Teen Defended for Lashing Out at Frugal Stepdad

Gwen Catherine


Members of a popular internet forum were quick to applaud one teenager for calling out his stepdad, and even quicker to applaud the teen’s mother for not defending her embarrassed husband.

In a viral Reddit post published on r/AmITheA**hole, Redditor u/Professional_Art3411 (otherwise referred to as the original poster, or OP) detailed years of disconnect with her husband and revealed how a birthday gift sparked the scathing interaction between her son and stepdad.

Titled, “[Am I the a**hole] for not correcting my son when he told his step father/my husband off?” the post has received nearly 11,000 votes and 1,000 comments in the last nine hours.

Writing that she married her husband nine years ago, the original poster said her son and his stepdad have a “fantastic” relationship, despite the title. However, the original poster also said that she and her husband vehemently disagree on gift giving and explained how her 17-year-old added a ton of fuel to that fire.

“My birthday is in [two] weeks and I honestly haven’t put much thought into it. My husband is not a gift giver,” OP wrote. “He says he has a hard time figuring out what to get and doesn’t want to waste money on something that people won’t use.”

“I’ve requested some sentimental pieces and he just never gets them. So I pretty much gave up on ever asking for anything and it did really bother me for a number of years,” OP continued.

“My son comes home last night…and he’s like ‘I know it’s not for [two] more weeks but I can’t wait for you to open this, so please open it now,” OP added. “I thought it would be some gag gift but much to my surprise, it was a huge, absolutely gorgeous wall piece that has photo frames AND shelves built in.”

The second her son presented her birthday gift, the original poster said her husband asked how much it cost and was adamant that whatever money was spent should have been invested instead.

Much to her husband’s dismay, the original poster’s son disagreed and let it be known exactly why he went above and beyond to celebrate his mother.

“My son immediately shot cold daggers at my husband and says ‘It’s truly none of your business what I do with my money and since you outright refuse to buy my mother nice things that she absolutely deserves, I will make sure she gets something nice,'” OP wrote.

“My husband just stops talking, looks at me waiting for me to say something and when I don’t he shakes his head and walks off,” OP continued. “He says I allowed [my son] to embarrass him in front of other people and I should have something.”

“I simply told him that [my son] was right,” OP added.

In 1992, author Gary Chapman introduced the five love languages and changed how many people view romance forever.

Among the five love languages are physical touch, quality time, acts of service, words of affirmation and gift-giving.

Gift-giving is the most tangible love language and can be satisfied with small tokens of appreciation, like a partner’s favorite snack or unexpected flowers, or larger, more-expensive gifts.

For those whose dominant love language includes gifts, however, sentimentality is key and can deepen romantic connections or, in cases where one partner is blissfully unaware or just ignorant, a lack of sentimentality can create a massive disconnect.

“If you or your partner’s love language is gifts, that means you feel loved [or that you’re demonstrating love] with a tangible item,” relationship coach Mark Williams said in an interview with Very Well Family. “Whether that item is a tiny trinket…or a 50-foot sailboat is inconsequential. Either convey the same message: I was thinking about you when I saw this. You’re always on my mind.”

“The dark side of knowing each other’s love languages is that you also become equipped with the knowledge of how you might hurt your partner,” Williams added. “Not getting [a partner] a gift on an anniversary or special occasion would be acutely hurtful…as would approaching the gift-giving as more a chore than an opportunity.”

Stand off between teen and stepfather
Members of Reddit’s r/AmITheA**hole forum called out one man for demanding to know how much his stepson spent on a birthday gift for his mother.
T Turovska/iStock / Getty Images Plus

Although the original poster assured that her husband’s attitude towards gift-giving is a result of extreme frugality, Redditors responding to her viral post slammed the man for blatantly ignoring OP’s requests over the years, as well as his response to being “embarrassed” by a 17-year-old’s birthday gift for his mother.

“I love how your son stood up for you and I applaud him, he said what needed to be said, especially given your husband’s nosy reaction,” Redditor u/mak-ina-myn wrote in a comment which has received more than 4,000 votes. “You are [not the a**hole].

“He didn’t correct the son [because] he knew the son was right,” Redditor u/afresh18 added, receiving more than 1,000 votes. “He expected OP to correct [him] for saying one of the things that’s objectively true but people just don’t say.”

Redditor u/InterwebHero20, whose comment has received nearly 3,000 votes, offered a similar, but more simple response.

“Lol, your husband got wrecked,” they wrote. “He should be embarrassed for being miserly.”

“Unfortunately your husband was rude – there’s no need for that,” Redditor u/No_Assistance_14 chimed in, receiving more than 1,200 votes. “He’s [the a**hole] here.”

In the post’s top comment, which has received nearly 16,000 votes, Redditor u/body_by_art praised the original poster’s son for giving such a thoughtful gift and agreed that her husband embarrassed himself by demanding to know how much it cost.

“Your son is an almost adult…he shouldn’t even be questioned where his money is going,” they wrote. “Also it is in really bad taste to ask how much a gift costs, especially in front of the recipient.”

“He embarrassed himself,” they added.

Newsweek reached out to u/Professional_Art3411 for comment.


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