Internet Blasts Father For Leaving Daughters In Busy Park

One father’s parenting abilities were called into a question after his wife revealed he left their two children unattended at a busy park in a viral internet post.

Posted in Reddit’s widely-popular r/AmITheA**hole, the viral post is titled “AITA for yelling at my husband for leaving our daughters at the park while they were waiting for their grandma?,” and has received more than 10,000 votes (97 percent upvotes) and 1,500 comments. Posted by Redditor u/Window-Flake1564, a 32-year-old mother of two, the post describes what quickly became a parent’s worst nightmare.

Explaining her husband’s poor relationship with his parents—particularly his father, who filed a restraining order against him in 2020 — u/Window-Flake1564 said her mother-in-law (without her father-in-law) made an effort to see her two granddaughters and would babysit occasionally. Recently, her husband was bringing the couple’s nine and seven-year-old daughters to meet their grandmother (his mother) in the park so that she could take them to her house to visit their grandfather and he could go on to work.

But before the children were picked up, u/Window-Flake1564 said her mother-in-law had an emergency and could no longer babysit. Unbeknownst to her, her husband had already left their two daughters unattended in the park.

“I kept calling him but no reply til an hour later when he told me he was already at work and left the girls sitting in the park,” u/Window-Flake1564 wrote. “I freaked out asking how he left them there unsupervised but he said he was already late for work and figured his mom would be there in just a few minutes to pick them up.”

Commenters were quick to say that u/Window-Flake1564’s husband “abandoned” their daughters, but according to Justia, child abandonment requires a much longer period of time than just over an hour in a park. However, laws pertaining to leaving children unattended for shorter periods of times could potentially apply in a situation like the one described in the viral Reddit post.

According to The Washington Post, states across the country feature different age restrictions for unsupervised children. Although many states feature no minimum age for a child to be left alone (specifically home alone), others do. In Maryland and North Carolina, children must be at least eight-years-old to be left home alone, in New Mexico and Oregon, children must be at least 10-years-old, and in Colorado, Delaware, and Mississippi, children must be at least 12-years-old to be legally left home alone.

Park sign
One Redditor was enraged when her husband left their two daughters unattended in a busy park for over an hour.
iStock / Getty Images Plus/Stephen Barnes

Some states, like Texas did in 2021, have enacted “free-range parenting” laws that, according to FreeRangeKids.com, aim to diminish fear on the “part of parents who want their kids to play outside and engage in age-old ‘independent activities’ without worrying this could lead to charges of neglect.”

While u/Window-Flake1564 did not specify which state they live in, they did say that her husband continued to downplay his mistake, and blamed his mom for canceling at the last moment. She also added that her husband stopped talking to her, and would only communicate with her through their daughters, relaying messages like: “Daddy couldn’t sleep last night ’cause Mommy yelled at him and made him sad,” and “Daddy needs an apology to feel better.”

Using seven and nine-year-old children as a go-between to relay messages was the final straw for many Redditors. In an explosive comment responding to u/Window-Flake1564’s original post, Redditor u/JadedSlayer eviscerated the passive-aggressive behavior.

“A child is NOT your F*****G messenger or carrier pigeon,” they wrote. “NO matter what YOUR CHILDREN ARE NEVER PAWNS.”

In the post’s top comment, that has received 19.9K votes, Redditor u/Parking_Initial4551 accused the children’s father of abandonment and encouraged u/Window-Flake1564 to take marital and legal action.

“[Not the a**hole]—He literally and criminally abandoned your girls in a public park and YOU ARE THE ONE HE THINKS SHOULD APOLOGIZE?,” they questioned. “And this guy is so unstable that HIS OWN FATHER had a [restraining order] against him?”

“You need a divorce lawyer YESTERDAY. Do not leave your children alone with this man again,” they wrote.

Redditor u/passingthroughcbus told the original poster that she was fortunate to not have to deal with law enforcement when she arrived at the park, but assured the mother-of-two and the rest of the viral thread’s commenters that her husband is, indeed, the a**hole.

“He’s also an a**hole for playing games and involving the girls in your fight,” they wrote. “That’s called parental alienation and borders on emotional abuse.”

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