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Woman Loses It After Son Refuses To Participate In ‘Mother-Son Dance’ During Graduation Formal

Dressed up middle-aged woman pouting
izusek/Getty Images

After raising them from the time they are born, feeling their hurts, and celebrating their wins, it’s no wonder that parents would have an incomparable bond with their children.

But sometimes parents hold on too tightly, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor AITAdancemom was clearly having a hard time when her son was approaching his high school graduation, and she was looking forward to sharing a mother-son dance with him in celebration.

But when he refused to dance with her, the Original Poster (OP) took it personally.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for making a scene when my son refused to dance with me?”

The OP was looking forward to her son’s formal dance and graduation.

“This all started when my son Ben graduated high school. There was a formal dance. I was very excited about the mother-son dance.”

“Every time I brought it up, Ben would say he wasn’t going to dance. I didn’t take him seriously. I thought he was just being shy.”

“When we got to the formal, everything was beautiful. But when it came time for the formal dances, he was nowhere to be seen.”

“I approached my older daughter, Alice, and my husband, who I could see were talking and laughing.”

“I asked if they’d seen Ben, and they laughed and said he was going to go hide so he didn’t have to dance.”

The OP decided to couldn’t take part in the rest of the evening.

“I was absolutely heartbroken. My son was literally hiding from me!”

“I stood in the corner during the mother-son dance, watching all his friends dance with their moms.”

“I couldn’t take it, so I told my husband and daughter that I was walking home.”

This led to an argument between the OP and her husband.

“When they got home, Ben walked right past me and went to his room to get ready for the after-party. My daughter hugged me and went to get ready, because she was driving Ben to the party.”

“After our children left, my husband and I had an argument about what happened. He said he was appalled at my behavior, and that I was acting like a child.”

“I said that the least Ben could have done was dance with his mother.”

“He said that today was supposed to be about him and his accomplishment, not me.”

“But in my opinion, today should have also been about celebrating the people who helped him get to where he is now.”

“Things got quite heated, and before going inside, my husband said that he wasn’t going to force his son to do something he didn’t want to do on his day.”

The OP confided in her daughter.

“I was taken aback by this, so I just stayed on the porch trying not to cry. I thought my husband would support me.”

“Later, my daughter returns home and sees me crying. She gives me a hug and gave me a chocolate bar to try to cheer me up. If no one else, my daughter would be on my side.”

“She danced with me at her graduation. She danced with her father. She understood how important this day was for me.”

“I asked if she was on my side. She said something along the lines of, ‘I know you’re upset, but I don’t know what you expected from him.'”

“It took a few days before we really spoke to each other again, and after a few weeks, everything went back to normal.”

But the issue didn’t end with the high school dance.

“Coming back to the present, my daughter recently got engaged. We were talking about it on a family FaceTime, and the topic of when Ben will get married came up.”

“He said he was never going to get married because he doesn’t want to deal with another round of dance drama.”

“When I asked him to clarify, he said that he was obviously referring to his graduation.”

“I was appalled at this attack. He won’t get married because of me?”

“I won’t lie, I am upset that he still does not want to dance with me, even at his own wedding.”

“Now my husband is mad at me, and my son refuses to answer my calls or texts.”

“AITA for making a scene and starting an argument because my son never wants to dance with me?”

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 said the OP needed to respect her children’s boundaries.

“YTA. when your child said,’ I don’t want to dance,’ that should have been the end of the story. It sounds like you walk over his boundaries often and that was one of the first times he spoke up to you about it.” – Leah-theRed

“If I had a child and they felt they had to hide from me, I would be so upset with myself. I’d get therapy as soon as possible.”

“Also, the daughter anticipating her mom being upset and bringing her chocolate is so sad too.”

“Your kids shouldn’t have to be your therapist or manage their parents’ emotions. This sounds insane to me and I think OP is extremely lucky the kids still talk to her.” – ClaireBee

“My husband’s mom used to force him to hug people and we’ve had conversations about how his dislike (and toleration) of physical affection may very well stem from that.”

“Needless to say, consent with physical affection is definitely a thing in our household, and it should be in the OP’s, too.” – Ok_Web5234

“I’m like OP’s kid as far as dancing goes. A lot of the people who ruined dancing for me are my favorite people in the world, but once the music comes on they turn into pushy a**holes.”

“So I hide from them and leave weddings early to avoid their shit, but I also love them very much. This actually adds a layer of ‘disappointing people who love me’ to my already burning hatred of dancing in public. It’s complex. I feel for the OP’s son.” – harrypottermcgee

“‘I was taken aback by this, so I just stayed on the porch trying not to cry. I thought my husband would support me.'”

“‘If no one else, my daughter would be on my side.'”

“‘I asked if she was on my side.'”

“‘I was appalled at this attack.'”

“YTA. This is not a healthy response to your kid setting a boundary that disappointed you.”

“Way to show your kid that consent is irrelevant to you. Throw a tantrum because he has set physical boundaries? Poor kid. YTA majorly.” – Vinylcrash

Others agreed and found the OP to be incredibly entitled.

“A sad possibility is that he maybe would have wanted to dance with someone at his graduation, but had to give up his chance and hide because of his overbearing and entitled mother.” – Pitiful_Brief_6424

“The fact that he had to physically hide is very telling of her personality.” – lipslikemorphinee

“I think the dad’s reaction says a lot, as he got angry and fought with OP, telling her it wasn’t all about her.”

“It sounds like he too was fed up with her self-involvement and just wanted the kids to have a day about themselves.”

“The fact he didn’t comfort his wife or offer to dance with her instead but instead was angry on their son’s behalf tells me this is a recurring theme in their house.” – Rasmussen789

“This is the classic narcissist family setup, in my opinion. The daughter is the peacemaker fawning over her, the son is the black sheep for daring to be his own person and not give in to every whim of the narcissist, and it sounds like OP’s husband is usually an enabler because she was so shocked he didn’t back her up.”

“The son anticipated what would happen to the point that he hid, so I’m guessing she’s been doing stuff like this their whole lives.” – JudasDuggar

“Notice how the daughter seemed really attuned to the mom’s emotions? I have a feeling that this is the result of years of dramatic, self-centered behavior.”

“I’ve been on both the son’s and the daughter’s side, with a mother that overreacts to me trying to set boundaries and at the same time expects me to read her mind and be her emotional support.”

“My mom and I had an awful relationship because of it until I was well into adulthood. Unfortunately just after we had reconciled and things were finally good between us, she was diagnosed with aggressive, terminal cancer and I lost her just a few months later.”

“I hope that the mom can really reflect on this. Don’t lose your children to your ego; you never know when it’s going to be too late.”

“Adding YTA for judgment.” – MyOwnGuitarHero

After receiving feedback, the OP shared a brief update.

“Okay, it appears as though the response is pretty unanimous, and I have a lot of thinking to do.”

The subReddit was appalled at the way the OP had handled this situation, the future she was creating for herself with her son’s potentially non-existent wedding, and likely how she’d been treating her family all along.

Hopefully, the OP was serious and will do the thinking she felt she needed to do.

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.