One subject that some people seem to be endlessly incensed about is how to parent.
Even if their child is in a completely different age group than someone else’s, they still feel the need to comment on the other person’s parenting, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor TeensHavePimples was thoroughly fed up with their sister-in-law’s constant barrage of comments about their parenting, especially since she felt she was more qualified to parent as a stay-at-home mom.
But when the sister-in-law directed her attention to her teen nephew, the Original Poster (OP) knew it was time to put a stop to the comments.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my Sister-in-Law (SIL) to fu*k herself?”
The OP’s sister-in-law embarrassed their son at a family dinner.
“My husband and I were at my sister-in-law’s (SIL’s) and brother-in-law’s (BIL’s) house with our 17-year-old son, who we’ll call Adam.”
“My mother-in-law (MIL), father-in-law (FIL), and the nieces and nephew were also there.”
“We were all kind of hanging out when my SIL said, ‘Dinner is almost ready. Kids, wash your hands, and Adam, wash your face too.'”
“My son said, ‘What’s that supposed to mean?’ He definitely sounded annoyed, but he didn’t get loud with her or anything.”
“SIL said, ‘You need to wash your face. You’re all oily. It’s just manners.'”
“I looked at my son, it wasn’t really that oily, to be honest. Obviously, I’m not objective, but that’s my opinion. Yes, he’s currently experiencing an acne breakout, but that’s normal for his age. He gets them 2-3 times a year.”
The OP spoke up for their son.
“I told my SIL that my son is 17 and can manage his own hygiene and that oily skin is a part of puberty.”
“She started arguing with me, and I got annoyed. I could see my son was getting upset.”
“So I stood up and said, ‘Y’know what, I’m not really in the mood for a full dinner. I think I’ll head home.'”
“My son, my husband, and I got up to go.”
“SiL said I was raising a rude and dirty child, so I told her to go f**k herself on the way out the door.”
The family was divided over how the situation was handled.
“Obviously, she’s p**sed.”
“And my husband said I ceded the moral high ground with my parting remark.”
“I was just so mad. Who does she think she is?”
“I’m also biased, but I find her quite rude generally.”
“She’s a SAHM (Stay-at-Home Mom) to three kids and even though her oldest is five years younger than my kid, she often lectures me about parenting. Her argument is that because she has three kids to my one, and because I work, she actually has more ‘experience hours’ than me, which I think is ridiculous.”
“I tolerate her (usually) but don’t like her.”
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 empathized with their own stories of tough parenting relatives.
“I feel you, OP. I had an in-law like that. We were both SAHMs. Her kids were a good 5 years younger than mine, but she had all the answers.”
“And yes, she got used to hearing, ‘Go f**k yourself’ as my regular response.”
“Your sister-in-law is an idiot. I had 4, and my SIL had 3. But she swore she knew more than I did because she read all the latest fad parenting books.”
“We used to call her the bathroom expert.” – 5footfilly
“Unfortunately, I know the feeling. My wife’s cousin is a SAHM with two kids in grade school, and she spews unsolicited, and dubious advice at my wife.”
“Her cousin can’t even perform basic first aid. You’d think she’d have the sense to refrain from giving medical advice to the pediatrician (my wife). We have two high schoolers, so it’s not an experience thing, either.” – WhoSc3w3dDaP00ch
“None of her business. I get you being annoyed. I let my kids have more freedom in some areas of their lives than a lot of their friends. There were parents who thought that was horrible.”
“My kids are now 37 – 44. They all grew up to be great adults, sometimes they’re jerks (mostly to each other or to me), but everyone has their jerk moments.”
“I fully believe in giving kids more freedoms as they get older and show more responsibility. Maybe SIL wasn’t responsible enough at 17 to be trusted with a car. She definitely isn’t smart enough or considerate enough to refrain from making a scene about your son’s face.”
“That’s something she should talk to you about. As in: is he using good skincare? Then, accept your answer as final.”
“By the way, when I complain about getting zits at 65, my youngest daughter (licensed cosmetologist) tells me it’s good. It means I have enough oil in my system to keep my skin looking young! Most of my dad’s side of the family is like that. My cousin is 75 and I doubt that anyone who doesn’t know her age would guess that.”
“I’m glad you had your son’s back. That’s really important.” – mjw217
“Ugh. My uncle tried that with my dad (who is the oldest and I’m the oldest of me and my cousins)…”
“…never mind that my uncle was divorced and barely had custody and my parents had me full time.”
“Also, as someone with horrible acne, bless you. My father would have lost his sh*t (he and his brothers suffered horrible cystic acne and he hoped my being a woman would make it bypass me… it did not). He made it clear early on that he was the only one who could talk about my acne problems with me (or my mom, but she deferred to him since she never had major acne problems).”
“Finally, the woman is nuts because over-cleansing is one of the worst things you can do.” – Elaan21
“Rule number one in parenting, do not criticize somebody else’s parenting, and definitely do not even insult the child. That was awful behavior.”
“I’ve seen many parents doing things I think are wrong but I never say anything. It’s none of my business.”
“A non-biological family of a step cousin was giving her baby Mountain Dew in her baby bottle. I just asked if she liked apple juice. She said, ‘I don’t know. She’s never tried it.’ I did not say anything because she didn’t ask.”
“When my daughter was a baby and I was out shopping with her, I stopped to get a coffee drink. I heard someone yell, ‘How dare you give coffee to a baby!’ I didn’t. It was a tiny taste of the whipped cream.” – INFJPersonality-52
Others pointed out the SIL was in for a rude awakening when her kids became teens.
“NTA, and I can’t wait until SIL’s kids become teenagers.” – PrscheWdow
“If she keeps on like this she’ll end up alienating her own kids someday. Don’t be surprised when they come to you to vent about their over-bearing mother.” – 5footfilly
“Oh man, wait until she tries keeping her kids at home 100% of the time when they are teens.”
“You can sit back, laugh, and watch the fire burn.” – Liathano_Fire
“Why did she single him out? She needed something to try to dominate or to tell her kids later why she’s awesome.”
“I’m a 5-time aunty & now 3-time Granty (great aunt). Kids can get smelly after 8 or 9 & before full-on puberty.”
“I would just tell all the kids to wash their hands: wrists and up to the elbow AND faces. If it was really about hygiene.”
“But it’s not. ‘Maybe YOU need hygiene SIL!’ would be a slightly less fu*k-you comeback but equally satisfying if said in ‘Napolean Dynamite’ voice.”
“Ooh, and also take her aside next time when you arrive and tell her, ‘Hey, pro tip you may not know because you’re not there yet. Just tell everyone to wash everything so you don’t single anyone out.'”
“Not because it will help but because you can beat her to the petty punch before she ever gets started.” – No_Appointment_7232
“Your SIL is not that bright. She doesn’t seem to have any idea that at each age a child is basically preparing you for their next age. She has no idea what it takes for a full-on teenager and it shows.”
“OP, you’re NTA. And telling her to fu*k off showed your son you’d go to battle for him. Screw the moral high ground.” – Ike_the_Spike
Though some of the subReddit could think of more mild responses they might have given to the sister-in-law, they otherwise sided with the OP and applauded them for standing up for their son.
What the sister-in-law did was thoughtless and inconsiderate of her nephew’s feelings. If she was purely worried about hygiene and preparing for the dinner table, as one Redditor pointed out, she should have just told all of the kids to wash their hands and faces to avoid any form of embarrassment or bullying.