A father was disheartened to learn that his daughter had been bullying his stepson.
Nothing seemed to work for Redditor “nijokl” and his wife so they took drastic measures.
The consequences of those measures left nijokl wondering AITA (Am I the A**hole).
“This has happened a year ago and we are still dealing with the fallout today.”
“Although my daughter was initially getting along with my wife and her son, her attitude completely flipped after we got married.”
“The disrespect and fighting got extremely bad and eventually, my daughter refused to set foot in our house and only let me see her at my parents house and out for dinner.”
“I couldn’t exactly force her to come to my home so we kept up the awkward arrangement.”
“Then, as both my daughter and stepson entered their final semester of highschool, we found out my daughter was encouraging other kids to bully my stepson.”
“We tried everything to stop her horrible behavior ourselves.”
“But I couldn’t discipline her in any way myself and my ex was empowering her behind the scenes by excusing away her actions.”
Feeling powerless over the situation, the Original Poster (OP) resorted to getting the school involved.
“Reaching the absolute limit, I reported her to the school after giving her several chances. I did this despite my stepson telling me not to.”
There was good news and bad news.
“The bullying did stop. But we didn’t know that the school had a zero tolerance policy and she got removed from her sports team and suspended. This caused an offer from her dream college to be rescinded which included a scholarship.”
“I really did not anticipate that to happen but it was too late.”
“There was an unbelievable amount of anger and hatred directed towards my household from my ex, my daughter and my parents.”
“It got so bad (with legal threats and potentially life ruining lies) that I agreed in writing to pay for all of her college costs and continue child support until she turns 21.”
“My daughter will be transferring to the original school she wanted to go to in fall but without a scholarship, so the fees I need to cover will increase.”
“I will have to take a second job to pay all this.”
“My father took back an apprenticeship that was offered to my stepson at my daughter’s insistence. He ended up going into his backup program.”
“My daughter was always a sweet child but it’s clear my ex has manipulated her after I re-married. Now, I only know about her life through my parents.
“My marriage is extremely strained and my stepson doesn’t like me anymore.”
“Everyday I wonder if I did the right thing. Maybe if I’d just waited the extra four months it wouldn’t have turned out this way. Was it even worth it?”
Anonymous strangers on the internet weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
This Redditor blamed the OP for his ignorance relating to school policy.
“OP sucks due to not knowing his daughter’s school policy on zero tolerance. He admits in his post he didn’t know.”
“If you’re a parent, it’s literally your job to know school policy. That’s why they have all those beginning of the year parent conferences with school administration, to make sure parents know what’s going on.”
“It’s on him for not knowing his kids own school procedure before choosing the nuclear option.”
“Not saying he should’ve let her bullying slide if he knew that. But it would’ve allowed him to change tactics ex. Tell her to cut her BS or risk losing her scholarship if he has to report her.”
“Maybe that still wouldn’t have worked but it would’ve been a better intermediate step than going directly to the school without even knowing school policy.” – epoops
“OP sucks for calling the daughter a ‘bully,’ ignoring all the warning signs- nice girl, was happy for wedding, a few weeks after wedding complete personality shift, does not want to be at his house, makes ‘legal threats and potentially life ruining lies…”
“Grandfather was convinced by granddaughter to revoke apprenticeship.. so we are supposed to believe OPs own father is taking the side of the ‘bully’??”
“It really sounds like step son did something terrible to daughter and OP is choosing to not believe it. He refuses to clarify what those ‘lies’ were in the comments.”
“If what a lot of people are speculating happened did happen, and daughter told her friends at school and they started targeting stepson over it, then this is not a simple case of ‘daughter flips personality for no reason and becomes a bullying a**hole.'”
“Unless OP gives a lot more details and explains what the ‘life ruining lies’ were, we can’t all jump to the conclusion that daughter is a bad guy. Given how everyone else is responding to this situation, it really seems OP is refusing to see a lot of things.” – ccaass789
“YTA. you obviously did not care about your daughters well being or mental health after the divorce and you did not know anything about her personal life.”
“I guess enjoy not having a daughter? it is easier than being a parent, huh?” – Complete_Delay
These Redditors had the OP’s back.
“Regardless of OPs ignorance on the schools zero tolerance policy, OP isnt an a**hole for doing everything in his power to stop his daughter from bullying his step son.”
“Hell, he could be in full knowledge of the policy and still wouldnt be an a**hole for reporting her.”
“Its not his fault that the only way to get her to stop was to go to the school, causing her to lose her offer.”
“Actions have consequences and these are the consequences of her actions. If she didnt want to lose the offer she shouldnt have been a bully.”
“What kind of bully apologist do you have to be to blame someone doing everything in their power to stop it?” – Thauv
This person vehemently spoke against bullying and advised the OP not to offer financial help for his daughter.
“NTA. Bullying is never acceptable, even worse when the poor kid can’t escape it at home or school, which at their age is basically their entire world.”
“I had a similar situation growing up. Both parents remarried and my sister was getting bullied by my step sister. Spilled over into school with my sister wanting to live with Dad in a different state.”
“Schools are useless in that situation too the only assistance we got was the deputy principal offering us a place to live so we can at least escape the drama at home. That situation lasted about 8 months before they got divorced.”
“Honestly I wouldn’t even pay for her tuition. It’s a hard lesson but at the end of the day she needs to be accountable.”
“If the bullying was unfounded the school wouldn’t have suspended and her scholarship would still be on offer. The schools stance is tough because people have taken their lives to escape this sh*t.”
“I guarantee however bad your daughter feels for missing out on her scholarship is nothing compared to what your step son feels when he’s bullied by family at school.”
“Again can’t stress enough, definitely NTA” – d_g_y
But the logic in supporting the OP didn’t sit well with this Redditor.
“But then isn’t the joke on OP if his step son, the person getting bullied, doesn’t like OP for what he did?”
“Not saying bullying is a-okay. I’m saying OP didn’t take into account what the bullied party wanted and instead f’ked over the step son the most.”
“The daughter is off totally fine minus having any relationship with her father at all except for college payment. So the daughter didn’t even lose out minus the relationship with OP which seemed very strained before the loss of her scholarship.
OP didn’t take his step son’s urging to not go to the school, and thus shot the bullied step son in the foot as well as his own foot.”
“Step son lost his preferred apprenticeship and had to go to his back up and OP now needs to pay 3 more years of child support + all of his daughter’s college fees for the same college she was going to for free.”
“It’s not about being a bully apologist. But OP didn’t listen to the bullied party AND admits he doesn’t even know why the daughter is suddenly a bully and admits he gave up trying.”
“So… the OP still is a bad dad here. AND out of a lot of money AND f’ked up his relationships with the new wife and the step son.”
“OP was trying to be honorable but went about it his own way and ignored guidance and ended up kind of losing everything.” – epoops
These Redditors saw that there was more than one guilty party.
“ESH, except your parents and your son.”
“Maybe you could’ve kept the matter private and exercised your authority as a parent more strongly.”
“Also, daughter looks like she could’ve used therapy as a way to deal with your divorce and re-marriage, instead she just learned she can guilt trip and bend their parents to her will to the point of breaking them financially.”
“Hell, at this pace, might start plotting to cheat your son out of an inheritance soon.”
“And if your ex encouraged all of this, she’s the worst.” – watarmalannn
“ESH you as a father should have realized that she felt neglected after you married.”
“You didn’t even try that hard to keep her with you. You let her walk away because you prioritized your new family over her.”
“Due to this she took out her anger on your stepson (the only person she felt she could make feelings what she is feeling) because she felt you let him take her place.”
“You should have all talked it out. She sucks for bullying him you suck for neglected her and not even knowing her school rules which ended in her losing her scholarship.” – wickedwitchtemptress
DangerousDave303 was simply at a loss for words and only had this to say:
“This is a sh*t show.”
There’s a lot missing in the details of the OP’s story which could change people’s opinions about the stepson and the daughter, but everyone agreed the adults handled everything poorly.