Teen Refusing to Apologize to Uncle for Calling Him a Bad Father Praised

The internet has praised a teenager who called out his uncle who keeps forgetting about his daughter's birthday, even though he is obsessed with his stepchildren.

In a post shared on Reddit earlier in January under the username u/PissedOffDragon, the teenage boy explained that, since his uncle lost his wife a few years ago, his relationship with his daughter, Lilly, hasn't been the same.

The Redditor wrote that his uncle remarried two years after losing his wife, to a woman who has two children, with whom he's obsessed. He buys them presents and takes them out, but he has completely forgotten about his own daughter, who is 16 years old.

teen backed for calling out absent father
Stock images of a girl sad on her birthday and, inset, a frustrated man. The internet has backed a teen who called out his uncle for being an absent father. Getty Images

According to the United States Census Bureau, widowhood is more common among older women than men, as females on average live longer. Among those 75 years or older, 58 percent of women and 28 percent of men have experienced the death of a spouse in their lifetime.

The poster said: "The adults like to keep up appearances to outsiders. As long as Lilly isn't a drug addict or in jail they don't care about anything else."

Lilly's birthday was three weeks ago and, as usual, her father forgot. So her cousin and his family threw her a party instead. A few days later, the poster's uncle came over to his house and, while talking about Lilly, he got her age wrong, so the poster called him out on being an absent father, and he didn't take it very well.

Now his mom wants him to apologize to his uncle, saying he had no right to interfere in his family dynamics, but the teen doesn't think he's wrong.

Dr. Bahjat Balbous, a psychiatrist at Euromed Clinic Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, told Newsweek that, while it is admirable that this young man is looking out for his cousin Lilly, he finds it interesting that there is no mention of how she feels.

Balbous said: "I wonder if you have actually spoken to her about the situation, and I wonder what she thinks about it all. Or is it merely circumspection on your part? Also, I find it interesting that you say Lilly's father has not gotten over Lilly's mother. I would ask how you know this as, if this was true, surely he would not have remarried?

"I also find it interesting that you say he is 'obsessed' with his stepchildren. Being a step-parent is a difficult task and a figurative tightrope to walk so perhaps rather than being obsessed, he is simply trying to ingratiate himself with both his wife and her children to keep family life happy," Balbous added. "Also, you do not know who is driving the purchase of presents. Maybe his wife has asked him to do this?"

Balbous reiterated that the poster did not once mention how his cousin Lilly feels about the entire situation and how involved she feels her father is in her life or wants him to be.

"Have you asked her, as this is the key point–what relationship or role does Lilly want her father to play in her life that will make her feel happy? There are many unanswered questions I have about the situation, but I do agree with your mom on one aspect. I think that if you have hurt your uncle's feelings, even if you feel justified, then you should apologize for that."

Balbous added: "This will also perhaps prompt a communication channel to open up in which you can discuss your concerns and give your uncle time to explain his position (should he feel he wants to) to you or at least encourage him to feel he can, as perhaps he does want a closer relationship with Lilly but does not know how to instigate one. You may be the perfect person to help bridge that gap."

Balbous said life is too short to spend it bitter and angry, falling out with people you love. Instead, the poster should cherish them and allow them the opportunity to have space to seek help and guidance if they need it.

"Perhaps give your uncle the benefit of the doubt and treat him with the same kind mindset you have provided to Lilly," he added.

The Reddit post has gone viral, receiving more than 7,900 upvotes and 600 comments so far.

One user, All_That_Hot_mess, commented: "I'm questioning why Lilly's 18-year-old cousin is calling his uncle out and not the other adults in the family. It's clear that the neglect isn't being hidden so why is the family ok with this?"

And ScarieltheMudmaid posted: "I would tell your mom that it's a new world and that not only can people see past the facades of keeping up appearances, our generation is trying to have healthy families and relationships, even if that means having to cull unhealthy ones."

Mamawheels36 wrote: "Your cousin is very [lucky] to have you and some friends watching out for her. Truly, I'd have a really hard conversation with your parents about your cousin's situation....if they don't give 2 sh#$* then you'll have to decide how to move forward. But you are rocking it in the cousin department!"

Newsweek reached out to u/PissedOffDragon for comment. We could not verify the details of the case.

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