Writing to Reddit’s “Am I The A**hole” section, the dad explained of his 10-year-old son, “He’s always been quite feminine and that’s fine, he is who he is.” But lately, his daughter, 14, has complained that “her makeup is all messed up and her clothes are missing” and the obvious suspect is her brother.
The boy admitted to the behavior, which the OP (original poster) told him to stop doing. But his wife said he was being “unreasonable” since their son was “clearly going through a period of expression.”
“I will admit I don’t like my son wearing makeup and dresses but that’s not the point and I wouldn’t admit that to him or anyone,” wrote the dad. “The point is he shouldn’t be going into his sister’s room and taking her stuff, or damaging her makeup, especially not without her permission. If he wants his own stuff he can buy it with his allowance like his sister does.”
The OP added that he was not holding their son to a different standard than he would a daughter, contrary to his wife’s opinion that sisters usually share with each other. “I maintain I’m right in respecting my daughter’s boundaries. AITA?”
“NTA,” someone declared. “Suggest he plays with his mom’s makeup. Let’s see how chill she is with him messing it all up then” adding, “Realistically though, you’re gonna have to find some way of getting him his own makeup to play with … you’re at the stage where you get to choose what kind of memories he one day has of you back when he was figuring himself out.”
Someone replied, “‘You can’t wear makeup’ is homophobic. ‘You can’t wear Rebecca’s makeup’ is not. It’s teaching him to respect other people’s things.”
The OP responded, “Thank you for this. That’s exactly the kind of dad I want to be. I know I’m not quite there yet but I’m going to work on it, because no matter what my child does or doesn’t turn out to be, he’s my child first and foremost and I have a duty to love and support him.”
Someone congratulated the father for “teaching your son boundaries, whether he likes to wear feminine clothes and makeup or not” adding, “‘Sisters share’ is the most BS excuse in existence, usually in favor of the golden child while the other sister gets everything stolen. If you want to compromise, get your son a makeup set of his own, perhaps some clothes that he prefers to wear. If it makes your son happy to wear a dress or a skirt and use some mascara, it isn’t hurting anyone.”
And those with experience denied that sisters often share willingly: “My sister and I never shared clothing, neither of us wanted to and that was fine” and “As a girl with a sister, they absolutely DO NOT share … sisters fight about literally everything and personal belongings are a point of serious contention.” One said, “My sisters used to hold me down and squeeze lemons into my mouth when they caught me messing with their things. I would’ve loved this magical sharing world that OP’s wife seems to live in.”
Dad loved the advice to take his son shopping or give him his sister’s hand-me-down clothing and reminders that sharing makeup can be unhygienic. And we love him for both supporting his daughter’s right to privacy and his son’s gender expression. Great job!
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