Navigating Discipline – Grounding a 16-Year-Old for a Slur

Man staring into the camera and pointing.

Parenting is a journey filled with ups and downs, and when it comes to teenagers, it can get especially tricky. Imagine being a dad with a 16-year-old son while navigating the complexities of divorce and remarriage. That’s the story we’re diving into today.

A Complicated Family And A Disturbed Child

In this tale, the original poster (OP), a 43-year-old dad, shares that he is divorced from his ex-wife, who recently married a man named Jonathan. Jonathan is black, while OP and his ex are white. OP and his ex share custody of their 16-year-old son, but he spends more time at OP’s place because there’s more room and privacy there.

OP further shared that his ex’s new husband already has two teenage boys, plus they are expecting another child.

Trouble started when OP’s son, during a visit to his mom’s place, got into a heated argument with Jonathan over chores. Jonathan took a common approach to discipline, banning video games and Wi-Fi until chores were done. This was consistent with how OP and his ex disciplined their son.

However, things took a distressing turn when OP’s son, in the heat of the moment, used a racial slur to insult Jonathan. Jonathan, understandably, was upset and told him to stop. The response he got was even more hurtful, “You and your sons ruined my life, so you don’t get to tell me what to do. I won’t take orders from a <racial slur> anyway.”

For OP, this was really shocking. He got furious at his son and decided to ground him for the entire month of December. His ex-wife agrees with this punishment. The son, of course, is not happy. He had plans with friends, and now they’re all shattered. Meanwhile, OP’s brother and his mother think that OP went too far and the punishment was not according to the crime.

OP turns to the online community for opinions, wondering if he’s overreacting or if his decision is fair.

Online Opinions

As OP’s story went live, the online community jumped in with their thoughts.

The first comment comes from Vinceandfigtree, who while approving OP’s decision, brings a unique perspective to the discussion.

“I’m sure your ex and Jonathan appreciate this more than you know. It is worth trying to figure out what kinds of online communities your son is spending time in; he is the perfect demographic to be recruited by [all types of] creeps.”

It’s a reminder of how deeply external influences can impact a young mind.

PepperJacs also commends OP for standing up for the step-parent, especially when the son’s wrongdoing is evident. This user recognizes the complexity of blended families and underscores the importance of unity among co-parents in such situations.

Another commenter, Dwells2301, offers a much-needed dose of reality.

“Your brother and your mom don’t get a say.“

As per this user, in the world of co-parenting, not everyone’s opinion matters equally. It emphasizes the importance of keeping the core decisions within the nuclear family unit.

Zackattackyo points out a crucial aspect of modern parenting: the online world. The user also emphasizes the significance of understanding the son’s internet history, highlighting the importance of monitoring the content children are exposed to and their digital interactions.

Lastly, Ok_Bookkeeper_3481 believes that the punishment was a fit and also delves into the core issue, which was the gravity of the racial slur.

“The punishment does fit the crime, though. Your son has to realize he was not using just another curse word – but a hateful pejorative. And he did it knowingly and with intent to hurt.”

It’s a perspective that seeks to make OP’s disciplinary action more comprehensible.

The Verdict

In the aftermath of this troubling incident involving a racial slur uttered by a 16-year-old, the online community has provided valuable perspectives. OP’s disciplinary action taken against his son for using a derogatory term sparked a robust debate. The consensus among commenters seems to lean towards supporting OP’s decision to ground his son for a month.

This verdict reflects the seriousness of the racial slur and underscores the importance of teaching empathy, respect, and responsible online behavior to the teenager.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments. Do you think the OP from this social media post was wrong?

Featured Image Credit: marcinmaslowski /

This article was originally published on Ash & Pri.

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Pri Kingston

Ash & Pri are the Founders of and have spent the last decade building their way towards financial freedom and a lifetime of memories. Having successfully achieved their early retirement goal in under 10 years, they look forward to sharing their financial sense with like-minded people. Read more about Ash & Pri in the 'About Us' section.