Most adults expect other adults to form a combined front and band together when kids need disciplining.
But what happens if you’re an adult and you agree with the child?
Redditor aitasondyed turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.
“AITA for letting my son dye his hair the colour of bi pride and talk back to his aunt?”
OP began by describing some key backstory about the aunt in question.
“I [47-year-old male] have a 16yo son. My wife passed away about 5 years ago so its just us now.”
“I have a younger sister [39-year-old female] who is very conservative and although she isn’t outright homophobic/racist, she makes it pretty clear what she thinks.”
“Funnily enough her husband divorced her about a year ago after being married for 20 years and having 3 children together (all older than my son) and he is now engaged to another man.”
“She is clearly deeply upset about this so no one talks about it.”
OP’s son decided this year he wanted to make a public gesture.
“Recently my son approached me and asked if he could bleach his hair and dye it the colours of the bi pride flag.”
“Obviously this was a surprise as he’s never been interested in that sort of thing before so I asked why and he told me a girl at his school had been severely bullied for coming out as bi and now a group of students were all going to dye their hair as a support thing.”
“My wife and I had always agreed that there would be no major changes of appearance(eg, hair dye, tattoos, piercings, etc) till he was 18 but this seemed like a good reason to break that rule and I was proud he was standing up for a fellow student so I let him and paid for it.”
OP went on to paint a picture of what “paying for it” meant.
“My parents knew about this but up until last weekend my sister didn’t.”
“We had a family BBQ that I hosted and she was horrified when she saw his hair. She told me he needed to dye his hair brown again before he ‘influenced the younger children of the family into sin.’ “
“I basically told her to piss off and that it was none of her business.”
But OP’s sister remained persistent.
“She then confronted him with a hat and said if he didn’t wear it then she’d kick him out of the BBQ (that I was hosting!) and that his appearance(the blue, purple and pink hair) was going to turn his younger cousins gay.”
OP’s son, however, was locked and loaded with a response.
“At which point my son loudly said ‘oh yes, because God forbid they divorce their miserable wives so they can be happy with men.’ ”
“My sister burst into tears and stormed out. Our parents obviously weren’t thrilled but don’t blame my son and my brother (the one with the young kids – 4 and 6yo boys) thought it was hysterical.”
But there was more to the story.
“The next day my sister called me wanting to know what my son’s punishment was.”
“I told her there was none. She attacked him first, he had the right to defend himself.”
“She’s now refusing to talk to me and is at our parents place apparently completely distraught and beside herself.”
“Our parents are mad at me now for being inconsiderate of her feelings and pointed out that I was a complete mess when my wife died and my sister was very supportive of me.”
“So now I’m beginning to think I might be TA here?”
After some Redditors shared their opinions about the post, OP felt it was necessary to clear up a few things.
He added an edit to the original post.
“Lots of people seem to think my sister’s homophobia has developed since her ex husband met his new partner—it hasn’t. She has always been like this.”
“Her homophobia has nothing to do with her divorce, her divorce happened because she’s an irresponsible spender who kept investing in mlms until they were forced to sell their car in order to pay her debt.”
“As far as I’m aware he never cheated on her (although she cheated on him twice) and she’s the kind of person who would tell everyone in order to get sympathy.”
OP also stipulated what felt just to him.
“If she apologises to my son for the things she said then yes I’ll ask him to apologise to her. He’s already confessed to me that he feels guilty for what he said.”
“However I think an apology from her is unlikely and without one, I don’t feel like she’s owed an apology.”
And he closed with some more relevant history.
“I don’t think she recognized his hair as the bi pride flag specifically, she just doesn’t approve of dyed hair, especially pink/purple on a boy.”
“I had an argument with her many many years ago because I let her daughter (at the time 12, now 22) paint my nails pink whilst watching her 3 kids for her and she went mental at me for setting a bad example for her sons.”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Most Redditors agreed that OP wasn’t the a**hole in this situation.
“NTA. You are wrong about something, though. You claim your sister isn’t ‘outright homophobic,’ but her behavior toward your son is the definition of ‘outright homophobic.’ She acted despicably.”
“If she’s having trouble processing her feelings about her ex husband, she needs to be working those out in therapy, not harassing a teenager over the color of his hair. Good for you for supporting your son.” — fizzbangwhiz
“Easy NTA. Your sister came into your place, was rude to your son first, and he didn’t even defend himself until after the 2nd time she done that. Your son showed restraint first, and then defended himself once she carried on.”
“She also had no right to threaten to kick your son out of his own home (your home).”
“If she didn’t want to be treated poorly, she shouldn’t have treated your son poorly. I agree with your brother though, it sounded hilarious. :D” — Kayos9999
“NTA at all. This is hilarious. Tell her she should apologize first for holding homophobic beliefs. Sounds like you’re a great dad.” — ummherewego
“You should really be proud of ur son, he was raised right, and proudly defends his stance, he’s a great kid, although his comment was a bit mean, and might’ve hurt her feelings, she was harassing him, and he has every right to defend himself. NTA” — Meanas_Shadows
“NTA…Your sister should have pissed off when you told her to. Your home is your son’s home too, and she has no right to chastise your son in his own home (or yours). You’ve raised a strong, liberated young man.”
“What he said was hurtful, but she was spewing hateful garbage of worst kind.” — RoyallyOakie
So it looks like OP, with full confidence in how he handled the situation, can expect to remain on the outs with his sister for some time.