The internet is divided over whether a man was wrong for calling his stepson a ‘f**king loser’ after he lost his fourth job before he turned 21.
The original poster (OP) shared her story of frustration with her stepson on the popular Reddit forum r/AmITheA**hole. The post, titled “[Am I the A**hole] for calling my stepson a loser and telling my wife “if I had it all he’d be out of the house?”, earned u/P**sedstepdad46 over 3,500 upvotes and 800 comments in seven hours.
He says he is 50 years old and married his second wife in 2019. He had two boys in his previous marriage, now in their late twenties, and he says they were both successful and that they are married. On the other hand, his current wife has a son, “Kevin”, 20 years old, and he lives at home. Unfortunately, Kevin and u/P**sedstepdad46 don’t get along very well because they just don’t have much in common.
“He never really saw me as a father figure and I never really saw him as a son. But I support him since he lives with us,” u/P**sedstepdad46 wrote.
Kevin, the OP says, isn’t exactly a go-getter. He failed college in his freshman year and has since held four jobs: Target, which he quit when his boss yelled at him for being 20 minutes late; Starbucks, which Kevin left rather than take morning shifts; a grocery store, from which Kevin was fired because his boss thought he was stoned at work; and finally, his last job in a landscaping company, from which he has just been made redundant.
The PO’s friend runs the landscaping business and Kevin embarrassed him to his buddy by refusing to come in and be on the phone when he showed up.
“When the boss (my friend) corrected him, Kevin said he had no right to tell him what to do with his property,” u/P**sedstepdad46 wrote.
It was the last straw for the OP, and he did his best to ignore his stepson. However, he overheard Kevin talking with his mother, whom OP calls “the most amazing woman I’ve ever met”, but says she’s too soft on Kevin. He says she’s “doing her usual ‘it’s okay sweetheart’ routine”, when he snapped.
“I yelled ‘NO this is NOT okay. He’s a fucking LOSER’. I admit I raised my voice,” u/P**sedstepdad46 wrote. “Then I said, ‘Kevin, you’re lucky, I love your mom with all my heart, because if it was up to me, you’d be out of this house'”.
When his wife stood up for his son, the OP told her Kevin was too old to be so aimless – and said Kevin should spend a few weeks with his son who would “get into shape”.
This brought Kevin to tears and told the OP that their wedding day was the worst day of his life. Although OP’s wife is still upset, he says Kevin has started applying for a job again, “so I think my shouting worked out.” But his wife still wants him to apologize.
In a comment to Newsweek, u/P**sedStepdad46 made it clear that despite losing his temper, he cares a lot about Kevin.
“Kevin was generally a good boy when his mum and I started. Really before college we had no problem. We got decent grades and got into a decent school. So no, he didn’t. Been like this all his life. I really love him, and I want the best for him. That’s why I reacted so harshly,” he said.
Although it can be difficult to mix families, a step-parent is still a parent. However, even though it looks like u/P**sedstepdad46 was trying for “tough love”, it can sometimes backfire. Although well-meaning, MedicineNet urges stepparents to agree on discipline before confronting the child. The site also warns against overstepping boundaries, as this can lead to resentment in the child.
MedicineNet is also urging in-laws to research more potential solutions, which u/P**sedstepdad46 has admittedly already tried by hooking Kevin up with the landscaping gig. Mental health firm Better Help says ‘tough love’ should best be used in cases where someone is hurting themselves or others, but also recommends putting the stepson into therapy may be a better solution. .
While most Redditors agreed that there were indeed some bad people in this situation, it wasn’t clear if anyone was actually right.
“[Everyone Sucks Here]. You for behaving like an asshole. Kevin for being an asshole. Your wife for allowing an asshole,” u/HIOP-Sartre wrote in the top-rated comment, earning 10,700 upvotes.
“Okay. Seems like a strong ‘you’re not wrong you’re just an OP a**hole,’ u/stumblios wrote, invoking a famous line from the movie. The great Lebowski. “But mum needs to stop fussing. Do parents like her want to take care of their adult children forever?”
“[Everyone Sucks Here]. Me to OP: See what happens when you hold back your anger without talking about it?” u/Adnelg266 wrote. “Me to my wife: Do you really think pampering your son is the best way to prepare him for the real world?
“Me to Kevin: No. I only talk to adults,” they added.
“You love trouble. She’s amazing and wonderful yet empowering and coddling. Your wife loves her trouble. He’s her son, he’s wonderful but unmotivated and immature,” u/MackinawDreams wrote. “I feel for you in this situation. It’s a [Everyone Sucks Here] current situation, but the main [a**holes] are your wife and Kevin.”
“[Not the A**hole]. The child is a loser. He needs a kick in the ass as a reality check. But it focuses on being angry at your words and not at the message you were sending. Because now he’s in his feelings and the moms are on the defensive for him. That’s not what you were trying to accomplish,” u/FluffyOrphan wrote. “But he’s still 20, not 30. So that may change. I think you should suggest a “family therapist” because there are certain rules and limits that need to be implemented. Obviously your wife won’t impose them and you’re trying to do so creates tension with her.”
“[No A**holes Here] So I am THAT mom, and my husband was THAT stepdad, and my 23[-year-old] son was Kevin. With a job but social anxiety and depression (for which he refused treatment). First, mom must decide that her inaction is actively preventing her son from maturing. Then she needs to take action (yes, it will take time) that she thinks she can follow,” u/TimesLikeThese7377 wrote.
“Which makes [you the A**hole] call the kid a loser. For this, there is no excuse. And for that you should apologize,” u/lapsteelguitar wrote. “For reporting the issues makes you a responsible parent, or at least you try to be.”
“[You’re the A**hole] but maybe it was necessary. I rarely call anyone [the a**hole] for telling the truth, so kudos for being the exception that proves the rule. That said, I think it’s warranted so even though I think you’re a bit of a [a**hole]you’re a [a**hole] with their priorities clearly defined,” u/imgradojjo wrote.