u/Hills-Mountains35 visited our favorite forum over on Reddit and posted to r/AmItheAsshole wondering if he was the jerk for demanding his son’s stepfather pay for a damaged Xbox.
“Did the stepdad damage the Xbox?” you probably wonder.
Yes, yes he did.
At this point, I imagine you’re like: well. Uh. Duh? Because you’re a reasonable person who probably wouldn’t, say, throw a gaming unit into a pool.
Here’s the full story:
I’m (46) a father of a 16 year old son ‘Adam’. His mother and I have been separated since he was 6. Adam is always happy to spend time at my place as part of custody agreement. He hates his stepdad (30s) and calls him controlling. He puts strict rules upon Adam and punishes him for long periods of times over small mistakes. He doesn’t give him allowance like I do or let his mom give him any money so Adam started working to be able to buy the stuff he wants.
Adam always wanted to buy an Xbox but couldn’t afford the full price so I told him whatever he saved I was willing to pay double and he was able to buy a new Xbox for the first time weeks ago. I got an angry phonecall from his stepdad asking why the hell I bought Adam an Xbox knowing it’s not allowed at his House. First of all I told him Adam paid for the Xbox with his hard earned money and second of all that’s his mom’s house so he can’t dictate what is and what is not allowed. He went on about how the Xbox is a distraction tool for Adam from his school and chores but I assured him Adam is responsible with time and can manage and balance just fine. He suggested I keep the Xbox in my house and Adam can come over to play but I said that’s not up to me. Clearly I got him pissed so he ‘warned’ me about the consequences of seeing Adam playing with that Xbox and ignoring his duties. I hung up immediately.
2 days later Adam called and was freaking out saying his stepdad had a rage fit and threw his Xbox in the pool as a punishment for Adam for playing with it instead of mowing the lawn. I was in dismay I went over to his mom’s house to see what was going on but I didn’t find her. I found Adam crying I confronted his stepdad and he said he had to do this because Adam was being neglectful with his chores and said this was the result of built up resentment because of a Adam’s continuous lack of responsibility. I argued that even if he thought Adam was being irresponsible with his playing time, throwing the Xbox in the pool was unhinged of him because he could’ve hidden it for all I know. He yelled that he gets to decide what punishment fits and went on about how he was just trying to help Adam become a responsible young man. I was tired of this I told Adam to pack his stuff to go to my place. His stepdad firmly said he won’t allow it and that I was preventing him for performing his duties as a father and an authority figure but I told him he needed to pay for a new Xbox. He argued that I was delusional to expect him to pay for something he doesn’t want in his house in the first place but I said that was enough then left.
Adam’s mother came and argued with me saying her husband made a mistake but I shouldn’t have taken Adam out of the house. I asked if she’s happy with how his stepdad treating him she said that’s tough love because he wouldn’t done this if he didn’t care. I blatantly said her husband was just being an overbearing power tripping, control freak and told her Adam is staying with me and we’re expecting a new Xbox. She told the family I was stopping her from seeing Adam.
Edit: I’ve always wanted Adam to stay with me seeing he doesn’t agree with his stepdad on a lot of things. But the reason for being hesitant about having him most of the time if not all is because of 2 things which are the fact that I travel for work and also because of the health problems I struggled with in the past couple of years although Adam is responsible enough to do so many things on his own. His stepdad already apologized on the phone but I insisted on getting this resolved instead of ignoring what happened.
Now I’ll admit: 16-year-olds who refuse to do their work and chores are SUPER obnoxious. But … just lock the Xbox up. Right? WTF?
Reddit, predictably, leapt to claims of abuse.
Others, more reasonably, pointed out that it’s property damage.
“Clear NTA. Stepdad is absolutely awful and a horrific example of how to be an adult. Can your son choose to just live with you? At 16 he should be able to have a say. If at all possible I’d get him out of that house as soon as I could,” wrote AlphaQueen3.
Appropriate-Hat-4243 wrote, “NTA, fuck this guy, he’s trying to fill a father role when there is no need. You need to have a serious talk with your EX about boundaries for your child and his stepdad, sounds like he’s massively overstepping.”
So what do you think: asshole or naw?