Are we spoiling our children?
It seems to be a fine line to walk between spoiling your child and giving your child what they want. However, the attitude on either side of the line is totally different and there are usually some clear demarcations and warning signs before crossing over.
Which is why Redditor daughtervacation was stunned when her brother and sister-in-law called her daughter a “spoiled brat” because of her daughter’s perceived level of entitlement. She stood up for her daughter only to be rebuked once again.
Confused about what she may have done wrong, she went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for feedback from objective strangers.
“AITA for spoiling my daughter?”
Our original poster, or OP, set up the situation causing tension with her brother and sister-in-law.
“My wife and I fostered Mariana (15 f[emale]) when she was 5 and adopted her when she was 8.”
“Mariana is an only child and my wife and I both have good jobs, so we’re able to give her more than what my other family members can give their kids.”
“One of those things is, we take Mariana on a nice vacation every summer. She’s gotten to help decide where we go and helped with the planning since she was around 10.”
“Family members try to join us but we like to travel internationally and it’s out of their budget, especially with 3-4 kids.”
“They don’t like that we won’t go on less expensive vacations so we could go together. They also think it’s absurd that Mariana gets to help decide where we’re going and has veto power.”
Plus, with OP’s job, her daughter gets a great education.
“Another thing is, Mariana goes to a private $50k a year school. She’s been going since kindergarten.”
“The only reason we can afford to send her there is because I’m one of the assistant principals and with my discount, it barely costs anything to send her there.”
“The same family members that I mentioned earlier have asked me to pull some strings and get their kids in and let them use my discount, then got mad when I said no because my discount only applies to my kids.”
“Within that week, we got a few calls from ‘prospective parents’ who were very angry about the fact that we don’t advertise the fact that we have a gay administrator (my wife and I are both women and this is a religious school).”
“We stopped talking to them after that but still ran into them at family gatherings.”
And then the conflict at hand manifested, as most conflicts often do, in an Apple product.
“We ran into my brother and SIL at a family gathering on Thanksgiving and they saw Mariana on her iPad.”
“Mariana’s school requires each student to have an iPad or Macbook and we want Mariana to have the best resources available, so she has a 12.9 inch iPad pro with 2 TB, data, and all the bells and whistles.”
“They asked how much it costs because they wanted to get their daughter an iPad for her birthday, and freaked out when I told them.”
“They said we were turning Mariana into a spoiled brat and that we’re always trying to make her look better than the rest of the family with her school, taking her on expensive vacations, and her clothes and electronics.”
“She has clothes from expensive brands because she wants to fit in with the kids at her school but most of it is either from the clearance section, thrift stores, or resale shops.”
“I’m being told by other family members to not let her wear expensive clothes or bring her electronics at the next family gathering because it makes my brother and SIL upset that they can’t afford similar things for their kids.”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors thought OP and her wife were absolutely in the right here.
“I had an aunt like this growing up, we weren’t well off but electronics were put into the budget somehow for me and my siblings, especially because me and my brother excelled at certain parts with them (digital art for me and my brother was just good with electronics)”
“She didn’t like that, at all. She couldn’t get her kids fancy electronics, and also claimed she didn’t want to because ‘it will make the kids lazy and they should play outside like kids and it’s bad for their brains.’ It was pure jealousy.”
“At family gatherings when other adults weren’t around or any other time a gadget caught her eye she would go out of her way to tell us how bad our parents are and how that makes us bad children too.”
“Not only are you and ur wife NTA but you need to keep those relatives away from your child.”
“If they are calling into your work I would not put it past them to feed lies to your daughter to try and make her feel guilty/question her upbringing.”-BIabbercat
“NTA. Maybe they should teach their kids that other people have different incomes and that not everyone can afford the same things…”
“And that people’s value as human beings is not determined by financial wealth but by how people treat other people.”
“As long as your daughter is respectful, doesn’t judge other kids for not having the same things as her… then you have nothing to feel AH about.”-majesticjewnicorn
“NTA-not their kid, not their choice. If they called other families to ‘out’ you these are not the kind of people you want around your kid anyways.”
“Hopefully their children won’t turn into assholes too. You guys have made choices to be able to do what you can. They made choices too.”
“Every time I start feeling a little jealous of someone with fewer kids being able to do more I remind myself, I chose to have as many kids as I do.”
“Each choice has its own rewards. Too bad they are so miserable that they can’t be happy for you and your daughter.”-heishancell
“NTA. You’re raising your daughter with the best life you can provide for her. I think what makes this situation the most clear is that at no point did your family express concern that Mariana is the one suffering from being ‘spoiled.'”
“It’s all about them and how they’re jealous of your family’s material success. If Mariana is happy, healthy, well adjusted and not entitled, nothing else matters.”
“Also, was the implication there that your family members were so jealous of the private school that they reported you to homophobic families to specifically complain about you?”
“Because F THAT. They’re totally fine putting your job and safety in jeopardy? F**k em. Who cares what they think.”-bass9045
Not only did Redditors think OP’s relatives should mind their own business, but the homophobia was completely inexcusable.
“NTA. Your daughter is fortunate, and I do hope she realizes this fact. Nevertheless, it sounds like the problem here is your envious family.”
“A private school she can attend because Mom gets a discount, secondhand or clearance clothes – these are not throwing up red flags for me. And I’m not sure why you would want to spend vacations with such bitter people…”-VictorianPlatypus
“NTA. Like I get why they’re upset. Cuz I’ve been the poor kid with rich relatives.”
“But I’ve always swore to myself I’d be as successful as I can for my kids because my parents had kids when they weren’t even sure what they wanted to do with their lives still.”
“And you’re doing exactly what any good parent with money would do for their kids. And let’s face it, if the roles were reversed they would tell you you’re overreacting.”
“Though I would recommend leaving the iPad behind next time, I would hate to hear about a jealous cousin who smashed it.”
“And be careful with her fancy clothes. The first post I responded to on AITA was about a relative dumping a milkshake on a expensive fancy dress and it ended up ruined.”
“Your daughter shouldn’t have to go through that just because her parents are more well off than others.”
“So long as your daughter isn’t being condescending to people or bullying those who have less, then I see no issue with how you’re raising your daughter.”-JinxTheEdgyB
“NTA. I understand wanting to avoid having a kid that -expects- expensive things, but I don’t think your daughter is like that.”
“Currently, how everything is presented, it seems your family is simply jealous of you, your wife and your daughter for being able to afford such things.”
“They are the a**holes for especially outing you/looking down upon you for being gay. I’m not sure if it was them actually the ones making the calls, but they’re certainly connected to that incident.”
“I’d say as long as you’re teaching your daughter the value of a dollar, and that she is able to have access/has better things than most people do, I don’t see anything wrong with spoiling her.”
“Now, if your daughter is bragging/shoving it in your family’s faces that she has these expensive things, that’s where I would check in on how she’s acting.”
“But it seems she’s just existing in their presence while having expensive things with her, so it’s not her fault.”
“And if your family -really- wanted to go on a family trip with you three, they would make their own plans and then invite you, not expect you to suddenly uproot your complete plan just so they can tag along.”-DoubleDJ1108
“NTA. You and your wife earn your own money, and you decide how it is spent. It’s your money.”
“It is quite normal to include children (within reason) when picking vacation spots because spoiler alert: then the kid(s) be involved in picking a destination they will actually enjoy instead of just their parents.”
“I went to a private school that required electronics as well so this makes sense. It doesn’t sound like your daughter is showing off.”
“As long as you are keeping the lines of communication open with your daughter about her privilege so she can be grateful and well-adjusted as she gets older and later in life (outside that private school bubble), I think you’re okay.”
“Also, as much as this sucks, your family members who are trying to police what your daughter can wear and use around them can use this as a lesson to teach their children:”
“How sometimes people can afford things we can’t and that’s okay, and why it’s important to be grateful for what you do have rather than comparing your situation only with those in ‘better’ situations.”
“I HATED when my parents were teaching me that lesson as a kid, I hated it so much (I wanted the cool stuff I saw other kids with!). But as an adult I am very grateful they did.”-jmaeww
Fostering an educated child by using the advantages they did have was nothing to be ashamed of.
“NTA. Giving your child the best education you can isn’t ‘spoiling.'”
“And while it sucks that their kids can’t access that same education, it is out of your hands AND they had absolutely no right to bring your sexuality into play.”
“There are absolutely 0 altruistic motives that would defend their actions.”-Katzenheimer
“NTA because it is technically your money to use as you please, but do be careful that you don’t inadvertently spoil Mariana.”
“I give this warning as an only child of middle class parents – I had more than my friends but less than Mariana and still I ended up quite selfish and egotistical. It took meeting and marrying my husband to change this.”
“Does everything have to be the best every time? You enjoy international holidays, great, but could you not do smaller, more local ones sometimes? You say you won’t go on cheaper holidays – why not?”
“This will allow Mariana to get to know her cousins (this familial closeness is very much appreciated as an adult when you’re an only child) and will show her you can have an amazing holiday without spending a fortune.”
“There’s a big difference between camping in a muddy field and staying in a hotel that’s not half way round the world.”
“Being at a private school, she is already socialising with children who can have anything they want, and wants to keep up.”
“Not giving her that link with other members of her family will never let her see that have less does not mean living less, or that there are more important qualities to possess than wealth, like kindness etc.”
“I’m not suggesting for one moment that you are not teaching her this, but if she does not spend enough time with children from different backgrounds, it’ll be harder to put this into context.”-gotruromakesomenoise
“Wait, so your brother called current parents and outed you? It doesn’t matter if you’re openly rainbow, it matters that he did it maliciously and in an attempt to get you fired or something.”
“That’s ridiculous; for all his whining about you and your wife making his kids’ cousin into a spoiled brat, he sure is acting like the spoiled one here.”
“I’m sorry, OP. NTA. The way you raise your child is no one’s business but your own. If you were rubbing your lifestyle in other people’s faces in an attempt to get a rise out of them or to explicitly make them feel lesser than, I’d maybe empathize.”
“But your brother is clearly projecting insecurities onto your family and blaming you for things that look different than they are at the core.”
“I’m so sorry. Good on you for protecting your daughter. I just hope her cousins don’t start to parrot their homophobic, selfish, bratty father’s behavior to Mariana. What the actual !@#$% …”-girasolgoddess
“NTA. You raise your child as you see fit. Your family has no say in the matter. They should mind their own business.”
“Every parent wants to do what’s best for their children. If they can’t afford certain things for their children that’s on them. Your own family comes first.”-MerDes70
Redditors unanimously told OP one thing about her dissenting relatives—they were bad news and had no business telling her what to do with her child.
Hopefully OP has taken that message to heart.