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Dad Called Out For Telling Daughter Not To Be So ‘Needy’ While Dropping Her Off At College

Sad Young Woman
fizkes/Getty Images

It’s always bittersweet when summer ends.

Particularly for the younger folk, as it means the first day of the school year is just around the corner.

Of course, there are some people who actually look forward to the first day of school, especially college freshmen.

Redditor Pale-Steak7548 and his wife recently moved their daughter into her new housing ahead of her first day of college.

As expected, the original poster (OP)’s wife became emotional about their daughter flying the coop and becoming an empty nester, and the OP’s daughter became similarly emotional at the idea of being away from home.

All of this was a bit much for the OP, who let his feelings be known, much to the resentment of his wife and daughter.

Reflecting on his behavior, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA to tell my daughter not to be so needy?”

The OP explained how his parting words to his daughter ahead of her first day of college were not appreciated by his wife or daughter one bit.

“I (55 M[ale]) have been married to my wife (51 F[emale]) for 29 years.”

“We recently moved our 19 yo daughter into her college apartment.”

“My wife had already helped move in the day before, and we had to help finish up the process.”

“Upon arrival, we moved the boxes into her apartment.”

“After we took all of her things in, I figured we were done.”

“My wife informed me that she was going to help our daughter unpack and get settled in.”

“I asked how long it would take, and she told me about an hour.”

“I waited in the living room as my wife and daughter unpacked.”

“After an hour, I went in to see how much longer they would be, and my wife was busy helping our daughter decorate.”

“I politely said that our daughter didn’t need help with decorating and that she had plenty of time to decorate the next day before classes started.”

“My wife told me that she was going to help and that since we didn’t have any other plans, time shouldn’t matter.”

“My wife does a lot for our kids, and I think that because they are young adults, they can do things for themselves.”

“This is one of those cases.”

“When it was time to leave, we drove our daughter to the music building because she had an audition for vocal ensemble.”

“My wife got teary-eyed and gave her a hug goodbye.”

“I got out of the car and told my daughter that I didn’t mean to offend her, but what if something happened to either of her parents?”

“What would she do?”

“She needed to stop being so needy.”

My daughter got mad and said I ruined everything.”

“My wife yelled at me and said that she wished I hadn’t even come.”

“I walked away.”

“Finally, I got in the car, and we drove home in silence.”


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
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

The OP received little to no support from the Reddit community, who unanimously agreed that he was, indeed, the a**hole for the way he spoke to his daughter.

Everyone agreed that the OP was incredibly insensitive to his wife and daughter’s feelings, with many agreeing with his daughter that he did, indeed, ruin a very important day in his daughter’s life.


“They are right. You ruined a nice time.”

“Her memory of starting college will forever be her dad insulting her.”- OrangeCubit


“Why would you ruin your daughter’s send-off?”

“Helping her decorate is standard kid college drop-off stuff.”

“A trip to Target for essentials, a mini-fridge, some groceries, etc.”

“Your wife wanted to help.”

“Who are you to judge?”

“Do you have trouble when you’re not the center of attention?”

“It sure sounds like it.”

“Try shelving your main character energy for a moment and learn to be supportive.”- tifotter


“This wasn’t about her needing help.”

“They were bonding.”

“They were spending time together and enjoying each other’s company.”

“You sat on your butt in the other room instead of participating, then intentionally spoiled things for them.”

“That sucks.”

“If your wife didn’t want to help, she would have ducked out earlier.”

“She enjoyed being with her daughter and being a part of her new life.”- GnomieOk4136


“Obviously, your daughter could decorate herself, Your wife WANTED to help her because it’s fun, and they’re spending time together, and her daughter is leaving the nest.”

“Couldn’t you have just sat there on your phone and been quiet like a normal dad.”- chickeemeow12

“Oh, holy crow!”

“You took a bonding moment, one of your daughter’s firsts, and blew it out of the water because your fee fees were hurt from not being the center of attention.”

“That was a great way to show, and tell, your daughter that she’s only important when it’s convenient for you.”

“This wasn’t a time that your wife was decorating because your daughter couldn’t. It was a time for them to share as a right of passage – daughter’s first place (her dorm room), being semi-on her own, growing into womanhood, and making her own decisions while getting her education.”

“And you turned it into…okay, so we’re here, your stuff is here, it’s been an hour, why are you still needing your mom to unpack? Wife get in the car. Let’s go.”

“Yes, YTA of epic proportions.”

“BTW, you do realize SHE will most likely be the one picking your nursing home, right?”

“Don’t worry, your wife will be living with her and her family.”- ahopskip_andajump


“When I was 25 and moving into a new apartment, I didn’t NEED my mom’s help, but I still appreciated and loved that she came to help and take me shopping for things like food and cleaning supplies, etc.”

“It was a bonding moment.”

“Your daughter wasn’t being needy. Your wife was helping her and supporting her like a good parent.”

“Going off to college can be scary, and having a parent help move, unpack, decorate, etc can help ease some of the nerves and provides a good time to bond and be with each other for what may be several months (depending on how close you are to home).”

“You ruined a perfectly normal and good time with your needy comment.”- lurkingreader1


“Your wife was parenting because she loves her daughter.”

“Maybe you should try it.”- KittySnowpants

“This was part of the process of your daughter’s transition to college.”

“Had nothing to do with being needy.”

“Kind of like a final thing for them to share.”

“And you ruined it.”

“YTA.”- Accomplished_Two1611

“YTA, do you even like your wife and daughter?.”- hammocks_

“Hmm, if something happened to you, she’d probably heave a sigh of relief for not having to deal with your emotionally constipated, socially inept self anymore.”

“Her mother, the person who took time to help her do small things when she didn’t need to, and who showed her she loved her, she’d likely be very sad.”


“What exactly is wrong with you?”- Professional-Room300


“It’s not about being needy.”

“Obviously, college kids can unpack and decorate themselves, and she would if anything happened to her parents.”

“It was about your wife spending more time with her before she stays at college.”

“I feel you ruined the experience.”- Head-Drag-1440

“YTA, I’m glad you’re not my dad.”- Hotmooma


“It is very clear that your wife wanted to help decorate.”

“Of course, your daughter could do it on her own.”

“It’s hard for most kids to go away from home for the first time as a new adult, and it’s hard for most parents–but apparently not you–to leave them there.”

“Your wife clearly feels that way and wanted to spend that extra time with your daughter, setting up the space where she’s going to live and talking with her.”

“Your reactions, particularly asking her daughter what she would do if you or her mother died, were way out of line, and you spoiled what should have been a happy, if bittersweet, moment.”

“Your daughter’s behavior was fine.”

“Yours, however, is concerning.”

“You don’t seem to empathize with your daughter or wife at all, or to miss your daughter now that she’s moved away.”- lawfox32


“Also, I bet you were just waiting for this day.”

“To have no more kid in house?”

“All about this post is you crying about because wife wanted to help daughter move in properly.”-Soft-Cut-9675

For the majority of college freshmen, it’s the first time they are living away from home for an extended period of time.

Making the day they moved into their housing truly a momentous occasion which they will remember for the rest of their lives.

Hopefully, the OP will come to realize that he left his daughter with a memory she will likely do her best to forget over the passage of time.

And making this up to her will not be easy…

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.