Society expects parents to be the steady-handed emotional anchor for their children.
Kids, after all, don’t always want or know how to express their feelings in calmly. So the “adult in the room” is supposed to keep things in check.
But what if a situation genuinely calls for some anger and the adult can’t help but agree?
Aptly named Redditor Papabear_AITA recently shared his explanation of exactly that ordeal in a post to the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit.
The dad in question, also known as the Original Poster (OP), called for some feedback with the post’s vivid title:
“AITA for Allowing my 13YO to call a Women a B*tch?”
OP began with his family layout.
“Ok so I ([34-year-old male]) have 5 kids–2 bio, 3 adopted. I’m black (Haitian) and my wife is mixed (White and Mexican).”
“So I was at Target shopping with 2 of my daughters ([13-year-old female] and [7-year-old female]) they are both adopted from China.”
That trip to the store suddenly became an eventful one.
“As we were looking at clothes for my 7YO, a woman (I’ll call Linda, just seems fitting) came up to us and said ‘Excuse me, are you their babysitter because I’m sure their parents would want you to be distancing.'”
“I replied ‘I’m their father.'”
But the exchange would not end that simply.
“She looked shocked and then turned to my 7YO who has extreme social anxiety and said ‘Honey, is this man your father’ my 7YO didn’t reply and just turned and hugged my leg.”
“Linda rolled her eyes and turned to my 13YO and asked the same thing.”
“She (Obviously annoyed) replied ‘Yes he is,’ then Linda said ‘I can see both of them are hesitant to answer’ or something like that.”
“I get this type of thing a lot but it was starting to be a little more than normal.”
And “more than normal” just kept going.
“Then she said to me ‘How about you step away for a minute so she can tell me the truth.’
“I was getting pissed and said ‘No I’m staying right here with my children.’ She started saying things like ‘If you were really their father you wouldn’t be scared to let her answer'”
“My 13YO said something like ‘He’s my dad what do you want me to say? Can we keep shopping now?'”
“And Linda said ‘It’s ok honey I’m here to help'”
But OP hoped the end was near.
“Then an employee came over and asked if there was a problem. Linda basically said exactly what happened as if everything she was saying was perfectly reasonable.”
“The employee basically said for her to leave us alone. She insisted that he ask of identification so I can prove we all have the same last name.”
Yet again, it wasn’t that simple.
“Now here’s where I could be TA: The employee said that we didn’t have to do that.”
“Finally when it was over Linda left the store and we went to check out, as we were leaving the store Linda’s car was parked in front and I think she was waiting for someone.”
“My 13YO gave her the finger and called her a ‘racist b*tch.'”
OP was faced with a dilemma.
“Now I didn’t encourage it because she rarely curses in public but I didn’t want to punish her.”
“I was telling my sister everything and she said I should’ve at least told my daughter that even though she was mad she shouldn’t have cursed but I don’t think so, AITA?”
Anonymous strangers on the internet were asked to provide feedback by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
The most common take by far was NTA. Redditors assured OP that the particular circumstances were important.
“NTA-While I’m all for not encouraging disrespectful or vulgar behavior I think exceptions can be made and this was the right time to make one.” — GothPenguin
“NTA. There’s a time and a place for that kind of behavior, and this was it.” — UnexpectedBrisket
Some did acknowledge that his daughter’s approach could offer a teaching moment, but remained supportive.
“NTA. But maybe let her know that calling out racists is a good thing, but name calling is not. But definitely give her a pass.” — lexisplays
“NTA – Linda would not have done that to a woman, nor a white male.”
“Your 13yr old acted like a normal 13yr old and whilst I would probably have a chat about more mature ways to handle it, good on her for calling a spade a spade.” — Hufflestitchnplay
“NTA. I probably would have given your daughter a high-five! She should feel empowered to stick up for her family.”
“Yes, the parental thing to do would be to have a discussion about name calling and the like….but in that situation I don’t think she did anything wrong.” — animemommy
And many others were simply enthusiastic on all fronts.
“NTA, you call a spade a spade!” — alimorganph
“NTA not one tiny bit” — alissa2579
“NTA. Normally I wouldn’t condone children being disrespectful but there are some cases where the person has shown their true colors and don’t deserve the respect.”
“Plus she’s 13 years old, she understands the implications of what “Linda” was saying to you.” — kaismama
“Nta. Nope don’t care, doesn’t matter. Linda is a racist bi*** and she deserves to be called out. The fact that you are used to sh** like this happening to you genuinely breaks my heart.” — ellsmomma
“NTA and neither is your daughter. Linda is. Why would your daughter need to be chastised for that?” — Chokingontheashes
“NTA and your daughter has some inspiring cahones. Nurture that.” — Pikachinito
Putting aside all commentary on her delivery, we wish OP’s daughter many more years of her already-impressive conviction to justice and pride in herself.