Members of a popular internet forum were quick to defend one teenager who lashed out at his 26-year-old brother for refusing to be a parent to his newborn child.
In a viral Reddit post published on r/AmITheA**hole, Redditor u/yummyforehead (otherwise referred to as the original poster, or OP) said he was furious at his brother for neglecting the infant and couldn’t stand to let the issue slide any longer.
Titled, “[Am I the a**hole] for calling my brother a s**tty dad and a s**ttier husband?” the post has received more than 15,000 votes and 1,600 comments in the last day.
Writing that he and his parents recently visited his brother and sister-in-law for the first time since the baby was born, the original poster said he initially thought the couple was struggling to adjust to parenthood but quickly realized that their problems were a one-sided affair.
“[Their] place was pretty dirty, but I shrugged it off thinking they’re new parents and have their hands full,” OP wrote. “Then I [saw] his wife, who … compared to my brother, who was clean, well kept, and rested … was a train wreck.”
Over the next four hours, the original poster said his brother refused to change a diaper, refused to help with the baby’s bath and bedtime, and chalked his multiple refusals up to traditional gender roles.
“We told him he needs to grow up and help out, but he just kept making excuses like how ‘tired he is from work,'” OP wrote. “He eventually was mad that we wanted him to be a dad and he just said, ‘She’s a woman, I’m a man. I don’t take care of [the child] other than sports and teaching him to be a man.'”
“I snapped, and started yelling how he’s a s**tty dad for neglecting the child … and how sad it is that he makes everyone else do his duties for him,” OP continued. “I called him a deadbeat, adding how he shouldn’t have a kid if he didn’t want to help out.”
“I said I was [worried] his wife married him because he was such a s**tty husband and how much better she can do,” OP added. “Everyone was silent. My parents told me to wait outside … but I heard him crying.”
While certain traditions and parenting techniques are passed down from generation to generation, differences in opinion are sure to spark conflict between parents and disapproving family members.
“The stakes are high in parenting,” Psychology Today contributor Laura Markham asserts.
“When we’re choosing to do things differently, it’s easy to feel defensive—especially when other people question our parenting practices.”
“Conflict is inevitable,” Markham added.
Differences of opinion and conflicts over parenting techniques, however, are not the same as blatant examples of neglectful behavior.
Recently, Newsweek has reported on multiple Reddit threads detailing fathers who simply refuse to parent, instead claiming that it is a mother’s job to raise a child from birth until it’s time to play sports.
In each of those cases, Redditors flocked to the defense of neglected children and mothers, while loudly calling out absent fathers for failing to care for, or about, their own kids. In the case of the viral Reddit post, and the original poster’s brother, the reaction was largely the same.
“[Not the a**hole],” Redditor u/Bitter-Position wrote in the post’s top comment, which has received more than 12,000 votes.
“You left him crying?” they continued. “Good.”
“Right?” Redditor u/Tyndolhen added, receiving nearly 3,000 votes. “He leaves the baby crying and probably his wife crying all the time.”
Redditor u/winsomebunny, whose comment has received nearly 11,000 votes, offered a more fleshed-out response.
“If facts hurt then maybe he should change his behavior,” they wrote. “He needs to cry. Imagine how much his poor wife has felt like crying.”
“Way to be a good brother in law,” they added.
In a separate comment, which has received more than 3,000 votes, Redditor u/Rural_Bedbug took aim at the original poster’s brother-in-law and questioned how he can teach his child to “be a man” when he refuses to take care of him.
“That poor little kid,” they wrote. “What is your brother teaching anyone about being a man, and how does he expect his ‘lessons’ to turn out?”
“His 16-[year-old] brother is a better man than he is and had to teach an ‘adult’ about being a husband and a father,” they added, exasperatedly.