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Mom Grounds Daughter For ‘Ruining’ Vacation By Tricking Her Stepdad Into Buying Her Things

Two women sitting and having an argument.
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It may come as a surprise to children, as well as adults without children, that parents don’t take any enjoyment in punishing their kids.

That being said, even if it might be the last resort, sometimes a punishment is the only way to get children to stop misbehaving.

The threat of punishment is enough to strike the fear of God in children, resulting in the children swiftly changing their behavior for the better and saving their parents from actually inflicting the punishment.

But when children continue to misbehave, likely assuming that their parents wouldn’t actually go through with grounding them or taking TV, internet, or video games away from them for an extended period of time, they usually find themselves in for a rather unpleasant surprise.

The teenage daughter of Redditor vacationcompetition found a way to trick her stepfather into buying her various things while on a family vacation.

Having finally had enough, the original poster (OP) told her daughter that if she kept up with this behavior, there would be serious consequences.

The OP’s stepdaughter thought her mother was surely bluffing but found herself in for a very unpleasant surprise.

After being scolded by her ex-husband for following through with her threat, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for grounding my daughter for ruining our vacation?”

The OP explained why her daughter found herself grounded for the remainder of her vacation and why doing so ended up getting her in hot water with her ex-husband:

“My husband, daughter (15), stepkids (13, 16), and I just came back from a 2-week vacation.”

“My daughter is very smart and is very good at a lot of things.”

“She’s also very competitive.”

“My husband is also very competitive.”

“My daughter started off this vacation by telling my husband there was sudoku on the plane and explaining how to play.”

“He didn’t know that she’s been playing sudoku for months.”

“She made a bet with him that if she finishes the hardest level first, he’d buy her wifi for the flight and if he finished first she’d share a bed with his younger daughter on the trip (his younger daughter was complaining about sharing with his oldest because she kicks and sleeps in the middle of the bed.”

“She beat him and pestered him until he bought the wifi.”

“When we got there she’d challenge him to races on land and in the pool.”

“She’s won medals at state track meets and has been swimming since she was 2.”

“Every day she’d challenge him to something, win, and he’d have to buy her something from the resort or local shops.”

“My husband was getting sick of losing, and my stepdaughters were upset that their dad was buying her stuff and not them, so I told my daughter she either couldn’t compete with her stepdad or she had to let him win.”

“She decided to tell her stepdad that she wasn’t allowed to compete with him anymore because he couldn’t handle losing.”

“This made them start to argue so I told her that if she didn’t keep it up she’d be grounded to the resort for the rest of the trip (a little over a week at this point).”

“She decided to test me so I stuck to my word and she was left at the resort while the rest of us went out every day.”

“The vacation was much more enjoyable without her turning everything into a competition, but she told her dad when she got back that we grounded her, and he’s mad at me now for leaving her there and excluding her from the vacation because my husband couldn’t act like an adult.”

“I told him my daughter was warned to stop, but she decided to test me, and now he’s forcing her to stick to the custody schedule (technically, I have her every other weekend, but he was letting her go back and forth whenever she wanted) and is threatening to go to court for child support and back pay.”

“AITA for grounding her for ruining the vacation?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

The OP received little to no sympathy from the Reddit community, who pretty much unanimously agreed that the OP was, indeed, the a**hole for grounding her daughter for the rest of their vacation.

Everyone agreed that the OP’s ex-husband was correct in that her husband needed to be the grown-up and should have stopped agreeing to her daughter’s bets instead of giving her teenage daughter an ultimatum to stop making these bets.

“I cannot stop laughing at the scenario of an adult being challenged by a teenager and constantly losing but still accepting every bet.”

“This is honestly the funniest thing I’ve read on the internet in weeks.”

“It feels like it came straight from ‘The Simpsons’.”


“Anyway, YTA and your husband is a fool but thank you for the laughs.”- SpicyArms

“Wowww YTA.”

“Uh, no, you tell your husband to be an adult and stop taking the bait.”

“It’s not your daughter’s responsibility to manage a grown adult’s immaturity.”


“I’m glad at least one adult in this situation has common sense.”- Brainjacker

“I didn’t see the spot where you told your grown, adult husband to stop accepting sucker bets because it takes two to compete.”

“I also didn’t see where you told your husband he could buy Wi-Fi for all the kids and not exclude two from the ‘winnings’.”

“YTA for putting all this on your daughter and none on your husband.”

“I also didn’t see why it was reasonable for you to lay a scorched earth level punishment for unruly behavior except that it was easier than actually parenting.”

“YTA and your daughter may stop talking to you when she can.”

“Awful mom.”

“Great job.”-  ColoradoWeasel


“Of course you are.”

“The easiest fix was to tell you husband to stop competing with his stepdaughter.”

“Issue resolved.”

“But of course you didn’t take that route, you decided to harshly punish your 15yr old.”

“One crime should equal one day’s punishment not missing more than a week of vacation.”

“That was very cruel.”

“It think it is more likely you did that to ‘even things out’ because your stepdaughters were upset your daughter had won special gifts in her competition.”

“Also what she did was not deserving not any punishment really.”

“This doesn’t take into consideration your terrible comment that the vacation was more enjoyable to you after you grounded her for telling her stepfather why they couldn’t compete anymore.”

“How could you in good conscience say your vacation was better knowing she was alone being excluded from events when again you could have easily solved the issue by telling you husband to stop competing.”

“She is better off away from you.”

“You seem to really dislike her, or maybe you are threatened by your husband spending time with her, something is off with you.”

“You treat her unfairly, punish her unjustly and too harshly.”

“She needs a mother who loves her, uplifts her and advocates for her, not one who uses their position of authority to unjustly ostracize her from family time.”- Gladtobealive2020



“Why couldn’t your husband just say no?”

“Why does your 15 yo have to ‘let him win’ because he’s not mature enough to use his big boy words and say ‘I’ll pass’?”

“When your husband and daughter started to argue, why was SHE in the wrong, not him?”

“Why are you infantilising your husband but expecting your teenager to be an adult?”

“How sad that you said you enjoyed your vacation more without your daughter…sounds like she’ll be better off with her dad.”- Ok_hon

“Um, who is the adult here?”

“You should be mad at your husband for accepting and encouraging these bets.”

“YTA.”- CanterCircles


“Your husband should not have been accepting challenges from, or rewarding, a 15-year-old.”

“Does he have NO judgment?”

“Since he was being foolish, and you knew your daughter’s abilities, YOU should have said ‘no more challenges’ early.”

“Punishing your daughter while letting your equally responsible husband off the hook was also wrong.”

“Given how badly you and your husband botched this, her dad SHOULD go for more custody.”-bkwormtricia


“Your husband didn’t have to accept all of those challenges.”

“You’re blaming her for his inability to manage his own competitiveness.”

“I agree with your ex (her father).”- T_G_A_H

It wasn’t right of the OP’s daughter to constantly trick her stepfather into buying her things, and the OP needed to call her out.

That said, the OP’s husband was under no obligation to say yes to any of the bets, and a grown man should not get quite so upset at losing anything to a teenager.

If the OP wanted her daughter to be mature and behave like an adult, then it’s all the more important for her and her husband to behave like adults as well.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.