The internet is divided over whether a man was wrong for calling his stepson a “f**king loser” after losing his fourth job before he’s 21 years old.
The original poster (OP) shared his story of lashing out in frustration at his stepson to 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 my way he’d be out of the house’ ?”, earned u/P**sedstepdad46 over 3,500 upvotes and 800 comments in seven hours.
He says he’s a 50-year-old who married his second wife in 2019. He had two boys in his previous marriage, now in their late 20s, and he says they’re both successful and married. On the other hand, his current wife has one son, “Kevin,” 20, and he lives at home. Unfortunately, Kevin and u/P**sedstepdad46 don’t get along very well because they just don’t have a lot in common.
“He’s never really seen me as a father figure and I never really saw him as a son. But I provide for him since he lives with us,” u/P**sedstepdad46 wrote.
Kevin, the OP says, is not exactly a go-getter. He failed out of college in his first year, and has been through four jobs since: Target, which he quit when his boss yelled at him for being 20 minutes late; Starbucks, which Kevin left rather than take any morning shifts; a grocery store, which Kevin was fired from because his boss thought he was high at work; and finally, his last job with a landscaping company, which he was just fired from.
The OP’s friend runs the landscaping company, and Kevin embarrassed him to his buddy by refusing to come in and being on his phone when he did show up.
“When the boss (my friend) corrected him, Kevin said he has no right to tell him what to do with his property,” u/P**sedstepdad46 wrote.
This was the final straw for the OP, and he tried his best to ignore his stepson. However, he heard Kevin talking with his mom—whom OP calls “the most amazing woman I’d ever met,” but he says she is too soft on Kevin. He says she was “doing her usual ‘it’s ok sweetie’ routine,” when he snapped.
“I yelled ‘NO it’s NOT okay. He’s a F**king LOSER’. I’ll admit I raised my voice,” u/P**sedstepdad46 wrote. “Then I said ‘Kevin you’re lucky I love your mother with all my heart, because if it was up to me, you’d be out of this house'”.
When his wife defended her son, the OP told her that Kevin’s too old to be this aimless—and said Kevin should spend a couple weeks with his son who would “whoop his a** into shape.”
This caused Kevin to break into tears and tell the OP that their wedding day was the worst day of his life. Though OP’s wife was still upset, he says that Kevin has started applying for work again, “so I think my yelling worked.” But his wife still wants him to apologize.
In a comment to Newsweek, u/P**sedStepdad46 made clear that though he lost his temper, he cares very much for Kevin.
“Kevin was generally a good kid when his mom and I started out. Really before college we had no problems. Got decent grades and got into a decent school. So no he hasn’t been this way all this life. I do love him , and want the best for him. That’s why I reacted so roughly,” he said.
While it can be tricky blending families, a stepparent is still a parent. However, while it appears that u/P**sedstepdad46 was trying some “tough love,” that can sometimes backfire. While he meant well, MedicineNet urges stepparents to come to an agreement on discipline before confronting the child. The site also warns against overstepping boundaries, as that can lead to resentment in the child.
MedicineNet also urges stepparents to look more for potential solutions—which u/P**sedstepdad46 admittedly already tried by hooking Kevin up with the landscaping gig. Mental health company Better Help says “tough love” should best be used in cases where someone is hurting themselves or others—but also recommends that putting the stepchild in therapy may be a better solution.
Though most Redditors agreed that there were indeed wrong people in this situation, it wasn’t clear if anyone was actually in the right.
“[Everyone Sucks Here]. You for behaving like an a**hole. Kevin for being an a**hole. Your wife for enabling an a**hole,” u/HIOP-Sartre wrote in the top-rated comment, earning 10,700 upvotes.
“Agreed. This seems like a strong ‘you’re not wrong, you’re just an a**hole’ moment from OP,” u/stumblios wrote, invoking a famous line from the movie The Big Lebowski. “Mom needs to stop enabling though. Do parents like her want to be taking care of their adult children forever?”
“[Everyone Sucks Here]. Me to OP: See what happens when you hold in your anger without talking about it?” u/Adnelg266 wrote. “Me to wife: Do you really think that coddling your son is the best way to prepare him for the real world?
“Me to Kevin: nope. I only talk to adults,” they added.
“You love the problem. She’s amazing and wonderful but enabling and coddling. Your wife loves her problem. He’s every son, he’s wonderful but unmotivated and immature,” u/MackinawDreams wrote. “I feel for you in that situation. It’s an [Everyone Sucks Here] situation currently, but the main [a**holes] are your wife and Kevin.”
“[Not the A**hole]. The kid is a loser. He needs a kick in the a** as a reality check. But he’s focused on being mad at your words not the message you were sending. Because now he’s all up in his feelings and moms defensive for him. Not what you were trying to accomplish,” u/FluffyOrphan wrote. “But he’s still 20, not 30. So this can turn around. I think you should suggest a ‘family therapist’ because some rules and boundaries need to be implemented. Obviously your wife won’t impose them and you trying to do it creates tension with her.”
“[No A**holes Here] So I am THAT mom, and my hubby was THAT stepdad, and my 23[-year-old] last was Kevin. With a job but social anxiety and depression (that he refused treatment for). First, Mom has to decide that her lack of action is actively keeping each end from maturing. Then she has to take steps (yes it will take time) that she feels she can follow through with she, “u / TimesLikeThese7377 wrote she.
“What makes [you the A**hole] is calling the kid a loser. For that, there is no excuse. And for this you should apologize,” u/lapsteelguitar wrote. “For pointing out the problems, makes you a responsible parent, or at least you are trying to be.”
“[You’re the A**hole] but it might have been necessary. I rarely call someone [the a**hole] for telling the truth, so congrats on being the exception that proves the rule. That said, I think it’s justified so while I think you’re a bit of an [a**hole]you’re an [a**hole] with their priorities,” u/imgradojjo wrote.