A father went viral on Reddit’s “Am I the A**hole” forum after detailing a disagreement with his wife over the workload his daughter with schizophrenia has around the house.
In his post with nearly 9,000 votes and more than 1,000 comments, u/Kind_Meat_1451 wrote he has three stepchildren with his current wife and they tend to do more chores around the house than his daughter, who is his wife’s stepdaughter. However, he wrote that the medication his daughter takes causes exhaustion.
“I expect my daughter to clean her room, maintain good grades and that is it,” the Redditor wrote. “I know her medication makes her very tired throughout the day and school already burns through her motivation to do anything.”
The Sleep Health Foundation confirmed that some medications for schizophrenia may cause sleepiness in patients.
This caused some friction between u/Kind_Meat_1451 and his wife, who is resentful that her children do more work around the house than his daughter.
Things came to a head when the Redditor went away for a business trip for a week. Upon his arrival home, he found his daughter cleaning the kitchen floor and his wife was standing near the entrance.
“I got mad and asked her what the deal was,” u/Kind_Meat_1451 wrote. “She said she was teaching my daughter to ‘not be a slob.’ I said she doesn’t get to dictate what her chores are, like I don’t dictate what my stepchildren’s cores are.”
Parents Magazine published an article about boundaries stepparents should consider, one of which was assuming a position of authority.
It stated that teens and school-age children are more likely to rebuff a stepparent’s attempts at authority. Instead, clinical psychologist JoAnne Pedro-Carroll, Ph.D. suggested a stepparent should act supportive to the child and be a supportive resource to their partner. She said stepparents need to earn the respect of their stepchildren.
u/Kind_Meat_1451 wrote he may be wrong because he doesn’t require his daughter to do as many chores compared to his stepchildren, but many commenters supported him.
A commenter who claimed they have schizophrenia themselves suggested the Redditor’s wife get some counseling.
“It’s an honest truth that the other people in the house might have to pull a little more weight sometimes but it’s because your daughter has a disease of the brain and when people are sick sometimes they need help,” the commenter wrote, earning nearly 16,000 votes.
Another commenter stated if the Redditor’s daughter were to push through and take on additional housework, things may get worse for her.
“She either gets sicker and harder to treat or she becomes more likely to be abused and the spiral of poor outcomes is started,” the comment read.
One commenter sympathized with the Redditor’s daughter and said there may not be a medication that treats her schizophrenia without side effects.
“She’s damned if she does, damned if she doesn’t, because she won’t get that healthy childhood off her meds either,” the commenter wrote. “It is absolutely better for her to continue taking the medication, the side effects are enormously preferable to full-blown untreated schizophrenia, but my heart goes out to her.”
Newsweek reached out to u/Kind_Meat_1451 but did not hear back in time for publication.