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Guy Called Out For Refusing To Force Teen Son To Consistently Wear A Helmet When Skateboarding

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Redditor helmet_throwaway is a 42-year-old husband and father who is at odds with his wife over a specific safety rule for their children.

The domestic dispute happened after she saw their son skateboarding in a way that concerned her and she confronted him about it in front of his friends.

This led the husband to enforce a conditional rule involving their daughter, which exacerbated their squabble.

After being accused of undermining her, he visited the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit and asked:

“AITA for not making my teenage son wear a helmet when he skateboards?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“My son (15 Male) is a good kid and loves to skateboard. He’s actually pretty talented, and is even ‘sponsored’ by the local skate shop. He’s skated since he was 7.”

“Until he was 13 or so I always made him wear a helmet. He started resisting wearing a helmet around then, and while I would prefer that he does wear a helmet, I know I can’t control every aspect of his life.”

“By that point his body had learned how to fall ‘correctly’ when he screws up a trick (I used to skate back in the day, if you skateboard you know what I mean).”

“So I made a compromise with him – if he’s just out street skating with his friends, he doesn’t need to wear a helmet, but if he’s at a park that requires it or is skating a bowl or half pipe, or if he’s otherwise attempting something dangerous for the first time, then he needs to wear one. He readily agreed and has been good about wearing a helmet in those circumstances.”

“Anyway, a couple weeks ago my wife (41 Female) was running an errand the other day and saw our son skateboarding, doing tricks down a small 5-stair set, and he wasn’t wearing a helmet. She flipped out, pulled over, yelled at him in front of his friends and made him come home.”

“Now… it’s not that my wife didn’t know about my helmet ‘rules,’ but in her view what he was doing qualified as dangerous (he can ollie down stair sets almost 3x that size).”

“She’s never really loved that he’s been into skateboarding (she always wanted him to do team sports) and as such, I don’t think she fully appreciates how good he is for his age nor does she understand that he knows what his limits are and what he’s doing.”

“She is now insisting that he wear a helmet at all times much to my son’s chagrin.”

“I pointed out to her (privately) that this is ridiculous. He’s at an age where he can make this choice himself, and on top of that, our daughter (14 Female) who does cheer and gymnastics and doesn’t have to wear a helmet despite head injuries being fairly common in those sports.”

“To make my point, I got one of those cheerleader helmets and declared that she now needs to wear a helmet too since her brother has to now. Our daughter is kind of a weirdo and to her credit thinks this is all pretty funny, and said something like ‘I will be known as the Helmet Queen’ and started wearing it at practice.”

“My wife is now freaking out because she doesn’t want our daughter to stick out at games or competitions and make people think that she’s special needs (yes, seriously she said that).”

“My wife is saying I’m both undermining her and encouraging our son to do dangerous things, and that our daughter is going to get bullied for wearing a helmet. So AITA?”

Strangers online were asked to declare one of the following:

  • NTA – Not the A**hole
  • YTA – You’re the A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everybody Sucks Here

Many Redditors did not look favorably on the OP. One even mentioned that pro-skater Tony Hawk wears a helmet. 

“Yeah, I was coming to say that.”

“Every video I remember seeing of Tony Hawk, he has a helmet on. He doesn’t always have pads on, but he always wears a helmet.”

“I think OP needs to make a distinction of when protection is needed. If he’s just cruising around and using it as transportation he’s probably fine, if he’s jumping down flights of stairs he probably needs a helmet.”

“Not necessarily from his own skill level, but from possible interference from the outside world. Errant cyclists or oblivious people walking around.” – Weird_Stuff_McGee

“YTA. You’re too concerned with being cool to be a parent.”

“Everyone wears helmets, even Olympic athletes.”

“Aside from safety, he could lose his sponsorship. Nobody wants their brand tied to gross negligence and poor role models.” – Early-Light-864

“My nephew died from cracking his head open not wearing a helmet skateboarding on a street.”

“He’d been a sponsored snowboarder since his teens, for a long time, lived up in Whitefish, MT. Was a HUGE thing, shock to the community and snowboarding world when he died. You can do a google, this was about 3 yrs ago. D-Lo”

“And the whole thing was so stupid. Out with his dad and brother in town, decided to just take a spin for a minute, lost his balance and.. gone.”

“OP, make your kid wear a helmet always!! And ALL of your valuable children.”

“It was just so sudden. Devastated everyone. Heartbreaking. And senseless.” – OleFogeyMtn

“YTA My friend’s daughter was an experienced and talented skateboarder. Devon always made Lily wear a helmet. They were getting ready to leave for somewhere and Devon had to run back inside for something.”

“So Lily, 16 at the time, decided to dick around for a few and do a couple tricks waiting for dor her Mom. She fell, smacked her head, started seizing.”

“She coded several times, and had emergency brain surgery, a drain placed. She is mostly fine now, but it was very scary for quite some time.” – babygirlrvt75

“It’s not about sponsorships, or coolness. It’s about not being DEAD. My fifteen year old brother died of head injuries from a bike accident. He wasn’t wearing a helmet. I cannot tell you how much I wish we had somehow convinced him that he needed to wear one.”

“So yeah, YTA. I hope you can get your son to wear a helmet. Even a bad knock can cause lifelong problems.” – Pencils_

“YTA. I don’t care how good he is, or how easy a trick seems. Just falling off while cruising can cause massive head trauma. I hate helmets, but I have seen what happens when ‘pros’ have a mishap, and die or become a vegetable. Source: 22 year firefighter/paramedic.”

“Your wife is correct, back her up.” – Dangcheetah

“Yep. I don’t have any experience with skateboarding, but I freeski which is probably similar in terms of risks + tricks. Not gonna lie, at 15-16ish I had a phase where I also thought that helmets are super uncool.”

“I’m so glad that my dad forced me to wear one because now that I’m older and at least a little wiser, I realize that there is absolutely no reason to risk your life for completely shallow reasons!!”

“I’ve seen a helmet break – without the helmet, that person probably wouldn’t be alive anymore. There will always be moments where even the most skilled athletes will crash without any control. YTA, OP.” – Remote-Ability-6575

“Skateboarding happens on hard surfaces. Cheerleading with high-risk tosses/tumbling happens on a mat. That’s the biggest difference. Cheer also has spotters. So there are protective measures taken in both, they’re just different because the sports are different.” – muppetfeet82

“YTA Olympic skateboarders wear helmets, Olympic gymnasts don’t. A fall on the flat could cause a serious head injury, never mind on stairs and serious head injuries are something that modern medicine still can’t fix.”

“I work in Major Trauma so I see it all too often. I just don’t understand why people don’t value their own head! You apparently don’t value your own sons head either. Stop trying to be cool and try being responsible instead.” – geordiehippo

And while many Redditors continued disagreeing with the OP, props were given to the daughter for her handling of the situation.

‘Our daughter is kind of a weirdo and to her credit thinks this is all pretty funny.’

“Actually, your daughter sound like the only sensible one among the four of you. She’s comfortable enough with herself to know wearing a safety device isn’t going to affect her socially in the long run and knows how to embrace change.”

“Frankly, I’m surprised at how level-headed she is when the three of y’all seem to be all equal parts stubborn. While your son needs a crash course in why his safety comes before his looks and your wife needs to chill about worrying that your daughter is going to look ‘special needs’, you are by far the biggest a**hole of the group for your blatant disregard for your sons physical safety and dragging your daughter into your argument with your wife.”

“YTA.”

“Also,”

‘”I will be known as the Helmet Queen” and started wearing it at practice’

“Your daughter is f’king hilarious.” – no_rxn

Written by Koh Mochizuki

Koh Mochizuki is a New York-based actor and writer. Originally hailing from Los Angeles, he received his B.A. in English literature and is fluent in Japanese. Disney parks are his passion, and endless cups of coffee are a necessity. Instagram: kohster Twitter: @kohster1