There are countless ways for people to parent their children, and many have their personal opinions about how it should be done. One father, known as Throwaway__3994 on Reddit, gained the support for his parenting after he posted to the Am I the A**hole subreddit, asking if he was wrong for canceling his son’s birthday because of a cruel gift that poked fun at his stepson and wife’s infertility.
The poster’s son, “Benjamin” is 17 years old and his stepson “Matt” is 32 years old. Throwaway__3994 explained that the two are not close because of the age gap, but have a cordial relationship. However, he said that “Benjamin is known for his ‘sense of humor,’ but I don’t think he’s funny.”
Throwaway__3994 went on to say that Benjamin previously made comments about Matt and his wife’s infertility, saying he wouldn’t know “what it’s like to have a niece or nephew and probably never will.”
Although he said he told Benjamin that he needed to ease up on the jokes, his request was ignored.
At a birthday celebration for Matt, Benjamin handed him a gift. When unwrapped, Matt found a red t-shirt with the words “Best Dad Ever” printed on the front.
“I felt terrible,” Throwaway__3994 wrote. “I kept shaking my head as Benjamin laughed telling him to try it on so everyone can see how it looks on him.”
Matt and his wife left and Throwaway__3994 got into an argument with Benjamin.
“He said there’s literally thousands of people wearing [t-shirts] that say a lot of stuff and that in no way means that they insult the person wearing them and it’s not like every [t-shirt] people wear has to be accurate with their life,” Throwaway__3994 wrote.
The poster decided to cancel Benjamin’s upcoming dinner reservation for his birthday, saying that the gift “was tacky at best and cruel at worst.”
When negotiating didn’t work, Benjamin decided to call his aunt and uncle, who treat him like their own son, according to Throwaway__3994. He then had an argument with Benjamin’s uncle, who said “It wasn’t his fault some people are hypersensitive and can’t take a joke.”
Throwaway__3994 said he refused to discuss it further and said they could host his birthday celebration instead.
Nearly 3,000 Reddit users flooded the comment section, many of whom supported the father’s decision.
“That ‘gift’ wasn’t funny,” wrote one Redditer. “It was cruel and beyond insensitive. Canceling his birthday dinner is letting him off lightly in my opinion.”
Others said Benjamin knew what he was doing.
“He’s repeatedly stabbed the same open wound. This is just bullying,” wrote another.
One commenter wrote that Benjamin’s aunt and uncle should not host a birthday celebration.
“Your son needs to face a real consequence for his actions so he can actually learn something since your talks to ‘tone it down’ clearly did nothing,” one commenter wrote. “Honestly I could be convinced both you and Benjamin are TA if you don’t ensure some sort of punishment/action actually happens.”
Touching on the delicate topic of infertility, one Reddit user wrote it can be a sensitive subject for many trying to conceive.
“Infertility is a really serious insecurity because it starts shaking the core of the very foundation of how they envisioned their lives,” they commented. “Going from dreaming of having a kid with your mini-me traits to having that shattered takes a lot of time to get over and eventually maybe go with adoption instead which is another massive headache.”
According to an article published on parents.com in 2013, infertility can be a difficult topic to discuss.
Barbara Collura, president and CEO of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association said people should avoid making comments like “Just relax” because it may minimize the issue.
She said a person should be understanding of their loved one’s situation. Whether it is offering to listen, or simply understanding that a person may need to avoid baby-centric events, the article noted that support can come in different forms.