Birthday parties, especially for children, are meant to be a joyous occasion to plan, to look forward to, and to experience.
They’re also unique bonding experience opportunities for kids to spend time with their friends, especially if they are new to the area and still getting settled.
But sometimes parents become overly fixated on the details, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Reddit AvaMartinez1979 was surprised when, while discussing the guest list for the party, her husband became incredibly insistent about who was invited and who wasn’t.
When he demanded she allow him take control of the situation, the Original Poster (OP) wasn’t sure what to think.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for calling my husband unreasonable for only wanting to invite people he knows personally to our son’s birthday party?”
The OP was excited for her son’s birthday.
“My son is 9 years old. He moved to a new school months ago and made lots of friends there.”
“In the past, he suffered from anxiety and got treated poorly so I’m happy and relieved he’s happy in his new school.”
“So, his 10th birthday is coming up, We want to host a party and invite people over.”
“I met a few moms of the kids that are friends with my son and who helped him with his anxiety big time!”
But the OP’s husband didn’t like her plans for birthday invitations.
“My husband found out and said that he won’t allow any guests he doesn’t know personally to attend the party.”
“I told him these women are my friends and their children are our son’s friends which means a lot.”
“He said it’s better this way and that I should respect his decision.”
“I kept arguing and tried to get him to understand the party guests he doesn’t know or want are our son’s friends.”
“He refused to listen and turned down any further discussion and then told me to drop it after saying that he is the parent and this is his son.”
“But he is my son, too, and having his friends there will strengthen his bond with them.”
The OP’s husband stormed out.
“I called him unreasonable, which made him so upset, he rushed out and refused to return my calls.”
“He texted later that I was being disrespectful of his authority and rude for calling him unreasonable.”
“But looking at his logic of wanting to invite his family and friends and not allow our son’s friends or their moms just because he doesn’t know them personally seems illogical to me.”
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 argued the son’s mental health needed to take precedence.
“I have lived with my partner for about a year now… If they ever said anything like that, you can bet that I would throw everything that is hard on him, while yelling for him to get out. No one ever gets that kind of control over my life. Big red flags!”
“And I can just imagine how heartbroken this kiddo is gonna be, he finally has friends, but for his birthday party, his dad’s family members and buddies come over. Maybe they even might drink alcohol? Perhaps the father must okay what kind of cake they eat as well, since it’s ‘his authority’ (I shiver just writing that).”
“So if I was that kid, I would probably never forget about that birthday, and always be a bit sad and upset about it for years.”
“You have just as much of a say in the house, in the relationship, and in the family as he does. And if it doesn’t suit him, tell him he can leave for the birthday party! NTA.” – elmmi
“The husband is a douche. Kid’s bday party is for friends, and if it is not, it should be, start one. My kids have a bday party with their friends. They invite whoever they want. I know none of them, because I am not friends with 11-year-old girls, that would be weird.”
“My kids also have a family party. This is on their actual birthday, and is just us. It’s also great.”
“My kids also have an extended family birthday party. Usually two – one my family, and one my wife’s. These are usually just informal get-togethers, but with a cake and songs. Usually a few extra small gifts. Not in size. In quantity.”
“I expect my kids to have at least one party with nobody I know or care about. As long as they make her feel special and happy, the more the merrier.” – reddit_and_forget_um
“Correct me if I’m mistaken, but WHO actually BIRTHED the son? I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the dad. And in WHAT universe is a 10-year-old boy NOT allowed to have friends at HIS birthday party? Is this party for the 10-year-old or a 40-year-old infant?”
“OP, you need to tell your husband to get a life and let his son have a birthday party with HIS 10-year-old friends.” – A2ZKIRBY71
“Dad sounds like he could be jealous as well as controlling. They moved, and the Mom and the kid made lots of new friends that helped with the kid’s anxiety.”
“That’s a huge deal, and I wonder if Dad is jealous that he didn’t join a supportive social circle himself.”
“Although, I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to befriend someone so pleasant.” – mandiefavor
“NTA for now.”
“‘Disrespectful of his authority?’ What authority?!”
“In what world does he think it’s appropriate to not let your son invite his own friends to his birthday party?”
“Seems like dad is a major source for your son’s anxiety and issues making friends, so I’d go so far as to say YWBTA (you would be the a**hole) if you don’t shut this down immediately.” – scpdavis
“Ummm, excuse me?!? You are a couple, who work together as a team. You are both parents. He is not a dictator and full control of your lives.”
“You are NTA and I would suggest planning the party without your husband. Since this is for your son, he should get what he wants.”
“YWBTA (you would be the a**hole) if you let him dictate who can come to the party and I would highly suggest therapy for your son’s anxiety, because chances are your husband is the cause of it.” – Elspetta
Others agreed and said the father sounded super controlling and insecure.
“He demanded her to ‘respect his decision’ that he didn’t consider his wife’s feelings in at all.”
“It does sound like the husband has anxiety that this is stemming from, but I would already have my bags PACKED if my partner insinuated there was any authority over me.” – adg_05
“Seriously, how can he know them (the parents of his son’s friends) personally if he doesn’t want to invite them and meet them? I would say it’s his job to invite them and meet them and know who his son hangs out with…” – lellyla
“It’s not unreasonable. It’s controlling as f**k. MY kid. MY house. MY rules. It’s toxic.” – asabovesobelow4
“I worked with kids for several years and one of the major tactics that a lot of child abusers use is to isolate their children and family socially.”
“Some parents I knew of even went so far as to homeschool their children because it meant that there were fewer adults scrutinizing how they were raising their children(or potentially noticing the abuse).”
“I’m not saying with certainty that’s what’s going on here but it did come to mind.” – hesperidium-rex
“I am living with my boyfriend right now and if he ever told me that I was being ‘disrespectful of his authority’ for inviting people to my son‘s birthday party, INCLUDING HIS FRIENDS AND THEIR MOTHERS WHO ARE MY FRIENDS, I would nope the f**k out. Red flags.” – eesshh
“NTA, OP. Maybe book the birthday party for some local venue and invite parents and kids, and this way your husband is welcome to attend… or not.”
“His demand to ‘respect his authority’ sounds scary, but if you’re going to make a big move, your son doesn’t need to associate it with a showdown about his birthday.” – DrunkOnRedCordial
“We always had a ‘going to the grandparents’ for dinner’ party and a party where my friends came just to keep the numbers reasonable and I don’t think that’s crazy depending on the situation.”
“But OP’s husband is totally an a**hole. I would tell her husband, ‘When it’s your birthday you can choose the party, but this isn’t about you, it’s about OUR SON.'”
“If he doesn’t like it, then it’s divorce time, because his silent treatment plus the ridiculous notion that he has final say over his son’s birthday party and ‘authority’ over his wife is pretty abusive s**t.” – dragon34
The OP appeared conflicted after the way her husband had behaved over a simple birthday party, but the subReddit was both confused and concerned.
Not only was the father upset over nothing, and he was avoiding the best opportunity to meet new people, but he also was limiting his son’s opportunities to bond with his friends and continue to move beyond his anxiety.