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Parent Asks If They Were Wrong To Tell Teen Daughter’s ‘Toxic’ Friend To ‘Get A Therapist’

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Dealing with unruly teens is just part of being a parent, but when a child befriends a fellow teen who is out of control, it can put a parent in a very difficult situation.

A person on Reddit found themself in this conflict because of their teen daughter’s toxic friendship with a volatile classmate. They weren’t sure about how they handled things, so they went to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit for perspective.

The Original Poster (OP), who goes by Global-Medicine-6518 on the site, asked:

“AITA for telling my daughter’s friend to get therapy?”

They explained:

“My daughter (15) has a friend ‘Kelly’ (15). Kelly is a pretty troubled kid. She is often getting into trouble at school, is generally rude to people upon first meeting them and flips out over nothing.”

“There have been several times where she’s been over, my daughter will say something like ‘Maybe we should watch this movie’ and suddenly, Kelly is having a full-out tantrum. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t allow Kelly in my home because she once screamed at my wife for moving her overnight bag (it was in the way of the stairs and all she did was move it from there to a table, she didn’t go through it, just moved it, to Kelly that was unacceptable).”

“I have tried to tell my daughter that being friends with Kelly is a bad idea but there’s not much I can do to keep them apart. They have similar classes at school and mutual friends. My daughter is also a very empathetic person and feels bad for Kelly.”

“Kelly will also call in the middle of the night and rant for hours to my daughter, getting mad if she tries to hang up the phone. It’s effected my daughter’s sleep a lot.”

“My wife and I have both tried to talk to our daughter for how toxic this friendship is, but she won’t listen. We begged her to consider her sleep, but again, she insists she’s fine. A few weeks ago was finals week and my daughter was getting very little sleep between studying and talking to Kelly.”

“We tried to talk to Kelly’s parents but they claim they’ve given up on Kelly and letting her get her way is easier than the fight. One night in particular, my daughter had studied most of the night and was saying goodnight to me, ready to head to bed. Her phone rang and I saw the disdain on her face. She said it was Kelly.”

“My daughter was so tired and could not handle another night of her hysterics. I asked her if she wanted me to handle it and she said yes. My daughter went to bed and I answered, telling Kelly that my daughter was sleeping.”

“Kelly started mouthing off, asking why I was answering her phone, demanding to speak to my daughter, etc. I told her she may get away speaking like that at home but she won’t speak that way to me.”

“She then starts screaming that she’s having a hard night and she NEEDS to talk to my daughter. I tell her she needs to get a therapist and to stop calling my daughter so late. I then told her to leave my daughter alone, she’s too young and not equipped to handle this.”

“My daughter has thanked me for this but my wife thinks I was too harsh. Kelly has left my daughter alone but has been posting on social media about how alone she is (our daughter shows us the posts). AITA?”

Redditors were then asked to judge who was in the wrong in this situation based on the following categories:

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

And they were nearly unanimously on OP’s side.

“NTA but you need to do more to protect your daughter from this abuser. Get your daughter in therapy and block Kelly’s calls for a start. Switch your daughter schools if necessary.” –etds3

“…I think it’s really important for the daughter to stand her ground, even if Dad has to assist her in doing it. If she doesn’t learn now, someone else will do something similar to her in the future.” –Aphroditei

“…I had a friend like Kelly when I was 14/15. Not quiet as bad but bad. Luckily it stopped when I started another school and kinda just ignored her

OP – You’re NTA in any way, but I agree with top comment you need to do more. Kelly is an absolute abuser. The lack of sleep is not “fine”. Sleep is so important.

Talk to the school, put your daugther in therapy. This is a hill to die on imo.” –AwkwardFrog

“NTA”

“OP, maybe sit with your daughter and set up bedtime mode on her phone. During the period you set, it’ll turn the screen to black-and-white, and won’t show notifications. It also won’t ring or make notification sounds except for designated high priority contacts (mine includes my wife, mom, and siblings).”

“I think there’s an option to have it ring if someone not on the priority list calls twice in a short time frame, but I think you can (and should in this case) turn that off.”

“But you’re right, your daughter isn’t her therapist, and that girl needs some therapy, or she’s going to have a really hard time” –not_princess_leia

“NTA I feel like there must be a setting or an app that stops calls and messages coming in after a certain point at night. Like putting it on airplane mode, but something Kelly can use as an excuse if needed.” –EnchantedSunrise

“NTA – you were protecting your daughter and that’s what dads are supposed to do. Look, Kelly may be upset, but it sounds like her own parents aren’t giving her the reality check she needs. She’s 15, and this behavior will not help her as she becomes a young adult. She needs therapy and guidance.”

“Your daughter, on the other hand, needs some peace. It’s okay for her to be empathic – that’s a very good trait! But she’s definitely too young to be dealing with all the fallout of Kelly’s dramatics. And, I’m guessing it won’t be too long before Kelly starts getting in over her head (legally and otherwise) – best to keep your daughter away from that.” –Psychsarepeopletoo

Hopefully OP and their wife can figure out how best to handle this situation going forward.

Written by John Sundholm

John Sundholm is a writer, content producer and performer originally from Michigan. His writing has also appeared on YourTango, Delish and Medium, and he has produced content for NBC, The New York Times and The CW, among others. When not working, he can be found tripping over his own feet on a hiking trail while singing Madonna songs to ward off lurking bears.