“Yellowstone” fans have long debated if Monica is preventing Tate from growing up on purpose. She treats him differently sometimes, babies him even though he’s around 9 years old, upwards of 12; Tate’s age isn’t exactly clear.
What is clear, is that Monica doesn’t want her child growing up too fast. Which is understandable; parents usually want their kids to stay kids for as long as they can; protect their childlike innocence, and all that. Especially considering what Tate has been through in his short life. But what Monica is doing goes a bit beyond a parent’s normal fears.
In a retired Reddit thread discussing creepy and disturbing moments from “Yellowstone,” a few fans mentioned the weird way Monica treats Tate. One such moment was in the bathtub; Monica helps bathe Tate, even though he’s old enough to either bathe himself or take a shower.
“Just very strange,” one fan mentioned, referring to the scene. “I don’t think it’d even been as strange if Kayce had sat with him and helped him- I think there was some mention of it being related to all he’d been through (understandably) but just very odd for a boy 12-13 ish having his Mom help bathe him when he was physically able to bathe himself.”
“I always wonder why Monica doesn’t want Tate to have friends! another fan wrote. “Like she should be pushing for him to make friends with the outside world so he doesn’t want to stay on the ranch and rejects his family’s lifestyle, but no, apparently she’s just cultivating some Norman Bates-type s–t.”
While I don’t think things will go “Bates Motel” on “Yellowstone,” the way Monica treats Tate, like he’s not allowed to ever grow up, is strange, and ultimately damaging. These are his formative years, and this kind of treatment will stay will him when he gets older.
‘Yellowstone’: Why Does Monica Treat Tate Differently?
A few “Yellowstone” fans had theories as to why Monica treats Tate this way. It seems to stem from the life they lead, and what Tate has gone through.
“This is different issues crashing in,” one fan noted. “One, she knows how bad life is on the Rez, given that she lived there and teaches there. She did get her head bashed in by some students after all. But also her fear of how white people would treat not only her but her son.”
The comment continued, “So there are some legitimate fears that are holding her back. But she also fears that anything out of place means something bad […] Monica is afraid, with reason, but doesn’t know how to cope with it.”
Monica’s fears are legitimate, but she can’t deal with them in a healthy way. Instead, she coddles her son, and treats him like he’s still 5 years old. Tate is definitely going to need therapy when he gets older; if not for the stuff that’s happened to him because he’s a Dutton, then for the way his mom treats him like a toddler.