As parents, we have a responsibility to show up in the lives of our children.
We make a big deal about their art (is it a dog? a tree? a wombat?).
We clap at their impromptu dance recital in the living room or the kitchen table comedy set.
We endeavor at every chance to make sure they know that we are there and paying attention.
What happens though when parents are called out for failing in this obligation, and worse, the call out comes from their own child?
This was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) LycheeAmour when they came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for telling my parents that they are shitty for missing my little sister’s graduation ceremony?”
OP got right to the issue at hand.
“My little sister, Athena, came home from school crying and stomping and refused to speak to me and my parents.”
“I was confused and asked her what was up.”
“She told me to go away, and so I did.”
“I went downstairs and asked my dad, and he had no idea what happened either.”
“I went back to my room and tried to draw conclusions.”
“I thought that maybe she was made fun of again. After all, she is the youngest in her grade and the shortest.”
“I heard her go downstairs and she started shouting at my parents, saying that they missed her graduation ceremony.”
“My heart sank.”
“At this point, Athena was bawling.”
“She said that all of the parents attended the graduation and that my parents were the only ones who didn’t attend.”
“My parents then tried saying that they didn’t know and how ‘They didn’t get the email’ which is utter BS because my sister told them a week before.”
“My parents tried apologizing but they said it wasn’t their fault, which just made things worse. My sister ran back to her room crying.”
“About an hour ago, my mom left with her to go get boba as a ‘sorry gift’ which I don’t think will cut it.”
“They missed a very exciting moment in her life, as she is going to middle school next year and didn’t watch her graduate from elementary school.”
“My dad shouted from downstairs, ‘Y’know why Athena’s upset?'”
“And I responded with something along the lines of, ‘Ya cuz you missed her f*cking graduation! You guys are sh*tty parents, do better!”
“And my dad called me an a*s because it apparently ‘wasn’t their fault’. My mom and sister just got back, and she is still crying.”
OP was left to wonder,
“Soooo, AITA for calling them sh*tty??”
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
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
Redditors decided: NTA
Some responses were quick to lay blame.
“It’s pretty much impossible for a parent showing a small bit of interest in their child to not know when important school dates are.”
“I also have no doubt Athena would have spoken about this date long before now.”
“Does she walk to school? If not, someone had to drop her off and completely ignore the signs that are definitely in front of the school.”
“It’s 100% their fault, NTA” ~ czechtheboxes
“My son is graduating from elementary to middle school, and parents were sent a save the date 5 months ago.”
“We get weekly updates thru Class Dojo and monthly updates in the parent newsletter.”
“I put the date in my Google calendar and sent the info to immediate family members. Even his ‘play auntie’ plans to attend.”
“OP is NTA.”
“His parents are AHs and self-absorbed jerks.”
“She will never forget this. They better go all out for her high school graduation any event she has until then.” ~ DigaLaVerdad
“They were sent an email, but it’s not their fault they didn’t know?”
“They’re responsible for checking their emails and scheduling for someone to attend these kinds of events.”
“Are they ridiculous?”
“Yes. Yes they are.”
“But they matter to the child experiencing it. My mom showed up for all of my graduations and field days and concerts.” ~ ADHDLifer
Others had personal stories.
“As the little sister who’s parents always forgot (and my brother always showed up to everything) I thank you, for at least remembering and being a good brother.”
“In conclusion NTA” ~ OnlyReflection6
“4th grade teacher I notify parents at least 4/5 weeks before an important date.”
“Some parents (I teach at a private school) are really busy.”
“They will fix their schedule for their kids they just need time!!!”
“That’s why we notify weeks out.”
“Also these are confirming dates that were on the calendar from the beginning of the year we are simply reminding you weeks in advance.”
“It giving you new events to attend. It doesn’t take more then. Just checking emails!” ~ Speakklife
“My kid finished elementary last year.”
“He was online all year and my husband and I still managed to get him there for the 5th grade recognition ceremony.”
“The only way to miss these things is to not pay attention.” ~ Queasy-Educator8670
“As a parent I get so many emails reminding us of this event and that event from the schools.”
“We even get text messages telling us an email was sent out.”
“I’m sure yours is no different.”
“I don’t even have a fifth grader and we were told when it would be and to expect more traffic on X day.”
“And for those who say it’s not a thing and not that big of a deal. If everyone’s parents were there… it was a thing and is a big deal.” ~ Pandamania11
“I had a single father growing up, he was a doctor working extra shifts so that he could provide me and my sisters the best education we could get (mother f*cked off) and the best life we could have.”
“He came to everything, cam recorder in hand with the biggest grin.”
“The one time he couldn’t come to something because there was a surgery or some sort of doctor appointment that he had to attend because it would’ve been bad for the patient, he sat me down and explained how upset he was he could not come to parent show day.”
“(You show your parents around the school it was dumb but whatever).”
“I told my grandma and she was like alright I’m coming.”
“My dad has photos and videos of every f*cking event it’s not even funny.”
“Your parents did f*ck up big time.”
“Your sister is going to remember this forever.”
“Everything my mother missed I remember, and I won’t let her live it down.”
“Because nothing was better than finding my dad in the crowd recording me and looking so proud.” ~ Flowerglobee
Others pointed out the impact on Athena.
“They are sh*tty.”
“I know they got several or more reminders and well, the whole she is starting middle school and having to gear up for that.”
“She isn’t going to forget that.”
“Honestly, I don’t even remember my elementary graduation or what went on.”
“What I do remember is all my classmates asking me who that guy with my mom was and then going ‘Oh that’s your dad? We thought your parents were divorced since he hasn’t shown up for anything.'”
“THAT STUCK WITH ME.”
“That made me start watching things.”
“When it came to my brother and his events, he was always there.”
“When it came to me and my events, it was usually my mom and/or my brother and his friends that showed up to watch me.”
“And it wasn’t he forgot either. We had a calendar in the kitchen that everyone wrote out events on (birthdays, school events, work events).”
“He just didn’t care.”
“Your sister will probably do the same.”
“She’s gonna watch them.”
“Watch how they interact with you. Stick up for your sister and if you can, show up to her stuff.”
“She will remember that. I think that’s one of the reasons I still have a good relationship with my brother was because he made up for my father’s absence when he didn’t have to.” ~ Apprehensive-Two3474
“This is absolutely going to be a new core memory for your sister, and not a good one.”
“I cannot imagine the humiliation, betrayal, worthlessness and disappointment she must have felt when she realized they weren’t there.”
“And all through the ceremony, and all through the trip home, and all through the time it took before she said something (in which I guarantee she was hoping desperately that they’d apologize, or offer some acceptable excuse).”
“They ARE sh*tty parents.”
“Maybe try to do something nice for your sister, and let her know she’s right to be upset. NTA.” ~ Lower-Explanation124
OP did return to offer some clarity.
“Just to clarify, I was sick today so I couldn’t attend, and my parents left so I assumed they went to it, but they went for a walk instead.”
“My dad asked me if I knew what was wrong in a joking way, and was not being genuine. He clearly knew what was wrong and then went right back to work lol”
Of course, being present and encouraging the joy and celebration of our children doesn’t mean rigid compliance to a school’s event calender.
Rather, it’s about celebrating the kid at every chance we get – and apologizing genuinely when we can’t make an event or partake in a celebration.