Teen Refuses To Visit Father After His New Wife Attempts To 'Censor' What He Reads

Her reasoning opens up a bigger debate.

teen reading Dejan Dundjerski / Shutterstock

While we can all agree that reading is a positive hobby and most parents would be happy to see their child reading, this societal norm apparently does not apply to one 16-year-old who was just trying to enjoy a book during a visit with his father. However, he didn’t get quite the reaction you’d expect a parent would give to their teenage kid reading a book.

A teenager had an argument with his stepmother over the book he was reading.

Posting to Reddit, the anonymous teen shared some background about his relationship with his dad, explaining that the 40-year-old’s “parental rights were terminated due to abandonment. [He] didn’t pay child support and didn’t contact me for over a year.” The young man’s father dealt with alcoholism and claimed he did not want his child to “see him at his worst.” 


Recently, the father has made some major changes in his life. He began going to rehab for his alcoholism and now sees his son on weekends.

“At first it was going fine,” the boy says. “Then my dad’s new wife and I had an argument.”

When spending the night at his father’s house, the 16-year-old and his 28-year-old stepmom had a major disagreement over his reading material. The boy was reading 'The Dark Prophecy,' book two in the Trials of Apollo series by popular young adult author Rick Riordan. His stepmother saw the book and told him that he “should not read that book since the protagonist is bisexual and it pushes LGBT stuff.”


The story only gets stickier from there.

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Instead of supporting his son, the father came to his wife’s defense, saying his son should not disrespect her.

Uncomfortable and hurt, the son chose to leave. Later, he had a phone conversation with his dad in which his dad laid out some pretty strict rules for him. His father argued that his stepmom would “become a new parental figure for” him, so he should follow her rules — both at their home and away from it. The idea that he would have to follow his stepmother’s rules regarding the book and not read it at all, even when he was not at his dad’s house, was too much for the teenager, who ultimately decided to not visit them again.


Reddit commenters were equally outraged, with the overwhelming majority telling the son he was in the right. “He’s shown where his priorities lie, [and] they aren’t in a relationship with you,” said one. “Your dad’s wife has absolutely no rights or say in this matter,” chimed in another.

According to experts, enforcing a parenting style that the stepchild isn't used to is a common way stepparents overstep boundaries. Instead of enforcing a rule, experts suggest speaking with the child's biological parent first. 



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Censoring what children read has become a hotly debated issue.

While the boy received plenty of validation for his feelings, some commenters also brought up a bigger issue: Is it right to censor what children read?

“[It’s] a book,” said one Reddit user. “No one has the right to put braces on your brain.” 

It’s something that has become a hot topic recently as more and more states pass laws banning books that meet certain criteria from classrooms and school libraries. According to Education Week, a minimum of 32 states have passed these laws, keeping books with material deemed inappropriate one step further from children. PEN America acknowledges that most books being banned are young adult books. Furthermore, they report that these laws have affected a total of 874 books.

From this young man’s story, we see that even more books and children are being affected on an individual basis.


Banning and censoring books is a controversial topic. Everyone has their own opinion on whether or not what children read should be closely monitored. But, from one Reddit thread, it is clear that reading is encouraged, regardless of the subject matter.

As one commenter said, “That’s perfectly age-appropriate (and really good, I hope you’re enjoying the series!).”

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Mary-Faith Martinez is a writer who covers entertainment and news.