It’s never surprising to hear about an adult struggling to navigate the chaotic emotions of children who don’t quite have that all figured out yet.
But what about when the roles are reversed, and a child is forced to navigate an adult’s swirling feelings?
A recent Reddit thread demonstrated exactly what that could look like.
Written by a now deleted user account, the story was posted to the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit.
The Original Poster (OP) described the main thrust of the conflict with the post’s title.
“AITA for not wanting my mom to sleep in my room with me and indirectly telling her to leave?”
OP began with a few caveats.
“I know this sounds extremely crazy but I just need some verification.”
“For starters I’ll say that I do love my mom, but sometimes I think she forgets how old I am. I am 13 turning 14.”
“She calls me baby-ish names that are like pookie or stuff like that sometimes in public.”
“Both my parents always ask me to sleep in their room but I say maybe later because I wouldn’t want them to be sad if I said no. I feel super embarrassed writing this but I just need some validation.”
Then OP got right into the details.
“The story goes like this- it was a regular night for me and I was literally browsing r/AmITheA**hole before I was planning on sleeping.
“But then my mom strolls into my room and sleeps in the bed saying ‘I want to sleep in my son’s room today.’ “
“I really didn’t know what to say and I dreaded this because she has done this numerous times, but I decided enough was enough and I wanted to let her know I just wanted to sleep by myself.”
“I told her that I wanted to sleep in my room by myself and she kept asking why.”
OP found himself up against a wall.
“I gave her the honest reason- I wanted to sleep by myself. She kept pressing me for an answer and I kept telling her that I wanted to sleep by myself.”
“She said that she would sleep here tonight with me. Then she assumed I wanted her to leave because I was going to browse on my phone.”
“She asked ‘what were you doing on your phone I want to know.’ I knew that I didn’t have to tell her and I stated that.
“She didn’t take it kindly and got mad at me saying her and my dad paid for my phone so she has a right to know. I was getting annoyed and uncomfortable, and I stepped out of the room for a moment to catch a breath.”
But there was some fallout.
“When I return she is crying and I know where this is headed. Her face is red and tears are streaming down , then she angrily exits telling me to not talk to her and leave her alone since I don’t want her here.”
“The next day I wake up to the laptop I use for school gone (It’s hers but she lets me use it). (She was not trying to manipulate me, she just wanted to make me use the other worse devices because she knows I love using her laptop).”
“I was in a phone call with her now and she implied that was trying to punish me by doing that. I calmly stated that I don’t mind using our old desktop and she said ‘good’.”
And the drama only continued after that.
“Then she was berating me for treating her harshly and I felt very bad. She said, ‘don’t talk to me, you’re too big for your mom right?'”
“I stated that it was untrue and I tried to move on from the subject. Then I realized this was perfect for an AITA? story. I told her to have a nice day because I didn’t know what to say or how to feel.”
“So AITA? Please don’t trash-talk her much, I love her a lot and I’d just prefer an explanation on who’s wrong and why. Thank you for respecting that!”
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
Redditors were adamant in their support of OP’s response to the situation.
“Hard NTA – your mother needs to understand boundaries. You’re not a child; you’re a teen. You deserve privacy. Just because you want privacy does not mean you are an a**hole” — dictatebivy1
“are you serious? nta 100000%”
“it bothers me so so much when parents take away tech as a punishment, especially since we’re in an, um, panoramic (if u catch my drift) because that’s your connection to friends and school and whatnot.”
“also, it’s not fair that when you ask for boundaries to be respected, your mum starts crying. i wouldn’t go as far as abusive but manipulative for sure. idk&idc what her reason is, you deserve privacy no matter what age.” — my-day-old-tea
“Dear lord, NTA. I would occasionally sleep with my son when he was 6-7 and having nightmares. But 14? Hard no, that’s creepy.”
“You need to explain to your mom that your privacy is very important to you.” — TopaztheBigBoss
“NTA this is NOT normal behavior. Reading this just made me feel all kinds of weird and uncomfortable tbh. Your mom needs to respect your boundaries, point blank.”
“What on earth.” — theteaginator
Some people offered further clarity about OP’s mother’s motivations, even if her behavior was problematic.
“NTA, yes it’s hard for us parents to realize our babies are growing up and it changes the dynamics of the family. This has helped me to realize how I need to change my attitude about my tween daughter not being so affectionate anymore.”
“She’s growing up, as you are, and deserve privacy and respect. Thanks kid!” — Equivalent_Visual920
“NTA but ok, kinda sounds like she needs therapy. She clearly, as you realize, has issues with accepting that you are growing up. She can’t handle that you aren’t a little kid anymore and don’t need her as much.”
“Maybe try talking to her about it and tell her she’ll always be your mother but she should be proud that you’re growing into a strong, independent young man.” — DeoRexRat
Others outlined the specifically harmful dynamics at play.
“That is textbook manipulation. You are nearly 14, and your mother is wrong for ignoring your wishes.”
“As much as your parents may want to keep you as their little boy forever, you are growing up, and they should give you space and respect to do that.” — Skippy2716
“NTA Tell her you’re a teenager, not a child. Privacy will be important to you here on out. She needs to be a PARENT. You’re not an emotional support animal, tell her to get a dog.” — Barcoded452
Here’s hoping the right adult becomes involved to help OP navigate this very vulnerable situation.