There are certain rules to parenting, and one of the highlights of Parenting 101 is to not play favorites between your kids.
How possible this is, of course, is debatable, but giving unfair advantages to one kid over others is generally a big no-no.
This can really put parents at odds, the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit pointed out.
Redditor SANDiego3221 was torn between setting expectations for one daughter and maintaining boundaries for the other.
But when her husband criticized her, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she made the wrong decision.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for refusing to punish my daughter for not sharing her makeup with her younger self?”
The OP observed a difference in how her daughters cared for their things.
“I’m a mother of 2: Maya (17) and Roxanne (14). Both my daughters love makeup and beauty.”
“When they were younger, I used to get them equal makeup tools, but now Maya has a job and buys her own makeup with different (more expensive) brands.”
“Unlike Roxanne, Maya is responsible with her makeup and beauty products. She keeps them organized and doesn’t lose them easily like Roxanne often does.”
“As a result, Roxanne doesn’t have much makeup stuff, and recently this issue occurred.”
But this difference recently came with consequences.
“Maya got paid last week and went shopping with her friends and bought makeup products.”
“Roxanne saw the stuff Maya bought, since they share a room, and then came to me and her dad, complaining that Maya refused to let her share/use the makeup products she bought.”
“My husband asked Maya if it was true and Maya said the makeup she bought cost her money and effort at her job and didn’t think it was fair to share with her sister since she keeps losing/ruining it all the time, forcing Maya to buy more and cost her more money and work.”
“My husband told her that this wasn’t right and she should share the stuff she buys with her younger sister.”
“Maya still said no, which caused my husband to say he’d punish her for how mean she was being towards her sister, Roxanne.”
“Maya still said no and my husband told her to go upstairs and then turned to me and said Maya needed to be punished for treating her sister cruelly and making her cry.”
The OP didn’t agree with her husband’s stance.
“I told him I didn’t see a valid reason to punish Maya, since she did nothing wrong.”
“He was puzzled, chuckled, and asked if I really don’t see what’s wrong with Maya’s behavior.”
“I responded that Maya worked hard to earn money and buy her makeup, which she rightfully deserved to keep for herself.”
“He got upset and said I was treating the girls differently and showing heavy favoritism towards Maya after I said I won’t punish her for not sharing.”
“I stated that it wasn’t Maya’s fault her sister kept losing the makeup products.”
“He said Maya needed to learn to share with her sister since they both have the same interest in makeup, and by not punishing her, I’d be encouraging her to become selfish.”
“But I don’t see it.”
The argument continued to escalate.
“He called me negative and short-sighted for not understanding what he was talking about and accused me of being more of a friend to Maya than a mom, which is what I should be.”
“The argument got worse and my husband said it’s my fault if Roxanne starts resenting her sister.”
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 recommended the father start paying for the younger daughter’s makeup.
“If you work for something, it’s yours.”
“Tell your husband you want his wallet and credit cards. He needs to share with you and the girls.”
“Oops! Roxanne lost the credit cards? What??????”
“I’m going to use your new tools/golf clubs… Sure, I’ll bring them back… in good condition…”
“NTA. Your husband needs to share everything he owns with all of you, so he can learn how to share. Sorry, but your husband is not very bright. Good job, OP!” – Feeling-Fab-U-Lus
“Make the dad pay to replace everything the youngest ruins that the oldest buys with her own money!! You know, since he’s all about sharing.” – Ikmia
Others applauded the OP for creating healthy boundaries for her daughter.
“Teaching sharing is for 2-year-olds. These are teenagers. Why on earth does dad think the life lesson to be learned at 17 is ‘sharing is caring’?”
“Boundaries setting, money management, and entitlement (looking at the 14 y/o) are the age-appropriate lessons that are needed.”
“Makes me wonder about other instances of infantilism.” – not_my_final_forum
“Hygiene issues aside, money issues aside, this is about healthy boundaries.”
“Maya may have other things she’s happy to share with her sister. That doesn’t mean she has to share all things at all times with everyone.”
“Dad teaching his daughter unhealthy boundaries is incredibly damaging. I know some people might think I’m being dramatic, but women are already so socialized to ‘be nice.’ Where does it end? With the bf who wants Maya to do things she’s not comfortable with?”
“If she dates a guy who freeloads and ruins her personal property, does dad tell her she needs to share? At what point does a person simply get to decide that they’re not comfortable with something and say ‘no’? Teaching your daughter she needs to acquiesce at all times can go very, very sideways and into some very dangerous places.” – IPetdogs4U
Some affirmed the makeup belonged to the 17-year-old because she purchased it.
“Please get this through your husband’s head OP. It’s her stuff, she’s not obligated to share it with others just because she’s older or because they’re sisters.”
“Plus makeup products should absolutely not be shared, regardless of the relationship between the two sharing it, for sanitary reasons.”
“It’s time the younger learns to take care of the products she has. They sell makeup cases, bags, and organizers at stores like Walmart. Or have her buy her own makeup when she loses hers (if she is able to like with an allowance or something). She can learn how to manage where her stuff is and not lose it like how many of us lose chapstick.” – Fun_Frosting_797
“I’m guessing that, like most men, he has no idea how much makeup costs.”
“As (usually) non-users of makeup, we normally just see the price of a single item. (Small items, like a basic lipstick cost (according to a quick google) between 10 and 30 bucks, a lip pencil is $15/20, a base is around $40?)”
“The issue is that you need a lot of different products, so it adds up. And, according to the women in my life, once you find the perfect brand/product, you tend to stick with it.”
“A good way for OP to give dad some insight is to tally up how much the current batch of the older daughter’s makeup is worth.”
“This is still all besides the fact that older daughter should not be forced to share things she bought with her own money, but it might help the argument.” – Tephlon
The subReddit was very clear on this one that the 17-year-old was almost an adult who deserved to have some possessions that were just hers, not to mention the fact that she purchased those items herself.
Perhaps if the father gives his younger daughter money to buy her own supplies, as the sub suggested, he’ll realize what a big deal that is.