Family drama is something we all have experience with, sometimes especially where a divorce has been involved.
One recurring issue tends to be feelings of being in control, or not, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor thrwaway8365 was recently in a situation where he felt the need to stand up to his daughter and ex-wife, to encourage them to involve him in big decisions.
But when there was legal pushback, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if he took it too far.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for not letting my daughter go to her homecoming dance?”
The OP’s daughter recently came home with Homecoming plans.
“My daughter is 14 and a freshman in high school.”
“She came home one day after being at her mother’s for a week (we split custody) and wrote ‘Homecoming’ on our calendar and started talking about all the plans she’d made with her best friend to go to homecoming together.”
“Homecoming week happened to fall on a week she was with me.”
“She started raving to my wife and me about the dress her mom took her to buy and that she’s matching with her friend. She had even bought a ticket already.”
The OP wasn’t having it.
“I was furious with her entitlement to just make all these plans without asking me first.”
“I can admit it’s not just her fault, but her mother’s as well for not clearing it with me before buying her the dress and ticket.”
“In fact, I wouldn’t put it past her and her mother to have bought the dress and ticket before asking in order to force me into letting her go.”
“I wanted to teach her a lesson about asking first and not assuming that I’m just going to let her do whatever she wants and that she can’t manipulate people in order to get her way.”
“So I told her that if she’d asked first, I’d have been happy to let her go to her homecoming dance.”
“But since she decided to make plans and buy stuff before even asking if she could go, I wasn’t going to let her.”
His daughter was heartbroken.
“She cried and told me that you only get one freshman homecoming, and I told her maybe she should’ve thought about that.”
“I said all homecomings are the same anyway, she has three more opportunities to go and she’s not missing much.”
“She sulked in her room for the rest of the day and didn’t talk much.”
“I tried to comfort her, but my wife said not to because I’d be teaching her that I’ll give her my attention if she acts upset and cries.”
“I went to comfort her anyway because I didn’t think she was acting, but she rejected me. That infuriated me even more, so I left her in her room to cry alone.”
The OP’s ex-wife took another approach.
“Her mother was furious when she found out and demanded that I pay her back the money she spent on the dress and homecoming ticket.”
“I said absolutely not because she didn’t clear it with me before buying those things so it’s her own fault.”
“However, she contacted her attorney (who contacted mine), and long story short, I got to sit down with my wife and our family therapist for a painstaking conversation about communication.”
The OP still insisted he did the right thing.
“It’s now long after homecoming, and my daughter is pretty much back to normal, but she’s still angry with me for not letting her go to that dance.”
“I stand firmly by my decision not to let her go, but was I an a**hole?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said the OP sounded incredibly selfish and narcissistic.
“Absolutely YTA, OP.”
‘This isn’t about people making plans, it’s you being p**sy that people made plans without groveling to you for permission first.”
“It would be one thing if they made plans for your daughter to go on a week-long trip to Japan, but no.”
“They made plans for a couple of hours on ONE day, it’s no different than your daughter wanting to spend an afternoon hanging out with friends… because that’s exactly what she would be doing.”
“Of course your daughter and her mom are upset, you are throwing a very unreasonable tantrum.”
“You wanted to ‘teach your daughter a lesson’? Well, you did. You taught her that her dad cares more about an arbitrary power trip than letting her have a fun, memorable time with her friends.” – emilizabify
“Dad is a total a**hole here. Just because the parents got a divorce and the kids are forced to live in two houses should not mean they have to give things up because their parents couldn’t work things out!!!”
“Kids need to still have all the rights of passages and do all the things they would do, whether the parents are together or not, period. OP needs to pull his head out and stop being selfish. This isn’t about him, it’s about his daughter.” – JuryNo7670
“Pay attention to how he talks: it’s all about him. His rules, his permission, his house. It’s not about his daughter at all.”
“It’s all about the injury to his precious ego. The fact the issue centers on his daughter is almost irrelevant.” – msnovtue
Others agreed and said the OP was looking at his daughter’s behavior in all the wrong ways.
“He could’ve turned this into a really special bonding moment, maturely communicated that she needed to still check with him when she makes plans because he’s her parent, and then moved on.”
“This whole thing is dripping with control issues and wtf is up with the narrative that you can’t check in with your kid when you upset them? And, they better be polite and warm to you or you’ll just get madder? Lord, what a child.”
“YTA, times a million.” – MCBates1283
“What got to me was that she was so excited about the dance and tried to share that excitement with OP and his wife. Such horrible, horrible people.” – mjw217
“I had a stepfather like this. Of course, because I was such a relentlessly good girl, he ‘taught me a lesson’ about ‘not being able to do whatever I wanted’ by forbidding me to go to bible study.”
“The one time a friend had an extra concert ticket, he went off on how 15 was too young to go to a concert and I’d smoke pot and stay out late, and I ‘needed to learn’ that I couldn’t ‘just make plans’ and ‘expect to’ -“
“Sound familiar? Yeah.”
“OP = the kind of toxic a**hole that thinks teen girls need to be crushed and demolished into obedient little lumps, because god forbid she dares to challenge her chode of a father and makes him feel like he’s not king of the s**t heap.”
“He’s the one who demands ‘respect’ as an authority but refuses to respect others as human. To h**l with this guy.” – _Kay_Tee_
A few also pointed out the OP won’t have much of a relationship with his daughter in a few years.
“This is the absolute quickest way for the OP to lose all semblance of a relationship with his daughter as she gets older.”
“If he continues this BS, eventually she will go NC (no contact) permanently and he will never see her again.”
“Source: my dad pulled this s**t on me my whole life and I haven’t spoken to him in almost 18 years.”
“YTA” – Trillian_B
“Let’s bet that OP is going to come back here in a couple of years wondering why his daughter cut him off.”
“Poor girl, her father would rather crush her dreams than work on his problems with his ex and leave her out of it.”
“Good thing she’s going to be an adult soon. OP, you are a gigantic a**hole.” – Laurelinn
Though the OP was sure that he did the right thing and taught his daughter a lesson, the subReddit believed he did anything but that.
While he may have taught his daughter to never depend on her dad as a positive, celebratory figure in her life, the OP did absolutely nothing in regards to teaching his daughter respect and involving him in her plans.