Parenting can be hard, especially when kids start growing up and being more independent.
Some parents struggle with letting go of control of their kids and find themselves fighting with them more frequently.
One dad pointed out this problem in his own home in the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit when his wife and son disagreed.
Redditor Dstfaitag found himself angering his wife after siding with their son.
But after seeing her reaction, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if he was wrong for saying anything:
“AITA for snapping at my wife about her parenting?”
The OP and his wife disagreed about their son’s latest decision.
“Me (47[Male]) and my wife (52[Female]) have 16-year-old son. My wife is a very… overprotective mom.”
“This particular incident happened 2 days ago. Our son got home with a pink hair dye, and when my wife asked what that was about, he said he was going to dyes his hair pink, of course that was followed up by 3-hour fight.”
“My wife’s reasoning is that he’ll ruin his hair color (naturally he has really light, almost white hair and it’s pretty long). I think it’s fine, it’s hair, it’ll grow again it’s not gonna run anywhere.”
The argument escalated.
“They argued for hours and our son ended up locking himself in his room.”
“This is not the first time something like this has happened and I’m honestly just as tired as my son is, he has to argue with my wife about everything.”
“I mean if a 16-year-old wants to wear some ripped shirt and spiky necklace, he shouldn’t have to fight with her mom about it. Everyone wore dumb s**t like that in their teenage years.”
His wife didn’t like the OP’s reaction.
“When I stand up for him my wife berates us both and acts like I’m against her. I’ve talked to her multiple times calmly but it doesn’t seem to work.”
“So after they finished fighting I told her she was just acting ridiculous now and it was getting to the point that her own son doesn’t want to talk to her anymore.”
“I told her that I’m his parent too and if she has a say in his decisions, I have as much of a say.”
“She got extremely upset and started crying about how I should always stick up for my wife.”
Fellow Redditors wrote in anonymously, rating the OP’s reaction on the following scale:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some Redditors pointed out there’s a big difference between disagreements and accountability.
“My husband and I are a team, but I call him out (privately) when I think he’s overreacting, and I fully expect the same of him if I am. I don’t know how many occasions I’ve asked him if he thought I was handling a situation correctly.”
“Op, NTA” – adisplacedcanadian
“Right. You figure it out together and handle it together.”
“I have to wonder why the mom/wife is fighting the kids so hard on every little thing. Where is that coming from?” – zootnotdingo
“For that to be true they would have to be a united front and on the same page. The wife here just reacts and starts a fight seemingly without talking to her husband and then expects him to back her up after she already nuked the whole situation.” – freedomofnow
“It also shows that OP has been so beaten down by his wife’s behavior that he cannot openly disagree with her. That is troubling.”
“OP, NTA, but you need to show your son that you think she is being unreasonable. He needs to know that she is not a dictator. You have allowed him to grow up afraid of her. I grew up like that. I had good reason to be afraid, but no one ever, EVER, had my back.” – flwrchild5061
A few pointed out the mom probably reacted this way out of fear of losing her son.
“Control issues and/or having an image in her head of how her child should be. The fact that her child is a person independent of that view is irrelevant to her and is causing her to lash out. Personal experience.” – drakeotom
“Perhaps a fear of them growing up? They used to be her little ‘dress up doll’, who always did what she wanted – and now they have their own opinion. I could see that spooking someone with a strong need for control “ – kitsch_kath
“Because the son is growing up and she’s losing control – and I’m saying control in the sense of, he’s her little boy, he does what she says, etc. But now he’s becoming his own person, with his own thoughts, feelings, making his own decisions, and it’s frightening her. She’s ‘losing’ him.”
“What she forgets is, she’s gaining a young man.”
“While I feel sorry for her on one level, OP is awesome for keeping the big picture in mind. It’s only hair, it will grow is exactly right. Son is trying on personas, to see what fits, see who he is.” – avesthasnosleeves
Others agreed with the OP.
It’s just hair!
“We’re in a forking pandemic! Everybody’s dying their hair pink!”
“(LOL about ruining his hair too. Maybe wife thinks it won’t grow back?)” – piano_dust
“all of this and also pink hair color is temporary. it will wash out, it will not change his hair at all (aside from tinting it pink ofc) but even permanent color won’t affect your hair to the point of changing the natural color that grows from your scalp??”
“like him dying his hair is completely a non-issue and she seems to just be a control freak” – yetisocks
“My then 3-year-old asked if she could have blue hair like my partner. I was worried at first and then remembered that it’s just f**king hair and a conditioner based blue dye wouldn’t be a problem on her blonde hair.”
“Now she has a magenta bob with a cool undercut and streaks of leftover purple and blue dye that just never faded out. She loves her hair, loves the compliments she gets for it, and it’s just hair.” – fillmewithd**dos
“plus… he’s old enough to decide what to do with his body, at least in this way. Nothing the mother is protesting is permanent, it’s not like he’s trying to tattoo his face or something.”
“I grew up with a mother who was insanely controlling about hair and it was insane. It’s such a silly thing in the long run and yet it ended up creating a huge amount of resentment because it was MY hair, MY body, and I wasn’t allowed a single say in how it looked.” – littlegreenapples
There’s a fine line between co-parenting and completely disregarding a kid’s feelings. But parents and children equally deserve respect, even when there are disagreements.