Teaching children how to deal with disappointment is one of the hardest things for any parent to do.
It can be so difficult both parents might not even agree what the correct course of action should be.
Such was the case with Redditor YourMothersButtox, who found herself heavily disagreeing with her ex-husband as to how their daughter should handle a recent disappointment at school.
After questioning her initial decision, the original poster (OP) took to the subReddit “Would I Be The A**hole” (WIBTA), asking fellow. Redditors:
“WIBTA (Would I Be The A**hole) for telling my daughter if she wants to quit a school play, she needs to sit down with the directors and tell them herself?”
The situation began after the OP’s daughter came home from school heartbroken and potentially losing her passion for something she usually loved.
“11-year-old daughter was given a less than desired role in her school play.”
“It’s a K-8 school and the play involves ALL grades.”
“Kiddo started singing and acting at 7 and her after school activity is with a theater conservatory.”
“She wanted something with some speaking lines, something with a bit more stage time/responsibility than she was given (it’s a very small role).”
“She absolutely does not want to do this school play now.”
The OP then revealed she and her ex-husband had very different opinions as to how to handle this new development.
“Her father and I are divorced and typically co-parent cohesively, but this is throwing a wrench.”
“He cannot handle seeing our daughter upset and thinks the minuscule role is degrading.”
“He wants to call/email the school.”
“I’m more pragmatic.”
“Daughter’s feelings and disappointment are valid, but she made a commitment when she signed up to audition and unfortunately you don’t always get a role you were hoping for.”
“All three of us are going to sit down tonight to discuss this.”
“He wants to let her quit and will do it himself.”
“I’m of the opinion if she wants to drop out, she needs to have the discussion with the directors about it.”
“Would that make me an asshole?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
The majority of Redditors agreed the OP would not be an a**hole for her suggestion.
Most agreed the OP was right in believing her daughter needed to learn things don’t always turn out like you hoped they might and felt the father’s attitude taught a dangerous lesson.
“NTA, your husband’s solution is not a good one.”
“‘Its degrading that you didn’t get what you wanted, here, let me handle this for you’ is a dangerous attitude that quite often leads to children that feel entitled to the best life while not having to contribute to it.”-ijustwanttoaskaq123
“You are teaching your daughter to handle her own conflicts, manage disappointment responsibly, and honor her commitments.”
“Sitting down with the directors to ask what she can improve on to get a better role in the future would be a great call, and hopefully it will help her realize that quitting won’t lead to any positive outcome.”
“If she shines in the role this year, next year she might get something bigger.”
“Her dad wants to be one of those parents who throws a fit when his precious angel doesn’t get what she wants, and encourage her to have the same attitude.”-Temporary_Badger
“NTA and everything you pointed out is true.”
“She did sign up, she isn’t always going to get the role she wanted, and she did make a commitment.”
“These are all great lessons to start learning now.”-SimplySam4210
“Your ex kinda is because he’s taking away a learning opportunity from your daughter.”
“Quitting is part of life!”
“You don’t want her stuck in a shitty relationship, a job she hates or in a living environment that’s toxic so teaching HER how to get out of situations that she’s not happy with is so important.”
“Like yah her reasoning is that of a 9 year old but it’s still a useful skill.”
“I would frame it that way for your ex.”
“And you can work together to help her word how she’ll talk to the directors.”
“(And likely have a follow up group convo about how she can navigate the fallout from quitting, be it teacher are upset or the other kids in the play are.)”-chleotochloe.
“YWNBTA – You are teaching your daughter some valuable lessons here, potentially including, but not limited to:”
“- Sometimes you don’t get what you want.”
“- You have to take accountability in difficult situations.”
“- Maybe you aren’t as skilled/talented as you thought.”
“- Some things are out of our control.”
“- Commitments mean something.”
“Meanwhile, your husband is poised to set a bad example.”
“The level of entitlement and helicopter parenting illustrated isn’t going to help your daughter grow into her own person.”
“11 is old enough to learn these lessons.”
There were others who could relate to the experience of the OP’s daughter and felt the OP was right in suggesting her daughter speak with her director.
But did suggest her daughter shouldn’t continue with the play if doing so wouldn’t make her happy.
‘This is an important moment for your child.”
“This is about honoring a commitment she made even when things don’t go her way, which is an extremely important life lesson.”
“When I was a junior in HS (USA), I played for one of the school’s athletic teams.”
“About 3/4 through the season, I found the situation with the new coach (hired that year) untenable, and really wanted to quit (for context, I played freshman/sophomore year as well, so I knew how I should be feeling with a supportive, helpful coach).”
“I talked to my parents, and they agreed to let me quit so long as I had the conversation with the coach myself.”
“She ended up acting like a child and storming away about halfway through my explanation, but it didn’t matter – my parents made me stand up for myself, by myself, and it was a pivotal moment for me to realize I needed to control my own destiny – not let my parents deal with it because it was uncomfortable.”
“I think you’re right to make her sit down with the directors and explain her feelings, but ultimately if going will make her miserable, you have to let her withdraw.”-gratefulnothateful11.
All most parent want is for their children to be happy, something both the OP and her ex-husband agree upon, though in very different ways.
Here’s hoping their family conversation is a productive one and they come to a solution which doesn’t get in the way of their daughter’s growth as a human being.