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Dad grounds son but rewards daughter for similar things; wife says it's 'unfair.'

Dad grounds son but rewards daughter for similar things; wife says it's 'unfair.'


'AITA for punishing my son when my daughter did the same thing?'

I have a 17yo daughter (Cass) and an 8yo son (Mark). Cass is with my ex wife and Mark is with my wife. Cass lives with my ex and is long distance (ex moved) and I only see her once every other month. Mark lives with me and my wife full time.

I will admit I struggle with a lot of guilt when it comes to Cass because of the distance, so when Cass wants something I try to do all I can to make it happen. Cass is also extremely sensitive so I have to handle her very carefully as not to upset her.

Mark, on the other hand, is more out there, will try to argue back, and I tend to be a bit harder on him because he's got a stronger personality.

About a month ago Cass called saying she broke her brand new iPhone I'd given her as an early birthday present and asked me to pay to get it fixed for her. Since I rarely get the chance to do stuff for Cass, I said yes, sent her the money and reassured her that I'm not mad, it was an accident, but please be more careful with her devices.

A week later, Mark broke his iPad he's had for over 2 years. Mark is rough on his stuff and a bit on the clumsy side. I told Mark it's his fault for not paying more attention and its going to be a while until his iPad is going to be fixed, and the money is going to come out of his allowance, and I hope it teaches him to be more responsible.

Mark started arguing with me and I ended up grounding him for 2 weeks, but really only followed through on the first week.

Now my wife is mad at me, saying the way I reacted to Mark was unfair compared to the way I reacted to Cass., and that I was forgiving and understanding to my daughter, who's older, but not my son, who's much younger.

I tried to explain it as I don't see Cass much or get a chance to do as much for her, so anytime I can, I'm going to. Where I see and do stuff with Mark every day, so it's a different situation and I handled each as they needed to be handled.

My wife still insists I dropped the ball on the way I dealt with Mark and said I should have treated him the same way I did Cass and brought up the fact Cass broke her brand new iPhone only a month after getting it, while Mark had his iPad over 2 years before anything went wrong.

Told to add this: Cass' phone was broken when she asked her friend to toss it to her and she accidentally dropped her phone while trying to catch it. Mark wore out the charge port on his iPad, possibly due to mishandling it. Mark also has motorskill delays.

Here's what people had to say:

Excellent_Care1859 writes:

YTA your son managed to hang onto that iPad for 2 years and yet you claim he is rough on his stuff and doesn’t take care. Your daughter broke her new phone is a matter of months?! You may be acting out of guilt towards your daughter but you shouldn’t take it out on your son. Also, do you require both kids to keep their items in protective cases?

My daughter has an old iPad of mine that we put in an otter box. She is 6 yo and it is still in perfect shape. All devices should be in protective cases (until the children buy their own).

Flimsy_Caterpillar48 OP responded:

My son has an otterbox case on his iPad. The charging port is what broke. Cass is older and I trust her to be careful with her stuff, so she can use whatever case she wants.

FumiPlays writes:

It's really hard to respect someone that doesn't really show any consistency in decision making (or the only consistency showing is blatant favouritism).
Kid's gonna remember that. This and the thousand other cuts that will slowly kill any affection and respect he has for OP.

SophieSchrodie writes:

Also, 2 years for an Apple product is a pretty standard lifetime. Idk what it is about 2 years, but, generally speaking, Apple stuff starts breaking right around then.

Easy-Concentrate2636 writes:

Mark used his brain and put forth a defense. He shouldn’t be penalized for that.

Also, op’s logic on how the device’s broke makes zero sense. Cass asked a friend to toss a piece of sensitive technology. Of course it was likely to break. Whereas it sounds like the son’s just wore out.

YTA, op. You are favoring one child over another and everyone knows it but you.

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