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Teen Takes Drastic Measures After Parents Refuse To Believe Her Room Is Infested With Cockroaches


It’s not necessarily a person’s fault when they realize they have a bug infestation. It can happen for a variety of reasons that don’t really involve the homeowner.

But it is the homeowner’s responsibility to rectify the situation, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

As Redditor ViViGazelle realized, homeowners who do not take corrective measures can create more problems for themselves, like a ruined house or a family member with new or worsening allergies.

When her parents refused to listen to her concerns, the Original Poster (OP) created a bit of a scene.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for putting over a hundred cockroaches in my parents’ bed?”

The OP was diagnosed with asthma in her teens.

“I’m 16 (female), so I live with my parents. I started having asthma symptoms a couple of years ago but only when I was trying to sleep, I would be unable to breathe.”

“I’ve been brought to all sorts of specialists and put on various allergy drugs because the best they could tell us was that it must be an allergy.”

The OP realized what the problem likely was. 

“Around the same time that started, I began seeing an occasional cockroach in my room. I would squish it and throw it out.”

“Then the air coming from my vents started smelling musty. And I would see more and more cockroaches.”

“I told my parents all of this and they are convinced there’s not a cockroach problem.”

“I’ve been seeing about 15-20 cockroaches in my room (any time of day/night) every day for months.”

“My parents keep telling me that I’m being dramatic, it’s just an occasional cockroach.”

“I’ve done some research and supposedly cockroaches can cause respiratory problems.”

“My parents refuse to call a bug exterminator person.”

The OP was over the infestation.

“I’m really tired of living with these things, I can hear them crawling in the walls of my room.”

“They’re in my bed, I feel them crawl on me while I’m trying to go to sleep.”

“And no, I don’t eat in my room. I used to have a bowl of soup in my room if I was sick at home, but I stopped because of the cockroaches since I don’t want to attract them.”

“I started taking a photo of every bug I killed and sending the picture to my parents. So again, 15-20 pictures a day.”

“They got p**sed that I’m bothering them at work and that I’m sending a photo of the same dead cockroach over and over.”

“Like literally they were going to ground me over winter break if kept doing it.”

“So instead over this past week, I’ve been keeping the dead ones in a bag marked with the date and then the number of cockroaches it was.”

“There were 118 of them over 7 days.”

“I dumped all the little bags on my parents’ bed (so the actual dead cockroaches didn’t touch their bed, just the bags).”

Her parents did not appreciate her demonstration.

“My parents are LIVID. They’re arguing about what to do about me, like I can hear them and in the meantime, I’ve been sent to my room.”

“I just really don’t know how to get across how uncomfortable I am constantly.”

“These things are ALIVE when they’re in my bed.”

“I really don’t know how else to make them see this is a problem, but this might have been the nuclear option, and I could have just shown them the bags in my room.”


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 parents were actively neglecting the OP.

“OP, you’re being neglected, abused, or both. I couldn’t imagine letting my son sleep in, a room with ONE cockroach let alone HUNDREDS of them!”

“And the fact that this has been going on for YEARS and has actually caused your health to decline?”

“Their inaction is f**king vile and they need a wake-up call. NTA and hopefully your parents start actually acting like parents.” – DaburaDemonQueen

“Well, this just gave me nightmares, thanks OP.”

“Also, I know this is a very seriously f**ked up situation but your response is also really funny as well as justified. You’re meticulous and I admire it.”

“I would be freaking screaming over a few cockroaches regularly in my room, let alone my bed, let alone if it caused me asthma, and the sound of my cockroach destruction activities would not be allowing anyone else to sleep, for sure.”

“So your reaction is actually quite measured, in the circumstances.”

“Seriously though, your parents are literally legally obligated to make sure you have sanitary living conditions and this is not it.”

“If this went to something like child protective services, they’d be in deep s**t. I don’t know what’s wrong with them to be like this, but it’s… seriously wrong. And illegal?” – Left-Car6520

“OP, I grew up in a house full of roaches and mice, and my dad and I have talked about how ‘lucky’ my sisters and I were that authorities didn’t get involved.”

“It would have been luckier if they did. NTA and take care of yourself because you deserve it.” – adotham430

Others were appalled by the parents’ priorities.

“NTA!! They’re arguing about what to do about YOU and not about what to do about the cockroaches in their home that are potentially causing health issues???”

“What the actual h**l. Don’t stand down. Can you stay with another family member for a while?”

“That would also tell if you don’t experience breathing issues when not in your room.” – petersenvcxew

“OP, you can call child protection yourself. They absolutely listen to reports from children describing abuse or neglect they have experienced.”

“Definitely try to get a trusted teacher to notify CPS too, but you are also allowed to make that call.”

“Also, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your symptoms getting worse and show them the photos. Explain how your parents are punishing you for bringing this up and that you would like the doctor to contact CPS” – Raise-The-Gates

“It’s time to get a trusted adult involved.”

“Cockroaches can be harmful to your health. They’re especially bad for asthma. OP, you don’t want to get sick just because of your parents’ refusal to get an exterminator.” – GoodGirlsGrace

“They do need to see that it’s a problem, yes. The CPS reference is to make it clear how much of a problem it is, and that’s it’s really, objectively unacceptable.”

“The problem is they’re shouting about ‘what to do about you’, and still not doing anything about the cockroaches, so it doesn’t seem like they’re addressing the problem.”

“You don’t have to get sick for your dad’s paranoia and if they still refuse to budge even now, you’re going to have to take it to someone else.”

“You don’t have to protect them from trouble when they are insisting on doing the thing that would (rightfully) get them in trouble, which is also harming you. Maybe they deserve to get in trouble.” – Left-Car6520

After receiving feedback, the OP shared what her parents will do next. 

“My parents are going to get some stuff and traps for my room and the bathroom to kill the cockroaches.”

“They also said I should use the bathroom on the other end of the house to take showers so it’s not humid in my bathroom.”

“I’m not completely grounded but I’m not allowed to go to my friend’s house over break, and I have increased chores for putting the bags on their bed, because they said I could have just told them there’s a lot of cockroaches, even though I’ve been doing that.”

“They’re disappointed in me for overreacting, so that’s why I have to stay home over break.”

“All of my family lives in another state and they never come here and we’re rarely go there.”

“I don’t really want to tell anyone because I’m scared for my parents because they’re otherwise good parents.”

“I haven’t even really told my friend that much about the cockroaches because I know she would think it’s really gross.”

“But they’re getting stuff to kill them now so they are at least doing something now.”

Then the OP shared an update that suggested progress was being made.

“They sat me down to ‘talk about the issue further.’ I told my dad about the Advion gel and he’s getting that.”

“He’s also going to move the compost pile away from my wall and the AC thing to the far end of the yard and try and get the cockroaches out of the compost or otherwise get rid of the compost.”

“He said that we will try this for a month and see how it goes.”

“My mom said after talking they decided I’m un-semi-grounded and I can go to my friend’s house to hang out over break, but that I need to think about how I ‘escalate situations’ and I should have talked to them instead.”

“Then we all hugged and I asked my dad to stay so I could talk to him.”

“I told him about how it’s upsetting to me that we can’t call an exterminator because they would know how to fix the cockroaches, and that it’s also upsetting because I don’t want him to be like grandma and also great-grandma.”

“I also brought up the asthma issues and that it’s actually hurting me physically too.”

“I asked him to get help, because they even have, like, online therapists now so he doesn’t even have to leave the house because he hates that and with the pandemic, he’s basically not left in over a year.”

“He seemed to be really upset, like sad upset, not mad at me, and just said that it shouldn’t be my problem to worry about him and he’ll ‘take care of it.'”

“So I don’t know how that really went but that’s what’s happening now.”

While the subReddit could agree the OP did not do anything wrong by showing her parents the cockroaches, they also agreed it never should have reached the point where the OP had to.

Fortunately for the family, it seems they’re now headed in the right direction, with their family and with pest control.

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