When you were a kid, you probably tried to pretend to be sick. It’s not an uncommon thing, and if you were anything like me, it didn’t work most of the time.
Redditor Intrepid-Archer5963 caught her son trying to pretend to be sick to get out of a test. When the original poster (OP) refused to let him play games or see his friends, her husband thought she was going too far.
Now OP is wondering if he was right, and decided to ask the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subreddit about her son.
She gave him a sick day when he pretended to be sick.
“AITA for making my son’s day suck when he faked being sick?”
But should she have just given him a break?
“For starters, I am a 35yo mom of a 13 year old boy. My argument is with my husband.”
“My son knew he had a test on Friday. I told him many times he needed to study but he kept pushing it off saying he already knew the material and would ace it. I trusted him as he is an A/B student.”
“Well Friday comes, he leaves for school and an hour later I get a call saying he’s sick and needs to come home. It was the usual ‘stomach ache’. I pick him up, take him to a clinic to get checked out and was told by the doctor that absolutely nothing was wrong.”
“The doc did ask if there was q reason he would want to come home. I told the doc that he had a test that day”
“When we got home, he immediately went to the tv to turn on video games. I told him if he was sick, he needed to go lay down without electronics.”
“He threw a fit saying it was just his stomach and that shouldn’t stop his games. I told him he can complete his work he brought home.”
“Lunch time came and I made him soup. He threw a fit saying he wanted ‘real food’ then asked for take out. I told him if his stomach hurt soup was the best thing for it.”
“Later that day, he asked if he could hang out with his friends. I told him no, that he was sick.”
“That evening when his dad got home, he was angry with me saying I should have let him have what he wanted sinc we knew he was faking and I just needed to let him have a day off.”
“I argued back that son is allowed 1 day off per semester and it couldn’t be a test day unless he was actually sick and this was his punishment. Husband is still angry with me for making my son’s day suck.”
“Tldr: son faked being sick on a test day so I treated him like he was actually sick. AITA?”
After some comments came in, OP updated her post to provide some extra information.
“Edit for clarity: we tell my son that he only gets one mental health day due to previous abuse of them.”
“If he asked for more, we more than likely would not say no. If we see he needs one, we give him one.”
“He does know how to ask for them and he also knows how to ask for help if he’s stressed or overwhelmed. This has previously resulted in tutors and it’s what started our mental health days.”
“He has not taken a day this semester. He has been to therapy previously due to anxiety from school. We pay very close attention as dad and I both have mental health issues.”
“I can’t believe I have to say this but the 1 day does not count if he is actually sick. Kids get sick, that should not be counted against them.”
“The doctor was because he has to have a note to return to school and he has to have it to excuse the absence. This isn’t my choice, this is the rules for our school”
The conflict here is between OP and her husband and their different thoughts on how their son should have been treated in this situation. He thinks it’s fine to have given the son a break, but OP says they already have an arrangement for their sone to take a break.
On Reddit, the users of the board judged OP for treating her son as sick by including one of the following in their response:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
OP provided her son with a very calm and restful day. If he was actually sick, it would be just what he needed.
Since it seems he wasn’t sick, it is still not a bad day. He could have relaxed and eaten some soup and mentally regrouped for his test.
But he didn’t, and tried to treat it as a normal day not at school, and there was no reason for OP to allow her son to do whatever he wanted.
The board agreed that OP made the right call, treating her son to a proper sick day as a lesson.
“NTA, and not getting your kid takeout when there is food at home and it’s not a special occasion definitely doesn’t even count toward a day sucking.” – CardiologistMean4664
“NTA as what you did was understandable.”
“But as someone who’s gotten stomachaches due to stress and anxiety since I was 10, I would check in with him at a later time to see if he isn’t experiencing that, which him being an A student normally made me think” – redwood_canyon
“NTA. If you had given in to the games and take-out, he would have learned that he could get away with this behavior and would try it again.”
“Instead, you put down firm consequences for faking an illness. You did the correct thing by taking him to the doctor just to be sure he wasn’t actually sick, and when you were sure he was faking, you used his ruse against him.”
“At no time did you cause him any harm or do anything that would affect him negatively.” – TinyRascalSaurus
“NTA. This is exactly what I do with my 15 yo. Too sick for school, then go lay in your bed.”
“However, if your son had been honest and asked you to pick him up because he wasn’t prepared – would you?”
“Because I have done that, too. I want my daughter to know that she can ALWAYS call me for help, even when she messes up.”
“I’m hoping she’ll remember that in the future, when she’s been drinking or smoking pot. Just something to think about.” – Punkin_Queen
That said, OP did mention that there are issues in her son’s life. His anxiety is something that affects him so much, they came up with a system for him to reach out for help.
Which is what he should have done, but still, his anxiety should be considered.
“NTA but you should also have a conversation with him about test anxiety and how his desire to avoid the test was a consequence of his not-studying.”
“I tried the same crap as him many many times in my teenage years. Turned out that I had undiagnosed mental health issues the whole time which were causing all of my school issues.”
“He might just be doing the typical kid thing of testing boundaries or he might need some more support.” – issiautng
“INFO: Did you ask or somehow find out what was going on with him? You said he is an A/B student, you trust him, and that he knows the rules.”
“Seems like he skipped his test (or even something else) but couldn’t be open with you because it was a test day.”
“Who knows, I only have a toddler. Keep in mind you’re getting advice from potential 13-year-olds here on Reddit, too.” – Express_Cow_5995
“All those saying ‘too sick for school, too sick for fun’, how do you spend your sick days? Like for real?”
“I just watch Netflix and play with my phone. Do you really just stay all day doing nothing?” – Material_Ad6173
“I’m not gonna make a judgement here cus it’ca clear that there’s alooot going on. But I just want to give an insight on anxiety and how it effected me as a kid.”
“I used to get the worst stomach pains. Like the type that would make me feel really ill. in the beginning, I would be allowed to stay at home because of them.”
“But when I kept getting it randomly and also feel just fine by the point we got home, I slowly was no longer allowed to go home because of them. I remember being driven to the school, convinced that I was sick and that I would puke.”
“But I was still forced to go.”
“Years later, I realize it was all anxiety related. But that doesn’t make it any less real. I felt that pain in my stomach and it was terrible.”
“I understand why I wasnt allowed to stay home since it became a regular thing and I couldn’t keep missing out on school. But the problem for me was that no one bothered trying to find out just where the problem came from.”
“You already know that your son is dealing with stuff. And I just wanted to let you know that sometimes it doesnt just stay in your head.”
“It travels to your heart, making it pound in your chest, it can give you hot flashes or chills, it can turn your stomach inside out. It can make your body feel 10 times more heavy.”
“If your son hasn’t been off school at all this semester, then maybe you should have let him had this day. And take this is an opertunity to actually properly talk to him.”
“Let him know its not acceptable to not study and then just skip the test by staying home. Tell him that by preparing for a test, he most likely won’t have to deal with those terrible stomach pains when the day comes. He’ll be less nervous.”
“Just, don’t punish him too badly over something he most likely still doesn’t have control over.” – Downelius
OP updated saying her son took a make-up test and passed. Which is great that he could go on to do that.
Maybe he’ll consider the help his parents are offering next time he’s dealing with anxiety.