A good rule of thumb, typically, is to speak up if you encounter bullying behavior.
Kids are taught from an early age to confront bullying in any form when they see if happening.
But add in an awkward work relationship between the parents of the bully and the person calling them out, and things start to get a little dicey.
Teen Redditor IndependantShell recently ran into this very issue, so she turned to the subReddit “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) to see if she was in the wrong, asking:
“AITA for putting my dad’s relationship with his boss in jeopardy by standing up to the boss’s kid?”
The original poster (OP) explained how it all went down.
“So this happened a few weeks ago. I (16f[emale]) was at the mall with some friends. A girl from our school Louise was eating with her family.”
“Louise’s dad is my dad’s boss and I knew this when the incident happened.”
“My friends went to get smoothies in the same place while I waited close to the seating area and I saw and heard Louise say sh*t to another kid from our school at a nearby table.”
“She was calling her names, telling her she was fat and ugly and she could make her life hell and I wasn’t going to stand by and do nothing so I jumped in, told Louise to back off, that she was a dick and a sh*tty person.”
So the OP decided to stick up for the bullied girl.
“Louise started to say something else and I told her bullies like her grow up to be sad and lonely people unless they realize what they’re doing is wrong and she should think about that. I made sure the other girl was okay before rejoining my friends.”
“Thought nothing else about it other than Louise finally got some pushback for how she acts, because she has a reputation in school for bullying others.”
But after the incident made it back to her dad, the OP has been questioning if her actions were worth it.
“Turns out Louise’s dad was pissed I spoke to his precious little princess like that and is mad at my dad, who in turn was mad at me. He told me I should have stopped to think about what would happen to him, how he could have lost his job, etc, etc.”
“I told him I didn’t care and I did the right thing and he should be proud of that. He told me I should care because it would impact me too and that it was selfish not to think about the consequences of my actions, not to mention childish.”
“And I went away from him pissed at him.”
“But he has not forgiven me and now I’m wondering AITA like he said?”
Redditors weighed in on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Many agreed that the OP did the right thing by standing up to a bully, regardless of their parents’ work relationship.
“NTA: adults aren’t supposed to function like that. If your kid is being a bully and someone tells them off, a responsible adult doesn’t take it out on that kid’s parents.”
“You didn’t have any real reason to believe that sticking up for someone would have any backlash on your adult parent.”
“You should remind your dad that he didn’t raise a doormat who is comfortable just standing there watching someone get torn down, and that a good person wouldn’t sit there and do nothing.”
“Tell him you are sorry his boss is a bad person who raised a bad child, but that doesn’t mean you or your dad should aspire to be like them. Having values is important.”—SavageInkStudios
“NTA, your dad’s boss is an absolute, unprofessional, a**hole.”—NostradaMart
“NTA…more gumption in your 16 years than your father cares to admit.”
“He is rightfully concerned about his job security and should have approached you in a more level manner, ie getting your side of the story prior to jumping down your throat.”—Apprehensive-Rip-529
“The OP is not at an a**hole at all. People not standing up to s*itty people is how we end up with sh*tty people in positions of power.”
“The bully’s dad threatening OP’s dad shows where the bully got her mannerisms from.”
“The bully is an a**hole for bullying.”
“The bully’s dad is an a**hole for bullying OPs dad.”
“OPs dad is an a**hole for getting angry at OP for doing the right thing.”—PsychoKuros
But others pointed out that while, in theory, calling out bullying is good, things aren’t always so black and white when it comes to the real world.
“NAH, except the boss and kid. Your dad apparently does not have a reasonable boss.”
“The boss should not have held him accountable for this, should have never brought it up. Also, should not have raised an a kid.”
“Your dad is rlly not an A, tho he could have handled it better. He’s stuck, like we all are.”
“The average age of Reddit seems to be 20 and I’m older so my perspective may be different, sorry. Your dad exists in a capitalist system where a boss is like a god.”
“If U get fired it can make it very hard to get the next job, bc people don’t want someone who was fired. Sometimes older folks have a hard time transitioning to other jobs because their skills get narrowed down over time and people like to hire younger.”
“Your dad has to keep you in your lifestyle, maybe save for your college, etc. He’s dealing w crap u don’t have to think about.”
“I don’t blame you for standing up to a bully, that’s great, it truly is, but from now prolly best to let someone else handle it if it’s that kid. We can’t solve every problem. Solve the ones you can.”—reedandsue
“NAH except the boss and his daughter.”
“While I do think you did a really good thing, I think some commenters are acting a bit like life is a Disney movie. It’s not.”
“The reality of the situation is that a lot of people faced financial hardship during the pandemic that they’re just starting to recover from.”
“The reality is that most households can’t afford to have a parent be out of work, and that’s even if OP’s dad is married and his spouse is a employed full time, which is unclear based on this post (OP, if your dad is a single dad or the only working parent, this nudges it towards Y T A for me).”
“Yes, he should be proud he raised a daughter of strong morals and integrity, but first and foremost, he needs to be able to feed that daughter.”
“As other commenters have pointed out, what you did would have undoubtedly and clearly been the right thing if your dad’s boss was a reasonable man, but evidently he’s not, so moving forward I would find subtler ways to accomplish the same thing- invite the girl to sit with you so she can’t be targeted as easily, ask a friend of yours if they feel comfortable stepping in instead, etc.”—CompetitiveYoung9
And some were decidedly less forgiving.
“NAH, but only because you are a child. If you were 18, YTA.”
“Do you make the money for your household? No! Your dad does!”
“Newsflash: your dad’s boss might be as mean as his kid. What if your dad gets fired over this? Are you going to pay the bills?”
“Or suppose he doesn’t get fired, but instead the boss is now super hard on your dad from now on.
“That’s 40 hours a week where your dad’s life is miserable. And that’s on you. Because you couldn’t suck it up this one time.”
“Think long-term instead of short term. Think results instead of right or wrong. And think about your dad rather than yourself.”—Vande_Kamp
“Must be nice to live in a world with only responsible adults.”
“OP got in an altercation with someone she knew was her father’s boss’ child, so yeah, she had real reasons to believe there might be consequences.”
“If what OP did was important enough that she thinks it’s worth her father losing his job, she should own that.”
“If OP is too young to understand that doing the right thing doesn’t mean you (or someone else) has to pay a price, then she should take this as a learning experience and reflect.”
“Believing that doing the right thing doesn’t also mean that you need to own the consequences is the thinking of a child. That’s particularly true in a situation where the consequences are going to land on someone else.”
“Personally, this is a YTA to me, not for standing up and doing the right thing, but for being a self-righteous teenager and refusing to grasp that someone standing up and doing the right thing doesn’t always end with ‘and then everyone applauded’.”
“Sometimes it ends with someone getting screwed over, because you thought you were helping. That doesn’t mean you don’t help, but it means you need to understand that there’s a potential cost that someone might pay, and it may or may not be you.”—AllShallBeWell
While everyone agrees that bullying is bad, it seems like Reddit is torn over whether or not the OP did the right thing in this particular situation.
What do you think?