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Parent Called Out For Letting Teen Daughter Ask Infertile SIL Why She Doesn’t Have Kids

Offended woman
Jose Luis Agudo Gonzalez / Getty Images

What happens when discretion and teenage curiosity come into contact with one another?

That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Laurathemonster when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.

She asked:

“AITA for not stopping my daughter asking her infertile aunt why she doesn’t have kids?”

OP got right to the situation at hand.

“My SIL (L) who is in her late 40s doesn’t have children.”

“I know bits from my MIL that they had fertility issues, and she was very upset about it.”

“I don’t know if she ‘authorized’ her mother to tell us anything.”

“She has never directly talked to me or my husband (her brother) about it.”

“When new family pregnancies are announced, it must hurt but she is generally congratulatory and warm.”

“We have 2 kids and my SIL is a great auntie to them.”

“Due to distance they don’t see each other often but when they do she spoils them, plays games with them and shows an interest in their lives.”

“They rightly adore her.”

Kids ask questions.

“My 13 f[emale] has recently started asking why Auntie L doesn’t have her own kids as she is so nice.”

“I’ve kept being vague, but she’s become persistent.”

“I don’t want to break a confidence. I say I don’t know.”

“She says she will ask her. I tell her not to. She might be upset.”

“She says – well she can just have some then.”

“We have a row. Rinse and repeat. My husband and I have discussed it and I wonder whether my daughter may have heard something.”

“L and her husband have just been in the area and came to dinner with us.”

“It was nice until my daughter asked her why she didn’t have kids.”

“I didn’t really know what to do but glared at my daughter and told her not to be rude.”

“L said something vague about things not always happening how you expect.”

“Daughter pushed it further and then said about me telling her but not to ask me because I’d be upset. Implying I’d said something to her.”

“L said something else vague.”

“When kids had gone, L made a comment about being a topic of conversation in our house.”

“I said that kids do this sometimes and apologized. L clearly thought I’d been gossiping about her (which I get from how my daughter’s comments were phrased) and was visibly upset.”

“They left soon after dinner.”

“I feel bad but am not sure what I should have done differently.”

OP was left to wonder,


Redditors weighed in by declaring:

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

Redditors decided: YTA

Explanations help.


“I don’t know why you wouldn’t just explain to your child that not all women have kids.”

“Some by choice and some through no choice of their own, and since we don’t always know if it might be an upsetting reason, we don’t put people on the spot and ask them casually.”

“To be clear-“

“You said you were being vague- so I have no idea if that means you had the above conversation or just said ‘I don’t know’ and tried to change the subject.”

“I’m basing my judgment on the latter.” ~ Cha_r_ley

“Exactly. How hard is it to explain that plenty of women who would be great parents choose not to have kids or have trouble having kids, and that is absolutely fine?”

“That would have made it clear that it’s perfectly normal, and ALSO shown the kid that having kids is not the be-all-end-all for all women.” ~ amytreau

The daughter didn’t get off without judgment of her own.

“You can have a chat with SIL and explain that you thought you had addressed the situation by attempting to maintain her privacy.”

“Let her know how much it upset you that these efforts were in vain.”

“Tell the consequences you have established with your daughter so your daughter learns you expect others.”

“Also, ask your daughter why she is so stuck on the topic.”

“You might find out things you need to know.”

“In fact, that’s where I would start.”

“Let SIL know that if this is idle curiosity, you will give her consequences.”

“Reassure SIL that she matters and her privacy and autonomy matter as well.”

“Kindness and understanding will be your friends as you talk to them both.” ~ qlt_ml_01


“You told your daughter not to bring up the topic because it may upset your aunt, and she did it anyway, then lied and said you already told her the reason why.”

“Sounds like your daughter was disrespectful to you and her aunt.”

“Do you plan on addressing that?” ~ DontAskMeChit

A difficult lesson? 

YES, it is ABSOLUTELY your fault.”

“Do you understand that some people who want to have children are unable to do so?”

“I assume that you must.”

“Do you also understand that, for those people, the subject of why they don’t have children can be very painful?”

“Again, I assume you must.”

“Do you understand that not all people want to have children?”

“And do you realize that those people can get mighty tired of other people pressing them on the subject?”

“Do you understand that, just in general, people should never, ever ask other people why they don’t have children, if they want or plan to have children, and/or when they intend to have children?”

“Do you understand that this is because doing any of those things is rude, presumptuous, and can be deeply painful for the person being asked?”

“So why on earth didn’t you say those things to your daughter??”

“Do you not understand that part of your job as a parent is to teach your children how to behave in the world?”

“This entails, among other things, teaching your children not to say or ask things that are wildly insensitive, incredibly rude, and potentially extremely hurtful.”

“So start doing your job and start teaching your daughter these things.”

“And note, please, that absolutely nothing I said above requires you to disclose any private information about anyone. So stop with that BS, please.” ~ GothicGingerbread

“YTA and so is your daughter.”

“This was an opportunity for you to teach your daughter that ‘nice people’ don’t have to have children and that asking people personal questions is rude.” ~ Old-Run-9523

“Oh hell no.”

“The job of a parent is to teach their kids not to be one of those socially inept adults who wander around asking people stupidly rude, insensitive questions.”

“Sure, little kids will ask rude things. But at 13?”

“Nope, she’s old enough to know better. And expressing that a question was hurtful or that you don’t want to be the subject of family gossip is not a ‘winge.'” ~ ScroochDown

“I was going to go with NTA, but you’re right.”

“At 13 she should be old enough to have a conversation about not asking anyone these personal questions.”

“It’s something she needs to learn, and this was a great opportunity to teach her.” ~ _Not__Sure

A direct answer is usually better than a vague one.


“Your teen came to you for advice. Instead of clearly outlining the situation and how rude it will be to ask directly, you permitted a gap of understanding to ferment in your teen’s brain.”

“Doesn’t your teen think the family who’s been around longer than she has realized the aunt has fertility issues?”

“On what planet is it ok for you to coyly suggest your teen should be able to ask as if this was a family secret that needed to be asked in public by someone brave enough to ask?”

“You should have been a parent.”

“Instead, you behaved like a HIPPA specialist afraid to be sued.” ~ PerkyLurkey

“I think the point is, you didn’t have to share the secret.”

“You should have told your daughter that it’s none of her business why ANYONE doesn’t have kids unless someone brings it up to her.”

“That asking a question like that to ANYONE is rude and may cause that person great pain. That’s not a secret.”

“But I don’t think it’s entirely your fault.”

“You told her not to ask. You can’t control her speech. You also did not gossip like it was assumed.”

“Your daughter was the a**hole, as many 13-year-olds are.” ~ hadmeatwoof

Not everyone was against OP.


“In retrospect, it’s easy to see how changing what you said could have had better results.”

“But you really couldn’t have foreseen that at the moment.”

“Hindsight is 20/20, which is what makes it easy for Redditors to judge you on this because they already know the outcome.”

‘“I don’t know’ was an honest and fair answer. You don’t know.”

“Your daughter doesn’t need to know. No one needs to know.” ~ Red_orange_indigo


“Teenagers are a-holes.”

“13 is old enough to know manners and discretion, and NOT everything is her business despite wanting to know.”

“I hope there are some repercussions to her for her blatant rudeness.” ~ Tizzery

The ability to see a teachable moment for what it is can be very difficult in the heat of the situation.

While it’s easy to look back and offer your opinions on the road traveled, it can be much harder to navigate that road yourself.

Sometimes, the best lesson is that we’re all just doing our best.

It never hurts to respect someone’s privacy on a difficult topic.

Written by Frank Geier

Frank Geier (pronouns he/him) is a nerd and father of three who recently moved to Alabama. He is an avid roleplayer and storyteller occasionally masquerading as a rational human.