A common cause of sibling rivalry, is the fear that one’s parents like their sibling more than them.
More often than not, this fear is completely unfounded.
But in some cases, certain parents have shown more care and attention to one sibling over the other, making this fear more understandable.
Such was the case of Redditor tennesse_dad, who’s son accused him outright of favoring his younger brother.
Convinced he did not deserve this accusation, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I the A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for telling my son that his brother is just simply better at life than him?”
The OP began by expressing how he is equally proud of both of his sons, in spite of their different personalities and career paths.
“I (50 M[ale]) have two sons: Daniel (22) and Jackson (20).”
“We have our fair share of problems but I love both of them with all my heart no matter what.”
‘Even as a child Daniel always had a superiority complex.”
“He always felt the need to excel at everything except for sports due to his asthma.”
“He started law school this year and I’m very proud of him.”
“Jackson on the other hand is just a natural.”
“There’s no other way to put it.”
“He doesn’t need to put much effort into anything yet he still comes out on top.”
“After graduating from HS he started working for me at my business which is flourishing thanks in large part to Jack.”
The OP began to suspect that something was amiss when Daniel did not seem particularly happy with a joyous new development in Jackson’s life.
‘A year ago Jackson met his now fiancée and we’re preparing for the wedding this summer.’
“Everyone in our family is very happy for them except for Daniel.”
“Daniel and Jack get along rather well, there’s no feud between them but I could always tell that Daniel had always been jealous of Jack.’
When Daniel later expressed to the OP why he was having trouble celebrating Jackson’s good news, it resulted in a tense exchange of words.
“So I went on a business trip to New England last weekend and of course, I met up with Daniel while I was there.”
“He was quite cold to me the whole time, not like he usually is.”
“After a while, I asked him what was wrong and he told me that he hasn’t taken it lightly that my wife and I are going to pay for Jack’s wedding and that we were going to help them out with buying their house as well.
“I was taken aback.”
“I told him that his mother and I will do the same thing for him as well when it’s his time to get married.”
“Daniel told me that it is disgusting that we’re paying for the wedding but not for his tuition.”
“I told him that it was his decision to go to an Ivy League school and an even more expensive law school, not ours.”
“He accused me of favoring Jack but I was having none of it.”
“I told Daniel that he should get passed that Jack is naturally more apt to life than he is and frankly he should be thinking about setting down as he keeps jumping from relationship to relationship.”
“Daniel had a lot of girlfriends but none of them lasted longer than half a year.”
“He said that I’ve just admitted to preferring his brother.”
“I couldn’t take it anymore, told my son to calm down, think about how silly he is behaving and I’ll pay for his ticket if he wants to come down South for dinner on the weekend and left.”
“It was hard but he needs to start accepting reality.”
“He’s becoming rather self-centered.”
“I don’t want to lose him but I feel like he keeps pushing us away from him.”
“It’s not healthy.”
“I told my sister about it (Daniel’s Godmother) and she thinks I’m an a**hole for talking to Daniel like that.”
‘Honestly, the only thing that might’ve made me the a**hole is that I told him Jack is simply a natural which he might’ve taken the wrong way, but he needed to hear that.”
Fellow Redditors Weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
The OP found no support from the Reddit community, who all agreed that the way in which he spoke to Daniel clearly made him the a**hole.
Everyone wholeheartedly agreed with Daniel that his father was clearly showing favoritism towards Jackson, with some thinking he was oblivious, and others that he was more than conscious of it.
“Getting into an ivy league law school is more of an accomplishment than getting a job at daddy’s business.’
“It sounds like Jackson is just one of those people who gets by on charm alone and Daniel is intelligent and works for what he wants rather than expecting it to be handed to him.”
“You absolutely are favoring Jackson over Daniel and I’m sure it’s not just an isolated incident.”
“YTA, your son is 22 there is no need to settle down.”
“It also does seem like favoritism when you are helping one son get ahead but are not helping the other.”-TheDoNothings.
“Stop comparing your children to each other and telling them what milestones they should be at.”
‘They are both incredibly young and I’m kind of amazed that the one is getting married at 20.’
“I really do want to know if he has this complex because of how you’ve parented.’
“Is he entitled to tuition money?”
“No, but I can’t believe you acted like it was a bad decision to go to an Ivy League LAW SCHOOL.
“That was a great decision for his future career.’
“Law school names matter and can make all the difference, do you understand that?”
“Does he also need to sort out his feelings? “
“But you telling him that his sibling is just better and he needs to settle down instead of dating around like a normal 20 something is weird as heck.”
‘If you talked to me like that I’d also push you away.’
“I hope he gets therapy so he can properly process his feelings but you also need to apologize and do better.”
“Actually, getting married is a choice as is going to a nice school.”
“You could have agreed to pay for each honestly because those choices might not be the end goal because they are individuals and do not have to mirror each other.”
“Daniel may never get married and the Jackson may never go to university.”- maaya_the_bee.
“Wait, you’re asking if you’re an asshole for making one child pay their own way through an Ivy League college and law school while the other doesn’t go to college and you pay for their wedding and down payment because you think they’re just a ‘natural?'”
“Is this a joke?”
“Because yeah, YTA”- frogdown.
“Your head is so far up your youngest son’s ass it’s no wonder you can’t see that you’re playing favorites.”
“YTA for playing favorites and trying to act like you’re not.”- kingzeus24.
“How is Jackson simply better at life?”
“He’s working for daddy.”
“Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong working for a parent especially since Jackson seems very competent, but don’t disguise nepotism as being better at life.”
“Daniel got into an Ivy League college so he’s hardly a failure.”
“Jackson gets handed a career and has his wedding and part of his home paid for and you don’t contribute towards Daniel’s tuition?”
“Are you trolling us?”- FloppyEaredDog.
“How is working hard and achieving academic success equal having a superiority complex.”
“This sentence makes it very clear who you favor.”
“You can pay for a wedding but not an education???”
“Jack is better at life because he’s been your bestest employee and he’s getting married?”
“That’s somehow more worth your respect and financial support than a top tier education????”-theories_on,
“Sorry OP I’m going to YTA.”
“Though more so because I completely disagree with you viewpoint.”
“If it has to be a comparison (which I don’t like and wouldn’t do with mine anyway, but if it has to be) I would actually say that someone who has chosen education and is working that hard at it is actually the one doing life more on his own terms (‘better’ if thats the way you want to say it) than someone who is getting married at such a young age and joined his Dad’s company.”
“Could it be you favor your other child because you deem him to be more like you?”
“Following in your footsteps?”
“While Daniel seems to be making his own way and making different choices, which as a parent you should be jumping up and down with pride about.”- doesntevengohere12.
It’s fairly surprising that any parent would tell their child that their sibling is “more apt to life.”
Nor is there anything to most people which would at all suggest that Daniel, with all his commendable accomplishments, isn’t “apt to life”.
One hopes the OP will take the time to reflect on his choice of words, and see how hurtful they were to Daniel.