We would all like to believe that parents have the best intentions when it comes to raising their children.
But unfortunately, there are parents out there who basically want to live vicariously through their kids, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Primaballerina1992 was supportive of her daughter’s efforts as a competitive dancer as she herself had been a competitive dancer as a child, as well.
But when her daughter started expressing interest in things that would take time away from dance practice, the Original Poster (OP) was reluctant to allow her to change paths.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for not allowing my daughter to quit competitive dance?”
The OP was skeptical about her daughter’s interest in French.
“I (30 female) have a daughter, Lili (14 female). We just moved states (husband is in the army) and she’ll be going to a new school soon, and she’s deciding on her new subjects.”
“She did French last year and did extremely well (she was way ahead in her class), but she spent a lot of time after school studying for that one language.”
“She said she had fun doing it (doubtful) and enjoyed it very much.”
“I need to add that Lili does competitive dance which means that she doesn’t have much time left after school. I did competitive dance as a child and I know how hard it is to find time for studying.”
The two of them disagreed about her daughter’s future school schedule.
“She came to me the other day, telling me that her new school doesn’t offer French but they do offer Spanish.”
“She said she wanted to take it and asked me if I could sign her up for private French classes so she can learn both languages.”
“I told her that absolutely not, and that with her dance, she won’t have time for that, and it’s too dfifficult of a subject, taking too much of her time.”
“She told me that she hasn’t been enjoying dance for a while and was too scared to tell me, but she wants to quit dance.”
“She told me that she wants to study languages and work with that when she’s an adult.”
The OP did not agree with her daughter’s plan.
“I told her that she won’t be quitting dance because she’s too good at it and I already put in a lot of money.”
“I added that she doesn’t need to know other languages and that she’ll get by with English just fine.”
“Of course, as teenagers do, she threw a fit and ran to her room. She accused me of living vicariously through her (where the h**l did a 14-year-old learn that phrase, though?) and I grounded her for it.”
“She hasn’t talked to me since this morning.”
The OP tried to talk to her husband and sister about the incident.
“My husband came back from work and asked me what happened, and I explained it to him.”
“He told me that I should consider letting her quit dance and that languages are a useful skill. Apparently, they always look for people who speak languages and it’ll be better than dance for her future.”
“I told him I didn’t want to talk to him anymore and called my sister to vent.”
“Surprisingly, my sister took my husband’s and Lili’s side, and she joked that I should post here if I don’t believe her. So I decided to give it a try.”
“AITA for not allowing my daughter to quit dance and take language classes instead?”
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 said the OP was being overly stubborn about this.
“My absolute favourite thing about this post: My daughter told me no, I went to husband, he said I was wrong, so I went to my sister, she said I was wrong.”
“So I’m coming to the internet because obviously they’re all wrong and I’m right, back me up random internet strangers.” – chooklyn5
“I know at least one person who instead of letting her daughter who is also a pretty good dancer but nothing amazing go to university to do the course she actually wants is making her do a gap year on a cruise liner as a Dancer.”
“She is almost hoping her daughter changes her mind and takes up professional dancing instead full-time. It is very much a mother pushing her daughter to do something she was never able to do.” – dvioletta
“If this is real, OP is… not smart. The daughter is, and it’s easier for OP to dismiss it rather than acknowledge it. I mean, why shouldn’t a 14-year-old know the term ‘vicariously’? Probably because the OP doesn’t know it.” – Due-Macaroon-1737
“I mean, she complains that her daughter will do just fine with just English yet OP has what seems to be a minimal grasp on the language herself.”
“I just imagine the ex-cheerleader that never grows up from every bad teen movie and forces their kid into those creepy pageants.” – Roostercalhoun87
“I would put a lot of money on OP having been a competitive dancer who was doing well and had opportunities to further her dancing (eg. go pro), but gets pregnant at 15 and has to give up dancing.”
“Then forces her daughter to get into competitive dancing in order to achieve what OP never did. I wouldn’t be surprised if OP secretly blames/resents her daughter for having to give up dancing in the first place.” – rosenengel
Others completely agreed with the daughter’s observations.
“So 2 people already told you that you’re wrong and you’re seeking people to agree with you.”
“Stop living your personal dreams through your daughter. What is your end goal for her? Something you couldn’t achieve. She already told you she doesn’t want to continue dancing.”
“Time and money. Your unfulfilled dreams. All on your daughter’s back.”
“Do you know what normal parents do when their child decides they don’t enjoy a sport anymore? They allow them to quit and focus on something they love. Your daughter is going to resent you forever.”
“YTA.” – tatersprout
“This reeks of the kind of person who thinks intellectual pursuits are a waste of time.”
“Do you also give your daughter wedgies and sneer, ‘Nerd’ when you pass her in the hallway, OP?” – SnooSquirrels2736
“This right here is you not listening to your child’s interests.”
“She told you what she likes, and you don’t believe her, her dad, or your own sister.”
“Hopefully, you believe countless people who think YTA and a huge AH at that.” – No-Rub1544
“I can’t believe this. She put tons of extra hours in and did really well in French, but mom still doesn’t believe she could have enjoyed it.”
“Just because OP loves dance and hates languages doesn’t mean every teen girl is the same.”
“Knowing more languages is certainly a more probable career path than pro dancing.” – Fianna9
“I’m in awe that a military spouse who could potentially live abroad because of her husband’s work thinks this way! Being multilingual is such a skill, and should be nurtured especially if she’s enjoying it!”
“My biological father (who hasn’t been in my life since I was an infant) was fluent in like 7+ languages, and I’ve always felt a bit of frustration towards my family for not encouraging me to learn when I was younger, or being supportive when I did take lessons in high school and college. (I was homeschooled through high school and had to seek out my own lessons.)”
“OP, as someone who’s been in similar shoes to your daughter (have been in dance from childhood, past college, and was dancing 6 hrs a day 6 days a week in college), please don’t be this parent.”
“And for f**k’s sake, open your eyes to the opportunities being multilingual will open up for your daughter. It sounds like she’d be happier (not to mention healthier, as dance takes a TOLL on the body) learning languages, and sets her up to be successful later on in life, even beyond the age that she’d have to retire as a dancer.”
“So yes, YTA for being so incredibly closed-minded, and I have to agree with your daughter that you’re just living vicariously through her (which, by the way, I knew that word at her age as well, OMG shocker, right?).”
“Stop being selfish, and learn to support her dreams.” – iWasTheCupCat
Though the OP was clearly very passionate about dance, the subReddit openly wondered if she was more passionate about competitive dance for her daughter or, perhaps not so secretly, for herself.
But the bottom line was that her daughter was 14 years old and becoming her own person with individualistic interests. While it would be a wonderful bonding opportunity if the mother and daughter always shared the same interests, it was perfectly normal for the daughter to want to do her own thing.
The real issue was the OP being okay with that and realizing that her daughter moving on from dance was no reflection on the OP’s own past.