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Dad refuses to punish teen son for calling sister 'disgusting,' wife disagrees.

Dad refuses to punish teen son for calling sister 'disgusting,' wife disagrees.


Raising children is full of surprises as every day presents a unique challenge you never thought you'd ever have to explain...

So, when a conflicted dad decided to consult the moral compass of the internet otherwise known as Reddit's 'Am I the As*hole' about his son's clueless comment toward his sister, people were quick to help deem a verdict.

AITA (Am I the As*hole) for not scolding my son when he was disgusted by my daughter's period?

My son and daughter (both in early teens) have a reasonably good relationship with each other (and me, I hope). A few days back, J had her period and accidentally stained her bedsheets. She was quite embarrassed.

Seeing the dirty sheets in the wash early (we normally change and wash all our sheets together), K was curious, and when I explained it to him, he said loudly (and in J's hearing) 'oh my god, that's really disgusting.' J hid in her room for the next few hours, and it was obvious at dinner she'd been crying.

I took some time to speak with each of my children alone. With J, I emphasized that periods were natural and, especially in early puberty, your flow can be pretty inconsistent. It was mostly just helping her come to the realisation that it wasn't 'her fault.'

With K, after some uncomfortable conversation, I was given to know that he believed that it was possible to 'hold in' periods and therefore that she was really doing it for attention. I gently but firmly corrected his misapprehensions and explained how bad he made his sister feel for something that was totally out of her control.

I felt overall that the message had been delivered and absorbed, because he was quite down for a while, and I suspect (but didn't verify) that he apologized to her later, because they seemed fine after.

When my wife got back (she was away for a few days), she was mad and felt that I should have been much harsher with K so that he would 'learn the consequences of his actions,' and forced him to apologize immediately.

My wife thinks that he should be punished regardless, because his actions directly hurt his sister, who is definitely an innocent party. On the other hand, I don't think yelling at anyone solves any problems, and I felt it wasn't fair to blame my son for the deficiencies of the sex education curriculum, since he acted out of ignorance and not a willful lack of empathy. AITA?

If his son thought periods could be 'held in,' why would tampons and pads exist? Did he think people were just willingly free-bleeding when periods could be controlled in the same way urine can?

Bullying your sister aside, this dad should be far more concerned with his son's overall critical thinking skills. Clearly this boy has both an empathy issue and a common sense problem and his mom is correct to demand a more serious analysis on the subject.

Here's what the jury of internet strangers had to say...

Hexaethylene said:

NTA (Not the As*hole) for how you handled it, but I think the fact your son was under the impression girls can hold in their periods should be a big red flag to both you and your wife that you need to do some real work with regards to educating all your children about the realities of sexual health.

Your boys need to know how girls bodies work. Your girls need the information so they can stand up to boys that don't know, because unfortunately your son won't be the last person to react to your daughter's natural bodily functions this way.

CaroSCP said:

Deficiencies of sex education- um, you're the parent. YTA (You're the As*hole).

tatasz said:

YTA. Your son thought she could hold it but didn't. So basically, in his head, it was an accident similar to a person peeing or pooping themselves. Now, when something like that happens and you notice, the polite reaction ranges from ignoring (because the person is probably already embarrassed), to offering help. You don't harass the person saying it's gross out loud in front of everybody.

So for me, even under the assumption your son had about period, his behaviour was not ok for a teenager (a 10+ should know better) and deserved a punishment. Also, as part of the parenting, you should have made sure he apologized, not just assed it because they are ok now.

embopbopbopdoowop said:

YTA. Well handled with the conversation and corrections, but he did need to be told off and an apology was necessary, not ‘I suspect (but didn’t verify) that he apologized to her later’. Also, his justification isn’t good enough. If she’d had an accident in bed, it still wouldn’t been an inappropriate response.

So, there you have it!

While the opinions were slightly mixed here, most people agreed that this dad was in the wrong and his wife is completely correct. Regardless, this family needs to spend a beautifully awkward day discussing how bodies work. Good luck, everyone!

Sources: Reddit
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