Sometimes after going through a big life change, like a move or a divorce, a person will need to pick up a new hobby in an attempt to rediscover themselves.
While there’s nothing wrong with that, their new hobby shouldn’t hurt anyone else, either, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor AcceptablePriority71 felt that his teenage daughter should just be happy for him and his newfound love for skateboarding after he got divorced.
But when she pleaded with him that his new hobby was causing her to get bullied, the Original Poster (OP) felt conflicted.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for skateboarding even though my daughter is being teased and humiliated?”
The OP recently took up skateboarding, much to his daughter’s embarrassment.
“I have finally been doing the things I’ve been wanting to do in my life since I got divorced.”
“One of them is to be a skateboarder. Sure, I’m 44, but it’s never too late to try to be the bada** version of yourself.”
“My daughter for some reason is humiliated by me taking up skateboarding.”
“She says I’m too old and that everyone at school makes fun of her for it. She said everyone laughs when I show up to school early and skate around the parking lot.”
His daughter lashed out at him after a recent incident.
“The other day, I came to get her and did a little trick on the curb, but I wasn’t able to land it and fell.”
“When we got in the car, she started hysterically crying that I embarrassed her.”
“She asked why can’t I just be like the other dads and why can’t I respect her request to just not skate around her school.”
“She said I’m an a**hole and a terrible dad.”
The OP felt conflicted.
“A part of me wants to keep her happy and not skate, and I get that I might be an a**hole for continuing to do what embarrasses her.”
“But another part of me thinks she needs to be happy for me and let me be my best self, and that I’m not doing anything wrong for wanting to be happy.”
“So Reddit, AITA?”
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 would be NTA if it wasn’t for his skating location.
“I was going to say that you’re N-T-A and that it’s normal for parents to embarrass their teens no matter what they do, but you’re going into her space, her school. So YTA. No teen wants a parent hanging around the school.”
“Keep skating. It’s a perfectly normal hobby and good on you for not parking yourself on the sofa with a crate of beer after the divorce or dating 20-year-olds. But don’t skate at your daughter’s school.”
“She is embarrassed because being a teen is about gaining independence and your presence means she can’t carve out a separate identity. She is being judged on you. I’m not saying you’re embarrassing. She’d be embarrassed no matter who you were and what you were doing.” – Antstst
“NTA for skating, but don’t do it at her school. I’m going to guess she is in middle school? Keep doing it, but somewhere else.”
“In a couple of years, she will no longer be embarrassed and will probably see you as you truly are… a bada** dad.” – One-Public4084
“It probably bugs the h**l out of the teachers, too. Skateboarding is not a quiet sport, and even if it was, it’s probably distracting for the class to watch a guy fall down over and over while learning to skate, old or not.”
“For her to be getting teased, he must be obtrusive enough that her peers have noticed him even during class.” – sixthandelm
“OP, you need to respect your daughter’s space, including her school. If you continue to skate at the school you will be TA.”
“Listen to your daughter and try to see her point of view a little more. Take what she says seriously rather than continuing to be dismissive.”
“Apologize without making excuses and tell her that you understand better now why it bothers her. Tell her that you will skate somewhere else, where it will not make her feel so uncomfortable.”
“If you make an effort with this, you will be doing a great deal to strengthen and improve your relationship with your daughter.” – salymander_1
But mid-conversation, the OP admitted to wanting to embarrass his daughter.
“My parents used to embarrass me all the time. Not that it’s an excuse, but I do think I have become stronger for it and care less about what people think.”
“I think kids are too weak these days. I want my daughter to grow thicker skin. She’s too much like her mom.”
Some were uncomfortable with the OP intentionally making his daughter’s life more difficult.
“YTA, the simple solution is to stop skating around her school. Why are you so dead set on doing it in front of her peers when she’s explained she’s getting bullied over it?”
“Go to a different parking lot? It’s SO simple that it makes YTA, because the only logical reason you would be doing it at this point is to bug her.”
“Here’s the thing, you don’t even have to stop skateboarding, you just need to stop using it to hurt and bother your daughter.”
“Unfortunately, teenagers are ruthless when it comes to bullying, and by completely ignoring her feelings and pleas, you’re now a ‘bully,’ too.” – HappyMelonGirl
“YTA. Don’t do things with the intention of making things harder on your daughter.” – Kongo204
“My mom used to embarrass me like that. I now have depression and anxiety, and we are pretty much no-contact. Embarrassing her won’t give her ‘thicker skin,’ it will make her resent you and rightly so.” – dontcallmeoscar
“Ah, I get it, you do not want to miss out on bullying your own daughter, because you turned out perfectly after the way your parents treated you.”
“Real class act, OP, no wonder you are divorced.”
“But I get it, you only have 4 years left before you never see your kid again. So you must get in as much embarrassment as you can now. Because after that she turns 18, she will never have to lay eyes on you and your skateboard again.” – LittleFoxicorn
“You’ve reached another level of YTA for your comment that ‘she’s too much like her mom.'”
“Please tell us that you have never said those words out loud, and if you have, NEVER around her. PLEASE!” – CasperGGGD
“Yeah… being skeevy in front of a bunch of teens to punish your daughter because you’re angry at your ex-wife is not a good look.”
“‘Being my badass self,’ thinking skateboarding makes you a bada** is the mindset of a 12-year-old. Skateboarding is not a personality.”
“Skateboarding is a fun activity, not a way to try to change history to make you feel like a ‘cool kid.'”
“Lastly, the way you are handling your relationship with your daughter is incredibly immature. Kids today are not thin-skinned, they just have more freedom to call others out on their bulls**t.” – Corpuscular_Ocelot
“You are embarrassing her on purpose because she reminds you of your ex-wife and this is some sort of sick, passive-aggressive projecting.”
“Embarrassing your child is abusive on purpose, and it’s not going to give her a thicker skin. What it will do is cause bullying, will make her hate you and herself, make it hard for her to make meaningful connections at a time in her life when it’s important for her to learn how, and completely wipe out her self-confidence.”
“And I refuse to believe you don’t know this and are doing it to get back at your ex.”
“Stop being a child. Go skate at a park if skate you must, apologize to your daughter, do some soul searching to figure out why you are the way you are, and get thee to a therapist stat.” – momof3dragons2012
After receiving feedback, the OP shared an update in the comments.
“It’s been brought to my attention that I am not fully understanding my daughter’s struggles and that my idea of bullying is different than today’s current climate.”
“I do think that her mom is a bit too sensitive with things and she cares too much about what people think. That is more what I meant.”
“I want them to say, ‘f**k the haters,’ and just live their lives with no fear. F**k the bullies, man.”
“But I am going to work on being a better father and skate somewhere else.”
Some couldn’t understand why the OP was so fixated on skateboarding in front of his daughter’s school and insisted that his skateboarding wouldn’t be a problem if he would just do it elsewhere.
But when he shared an update and explained that he was embarrassing his daughter with the express intention of toughening her up, the subReddit was furious.
Not only was he causing her to be bullied at school, but he was making a pointed effort to be one of her bullies, as well, by not listening to her concerns and needs, and also insisting that he was doing her a favor by changing something about her that he clearly didn’t like.
This dynamic was undoubtedly problematic, and more than likely it had everything to do with his residual feelings for his marriage that had ended and the ex-wife that his daughter likely reminded him of.