Is honesty always the best policy?
Though it’s morally right to not lie, sometimes the truth really hurts.
And as one guy found out on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit, what he said didn’t just hurt his girlfriend’s feelings, but also their relationship, and maybe even how she views herself as a mother.
After seeing her reaction, Redditor newtothis8818 wondered if he took it too far.
So the Original Poster (OP) sought a second opinion from the subReddit.
“AITA for insulting my girlfriend as a parent?”
The OP just recently moved in with his girlfriend and her children.
“My girlfriend (32[female]) and I (29[male]) have been together close to 3 years.”
“She has 2 kids from a previous relationship. Liam (15) and Jason (8).”
“We dated for over a year before I actually started to spend time with the boys and it’s been a slow process becoming a regular part of their lives.”
“They both warmed up to me pretty quickly and I love spending time with them.”
“Their dad’s not around and the only thing he’s done is pay child support so my girlfriend has had full custody.”
“We moved in together 5 months ago. I’m getting more into that role of having more responsibility with them (taking them to school, helping with homework, buying them things they need, etc.).”
“But it’s still been a confusing process where caught between not wanting to push them into accepting me as someone they might not want me to be but still trying to be a responsible figure in their life.”
The OP soon noted what he thought to be an unusual pattern.
“Right after moving in, I noticed my girlfriend always puts Jason on Liam. If Jason needs help with something a lot of times it’s ‘go ask your brother.'”
“Liam always has to watch Jason or take him with him if he’s going to the park, so Jason isn’t alone at the house. Almost anytime Liam wants to go do something on his own, my girlfriend always has Jason tag along with him.”
“I’ve brought this up to her but her response is always the same: they’re brothers spending quality time together.”
“Liam came to me recently to complain about always having to spend all his time with Jason and hates being his full-time babysitter.”
“So I said I’d talk to his mom about it.”
When the OP confronted his girlfriend, she didn’t take it well.
“That same day Liam wanted to go to the skate park with a couple of friends. I stepped in this time when she told him Jason had to go too and said there’s nothing wrong with him staying here. We’re both gonna be home so there’s no reason for him to also go.”
“We didn’t want to argue in front of Liam so she let him go alone in the end. However, we did once he was gone.”
“And I brought up how she shouldn’t always pawn off Jason to Liam when he should be able to have his own fun too rather than be a babysitter all the time.”
“So that’s where she got really mad for criticizing her as a parent and acting like I know what’s best for her kids.”
“I brought up how Liam has been feeling, but she still thinks I was too judgmental when I don’t know how hard it is to raise two kids on my own.”
“She’s still not happy about it at so I’m not sure if I went about this all wrong.”
“Was I an a**hole for insulting her parenting?”
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 pointed out the OP never specifically questioned her “parenting skills.”
“NTA. you never insinuated anything about her parenting skills, and it’s not a 15-year-old’s job to raise an 8-year-old. Both children will end up resenting her, the older one for being forced to constantly watch the younger, and the younger for not getting his mother’s attention.” – Interesting_Onion_44
“NTA. I agree that you were offering your insights based on Liam’s communication with you. It was no criticism of her parenting but rather pointing out something to her that she definitely isn’t seeing because that is how her dynamic is set up. But it is taking unfair advantage of Liam, and it isn’t ‘quality time’ if Liam isn’t able to enjoy himself.” – emherrera1960
“Yep. She drew those conclusions on her own, and is therefore the only one who is at fault. OP is NTA and should 100% keep advocating for the kids to having fun separately from each other” – mostly_mild
Others wondered how much the OP’s girlfriend knows about “raising two kids on her own.”
“‘she still thinks I was too judgmental when I don’t know how hard it is to raise two kids on my own.'”
“Ha! Neither does she! She raised one kid on her own, and now she’s having that kid raise kid #2!”
“NTA – you honestly communicated to her what her own son didn’t feel comfortable opening up to her about. If she felt criticized, well…maybe that’s how she should be feeling about parentifying her kid, and justifying it to herself and everyone as ‘brotherly bonding.'” – Kathrynlena
“It’s a valid criticism of her parenting. I can’t even think of a reason why she’d try to force it? Especially when OP and she are there to watch the 8-year-old! And it’s not like an 8-year-old can’t entertain themselves for the most part. Why must the 8-year-old go with Liam?” – conditionalinterest
“How hard it is for her to raise kids? She’s isn’t raising them. Her oldest has been put in the role of parent. What she is doing is parentification and it is abuse. She isn’t alone, she has OP for one and she chose to have kids so it’s her responsibility to raise them. She needs to get off her butt and be a parent.” – WeeklyConversation8
Some also suggested the OP could give his girlfriend the parenting support she clearly needs.
“I don’t think OP is the AH, but this could be an opportunity to talk to her about he can support her and the boys.”
“If she has been forcing the boys to spend time together because she is overwhelmed and needs a break, can OP help her out somehow? Spend quality time with the younger one while the older one does his own thing?”
“OP is in a tough spot because they are not his kids, but he is an adult in their lives who can help them.” – Able_Secretary_6835
“I agree. This is the time for OP to remind GF that it isn’t just her anymore and that when Liam goes off to do something, that would be a great opportunity for OP, GF and Jason or just Jason and OP to do something (and get out of GF’s hair.)”
“Even if it’s just run errands or work in the yard.”
“Basically, this is an opportunity for OP to say- let me take some of the pressure off you. I can’t parent for you- but I can be an extra person. If you’re comfortable with that.” – rak1882
“NTA. It doesn’t matter that it’s hard. She needs to stop testing Liam as a second parent.”
“Helping out occasionally is one thing, but he should be able to have a life that doesn’t include his little brother. He should be able to hang with his friends and go out on a date with his girlfriend without an 8-year-old tagging along.”
“Continue sticking up for him, and help him learn how to say no when she tries to pawn him off on him.”
“As in, when she says the little brother can go to, he needs to respond with ‘Sorry, it’s just the guys today. Maybe a different time.’ Yes, I recognize that it likely won’t go over well and he may get in trouble, but learning to set boundaries is an important life skill.” – Ok-Mode-2038
It’s incredibly difficult to raise multiple children, and sometimes moms need help.
But the subReddit agreed with the OP on this one, stating that the mom needed to think of a new way to take care of her 8-year-old than to put the pressure on her teen.