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Dad Puts Parental Controls On TV So His Noisy FIL Won’t Wake His Sleeping Kids On School Nights

Man pointing remote control
Rob Lewine/Getty Images

There’s nothing wrong with staying at someone’s house when you need to or when you’d like to have a nice visit with them.

But there are limits to being a good houseguest, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor ExplanationFun2337 was thoroughly fed up with his in-laws staying in his home due to how loud they were at night, impacting his children’s ability to sleep.

But when his wife insisted he was overreacting, the Original Poster (OP) wasn’t sure what to think.

He asked the sub:

“AITA for putting parental controls on my TV and royally p**sing off my Father-in-Law (FIL)?”

The OP was struggling with his in-laws staying in his home.

“I (30s Male) live with my wife (30s Female). We have two kids (8 Male and 6 Female).”

“My wife’s parents are staying with us temporarily as their home is having some serious repairs after a freak accident. It wasn’t their fault, and luckily they had insurance.”

“The repairs should be completed in two months from now.”

“I don’t really get along with my in-laws, especially my father-in-law, but I agreed to let them stay because I thought the time would fly by and it wouldn’t be that bad.”

“But I’m posting here, so I guess I was wrong.”

His in-laws didn’t believe in sound ordinances, apparently.

“My Mother-in-Law (MIL) doesn’t have a job, and my FIL works late shifts until around 11 PM.”

“When he gets home, they will watch YouTube in the living room and play music through it at a loud volume with our speaker system. It’s not ‘college house party bass tearing apart the walls’ loud, but it is still loud.”

“My kids are not light sleepers, but this wakes them up, and then they go wake me up because they want me to make it stop.”

“My kids need to be rested for school, and I need to get up in the morning to drop them off and go to work.”

The OP’s wife and his in-laws did not share the OP’s concerns.

“My wife works overnight shifts so she doesn’t witness this.”

“I’ve tried to talk to my MIL and FIL about it and asked that they please keep the noise down after my kids’ bedtime, which is 8:30 pm. I don’t expect complete silence but I really don’t think they need to have the TV on loud late at night.”

“My FIL argued with me and said that he doesn’t finish work til 11 PM, so I’m basically expecting him to not do the things he enjoys after work.”

“I told him he can do it before work or on his days off or it’s tough s**t.”

“He complained to my wife, who’s now taking his side and saying that the kids need to learn how to sleep through ‘a bit of everyday noise.'”

“I told her it’s not everyday noise and that he and my MIL are being excessively noisy and inconsiderate, she’s just not there to see it.”

“My FIL has been sending me links to buy earplugs for the kids.”

“I thought about suggesting Bluetooth headphones that he could connect to our TV, but I doubt they’ll go for it. My FIL is always going off about how he thinks AirPods and headphones look stupid.”

The OP was really ready to have his houseguests out from under his roof.

“I’ve gotten really fed up with this. It’s not my in-laws’ house and they’re staying with us as guests and I think they’re being really selfish.”

“I decided to put parental controls on the TV so that my in-laws can’t use it after 8:30 PM and not again until 6 AM the next day.”

“Between those times the TV can’t be used without putting in the password and only I know it.”

“This doesn’t affect my wife as she doesn’t get off work until 6 AM and isn’t normally home until 6:20ish.”

“My FIL is now incredibly p**sed off with me and said that I’m acting like a child and keeps pestering me, demanding the password. My wife is also mad at me for upsetting her dad.”

“I’m just so annoyed at this whole situation and I’m sick of hearing about it, so I just want to know if I’m morally in the clear.”

“AITA?” 

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 had a lot to say about the grandparents’ behavior.

“NTA.”

“Who the h**l stays as a guest in someone’s home, knowing they have young children and expects them to be okay with them playing loud music all night?”

“Even without the kids in the equation that’s still unreasonable and wildly inappropriate but it just adds another layer of a**holery.” – GreenRedCrescent

“NTA. They may be in-laws but they are guests within your home.”

“You’ve asked them politely before and they’ve ignored you.”

“Tell them to read a book to keep themselves entertained.” – robobskii

“NTA and wow, great grandparents the kids have. They have zero respect for you or your house. I am surprised your wife isn’t sticking up for at least the kids.”

“Loud music late at night is not normal noise. Good idea with the parental controls, screw them. Although watch out. Their petty a**es might go buy a radio or their own small speakers out of spite so be prepared.” – dexterity-77

“NTA, but I want to advise OP not to bring his kids into it. They may be the ones most disturbed by the noise and it’s the most valid reason to ask them to stop. But if you make it about them and for any reason this escalates into a family fight, the kids might feel responsible.”

“Wanting quiet in your own home at certain times is an equally valid reason to ask them to keep it down. If they don’t like or respect that they have other options. If they’re insured, insurance should cover the cost of accommodation while repairs are ongoing as it’s all associated with the original damage, worth pursuing that line.”

“Otherwise, ask them to find family or friends whose house rules are less strict than yours, you are being gracious enough to offer them shelter you owe nothing else.” – hungry4nuns

“I legit despise those who watch tv/listen to music at a volume that seems like they want the whole street to listen. Even worst are the ones that listen through the speakers of their phones on the bus.” – linkling1039

“I think part of the problem is that OP doesn’t get along with his in-laws. We don’t know the full situation, but if OP always has a complaint about the in-laws or argues with them a lot then people will tend to think any complaints are because he doesn’t like them.”

“I understand why others might think he’s the boy who cried wolf because he doesn’t get along with the ILs, but I believe OP. With FIL’s comments about being able to do what he wants when he gets home after 11 PM because he shouldn’t be penalized for an evening job, OP is NTA here.”

“OP, I know others have said to record when they do it but volume won’t come across well. Buy a sound meter for like $20. Take a video of THAT when they’re playing their music.”

“Then show it to your wife and play music at the same volume to show her what it’s like. (And if she says it isn’t bad, you can always go scorched earth and play it that loud when she sleeps.)” – GSV_MorethanBackPain

Others wanted the OP to follow through on the headphones idea.

“As a parent, it’s your job, your duty, your responsibility, to ensure that your kids stay healthy and get the education they deserve.”

“Sleep deprivation is a torture method, bad for physical and mental health, and will wreck their education.”

“Buy your in-laws two pairs of headphones and be done with it. Or they need to leave.”

“NTA.” – Fit-Panda4903

“Tell FIL to Google ‘wireless headphones for tv for hard of hearing seniors,’ and then tell him to use those at the motel that they are immediately moving to.” – snitterific

“Also if you get a Roku, you can get the remote app for you which lets you transfer the audio to your device’s speakers, and then you can use headphones.” – taylortherod

“I think they’re watching YouTube on the tv, not on their phones. Why send links for earplugs for the kids, when the obvious solution is to use headphones for yourself?” – Rosenfel

Some questioned how these grandparents felt about their grandkids. 

“And those kids are their grandchildren. How can they care so little about their own grandchildren?” – Zay071288

“It’s not just someone’s kids, it’s their own grandkids.” – no_sissies_allowed

“When we first got our apartment, my neighbors had a really young toddler. They clearly struggled for a bit with sleep regression (as most parents will) and having dedicated quiet time was pretty valuable.”

“I bought one of those ultra-long 10-foot AUX cable extenders and splitter so my spouse and I could watch TV with headphones on.”

“I didn’t even know them but I still recognized that waking up a sleeping baby/toddler/kid is extremely disrespectful.”

“Those family members are inherently trashy at their core.” – Mimical

“My MIL cared so little about one of her grandchildren, who happened to be my youngest daughter, that she’d insist she needed to drink milk ‘because milk is good for growing kids, ALL kids need to drink milk!'”

“Yeah, unless milk twists your gut into a knot and you experience severe GI (gastrointestinal) cramps and other symptoms for one or two days after drinking even a small amount of it. And your pediatrician and pediatric GI specialist have said NO MILK.”

“And grandma was reminded of this every time said grandchildren visited, yet she still tried to get my daughter to drink milk.” – OBNurseScarlett

“They probably never cared about their own children (OP’s wife) either.” – numbersthen0987431

This was one of those situations where the subReddit didn’t think the OP needed to write in, because he and his children clearly were not in the wrong for being disturbed by the nighttime noise.

They were concerned about the OP’s wife, however, and how her parents may have “trained” her as a child and how the now-grandparents might be trying to “train” their grandchildren, let alone the OP, who was already questioning himself.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.