There is nothing simple about co-parenting. Sure, there are a whole lot of celebrities who seem to have it all together, but appearances aren’t everything. There are the logistics of who is staying where and when, and the question of how are they getting from Point A to Point B? And then there are the philosophies of parenting to manage. How do you compromise on parenting styles and figure out whose values will come out victorious?
And I guess all of this could be said about any parents — whether they are married, separated, or divorced — but living in different homes doesn’t lend itself to making things easier. One couple on Reddit is currently navigating how to enforce (or not enforce) rules in each home.
One mom has a strict “reading rule” for her three kids, including the 15-year-old son she shares with her ex-husband who posted on the “Am I The A—hole” thread to get some clarity on their current situation. His ex-wife, Amanda, expects him to enforce the same rule she has in place for the 15-year-old at his house.
“She said that it was unfair to [our son] Callum’s half-siblings that he could just leave for my house and not have to follow the rule, while they had to follow the rule no matter what,” the original poster (OP) wrote. “I told her tough luck, it’s my house and I make the rules, not her.”
So, OP asks Reddit, is he the a—hole?
The Reading Rule
Well, first let’s take a look at the rule itself. It started “around a month ago,” presumably because Callum’s 8-year-old sibling started “falling behind in his reading level.”
“[The rule is that] the 8-year-old has to read 30 mins a day, the 11-year-old has to read for an hour, and Callum has to read for two hours,” OP explained. “…to keep things ‘fair’ between the kids.”
“I think that this is ridiculous, as Callum is a very smart kid already, and he needs that time for homework and relaxing since he doesn’t have that much free time to begin with.”
Reddit agreed wholeheartedly that this was unfair to Callum and that OP is not only not the a-hole, but that he is doing his kid a major favor. And no, not just because he gets two hours back.
“Requiring your kid to read two hours a day on top of required textbook reading and assigned English class reading seems like a good way to inspire dislike for the hobby,” one Redditor wrote.
“The ONLY thing this will lead to is your son will hate reading!” another said.
You want to talk about fairness, Mom? Well, the internet wants to know how many hours the adults in the house are required to read.
“They should lead by example and being full grown adults, they probably should be reading for 4 hours/day,” one person said. “Y’know, to keep it fair.”
“Actually, the number of hours seems to double every 3-4 years the older the children get,” another Redditor wrote. “So extrapolating from that, the ex-wife and her husband (let’s assume they’re 40) need to read 128 hours a day. It’s only fair lol.”
I can’t confirm if this is correct. You see, I’m falling behind in math. Perhaps I should take 30 minutes per day to catch up, and Callum can take two hours.
“That rule is ridiculous and really should only apply to the child having trouble in school,” one person said. “Also the rule isn’t fair at all. The person who has to read the least is the one that needs it the most.”
“There are ways for your wife to have justified asking you to enforce her rules that might create some sympathy,” another pointed out. “But ‘the other kids think it’s unfair that Callum’s parents are divorced and you share custody’ is not one of them.”
Unsurprisingly, OP said Callum is now thinking about not staying with his mom anymore because of the “increasing strictness of her and her husband’s rules.”
“She told me that it’s all my fault that he doesn’t want to be around her anymore because I was so lax with the rules,” OP said.
“If she thinks that it’s so unfair, she can get rid of the rule herself,” one Redditor said. “I hate the type of parents who are so hyper-focused on making things ‘fair’ that they end up screwing over their kids anyway. It’s no surprise that he wants to stay with the reasonable parent.”
If this infuriating Reddit AITA post has you in need of some wholesome reading content, we can’t get over this 6-year-old who “doesn’t like to be rushed” so he wakes up early to read a book and drink some tea.
“He looks like he’s got himself a healthy 401k,” one person said.
“Can he be my life coach?” another asked.
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