Some parents get to know their children’s friends so well they begin to feel as if they are part of the family.
And as a result, they want to be there for them, just as they want to be there for their own children.
Redditor Huge_Assistance_9047 and her husband wanted to help out the best friend of one of their sons, after his family faced multiple difficulties.
But upon discovering some hostile behavior this boy directed at their other son, they stopped helping him out.
Having second thoughts as to whether or not this was the correct course of action, the original poster (OP), took to the subReddit “Am I the A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for not paying for camp for my son’s friend?”
The OP first shared that her two sons have fairly different personalities.
“I have two sons David (16) and Shawn (14).”
“David has always been quiet, didn’t have a lot of friends, and is a perfectionist.”
“Shawn is more laid back, easy-going, and doesn’t let anything bother him.”
Upon learning that Shawn’s best friend was dealt a very hard blow, the OP expressed how she and her husband decided to help him out.
“Shawn’s best friend since they were little has been Frankie.”
“About seven years ago, Frankie’s father had a stroke.”
“He was left severely disabled and Frankie’s mother Beth is now the sole earner for the family.”
“With summer coming up, and knowing things were tough for the family, my husband and I arranged to pay to send Frankie to the same sleep away camp that we send our sons to.”
“Save for 2020 when camp did not happen we have covered Frankie’s summer camp every year.”
But a major development in David’s life also came with a revelation regarding Frankie and his past behavior.
“David recently came out to us as gay.”
“We of course accept and love our son, and he was very emotional.”
“He revealed that there had been a great deal of bullying at school and Shawn and Frankie had been among the instigators.”
“Frankie had asked David if we had figured out that he was a [F-Word] yet, made comments about him staring at other boys in the locker room, and told him he belonged in the girl’s room.”
“When I confronted Shawn, he told me it was just playing around, it wasn’t serious, and it was no big deal.”
“I told him that his brother took it seriously, it was a big deal, and it was unacceptable.”
“I’ve taken away his video games until the end of the school year, and grounded him for a month.”
“He has since apologized to his brother.”
Frankie, however, was less willing to apologize, nor did his mother find the matter to be an issue.
“I called Beth and told her what had happened.”
“She was very dismissive.”
“I told her that my son’s sexuality was not a punchline and out of respect for his friendship with Shawn to have Frankie leave David alone.”
“Beth replied that David made himself a target by being an overly sensitive tattletale.”
“I told her I didn’t want to hear that Frankie had said another bad word about David.”
“She said boys will be boys, they’ll have to work it out, and she’s not getting involved.”
Beth’s response wasn’t good enough for the OP, who decided more serious consequences were necessary.
“The first deposit for camp was due this week and I made the decision not to sponsor Frankie.”
“I called the camp office and explained that due to bullying on Frankie’s part I would not be paying for camp this year.”
“Beth does not know that I’ve been sponsoring camp since Frankie was 7 as she is only told that an anonymous donor covered camp for him.”
“The only people that know are me, my husband and the camp office.”
“When I told my husband what I had done, he understood why but felt badly that Frankie wouldn’t get to go and Shawn would be without his best friend at camp.”
“He pointed out that Beth would have likely said something if she knew we were paying for camp, but I feel like that’s missing the point.”
“He shouldn’t act that way because it’s wrong, not because we pay for camp.”
“There’s no way that Beth can afford camp and it’s likely going to affect her job to have Frankie at home during the day.”
“I feel I made the right choice to protect my son but still feel guilty.”
“Am I the a**hole?”
When it was suggested the OP address the behavior with Frankie directly, they replied:
“I don’t want to cross a line with him. Frankie spends a lot of time here but I am not his mother.”
“I am not able to parent him but I can ban him from my house to send a very clear message that I don’t appreciate his behavior.”
“Right now due to Shawn being grounded, Frankie is not coming over here. Once that’s over I plan to tell Shawn that Frankie is not welcome here after what he did to David.”
“I do agree that much of his behavior is the result of his home situation and stress of his father’s illness.”
“Frankie has not apologized and that’s fine. I don’t want him to apologize if he’s not sorry for what he did. I just want him to leave my son alone. His mother wouldn’t even agree to that.”
“The difference with my younger son is that I made sure he knew this was unacceptable. For his part, Shawn has shown remorse, recognizes how much he hurt his brother, and has demonstrated how sorry he is.”
“While I can’t discipline Frankie, I do have the right to control if he’s in my house, and if I pay for him to be around my kids for summer camp.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
The Reddit community agreed the OP was not the a**hole for rescinding her camp sponsorship.
Just about everyone commended the OP for sticking up for her son.
Beth’s dismissive behavior only further warranted the decision to stop paying for Frankie to go to camp.
“I think you have to put your son first – can you imagine how he would feel if he found out you continued to sponsor his bully to go to camp after you found out what he was doing?”
“And do you really want this kid to go to camp with your son?”
“His mother sounds as horrible as he is, I think it’s time to cut the free ride off.”- Affectionate_Ice_658.
“Frankie is a bully and his mother is enabling him by ‘not getting involved’.”
“It is not ‘boys being boys’.”
“He needs to be taught to treat others with respect and tolerance.”
“You have gone above and beyond for Frankie and are not required to enable your son’s bully by continuing to pay for summer camp for him.”
“His being at home for the summer is his mother’s problem, not yours.”- Ducky818.
“Beth needs to get involved.”
“Bullying is not ‘boys will be boys’.”
“Aside from that, you have no obligation to sponsor a bully at a summer camp.”
“For all you know, he’s been bullying people there since he was seven and this year, some kid will get to enjoy camp without being bullied.”
“Let Frankie meet Karma.”-DarkAthena.
“First, you have been so sweet to keep that donation private.”
“People who quietly donate without fanfare are my heroes.”
“And no, NTA for not wanting to do this because he is helping to bully your gay son.”
“Thanks so much for being a great Mom.”
“Wonderful parents seem to be too few and far in between.”
“David is so lucky to have you.”- SimplySam4210.
“But after what Shawn put his brother through, I wouldn’t be sending him either.”- Janetaz18.
“NTA – and frankly it sounds like Frankie is egging on Shawn.”
“Perhaps a summer without Frankie will do Shawn some good.”- jadekiara.
“She made her bed by dismissing you when you called to talk to her about it as adults.”
“She could have apologized and taught her son to be better.”
“Instead she blamed your son, the victim of homophobic bullying.”
“You were super classy to anonymously sponsor him all these years.”
“You don’t need to keep doing it after this.”- throwawaydate9876.
“As other poster’s have mentioned, it would be so beyond hurtful to David if he found out that he told you about Frankie’s bullying, he doesn’t get an apology or stop to the bullying and y’all were still paying for the kid’s camp?”
“You would actually be facilitating his bully’s access to him! “
“You are choosing to support your son instead of literally setting him up to be further harassed.”-RideTheWindForever.
“Why on earth should you continue to pay?”
“Because he’s such a nice boy?”
“Frankie’s an AH.”
“It’s no tragedy that he doesn’t get to go off to camp and enjoy being an AH some more.”
“His mom’s an AH too.”-Ok_Year5200.
“NTA and maybe some time apart would do Shawn and Frankie some good.”
“Obviously when they get together they make some poor choices and based on his mom’s attitude I doubt Frankie’s behavior will improve.”-SG131.
“You’re not obligated to support anyone’s camp fees.”
“Your kids are older and can make other friends – seems like maybe your son & Frankie are a toxic mix?”
“Also, what Beth does to manage Frankie’s time during the summer isn’t your concern.”
“Besides, he’s 14… he can’t handle himself during the day?”
“Most kids just play video games or, shocker, help around the house.”
“You were right to stand your ground and defend your kid.”
“Her dismissive remarks are equally unacceptable.”- geedunkgeek.
“Frankie has known your sons for a long time (from Frankie’s perspective).”
“He is old enough to be able to understand that calling your son that’s not his BFF slurs and the other things he’s been saying are not ok.”
“And you’re not obligated to pay for him to go to camp.”
“Beth should care about her son saying hateful things.”
“Her caring should not rely on someone else paying for an activity for her son to do in the summer.”
“Frankie’s 14, she can figure out how to deal with him being home all day in the summer.”-CemeteryDweller7719.
It’s almost sad to think that not being able to go to summer camp will be what it takes for Frankie to reflect on his actions.
But maybe if Frankie and Beth do eventually learn the OP and her family were responsible for sending him there, they might not take the importance of kindness for granted ever again.