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Parent Fed Up After Stepmom Insists On Piercing Young Daughter’s Ears To Look More Feminine

A little girl getting her ears pierced.
Devilkae/Getty Images

What makes us different is what makes us wonderful.

Even so, some people find it impossible to understand why some of their closest friends and family don’t share their interests or hobbies, or don’t do certain things exactly as they would do it.

Rather than accept and move on, these same people often go to great lengths to try to get these friends and family members to be more like them.

Sometimes even resorting to deceptive and manipulative tactics.

The stepmother of Redditor Dear-Hovercraft3749 was pressuring her daughter to do something she had no interest in.

So much so that she even gave the original poster (OP)’s daughter a birthday present which would effectively require her to do so.

Rather than give in to her stepmother’s pressure, the original poster instead told her father and stepmother that she would exchange their present.

A decision that neither the OP’s father or stepmother appreciated.

Wondering if she was being inconsiderate, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I the A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for telling my father and stepmother that I’ll exchange the gift they bought for my daughter?”

The OP explained why she intended to exchange the birthday present her father and stepmother gave to her daughter:

“My daughter is turning 5 later this month.”

“We have a trip coming up, so we decided to have her birthday party last Saturday instead.”

“When we got home after the party, we helped our daughter open her gifts.”

“The only ones she didn’t open were the ones we realized were jewelry or clothing (she doesn’t care about those, only the toys), which me and my husband opened without her.”

“Those were gifted mostly by family members.”

“The jewelry department mainly consisted of necklaces and bracelets.”

“The sole exception was a pair of earrings, gifted by my father and his wife.”

“My daughter’s ears aren’t pierced.”

“We didn’t pierce them when she was born, nor do we intend to do so anytime soon.”

“We want to let her decide whether she wants to, and she’s never expressed any interest.”

“So me and my husband already knew we’d be exchanging the earrings.”

“Usually, we don’t tell people we’re exchanging a gift they bought for us.”

“This time is different.”

“My stepmother has been pestering me about piercing my daughter’s ears since she was born.”

“There’s always a different reason why.”

“First, it was because ‘people wouldn’t know she was a girl if we didn’t’, then it turned into ‘she’ll get jealous of her friends’, and so on.”

“But she always makes the point that girls need to have their ears pierced.”

“She brings it up almost every time we see her.”

“My father usually doesn’t comment on it, but has backed her up a few times.”

“Also, my stepmother’s never complained about my older son’s appearance, so I know this is rooted in sexism.”

“When my father called us the next day to ask what we thought of the earrings, I told him they looked nice.”

“My stepmother joined in and asked, ‘So you’re getting her ears pierced?'”

“I tried to dodge the question, but she later asked it again.”

“So I told them no.”

“I looked at the store’s website and found a matching necklace, which we’ll exchange the earrings for.”

“There’s a price difference, but I’ll cover it.”

“Well, they weren’t happy.”

“Apparently, my stepmother started crying.”

“My father told me off for thinking about exchanging a ‘thoughtful gift’ he bought for his granddaughter, and said it was wrong of me to dismiss my stepmother’s opinion like that.”

“In return, I told them I couldn’t take her insistence anymore, and she needed to stop obsessing over my daughter’s ears.”

“It escalated into a fight.”

“My husband, while 100% on my side otherwise, thinks I didn’t need to tell them.”


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: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

The Reddit community unanimously agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for returning the earrings her stepmother gave her daughter.

Everyone agreed that it was clear that the OP’s stepmother was trying to influence the OP to get her daughter’s ears pierced, and she did absolutely the right thing by standing her ground and returning the earrings, with many questioning how safe the OP’s daughter would be in the care of her father and stepmother.


“Honestly, I’d never let them babysit your daughter unsupervised because of that level of insistence.”

“Your stepmother pushed.”

“This is a more than reasonable boundary to hold: No, you will not be piercing your daughter’s ears. It wasn’t a gift. It was an attempted manipulation.”

“Even if it were his side of the family, your husband would be out of line here.”

“This is an example of needing to tell them that the gift was inappropriate–because they knew full well it was!”- Tangerine_Bouquet


“It’s ridiculous they tried to manipulate their bizarre desire to pierce your daughter’s ears by gifting you this.”

“They knew what they were trying and don’t like being called out on it.”

“It’s not their kid, so they don’t get to decide anything about parenting it.”

“Get your stepmother a gift she can’t use and see how she likes it.”

“Tell her you think she needs to take up scuba diving, and get her a dive mask.”

“All gifts going forward are things she can’t use, and when she questions it you can tell her that it’s a thoughtful gift and you’ve decided she needs to get into scuba diving.”- BulbasaurRanch


“If you hadn’t returned the earrings they would have been forever used as the pretext for bringing up your daughter getting her ears pierced ears so she can wear them.”

“They bought them for that purpose.”

“You weren’t being rude — you were rejecting rudeness.”

“They jammed their foot in your closing door like a pushy salesman who won’t accept no for an answer.”

“You are removing the foot so the door can be closed.”- kurokomainu

“LOL what a joke, super NTA.”

“It’s hard to believe – yet I believe it – that your dad and stepmom would think they should use a gift-giving opportunity for their beloved granddaughter to force you into making a parenting decision that does not impact them in any way and is absolutely none of their business.”

“Like ‘whaaaat?!'”

“Frankly I think you’re a saint for handling it the way you have up until now because you’ve kept the peace.”

“Rather than let it go, they’ve taken your peaceful response and just doubled down on their badgering, which is SO wrong – so disrespectful, so not their place, so irrational, so unnecessary, so biased.”

“You aren’t TA for finally speaking up on this or informing them of the exchange; otherwise, you would have had to lie or lie by omission, and that’s really not better, and doing so would have left the door open for this to continue indefinitely.”

“It needed to stop, and if they want to have a relationship with you and their granddaughter THEY need to stop.”

“One minor thing you might have done differently and might still if it’s not too late – put the earrings away for the future.”

“You admitted your daughter didn’t care about the gift and isn’t looking for it, and putting them away would have been a way to show you recognize they are special and are saving them for when she wants to pierce her ears, IF she ever does.”

“BUT it’s a minor point because in my view it was important that you confront this issue head-on, that you don’t want to be badgered any more.”- owls_and_cardinals

“NTA OP, not at all.”

“This is yours and your husband’s child, and only you two have the right to make decisions for your children.”

“If it was me, I would ask my father if he had let any other adults besides your mother make body/life altering decisions for their kids?!”

“How would he had felt and said if any family/friend kept trying to hassle him and your Mom about doing so?!”

“While I am glad that your husband is 100% on your side, he should be asked: ‘What happens when they noticed upon next visit that daughter’s ears aren’t pierced?’ and ‘When they did, don’t you think that it would cause them to act the same way then as they are acting now?'”

“You were being honest about the gift and not hiding the truth and it is better to get the drama over sooner than later.”

“Your Stepmother’s gift was a roundabout way to try to force you and your husband to get your daughter’s ears pierced.”- Misanthrope-is-ME

“Oh, I think you did need to tell them.”

“And you need to be quite careful about letting them take her anywhere.”

“There’s nothing ‘thoughtful’ about your stepmother’s gift.”

“I think I’d have just returned it rather than exchanged it.”

“And then hung up or left every time the silly woman started on about your daughter’s ears.”

“Children aren’t dolls.”


“Your dad and stepmother are though.”- Fit-Confusion-4595

A gift to someone else should always be something they will love and cherish.

Not something intended to trick them or persuade them into doing something they don’t want to do, which is exactly what the OP’s stepmother did.

One can only hope the OP’s father and stepmother sort out their priorities and determine which is more important, their granddaughter piercing her ears, or spending time with her.

Because if they continue to persuade the OP to pierce her daughter’s ears, there is a very good chance they may never see her again.

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'.