Being a single parent can be a struggle, especially when the other parent isn’t involved. If you’re lucky enough to have family around, that can be a huge help, unless of course your family questions the way you parent your child. One Reddit user shared how his sister took a strange view of him being affectionate and supportive of his very young son, and we feel his pain.
“I (24m) got a 4-year-old son, Jackson. My ex girlfriend hasn’t been around since he was over 2 ,so it’s only me and him,” wrote Redditor oddsituation111. According to his post, Jackson is super affectionate with everyone, and loves to hug and kiss his dad. (That’s one of the things that makes that age so fun.)
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“Sometimes at night he comes to my room because he’s scared or just misses me, and I let him sleep with me,” Oddsituation continues. “He doesn’t do it a lot — usually when he has a bad dream.” Apparently, the pair recently moved into a new apartment, and Jackson is having a hard time adjusting to his new room, so he is slipping into his dad’s room a little more lately.
Which wasn’t a problem until Odd had his sister and her kids over for a Friday night movie and slumber party. After everyone fell asleep, Jackson made his way back into his dad’s room for the night. The next day, when Odd’s sister came into his room to see if he wanted breakfast, she saw the two asleep in bed together.
“She didn’t say anything, but when I was in the kitchen she told me that was really ‘inappropriate.’” When he asked her what she was talking about, she apparently told him that he needed to be careful, otherwise other people might get the wrong idea, especially with the way Jackson was always giving him hugs and kisses. “I asked her what’s wrong with it and to her it didn’t seem right that I’m his dad, not his mom so it’s weird,” he said, adding that his sister said that her husband didn’t act that way with their son. “She also pointed out our dad wasn’t like that either with me (kinda why I’m tryna be different with my son).”
The dad explained that he was bothered that his sister’s mind would go there. “I called her out an said stop being a fucking pervert just because her husband acts different with their kids and mind her business [next] time,” he writes. Now, their mom is also involved and upset that Oddsituation called his sister a pervert.
Maybe those weren’t the best words to use to defend himself, but he felt bad about the conflict but not his method of parenting, so he turned this question over to the forum.
User G8RTOAD’s vote was NTA [not the asshole]. “She’s sexualizing your relationship with your son, and she needed to be told to mind her own business. So what that your 4-year-old son climbs into and occasionally sleeps in your bed. It’s his safe zone. And so what if he kisses you and hugs you a lot; that’s what little kids do,” they wrote. “She needs to accept that no two kids are the same and also needs to remember that he only has one parent not two.”
And user CopperPegasus brought up the fact that Odd’s sister might have a skewed view of the gendered dynamic of parenting. “This… for lack of a better word… fetishizing the mother bond over all else does no one any good,” they wrote. “NOT all women are caregivers. Some are down right evil and should never be allowed near kids. DADS are parents too, and if it’s OK for one gender parent to lavish love, it’s OK for the other. MEN are not inherent threats to children. There will be great-with-kids men, take-or-leave men (but hopefully not with their own kids ffs) and, again, evil dudes, just like with women.”
Even more important were the comments that pointed out that since he is Jackson’s only parent, the dad was the only one there to offer hugs, kisses, and snuggles. “Can you imagine what it would be like for that kid if his ONLY PARENT refused to show any physical affection and refused to comfort him,” wrote user funklab. “There’s no way such a neglected kid would be able to develop into a normal heathy human being.”
There’s a lot to be said about the way men are raised, and the way that they in turn raise their sons, with most of it being focused on the need for more hugs and better coping skills. We’re glad that this dad is giving that to his son, and pushing back on his sister (although maybe he should’ve stopped short of the name calling). Here’s hoping that Jackson doesn’t outgrow the snuggle stage too quickly.
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