There are two kinds of parents. Number one, those who pinpoint their kids’ mistakes to teach them a lesson, and number two, those who keep minimizing their actions every now and then!
An internet user asked, “Am I a jerk for making my ex-husband give our son his car keys back?”.
We need you to find out!
The Original Poster (OP) and her ex-husband have a 17-year-old son who began driving and got his car a little over a year ago. He has had a clean record so far, with no accidents.
WHAT HAPPENED EARLIER THIS WEEK?
Early this week, however, their son had a minor road rage incident (which OP is describing as she saw on his son’s dashcam footage). He was in a left turn lane at a red light behind two other cars. The light turned green, but the car in front didn’t move. Her son leaned on their horn, but they still didn’t move.
“They blared their horns nonstop for a good 15 seconds, but the car still didn’t move.”, says OP.
The light turned red, and just afterward, the car in front ran the red light and made a U-turn. As the car passed him in the opposite lane, OP’s son flipped off the driver and swore out the window at the top of his lungs at the driver, a woman who looked to be in her 60s or 70s.
“That intersection has long lights, so my son had to wait a long time for the next green light,” says OP.
THE DRAMA AHEAD
Coincidentally, this woman lives in the same condominium complex as OP’s ex-husband and son, even though neither claims to have ever met or recognized her. But she recognized OP’s son and his car.
She confronted OP’s ex-husband about it a couple of days afterward. She made OP’s son’s behavior sound much worse than it was. She said OP’s son “threatened” and “intimidated” her and downplayed her actions. She said she made a “tiny driving mistake” and gave no more details.
OP’S EX-HUSBAND’S STANCE
Her ex-husband looked at their son’s dashcam footage and saw the whole incident. Though he agreed it wasn’t as bad as she made it sound, he was still angry at their son.
He made him apologize and told his son he would take away his keys for a whole week, meaning he’d have to walk to school and everywhere else. Her ex-husband said he doesn’t want his son “disrespecting women and his elders” or road-raging.
OP thought his punishment was way too harsh, considering the circumstances. She had a long conversation with her ex-husband the day after he made the punishment, clarified how she felt, and demanded he return his keys.
THE FINAL FUSS
OP’s ex-husband stood his ground at first but eventually and very reluctantly gave in since OP is the parent their son spends the most time with and thus the one who has ultimate veto power.
“My ex seems unhappy about our son getting out of his punishment. Am I a jerk?” asks OP.
THAT’S NOT HOW YOU DEAL WITH IT
“You’re the jerk. It is a great way to teach your son responsibility and maturity by not only overlooking but also totally minimizing his actions. I bet your reply to his bad behavior is always, ‘It’s not as bad as it seems.'”
YOU ARE ENABLING HIS ANGER ISSUES
“You’re the jerk. A week without a car for that obnoxious and intimidating tantrum your son threw at a senior citizen was not long enough. You are enabling your son’s anger issues and not doing him any favors in learning how to act like a responsible adult.”
THINGS CAN GET WORSE ONE DAY
“You’re the jerk. Your son needs to learn to control his anger because one day, he will rage at the wrong person and end up hurt or dead. He absolutely should lose his car for a week, and if you ask me, that’s getting off light.
People these days are crazy. Who’s to say the old lady didn’t know if your son would hurt her? That whole incident could have gone way worse, and your son is lucky to have a dashcam and a father who cares about his child’s concerning behavior.”
THE PUNISHMENT WASN’T THAT BAD
“You’re the jerk. Your son swore and used a misogynistic slur aimed at an older woman. Not cool. Although it’s not why I’m saying you’re the jerk. The punishment wasn’t that bad. A week is a pretty short time.
You could have stood by your ex-husband and presented a united front in stating his behavior was unacceptable. Instead, you let your son know you don’t respect his father’s views and don’t see what he did as wrong.”
CO-PARENTING IS A TEAM JOB
“You’re the jerk. A week is not going to kill a 17-year-old. Let’s not kid ourselves. You did this because you wanted to be the nice parent and one-up your ex-husband. Co-parenting is a team job and not a popularity contest.”
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This article was originally published on Mrs Daaku Studio.