Dad Gets Ripped For Telling His Son He’s The Reason For Parents’ Divorce

Parenting is hard, but do you ever get a strong feeling that some people just should not be parents? That they are just absolutely not up for the task? That they might actually do harm to their child? That’s the story over on Reddit, with one father wondering if he is an a***hole for telling his child that they are the reason his parents are getting a divorce

“My wife and I have been together when we first met in high school. We were able to maintain a long distance relationship throughout college and stayed true to each other. I truly thought we were inseparable. She gave birth to a boy 12 years ago, and since then things changed drastically.” 

I already have a bad feeling hearing this person initially refer to his son as that boy my wife gave birth to 12 years ago, but it just gets worse. 

“My son unfortunately has behavioral problems and it’s been very difficult raising him. He throws temper tantrums, gets in trouble in school frequently, refuses to listen to my wife and I. As a result, my wife and I started having disagreements about how we should handle him (i.e whether to punish more, let him get his anger out, etc). This created a wedge between us that kept getting wider. We both resorted to drinking more and wanting to be away from each other as much as possible to get some relief. We started having more arguments and eventually it became so obvious that our marriage was deteriorating that family members started questioning it. So the topic of divorce came up and we both decided to go through with it.” 

I get that children can be difficult and try your very patience to its edge. Kids need to understand boundaries, even if they have behavioral problems. They need to have role models who establish consequences for bad behavior, not punishments. They need parents who communicate and reach out for professional help when they need it. But it seems like these parents decided to just give up on their child. 

“When I first told my son about it, he cried endlessly then started throwing fits about how unfair it was. I completely understand that a divorce is hard on any child, but the intensity of his fits kept growing. Since my wife and I are separated (not yet divorced) and because she can’t tolerate our son that much, we agreed that he gets to spend most of the week with me unfortunately, so I see him a lot and have to put up with his yelling far more than she does.”


“Last Friday he started asking if my wife and I forgave each other and I told him that the divorce is happening like it or not. He starts crying and I got mad and told him, ‘buddy, want to know why we are getting divorced? Because of you, we were happy before you were born but you always act bad and get in trouble, so stop arguing with me when you caused it, you have nothing but yourself to blame.’ This devastated him and I did apologize but I told him there was some truth to what I said. However, since then he’s been more quiet and behaved, even my wife, who was with him over the weekend, said he was much better. So yes, I think I am the asshole for telling him he was the reason we are getting divorced, but in some ways I don’t think I am because maybe it was just something he needed to hear?”

Redditors were overwhelmingly astonished at the OP’s callousness and selfishness, as well as the serious way this child’s needs have been neglected. This child needs new parents. Please, someone help this child. 

“You failed as a parent by not getting him the help he needs and being able to support him as a parent. Now you’re not just breaking up his home, but you’re telling him it’s HIS fault when the fault lies with you two adults? That’s horrific,” said milee30

“This. Christ, YTA. Honestly, it sounds like you have both been shitty parents. That’s the reason he acts out. Yes, there may be some physiological components, but it is your job as parents to get him help, not deal with it by drinking, blaming him, and fighting. This whole situation is a result of your failures. Seriously, this is one of the most horrible things I’ve seen a parent post on here,” observed BitterPillPusher2

“Yes, the title is bad but the content of the post isn’t better. You’re such an asshole, I can’t believe it. You getting divorced isn’t his fault. Its not. He’s your child, children throw tantrums, they can also get in trouble at school and can disagree with their parents. Parenting him is YOUR job and if you and your wife can’t handle it, that’s on you. ‘Because she can’t tolerate our son that much, we agreed that he gets to spend most of the week with me unfortunately.’ Oh f off with that, that’s your CHILD. Your child that is going to a major change in his life and you say it’s unfortunate he’s spending most of his time with you?! YTA for telling him the divorce is his fault. YTA for telling him you and your wife were happy before he was born. YTA for falling him as a parent and being a shitty person. YTA FOR BEING GLAD HE’S CALMER NOW AFTER YOU DESTROYED HIM WITH YOUR WORDS. I feel SO sorry for that kid. He has two horrible parents, I hope he has some other positive support in his life,” said ThymeForTime

“YTA, as someone who is a child psychologist who works with abused children, no child should ever feel like they’re the reason for the divorce of their parents and it’s emotional abuse to do so. You’re taking your own issues out on your son and projecting it on to him. You two not being able to work things out, is not the problem of your son. If your son is having behavioral issues, most of the time it has nothing to do with the kid, but with the parents. Most likely, your kid has past issues or stress that he needs help dealing with and doesn’t know how to properly cope with them, because you never taught him how. Your son needs therapy, and both of you need to be a better parent to him. Also, maybe you and your wife should also seek family therapy and parenting classes to be a better parent to your kid, rather than accuse him of ruining your relationship. You’re the adults, he’s still a child, you’re at fault, not him,” noted Bakedpotatooooo

“The only reason why your son is acting better is because he’s scared that bad things will happen to him if he acts out or does anything less than perfect around you and your wife. He now believes that if he acts perfectly, you will get back together. You have essentially told him that your love is conditional. This makes you a shitty parent AND an asshole. You should’ve taken your own advice. You have nobody but yourself to blame for this divorce. You and your wife need to get this kid into therapy because no matter what age a child is, this is never an okay thing to say to one,” explained blockparted

“He absolutely didn’t need to hear that. First of all, it’s not true. You’re not getting divorced because of your son, you’re getting divorced because you and your wife turned to alcohol instead of towards therapy and healthy coping mechanisms. The second you realized you weren’t equipped to give your child what they needed, you should have searched for a way to do so. Yelling and drinking weren’t your only options. Second, a child needs to be given the tools to succeed. They don’t have the capabilities to find or articulate their needs. It’s your job as a parent to figure that out. You can’t control what they do with their tools, but you have to give them the ones they need: therapy, coping mechanisms, whatever it is. If you don’t know what your child needs, you don’t punish the child. You seek outside help. You said something untrue without giving your child the tools needed to process your comment. Stop blaming your child for your bad decisions. Your child may need more or different things than most, but it sounds like when you realized this you blamed him instead of helped him. That’s on you, not your son,” said EmpressJainaSolo

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Patricia Grisafi

Patricia Grisafi, PhD, is a freelance writer and educator. Her work has appeared in Salon, Vice, Bitch, Bustle, Broadly, The Establishment, and elsewhere. She is passionate about pit bull rescue, cursed objects, and designer sunglasses.