Sibling disputes can be tough for kids and their parents to navigate. When the situation is some shade of gray (which it usually is), it makes finding a resolution tricky. How can parents ensure that everyone learns some sort of lesson? All while appeasing everyone? And keeping your sanity? It’s a tricky balancing act that can make parents question themselves afterward.
That’s exactly what happened to one mom who joined the “Am I The A-hole” subreddit. Her kids’ dilemma was pretty black and white, and her gut instinct for how to punish one of them came to her pretty quickly. And yet, a couple of weeks later she found herself wondering if she read the situation totally wrong. And so she turned to Reddit for help.
“My son won’t talk to me and I am questioning myself even though my husband is backing up the punishment,” the woman who originally posted (the “OP”) said at the end of her post.
And so, she wants to know: is she the a-hole for making her son cook meals for his sister “even if it means cooking at midnight and waking him up”? Fear not OP and dear reader, the internet is aligned — loudly — on this one.
So Who Are The Kids?
OP has two kids. Her daughter is 21 years old. She works the night shift and gets off work around 4 a.m. She then stays up until lunchtime and goes to sleep until it’s time to go to work.
OP’s son is a 17-year-old high schooler who has the “hours” of a typical high schooler — not those of his night-shifting sister.
This summer, while OP was off at work and her son was at home, he started waking up his sister. Reminder: She sleeps during the day since she works at night.
“He would wake her up to make him food,” OP said. “He would pester her until she did it so she could go back to sleep.”
She added, “It came to a head a month ago when my daughter lost it and I finally learned about it.”
OP ultimately decided that her son had two options — square things away with his sister, or lose his phone for a month. He chose (keyword: chose) the former. And so he has to make his sister food whenever she asks for it.
“It was about 30 times he woke her up, so he has to make her 30 meals,” OP said. When OP posted this, he had made her about 15 of those meals, which means he’s halfway through the punishment.
Even better, OP’s daughter is now waking up her brother to make him food — just like he did to her.
“He hates it but it gets the point across,” OP said. “Now school started and he got woken up last night to make her food. So this morning he was tired as all hell.”
Looking for backup, OP’s son went to his grandparents and told them about the situation. OP then got into a “huge argument” with her mom. “She thinks I am an a-hole but the punishment fits the crime.”
OP had to edit her post, letting those with their panties in a twist know that, again, her son is basically halfway there. “It’s literally 14 days now out of 185 school days. He won’t fail school, that’s extremely dramatic for two weeks of being tired.”
With that out of the way, what does the internet think?
Yes, Mom, yes! More than 20,000 Redditors are on this mom’s side.
“That’s actually a perfect punishment,” the top comment (with 20K upvotes) said. “He woke her up for food so now he gets to feel what it is like. You also gave him a choice and he picked this one. The point is he will be tired when people wake you up for no good reason.”
“Good way to show him exactly why it was so mean to do.”
“The son chose this punishment over giving up his phone for a month. This is basically model parenting; the son is 17, nearly an adult, he behaved selfishly and stupidly and is now making it up to the person he mistreated. And he’s been given agency here, he chose to keep his phone over uninterrupted sleep. Well done, OP.”
“As a teacher — NTA. There are lessons which are MUCH more important than the ones you learn at school. This is one of them. For the whiners worrying about the boy’s education — don’t be ridiculous. It’s two weeks, and that will definitely not shatter his academic career … His sister works in medicine. She could have lost her job or even endangered someone because of being sleep-deprived! And you all worry that two weeks of being tired miGhT rUiN His fUtUre! C’mon …”
“He’s tired as hell? So was his sister. He can come home and take a nap right after school. Punishments don’t end bc they’re inconvenient. Punishments don’t end bc ‘I don’t waaaaaannna’. Punishments don’t end when the perpetrator wants them to end.”
“Bahahahaha!!! This is the perfect punishment for a deliberate act to try and prove he had control over his sister. My mother would have just told him to, ‘Kiss your sister and tell her you’re sorry.’ Still laughing!!”
“I’m confused as to why a 17-year-old needs someone to make him food,” one person said. “My suspicion is that he wouldn’t have asked an older brother …” another said — which is a great point because, ya know, gender norms.
“This is karma, he’s getting what he deserves … This is good parenting! Grandparents are clearly favoring your son. Don’t change anything, he’s just seeing exactly how hard he made his sister’s life.”
We think it’s a perfect example of making the punishment fit the crime.
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