Sometimes, everyone just needs a little privacy.
Which isn’t to say that people should permanently lock themselves away from the outside world.
But every now and then, a little alone time might be the reset button people need to put their mind at rest, or allow themselves to focus.
Whenever the sister of Redditor NewtGroundbreaking70 and her children paid a visit, it seemed the first thing they did was overwhelm, and occasionally torment, her son.
With this in mind, the original poster (OP) and her husband came up with a solution as to how their son might prevent this from happening the next time they visited.
But when that day arrived, the OP’s sister was furious, and wasted no time in calling out her sister for what she believed was a very inappropriate decision.
Concerned that her sister may have been right, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I the A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for putting a lock on my sons bedroom door?”
The OP first explained that her son and her niece and nephews have very different personalities, so their visits are not always harmonious.
“I (30 F[emale]) and my husband (32 M[ale]), have a 10 year old son who is an only child.”
“My older sister, her husband and three kids (who are 12 M, 7 F and 5 F) all live down the street so they’re round a lot.”
“This bothers my son as he’s a quiet kid who likes his own space and they always swarm to his room to play when they come round and it’s upsetting especially as there has been a few toy breakages in the past.”
As a result, the OP and her husband came up with a solution so that their son can have the privacy he needs, when he needs it.
“After talking it over with my husband we installed a lock on our sons door and told him he can use it to keep anyone he wants out as he’s old enough for privacy though we explained we had a copy of the key too for emergencies.”
However, the OP’s sister did not approve of this decision, and was not afraid to say so.
“My sister and her kids came round the other day for lunch.”
“This was the first time since the lock had been installed.”
“Of course the kids swarmed towards his room only to find the door was locked.”
“At first they thought it was stuck and came to tell me and I told them that no it was locked and it was up to my son if he wanted to let them in to play or not.”
“This upset my 12 year old nephew who wanted to play with my son’s ps5 so he began to try to get me to make my son share.”
“I told him no I wasn’t going to force the issue but if he wanted to play video games after lunch then he could use my switch that was hooked up to the TV in the living room.”
“My sister was annoyed at me over this and told me that a 10 year old didn’t need that kind of privacy and I was just training him to be rude and inconsiderate.”
“Bringing up how her 12 year old didn’t have a lock on his door so why would a 10 year old need it?”
“I wasn’t going to point out in front of her kids that they were the reason he needed the lock in the first place so just said that it was something my husband and I felt was appropriate and that our son was ready for.”
“She then began to apply pressure to my son trying to convince him that he wanted his cousins to come play in his room as they were so bored and wouldn’t it be ‘fun’?”
“My son isn’t good at confrontation as I said he’s quiet and he was clearly feeling uncomfortable so I told my sister to lay off and if her kids needed to play so much there was no reason to hang around after lunch as it wasn’t fair to make them sit there bored.”
“My sister did eventually leave in a huff with me but has been telling our parents how rude I’ve been and how iIm teaching my son to be inconsiderate too and how I’m not teaching him to ‘share’.”
“When we go to theirs he always asks before touching anything of his cousins and I’ve expressed in the past how they should return that consideration but it’s always ignored.”
“Our parents are taking my sisters side stating that family share things and besides having his cousins round to play will help make my son less shy and how he doesn’t need privacy that young.”
“My husband is on my side and has suggested my sister and her kids not come round for a while which honestly i’m leaning towards.”
“Is it really that weird to give a 10 year old privacy and ability to decide who comes into his room?”
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
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
The Reddit community agreed that the OP had every right to put a lock on her son’s door, and was no way the a**hole.
Everyone agreed that the OP’s son had every right to his privacy, especially after his cousins went so far as to break his toys.
“I don’t think the 12 yo wants to play with your son.”
“He just wants to play on the PS5.”
“Also, everyone needs privacy.”- Zxck__08
“Being ‘family’ does not give kids permission to play with other kids’ things whenever they want.”
“If I had to guess, I would bet that your sister’s kids don’t have a ps5 and want to come over and play with your son’s toys whenever they want.”
“You’re doing good here.”
“You’re teaching your son that he has agency and the other kids that they can’t just use other people’s things whenever they want.”
“From what I can tell, you put your son’s comfort and security over their entitlement.”
“When he’s 15, he’ll talk to you about things because he will know he’s first.”
“They don’t ask first and they’ve broken things.”
“Did they ever apologize?”
“He ALWAYS asks in reverse.”-UpbeatAnxiety7401
“As someone who grew up with very little privacy.”
“You’re doing right by your kid.”- km89
“That isn’t sharing, that is bullying, your sister is encouraging her kids to bully your son, which will only increase his social anxiety.”
“So what your sister is doing will only hurt your son and teach her children horrible manners.”-Adventurous_Aide_456
“This is parenting done right.”
“I was once the quiet kid with the obnoxious aunt and poorly disciplined cousins who couldn’t respect others property.”
“If I could’ve locked those mfs out of my room you better believe I would’ve!”
“Thank you for showing your son that his comfort is a priority to you.”
“He won’t forget it.”-heretic8921
“Using the ‘we are family so you have to/should do this’ is manipulative.”
“PLUS being family doesn’t equate to ‘you have a right to all my things’.”
“SHE is teaching her kids that they are entitled to whatever they want.”
“You are teaching him that it is OK to say no, which it is.”
“Also good on you for having an extra key, though might I suggest a conversation to the effect that the door isn’t locked at night?”
“If there were to be a fire, the time needed to unlock that door can legit be life or death, a fire can consume a home in minutes, a fast exit is important.”
“Beyond that little suggestion, you keep doing you.”
“You guys know what your child needs.”-RoxasofsorrowXIII
“People who insist on overstepping just don’t like it when boundaries are set.”- joanclaytonesq
“It is not your responsibility to keep them entertained.”
“They have no right to use any of your or your son’s property.”
“They as a family need a strong lesson on boundaries.”
“It also sounds like lunch is code for free entertainment for her children, otherwise she wouldn’t still be pushing the issue with your parents.”
“She chose to have three kids, keeping them entertained is her job, not yours.”
“As a side note boredom is good for kids.”
“I encourage it.”
“I’ve never been bored since middle school because I learned how to entertain myself in pretty much all situations.”
“I’d tell all involved, siblings and parents, that they cannot contact me or come around UNTIL they learn that what is mine is not also theirs, and that no is an acceptable answer and should only have to be said once per visit.”- BonjourTaco
One would think the fact that the OP’s son so dreaded playing with his cousins that he would lock them out might be a sign that they should reflect on their behavior.
Maybe the time they spend apart on each side of the locked doors might allow them to reach an understanding.
And the OP’s son will hopefully have a few less broken toys.