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'AITA for not punishing our son over the hurtful birthday gift he gave his mom?' UPDATED 3X

'AITA for not punishing our son over the hurtful birthday gift he gave his mom?' UPDATED 3X


"AITA for not punishing our son over the hurtful birthday gift he gave his mom?"

My wife(36) and I(38) have three kids. Twins (M and F 14) and a boy (12). The problem is between my boys Noah (twin), Liam and their mother. Liam always felt that his mom favors Noah over him. To get it straight out of the way: She loves him but he is still right. To make it simple I would say Liam gets 60% and Noah gets 100% of all love and affection their mother is able to give.

His mother swears that it’s not the case but it’s obvious to everyone else, including our girl. I am trying my best to make things even without punishing Noah for something he has no control over. Liam's relationship with his mother and Noah has collapsed in the last year. He only speaks to them when it’s necessary and he strictly addresses his mom with her first name.

He avoids them and flees from them and when his mom or Noah try to talk to him or do something friendly toward him, he berates them until they give up. Yesterday we celebrated my wife’s birthday with close friends and family. Liam stayed in his room although his mother slipped him a handwritten invitation under the door.

When it came to opening the gifts we discovered to our surprise that Liam’s name was on one of them. My wife was super excited and grabbed this one first. It was a disgusting collage with family pictures. Liam was always cut out and my wife had devil horns and insults written on her head. She burst into tears immediately and ran out of the room. Everybody saw this collage.

The party was over of course and my wife was publicly humiliated in her own home on her birthday. Liam refuses to come out of his room and I decided to let him be for the moment but his mother demands that I ground him for a month with no electronics. I refused to do so and told her that if I punish him now for her he will resent her even more and their relationship may be unfixable.

She called me an AH and an enabler. She doesn’t care about reconciling with her son, she wants revenge. AITA?

The internet had a lot of comments and questions to add.

StAlvis wrote:

This is a clear ESH and I'm pointing at both the parents, but I'm here for the INFO: "Liam always felt that his mom favors Noah over him. To get it straight out of the way: She loves him but he is still right."

"it’s obvious to everyone else." How does she favor him? How did this start? Why do you think she's behaving in this manner?

Is Liam in therapy? Is your wife?

I bet you could fill a book with all the missing details here.

How the holy hell have you let the situation with Liam decay to this abysmal point?

FederalCombination42 wrote:

ESH. If you isolate Liam with therapy, you're f#$ked. Of course she doesn't think the other kids need therapy, they're perfect and Liam is the problem. If you continue to allow that sentiment, you're also going to lose your son as soon as he can leave home.

Also, your other kids definitely need therapy too, they're living in a war zone their parents created for them. It's dysfunctional in the true sense. No one is having a healthy and stable time in that environment.

Individual-Status-30 wrote:

ESH. The fact that you both as parents let it get to this point is insane. When the clear preference was recognizable you should have addressed things with your wife. She should not have open favorites to the point of isolating your child. You are the AH for not protecting your child and feeding a future hatred of women.

She is the AH for being so cold to your son and for wanting revenge on a child. Therapy therapy therapy.

Odessagoodone wrote:

That child needs a counselor. He should have consequences for such an affront, but that child needs professional help. That kind of signaling has been associated with family m*rders and ass*ults. It is a very serious red flag.

facemesouth wrote:

I get a lot of unreliable narrator vibes from this post. OP was asked for specifics and says "she just does." Or "she hugs him longer."

Regardless, why aren't you in family therapy if you honestly think that there is a serious issue happening that is obviously beyond your control? And I understand she was hurt by the "gift" but to run away crying seems extreme and immature. You both seem quite immature to have three kids. And you don't want to punish your son because you're worried about consequences of punishing him?

What about consequences of doing something intentionally hurtful to a family member? Get help, grow up. You and your wife are both assholes for letting this get so far out of hand that the kids are now taking sides. ESH (except the kids, their bad behavior is a direct result of you and your wife's ineffective parenting.)

After receiving a lot of feedback, OP jumped on with a few updates.

Edit: She didn’t say she wants revenge, she said he should be punished for what he did. With revenge, I meant that I think she wants him punished and does not think about the consequences.

Edit 2: Had a quick talk with my wife. She wants therapy too. But only for her and Liam. She says there is nothing wrong with the other kids.

Edit 3: Liam has apologized to his mum. He even allowed her to give him a hug. He says he is open to therapy but seems a bit scared of it.

Clearly, there is a lot going on here and no simple ruling fits the bill. What do you think?

Sources: Reddit
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