad. Do better.”


“And the ridiculousness of you assuming you could just have the run of the house if everyone else goes to bed. You’re not their house guest.”

“Of course Chris would feel he’d have to stay up if you were there. The rudeness and audacity.” ~ Salt-Lavishness-7560

“Waking up an 8-year-old in the middle of the night makes YTA.”

“And, you crossed a boundary by disregarding the request of the home owner.” ~ Famous_Specialist_44

“YTA, you can’t trespass into your ex wife’s house. She said see yourself out. WTF‽‽” ~ Solrackai

“This is the creepiest part to me. How the heck could OP think that it’s okay to just walk back into this guy’s house at his leisure?”

“Even if he thinks of the stepdad as only a glorified babysitter, you wouldn’t walk into your babysitter’s house unannounced after leaving. YTA.” ~ stuffebunny

“I know he’s your kid, but YTA.”

“Even taking Chris out of this, why would you wake an 8-year-old after 11 pm on a school night, especially as you were picking him up the next day?”

“This honestly sounds like a power play on your part. Completely unnecessary.” ~ Cataclysmus78

“The fact that they asked him to see himself out, he took Dylan’s stuff to the car, and then walked back into their home as if he owned the place and informed Chris—the person whose home it actually is—that he was going to go wake up the sleeping child, and kept arguing even after Chris literally told him they all wanted to go to bed, tells me all I need to know.”

“Who even does that?! Who the hell walks into someone else’s home after 11 PM at night, is told that they’re all off to bed, and is like, ‘Yeah no. I’m just gonna do some things first. In your home. Even though you’ve specifically asked me to leave’. WTF‽‽”

“OP has more bloody audacity and self-absorption than a Hollywood reality show star. He’s the centre of his own universe, and everyone else just lives in it.”

“Frankly, after an episode like that, if I were the ex and her husband I’d get a restraining order preventing him from even being inside their home. YTA.” ~ Sorry_I_Guess

The OP got plenty of feedback, but probably not what he wanted to hear.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.