The life of a teenager is fraught with perilous drama.
Passions run powerfully in those hormone-fueled times and as parents sometimes all we can do is ride it out.
What happens when that passionate teenager turns to you for support and doesn’t feel like she’s received it?
This was the problem facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Dependent_Coast_482 when he came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for clarity.
“AITA for telling my daughter a guy not liking her doesn’t make him an idiot?”
He began with the background.
“I’m the single father to two daughters, 18 & 13, raising them alone.”
“My youngest has been trying to get up the nerve to ask out a boy she has a crush on and we’ve all been super supportive.”
“Last week, she invited him to go on a group date type thing and he declined.”
“By my daughter’s admission, he was very nice about it and said ‘I just don’t like you like that, I wanna stay friends’.”
“My daughter was understandably upset and was down for most of the weekend.”
The family rallied in support.
“My eldest and I were doing a lot to cheer her up.”
“One thing my eldest kept saying, however, was that ‘he’s an idiot! He doesn’t know what he’s missing!’ “
OP explained his perspective on this phrase.
“I’ve always hated that POV on both ends.”
“I heard it often growing up, whether it was me being rejected or a friend.”
“To me it creates entitlement.”
“No one has to go out with you.”
“You’re allowed to turn someone down for no reason. I also don’t want my daughters thinking they should just say yes to anyone who asks to spare their emotions.”
And then explained the crux of the situation.
“So, I ended up saying ‘I understand why (youngest) is upset. But I don’t think he’s an idiot. He’s a nice guy who just wants to be friends. Let’s not vilify that’.”
“My oldest got mad and said I wasn’t being helpful, I was making it worse, etc.”
“I said if my youngest had turned someone down, how would we feel about their family calling her an idiot?”
“My eldest got even more p*ssed and took my youngest shopping for retail therapy.”
“My youngest didn’t seem mad when I said it but when she came back, she was and said that I was defending the guy vs comforting her.”
“It’s been an icy few days in our house.”
With both of his children frustrated with him, OP was left to wonder.
Having explained the problem and given a defense, OP turned to Reddit for a ruling.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Some suggested that the eldest had influenced youngest’s anger.
“I also don’t really like that mentality of putting the other person down just because they said no.”
“I think she only said that because your older daughter was likely b*tching about it more in the car.”
“You’ll probably have to sit her down and talk to her that it’s okay to feel upset when someone doesn’t return the feeling but doesn’t make it okay to be mean to the other person.”~ SilhouetteCommenter
Others suggested having a more in-depth talk with the youngest.
“Op you should ask the 13yo if she thinks the guy did anything wrong to need ‘Defending’ and address that.”
“Cause yeah, rejecting someone regardless of reasoning is not inherently wrong and kiddo DEFINITELY needs to recognize that.”~ NuvStorm
Commenters even gave pointers on how to guide the conversation.
“Ask your daughter if she feels she is obligated to say yes to every guy who asks her out.”
“Most women (myself included) would say that is a toxic mindset so she should allow this boy the same leeway.”
“This in no way diminishes your daughter’s awesomeness, just highlights that two perfect people may not be perfect for each other!~ everyonemustlovecats
Largely, this was seen as a teachable moment.
“You’re teaching your daughter the proper way to deal with rejection rather than allowing her to learn an attitude that will make people view her in a negative light.”
“13 is a proper time to learn about how to conduct healthy romantic relationships, and you’re teaching her something valuable.”
“That people have the right to refuse without it making them a bad or unkind person.”
“This will be important when it’s her turn to turn someone down.”
“If she takes the scorched earth policy with people who turn her down, she’s going to get a reputation that will possibly in itself make people turn her down.”
“But by teaching her to be civil she avoids this.”~ TinyRascalSaurus
“Not learning how to accept rejection gracefully also sets her up to be that stalker-creepy girl.”
“Better yet, when she understands that accepting rejection is actually a GOOD thing in the relationship context, she’s set up for healthy relationships.”
“Do you really want her to learn that she should invest time and effort into someone who’s clearly not interested?”
“What happens if she lands in an unhealthy relationship and doesn’t have the practice at walking away from one that is just mediocre?”
“I agree wholeheartedly that 13 is a good time to learn this!”~ No_Hospital7649
There were some who took some issue with OP’s timing though.
“Ethically you’re correct of course.”
“You shouldn’t make out others to be losers or lower than just for rejecting you.”
“But there definitely is a time and a place for this kind of lesson.”
“I would suggest allowing her to be in her feelings and be sad before trying to do that.”
“Comfort over solution kind of deal?”
“Hormones at 13 are very conflicting for girls and she might not have wanted or appreciated that instead of just comforting her you were just being logical.”
“I’d have let the wound of rejection heal a little bit more, especially if it’s her first.“~ ViridianBella
The life of a teenager is fraught with perilous drama.
As parents, we try to guide our children in the best ways we can.
Sometimes, though, before we can learn the lesson, we have to feel the feelings.