A mom has taken to Reddit’s “Am I the A**hole” forum to share a conflict that erupted between herself, her boyfriend, and her 16-year-old son.
The post has gone viral, amassing nearly 14,000 upvotes and 4,500 comments in the day since it was shared, as readers adamantly expressed their disapproval with both the Redditor and her boyfriend.
The squabble involved a common issue between teenagers and their parents: privacy. As noted by Verywell Family in a medically-reviewed article, “the desire for more privacy is a natural part of growing up.” Teenagers’ “brains … are rapidly developing; they are gaining new thinking skills and developing new social interests.”
“As a result, it is only natural that they would crave more privacy and space as they work these things out,” explained the publication. However, this transition is often not an easy one for parents, either: “When teens believe their parents have invaded their privacy, the result is often more conflicts at home.”
The Redditor, known as u/Barbara-L3409, said she is struggling with one of these familial disputes. She started her post by explaining that she has been with her boyfriend for four years. She is a parent to her 16-year-old biological son as well as two stepsons, aged 13 and 11.
“My son has been complaining about his younger step-siblings entering his room and taking his things constantly and without asking,” she wrote. In response, her boyfriend “punished the boys and told them to ask first before taking anything.” However, according to the teen, the younger siblings’ behavior hadn’t changed.
A few days prior to writing the post, things escalated when the woman’s son “came downstairs saying his … step-brother broke his controller.” She said: “I again went to my boyfriend with this issue and had my son sit and talk directly to him.”
“My son asked him if he could just get a lock for his room to resolve this issue but my boyfriend didn’t welcome the idea,” she explained. The Redditor’s boyfriend reportedly argued that “locks bring [trouble].”
“My son tried to convince him and assured him that he won’t use the lock when he’s home but only when he’s at school or working. My boyfriend still said no and then told him, “No lock until you’re 18, period, no more discussion,'” u/Barbara-L3409 said.
She added that when her son turns 18, he will still be living at home as he will be attending community college nearby. At that point, the teen will “start paying rent” and therefore be given access to a lock.
“My son begged me to say something since he couldn’t take it anymore after his controller was broken,” she said. Regardless, she ultimately told him that since her boyfriend is “the owner of the house,” he gets “final say” on the matter.
She added that they will be giving the younger boys “stricter punishments” if and when they invade the teen’s privacy—but that was not satisfactory to the 16-year-old. “He picked an argument with my boyfriend after my boyfriend said he’ll pay for the controller and then my son called me awful for … refusing to see the blatant injustice in this house.”
The Redditor concluded by noting “how much [her] boyfriend helped [them]” over the past two years, by offering them a place to live when they lost their apartment.
Readers, however, were quick to back the teenager, citing the household’s lack of privacy. “Your son’s privacy is being invaded and you are choosing to pander to your boyfriend’s ego rather than support your son,” wrote u/Mysterious-System680 in a top-voted comment.
“He needs privacy. You can’t let your boyfriend make the rules because it’s his house,” echoed u/Jansen734. “You are his mom. You decide.”
Many more called out the mom for not “protecting” her son and his belongings, while others argued that “privacy is a right, not a privilege.”
Newsweek has reached out to u/Barbara-L3409 for additional comment.