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Redditor Accused Of ‘Demeaning’ Nephew By Spraying Him With Water To Get Him Up In The Morning

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Raising teenagers comes with many challenges.

The older children get, the more they learn to become independent, something that can often lead to rebellious behavior.

Another thing teenagers begin to learn the older they get, is the joy of sleeping.

While parents often hoped and prayed for their children to stay asleep when they were infants, simply getting them out of bed as teenagers can feel like an insurmountable challenge.

Redditor Flaky_Damage3433 was facing this very issue with his teenage nephew, until he found a solution which seemed to have permanently solved his problem.

But after being scolded for his methods by a family member, the original poster (OP) took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for using a squirt bottle for cats on my nephew?”

The OP shared how when they unexpectedly became the primary caregiver for his nephew, the only real challenge he faced was getting him out of bed in the morning, until they found a solution.

“My nephew, Michael, just finished his sophomore year and is fifteen years old.”

“Due to circumstances that I would rather not discuss on Reddit, I am Michael’s legal guardian at the moment.”

“The only real issue I’ve had with Michael is the fight to get him out of bed every morning on time for school.”

“I made him set an alarm on his phone, but he just about always would turn it off and then sleep in.”

“I would try putting Ravioli, my cat, on his chest, but Michael would just swat her away.”

“I learned that my sister would oftentimes let Michael lay in until it was eleven, then drop him off at school and lie that she had car troubles so it would be an excused late arrival.”

“It took me throwing off his blankets and physically dragging him out of bed by his foot for Michael to get up.”

“I was running late for work one morning, and Michael was refusing to get up again.”

“I didn’t have time to drag Michael out of bed and I told him this.”

“Michael was not budging, so I grabbed a squirt bottle that I used to house-train my cats, filled it in the sink, and then squirted Michael with it until he got up.”

“He got out of bed and ran to the bathroom in under thirty seconds.”

“A huge improvement from ten minutes of playing tug-of-war with Michael.”

“I started to use the spray bottle every morning until he actually started using his alarm and getting up on time.”

However, not everyone was approving of the OP’s methods for getting their nephew ready for school.

“I and Michael were visiting my cousin, Lucinda, and Michael made a joke like ‘I don’t want Uncle Shaun to spray me again’.”

“Lucinda asked for elaboration, then scolded me on the way home, saying that using the squirt bottle was ‘demeaning’ to Michael and that I’m treating my nephew like an animal.”

“I don’t see it that way at all.”

“I simply can’t drag him out of bed every morning.”

“If we were both a decade younger, it might have been possible.”

“But Michael’s fifteen and a big kid at that.”

“Plus, now he’s getting up on his own.”

“AITA For using a squirt bottle for cats on Michael.”

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 – Everybody Sucks Here

The Reddit community agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for spraying his nephew with water to get him out of bed.

Everyone agreed that since the OP wasn’t harming his nephew, and it seemed to have worked, that the OP’s cousin had no reason to scold the OP for his tactics.


“Lucinda can deal with the kids living in her home as she chooses.”

“She doesn’t get to tell you how to deal with the one living in your home.”- NUT-me-SHELL


“Sounds like a pretty humane method of training large animals, I mean nephews.”- vip00


“Being 15 years old and having to be literally dragged out of bed is demeaning.”

‘Plus it’s literally just water.”

“NTA.”- deny_pentagram


“You were really nice with your method of training.’

“I trained my kids to get up by setting off the Ring Camera alarm.”

“Now if I mention the night before that I need them up early they’re typically up or they get the alarm again.”

“When I was a kid my dad would let the dogs in, 50+ pounds, to trample my sibling and I if we didn’t get up.”

“He also had the singing bass fish that played ‘Don’t worry, be happy’ that he would play while holding it close to our face.’

“I still hate that song and fish 20+ years later lol.”- Zealousideal-Plum853


“Does a better way exist?”


“Was this wrong?’

‘Absolutely not.’

‘Using water to wake someone up who simply refuses to get out of bed is as old as the concept of sleeping in, I think.’

‘It’s not fun.”

“It’s a last resort, but like you said, you couldn’t be physically dragging him out of bed every day.”

‘The only real objection seems to stem Lucinda’s knowledge that they spray bottle was intended for the cat, but would an air horn or banging on pots and pans really be better?”

‘I don’t think so.”

“Plus, it’s over now.”- thefanciestcat


“I think it’s hilarious.”

“Teenagers are not at all built for the early hours that school requires but Michael needs to be there and on time.”

“You’re doing the responsible thing making him get up.”

‘The method is beside the point.”- Major_Bother8416

“NTA, I mean it’s unusual but it worked and if he was joking about it with family he wasn’t too upset by it.”- Pattern-Plane

“I recommend freezing marbles at night and dumping them under the covers.”

“After 30 or 40 seconds, the cold becomes almost painful.”

“You have to get up to get them all out of the bed.”

“NTA.”- Intelligent_Stop5564

“My husband’s mother did not tolerate them sleeping in.”

“She would fill a mason jar full of ice water and start shaking it coming down the hall and if she made it to them and they weren’t up it got dumped on them.”

“So a spray bottle is nothing.”

‘It seems to be an effective learning tool.’

“You don’t have time to mess with that b*tch.”

“He’s 15 years old he needs to learn to get up.”-HisCricket


“And this reminded me of when I was in college and a friend had trouble waking up on time for class.”

‘So he authorized me to wake him up using the ‘squirting water at him’ technique.’

“One day I went to wake him up and he wasn’t waking up, so I got the water bottle and was just about to water him when he woke up, rubbed his eyes, looked at me standing there with the bottle and said, ‘Oh you’re here’.”

“‘Might as well water me’, and WENT BACK TO SLEEP SO I COULD SQUIRT WATER AT HIM.”

“8 years later, we are still fast friends.”- swansong92


“I was this teenager.”

“My dad used to flick the lights on and off, take my bedding, sing, bang pots and pans together, and pour cups of water on me.”

“I was hell to wake in the mornings, still am, and even at the time I understood that it was necessary and was grateful he gave enough of a shit to wake me.”

“I have a sleep disorder of some kind though, so if it continues and he has other sleep issues it may be worth chatting to a doctor.”- threelizards

‘Letting him lay around and sleep all day is actually treating him like an animal, specifically a cat.’

“Not letting our kids ever struggle or be unhappy or do something they don’t want to do is not helping them.”

“Our job is to prepare them for independence in the real world.”

“Sleep when you are not required to be at work/school is basic living 101.”

“NTA.”- sometimesnowing

“I once overheard my mom and my sister trying to decide who has to wake me up.”

“It wasn’t me they were afraid of.”

“It was the 18 lbs of pure muscle and sharp teeth that was very possessive of me that they were afraid of.”

“My cat.”

“Under my blanket, head on my pillow, paws around my neck.”

“Try to wake me, and you have 18 lbs of fury trying to rip you to shreds.”

“He never once attacked my dad when he would wake me up.”

“According to my dad, they had an understanding.”

“I bet the ear scratches he would get made it okay for my dad to wake me.”

“My sister started using a backscratcher to nudge me awake so my cat would attack that instead.”


“You do what you need to get him up.”- Catqueen25

There is absolutely never an excuse for a parent or caregiver does something to their child which causes them pain or puts them in danger.

Spraying water on someone does neither of these things.

And since the OP stopped doing so the minute his nephew could get up and get ready for school on his own, it showed that he truly was only thinking in his nephew’s best interest.

It’s also more than fair enough that Lucinda might disagree with this method, but it would have been much more appropriate for her to keep it to herself, rather than scold the OP for it.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.