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Dad punishes son harshly without mom's permission. AITA?

Dad punishes son harshly without mom's permission. AITA?

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When this father feels like he may have made a parenting error, he asks Reddit:

'AITA for punishing my son and buying my daughter a laptop?'

So I, 43m, have three kids, Lacey (12f), Alison (9f), and Carson (8m). Lacey and Alison are super close, they share a room and everything. However, they dislike Carson because he always likes to pick on them.

My wife is a SAHM and I get a day off on Sunday. Whenever I'm at work and Carson picks on Lacey or Alison, my wife usually does nothing and says 'boys will be boys'.

Whenever I'm home, I try to punish my son, but the next day, my wife doesn't enforce it. I once told him he had to wash dishes for 2 days, and he did it the day when I was home, but the next day when I wasn't, my wife did them.

On Monday, my daughters were playing in their room while it was locked. Carson really hates being left out and so he started running into the door so they would let him in.

They still wouldn't let him in though and kept on playing (they don't like playing with him because he always gets mad when he loses). He then got the keys that led to every room in the house in my wife and I's room (they were supposed to be hidden) and unlocked the door.

My daughters were playing uno and Carson demanded they let him play too. When they said they didn't want to, my son got really mad and slammed shut the open laptop on Lacey's desk. He closed it with so much force that it stopped working.

Lacey was really upset and went downstairs to tell my wife. My wife then got mad at her and said it was her fault for not just letting Carson play with them. She also refused to buy her a new one.

When I got home and my daughter told me the situation, I spoke with my wife and asked her what punishment she gave our son. She said none. I then discussed with her how we should punish him.

My wife said that she thought he didn't need punishing because 'boys will be boys'. I told her that punishment was absolutely necessary and I suggested no electronics for 2 months.

After some more back and forth, she reluctantly agreed. I then took the iPad and hid it in my car (My wife has her own car) so my wife couldn't just give it back the next day.

We then discussed getting my daughter a new laptop. My wife said that we shouldn't and that it would be a good punishment. I don't even think she did anything wrong, if they don't want to play with him, then they don't want to play. She'll also need a laptop for her schoolwork since school is starting soon.

My wife didn't agree, but I bought her a new laptop anyways. I bought it with my own money since we don't share finances.

It's been a few days now, and I've been getting texts from some of my inlaws saying the punishment towards my son was too harsh and that buying my daughter a new laptop made it worse. Lacey literally needs a laptop for her schoolwork, and if we don't punish our son then he'll never learn. So, AITA? Should I lessen my son's punishment?

Let's see what readers thought.

catskillkid writes:

NTA. Your son is 8 not 3 and he needs to learn there are consequences. What world did your wife grow up that boys can do anything because 'Boys will be boys.' (actually based on the comments from her parents it is obvious) That makes a poor family member, a poor member of society and a morally deficient individual.

Should there be an effort to get all the kids to do somethings together, sure, but he's 8 and the girls are older and he's hazing them as a little brother is want to do. When it crosses the line, he needs to know what that line is and that it's not a moving target.

You and your wife need to get on the same page and maybe a little counseling (including Carson) would be helpful.

specificsuccatash writes:

ESH. You and your wife need to get on the same page. Your daughters are playing you like a violin, and your son is doing the same with her. That’s what happens when discipline is so inconsistent. Also, your daughters are fully mean-girling your son, by the sound of it. He needs to do better, but so do they.

You can get a new laptop for your daughter, but given her (and her sister’s) insistence on freezing your son out, I think it should be as basic of one as you can get, and it should only be allowed to be used for schoolwork. I also think 2 months is far too long a punishment for son.

He’s 8, and I’m betting your daughters exclude him regularly. Taking away his electronics for 2 months will likely only result in him resenting you and his sisters even more.

You have a serious mess on your hands, and you and your wife need to get it together or it’s just going to get worse. You need to raise your expectations for your daughters, and she needs to raise her expectations for your son.

matt58 writes:

You're well intended so NTA- but sounds like your son needs more attention. Rather than punish him so punitively- try spending time with him.... If he's a sore loser, work on sportsmanship, if he's rough, work on constructive ways to expell his energy and understand his own strength.

The punishments are harsh for the age and he's a bit on his own being the only boy and the youngest ... Help him learn to express his emotions and make him feel like he's important.

So, IS OP definitely NTA? What do YOU think?

Sources: Reddit
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