Someecards Logo
Mom gives teenage son harsh punishment for bullying girl with cancer; son shocks mom, 'I need to be honest about why I harassed her.' AITA? UPDATED 2X

Mom gives teenage son harsh punishment for bullying girl with cancer; son shocks mom, 'I need to be honest about why I harassed her.' AITA? UPDATED 2X


When this mom I devastated by her son's behavior at school and gives him a harsh punishment, she asks the internet:

"Am I wrong for how I reacted when my son bullied a girl at school?"

I am 38 and I have a 15 year old son who is going to be a sophomore after this school year is over. I gave birth to my son when I was 23 years of age. Unfortunately my son’s dad left when he was 5 and never came back. I have not heard from his dad in years.

Recently my son has been getting trouble. Quite frankly I am at my wits end. I’m at a loss. My son made new friends that have been nothing but trouble. My son and his friends have shoplifted from stores, skipped school, and has been a smart ass.

May 9th, my son bullied a girl who lost her hair. She is going through chemo. The girl was sitting in her seat and my son decided to rip her scarf off. Him and his friends said very mean things to her.

The poor girl was already getting bullied and my son exacerbated it. She was humiliated. I was called to the school. They brought my son, and the girl to the office. I arrived there shortly after they called me.

The teacher and principal explained the situation. The mother of the girl he bullied was at the school as well. I asked the mother for her number. I gave her my number. I told her that if she needed anything to not hesitate to ask.

My son was given two days of ISS for bullying. My son and I got home and I was furious. I lost my mind. I went into his room and took every electronic. I took his PS5, his MacBook, his iPhone 13. I took his name brand shoes, his name brand jackets, his Hollister jeans and his Nike shirts. I grounded him indefinitely.

Three days later I sold his electronics at a very marked down price. I got I bought my son Walmart clothes and goodwill shoes. He will not bully someone and get away with it. I gave the money to the mother so she could buy her daughter a wig.

The only thing my son has in his room, is his bed, drawers, mirror, and his shelf of books. I even confiscated his art supplies. My family on my mother’s side are not talking to me because of this. I know that it’s been two weeks. I just feel like there was a possibility that I was too harsh.

Edit: He is not allowed to leave the house at all!! He’s also not allowed to hang out with his friends!

Before we give you OP's update, let's see what readers had to say:

External_Expert_2069: You fg hero!!! How else would he learn?? He was cruel and hopefully this is a defining moment where he can become a kind compassionate person. Looks like the relatives on your mother side should go meet the mother and child with cancer to understand the gravity of the situation. I don’t think they understand how horrible this really was…. Great job parenting!

OP: I just hope he learns from this. I have tried talking to him many times about this and it doesn’t work.

External_Expert_2069: Have you thought of therapy sessions? I was a total jerk as a teen. I’m not now! But damn I wish I could go back and slap myself. You’ve had the conversations you needed to take action perhaps therapy at this point as essential.

OP: Definitely. He’s going to therapy forsure.

Birony88: NTA. You did exactly what you were supposed to do. You are parenting him. Good job. You need to lay it out plainly to him exactly what he did so he can see the full extent of his own assholery. Ask him how it is at all funny to humiliate a girl fighting for her life. Tell him that she lost her hair literally trying to stay alive and cure the disease trying to kill her, and ask him how he found that funny.

Tell him it was a cowardly thing to do, picking on a girl whom is far braver than he is, making herself sick to survive, that you are disappointed and disgusted because you raised him better, and he needs to do better. He needs to understand so he can learn and grow from this.

OP: I told him that it’s not her fault she lost her hair. I explained to him that hair is very important to a girl and that it was hard for her to lose it. I explained that she already feels awful about her looks and he made it worse.

runnihwscisro writes:

Holy cow you went full on nuclear. I applaud your decision. There are no consequences for actions anymore and this was quite a consequence for a kid. The only thing I will say is be aware that the lesson you intend to teach isn’t always the one they learn.

Be sure to make this a positive teaching moment for your son by showing him/discussing with him why his actions were wrong. Are you able to volunteer with your son at a cancer center or hospice or community program with your son to actually work with cancer victims and show him what life can be like?

Or victims of abuse (which honestly is what bullying is). Just an idea. I am also curious, did your son show any remorse at all? As for the family…well, everyone always thinks they can do better. Remind them that they are welcome to mind their own business.

wackyyelp writes:

I empathize with how horrified and angry you feel that your son would be so cruel to someone so vulnerable. I understand that you're trying to do right by the girl he harmed, and I'm sure it lifted her spirits and confidence to be gifted a wig. Your heart is absolutely in the right place, I'm sure you're a very kind woman!

But, the way you addressed this is only going to create more issues. The vast majority of the time, teens bully because they're insecure and have unaddressed mental health issues.

Taking away his clothing (self-confidence in his appearance), his hobbies (safe way to pass the time and have fun), his ability to communicate with or visit his friends... what does he have left? He's going to be overwhelmed with negative feelings, with nowhere to channel them.

I hate to say it, but I'd be very surprised if he doesn't start falling into dangerous drug habits. It's very likely that the negative behaviour will escalate even more. You didn't fix the root of the problem, whatever it may be - you (completely unintentionally) only heaped onto it.

As heartless as his behaviour was, he still needs stimulation and community, or he may spiral completely out of reach of anyone.

I say this as someone who is educated in this field - please get your son into mental health supports. Therapy, counselling, art groups, mental health clubs... somewhere where he can speak his mind. If you're in Canada, I'd be happy to help you find resources in your area.

fronttt writes:

Hmmm. Kind of YTA. Okay but what's the next step? What motivation does he have to not do it again? Are you gonna take from him everything that brings him any joy? You already did that and don't plan on giving anything back for the foreseeable future.

What's the worse that could happen if he keeps being a shithead? He has zero incentive to do good. His agency is completely irrelevant in your world view except to punish him. How do you expect him to be well adjusted socially and kind to others when you have removed him from socialization for the foreseeable future?

Cool, you have upvotes on social media and people patting your back. What next? What's your relationship with your child going to look like in a month, a year, a decade? How do you plan on building mutual trust again?

How do you expect him to become a good person and make good choices when you don't leave him any agency for that to matter in the first place?

This was an extremely shortsighted act of anger. Yes, he was completely in the wrong and what he did was inexcusable. I'm glad the girl will receive a wig and I wish her the best of recovery.

Now what will any of this have taught your son whatsoever except that anything he thinks he owns and enjoys can be taken from him by you in a moment's notice without any plan on him earning any of it back? How do you expect to parent your son for the next three years?

njbell writes:

Not wrong, your son has been on a path of no return and needed to be severely checked. But, might he also benefit from counseling? Most bullies have something going on inside that cause them to take their unhealthy aggression out on someone they perceive as weaker.

He has the trauma of being abandoned by his father and who knows what else he may be hiding. You may not think it’s an issue bc you have moved on, but kids developing minds and emotions don’t work like an adults.

Your family is concerned over the wrong thing. Get your son therapy, tell him if you see him making progress and changing who he was becoming you will begin replacing what you took from him.

fundam writes:

NTA. Not too harsh at all. My sister and I were bullied in school incessantly. It was cruel and went on for literally YEARS. Had a single parent of any of the kids stepped up to say enough, I suspect it would have stopped.

One girl in my class attacked me in the washroom after volleyball tryouts (for zero reason, I had no idea she was mad - apparently me being happy and doing really well at the tryout absolutely pissed get off).

My parents, who had previously done basically nothing about the bullying, drive to this girls house, and I remember sitting in the car at night as they went to the door. They came back FUMING. The parent refused to apologize and only said her daughter was having bad PMS.

I had bruises and scratches all over my neck. The student saw ZERO repercussions at all. Absolutely freaking none. And it was a small school and we literally spent all day every day together. My parents finally had enough and switched me out of that school.

All that just to say - I am a fifty year old woman. And when I close my eyes I can still see my bullies in my head, and I can still feel how I felt all those years ago. The nightmares about them have almost disappeared, but I still have them a couple times a year.

Bullying is no joke. And bullying a girl with CANCER is fg heartless. You should make your son volunteer at a pediatric cancer center. Teach him some freaking empathy.

The fact as a single mom that you provided so much for him, and he was such an entitled prick, I absolutely 100 billion percent believe you are not wrong. In any way. Tell your family that if they any your son to turn into a criminal that they can start stepping up to provide for him, and then pay the bail and the attorneys fees when it gets worse.

But pure punishment isn't enough. Your kid clearly needs therapy. And some ways of learning empathy - volunteering anywhere with people who are less fortunate is a good start.

Major Update 1:

Recently I grounded my 15 year old son and took everything away after he bullied a girl with cancer for being bald. I gave him back his art supplies to give him an outlet. I am giving him a chance to redeem himself and to earn back electronics etc. I will be purchasing him new electronics to replace the ones I sold once he shows a change in behavior.

We had a conversation earlier. My son told me that he’s gay and he was getting bullied. He wanted to fit in with his new friends because he felt like he had no other friends. My son told me how alone he is feeling.

This made me feel awful for being hard on him. He will be starting therapy soon. Can someone with an LGBTQIA + child give me advice on how to navigate through this?

Update 2:

Update: I gave my son back his art supplies to give him an healthy outlet. He got a part time job as a bagger for groceries and I will be taking him to and from work. He starts his new job next week! I also talked to the girls mom and she’s doing better.

My son recently came out also. He has been getting bullied for being gay and wanted to fit it with his new friends. His new friends were bullies and trouble makers. My son talked to me and he genuinely feels awful about what happened.

My son wants to make things right with her. He was sweet and offered to shave his head for her. I guess after me cracking down on him, he did a 180 with his behavior. I am proud of him! He still hasn’t gained my full trust for him to have electronics back. When he shows me that I can fully trust him again I’ll buy him a new phone and computer.

Readers continued to weigh in on OP's updates:

fendi writes:

The mother's nuclear response to what her son did was alarmingly short-sighted. She didn't bother to address the root causes of his insanely shocking behaviour and instead went straight for retribution after no previous escalations by her.

It's the sort of arbitrary parenting that makes kids scared to confide to their parents about their mental health and anxieties like what he was experiencing.

She mentioned in the comments about previously only ever talking to him instead of actual discipline. So for her to jump straight to a 100 and strip away every single one of his social outlets - even positive ones like his art supplies - is such a dangerous move that will only enrage any hormonal teenager and make them more capricious and antisocial.

Many kids caught up in that unpredictable all-or-nothing parenting approach fall down a rabbit hole of drugs, juvenile detention or undiagnosed mental health conditions, as they don't have a consistent parenting environment and will just become more recalcitrantly rebellious and constantly leave home.

He 110% deserved to be punished and forced to better himself with strict incentives, but her actions could've been really dangerous.

horillagarmon writes:

I'm honestly of two minds about this, because while what the son did was disgusting behaviour, even if we did not know of his own personal struggles, I do think that her reaction was a big extreme if it is only recently that he's started to behave this way and not his typical behaviour.

He's still a kid, and I'd have preferred to have a discussion but also take away some of the things he owned (and selling it off to help the girl buy was wig was a fantastic decision), but I wouldn't do it out of so much anger (at least not outwards) as much as a lesson.

This may just be me, but I've been a teacher and later on went on to become a school principal of a middle and high school, and dealt strictly with bullying of all kinds. My approach is to also have a private talk with the parents and usually advise them to react only once they've calmed down because otherwise, parents say and do things that they also regret later.

I hope the son goes to apologize to the girl because there can never be closure without genuine remorse

Sources: Reddit
© Copyright 2024 Someecards, Inc

Featured Content