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'My wife says I'm undermining her because I won't punish my son for reading, AITA?'

'My wife says I'm undermining her because I won't punish my son for reading, AITA?'


I won't punish my son for owning books with risque subject matter.

WontPunishSonBL writes:

So, my wife (48F) and I (49M) have three kids (20M, 17F, 12F). Our son is a university student but is currently at home for the Easter holidays. He's really into something called “BL” (Boy Love), which I didn't really understand.

He had mentioned it a few times but never went into detail. I found out a bit more a few weeks ago when I visited him, and we went to a manga store where I said I would buy him one.

The cashier asked for his ID, but he forgot to bring it. She correctly assumed I was his dad and explained that the book was 18+. My son looked really embarrassed and quickly told her that he's 20 (he does look younger than he is, often mistaken for anywhere between his actual age and around 14ish), and I nodded in agreement. I didn't bring it up and just left it at that.

Fast forward to now, he's home and brought a few books back with him, some regular books, and some in the same vein as the one I bought him. His youngest sister loves to read as well, and when she saw the stack of books on his side, she went to grab one. He quickly stopped her and told her she's not allowed to read those. She was confused and asked why, and he told her that she's too young, and I thought that was it.

Well, today I came home from work for lunch only to be greeted by my wife yelling at our son. Apparently, while he was out with some friends, his sister had gone up to his room to look for the books (he had put them away after she tried to read them the first time), and my wife found her reading a section that definitely earned the book its 18+ rating.

She completely blamed our son for even owning books like that and was talking to me about what kind of punishment we should give him. I was taken aback and told her that he did nothing wrong. He's an adult, so he can own and read books like that, and he moved the books to a more hidden spot after his sister found them the first time.

This has now caused a massive argument, as she's adamant that our son needs to be punished, while I don't think so and have said I will not support any punishment she gives him as it's unfair and he did nothing wrong. My wife is now saying that I don't care about our daughter and that I'm manipulating her and undermining her authority as his mother. So, AITA?

Here are the top comments from the post:

ladyteruki says:

NTA (Not the a%^*ole). There is no reason to punish your adult son for reading age appropriate things. Hell, good luck punishing an adult son for anything he consumes, really ; you have no power here XD You even note that he had made repeated attempts for his sister not to read them.

Your daughter specifically looked for the books after she was told she shouldn't read them ; it's a pretty normal impulse to try to break rules, but it's not her brother's fault.

I certainly hope your wife is overreacting because of her worry for your daughter's (...imagined, I'm afraid) innocence, and not because of what BL entails, which could make her punishment less a parenting mistake, and more of a homophobic reaction.

jrm1102 says:

NTA - Your son is 20, if he wants to read adult material, he can. Who should be punished is your daughter for invading his privacy.

OP responded:

My youngest is Autistic, all our kids are but our daughter is on the more severe side of the spectrum, she still very much understand right from wrong and boundaries and to not touch other stuff, but my wife always uses it as an excuse, saying she doesn't know what shes doing, when she very much does.

TrainingDearest says:

NTA. Your wife is totally TA. Your daughter was wrong for purposefully trespassing in your son's personal space, and purposefully looking through his private possessions, that she was directly told she was NOT allowed to. Your daughter is the one who committed the violations, and your daughter is the one who should be punished.

I say this because I was also the kid who snooped through my parents room when they weren't home, and looked through my father's private collection of magazines. I knew what I did was wrong, and certainly not my father's fault. Your wife is just reacting to her own upset about the nature of the material, and taking this too far in the wrong direction.

What do you think? Should OP punish his son?

Sources: Reddit
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