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Dad lies to ex-wife about son spying on female neighbor. AITA?

Dad lies to ex-wife about son spying on female neighbor. AITA?

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When this father doesn't know if he made the right parenting move or not, he asks Reddit:

"AITA for not punishing my teenage son for peeking at my our neighbour and also not telling my ex about it?"

I (45M) have sons Max (15) and Sam (9). Their mum and I split when Sam was 2. She since got married to a guy who also has kids. I am single, no other kids. Boys spend half the week with me and half with their mum.

I try to stay on good terms with her but it's difficult. She and their stepdad are very strict with all the kids and she often disagrees with me on things like screen time and handling issues of discipline when they arise.

Not that they do often. They are good, respectful kids, do well with homework and at school, do plenty of sports and have never been in trouble. I'm proud of them.

Last week I went into Max’s bedroom one evening. His light was off and curtains were closed but he was stood beneath them looking out. As I went in, he jumped away from the window.

His bedroom looks out over my back garden and at another house backing onto mine. It was quickly evident what he’d been looking at. My neighbour Jenny (20s F) was in her bedroom, curtains open and she was topless. I’d actually seen her like this myself previously - apparently she doesn't see the need for closing her curtains.

Max was super embarrassed and went bright red. My initial reaction was amusement and I teased him a bit. Sam came to see what was going on and found it hilarious that his brother was looking at b00bs. It was making Max uncomfortable, so I told Sam to leave us and he went back to the TV.

We had a chat. I said I could understand him wanting to look but we talked about being respectful to women and I pointed out the potential trouble he could get in by watching people in this way. He was receptive to what we discussed, I was satisfied no more was required and considered the matter closed.

Couple of days later I get a pissed off call from his mum. Sam had casually told everyone at dinner that Max had been peeking at my neighbour’s boobs. Ex had forced the full story out of Max and was saying I was an AH for neither telling her about it nor punishing him for it.

I said that we’d had a sensible chat about it. I pointed out that he’s a straight teenage boy on the verge of becoming a man and that of course he would have a look at a naked woman if the opportunity presents itself. He’s obviously going to be interested and what he did was not a punishable offence.

She shot back that I had a disgusting attitude and I was encouraging him to be a pervert (She always was very uptight about matters of sex and sexual activity) She said I should have told her about it and punished him. She said she would ban him from his XBox and phone and would make him go round to Jenny’s house to confess and to apologise.

I told her she was overreacting and that I disagreed. I especially objected to the idea of him speaking to Jenny. All that would achieve is humiliating him and causing embarrassment to Jenny - uncalled for and not fair on either of them. She again called me an AH and hung up. AITA on this one?

littlemarth65 writes:

NTA. I'm going to preface this by saying I have a very close friend who was a victim of a voyeur and it was a devastating experience. Max knew what he was doing was wrong, that's why he was embarrassed.

But I think you did the right thing by sitting him down and having a serious conversation about what he was doing. I don't think a "first offense" is worthy of a strict punishment.

The embarrassment and having to have a serious Dad Talk will hopefully be enough to curb this behavior. Speaking with Jenny will only add embarrassment to her plate whereas she is currently blissfully unaware.

I would encourage you to continue the conversation about treating people with respect and the importance of consent with BOTH of your boys (Sam included since he was the one who found the most humor in the situation). This should be an ongoing conversation with all children and teens, regardless of their gender!

feedmequeso writes:

NTA You handle the situation with grace. You showed true parenting and guidance. You're creating a safe place for your boys. I guarantee that as they grow older, they'll seek you out as a voice of reason.

Your ex didn't need to know. Seeing how she responded, I wouldn't have told her either. Im sure your poor soon was further embarrassed and shamed by his mother. All unnecessary.

Looks like OP is NTA here. Any advice for this dad?

Sources: Reddit
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