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Mom Furious After Spouse Refuses To Congratulate 5-Year-Old Daughter For Cleaning Her Room

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Parenting is full of decisions that will impact our kids, including how we will reprimand or congratulate them.

For one parent, though, the congratulations weren’t all that important, according to the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

When shown her nicely cleaned room, Redditor Additional-Safety155 didn’t think it was a big deal that their five-year-old daughter had tidied her room without prompting.

Though her feelings were hurt, the Original Poster (OP) didn’t see what the issue was.

They asked the sub:

“AITA for not congratulating my daughter on cleaning her room?”

The OP’s daughter had a surprise waiting for them when they got home.

“My daughter Alyssa is 5. Every night my wife and I go through the same routine of reminding her to pick up her toys and tidy up her room before dinner.”

“I came home late, just right before dinner, and my wife was smiling and whispered, ‘Alyssa has something to show you.'”

“My daughter grabbed my hand and pulled me to her room and said, ‘Look!'”

“I said, ‘What am I looking at?'”

“She said, ‘My room! I cleaned it all by myself and Mommy didn’t even have to tell me to!'”

The OP wasn’t impressed.

“I said, “That’s it? I thought you were going to show me something important.'”

“I continued, ‘Sweetie, cleaning your room is what you’re supposed to do. Nobody has to tell you to do that. You just do it.'”

“I added, ‘And make sure to do this every night. I’m going to take a shower.'”

The OP’s wife didn’t appreciate this. 

“I went to go take a shower and while I was in the shower, my wife came in and said, ‘Hey, what happened?'”

“I said, ‘What are you talking about?'”

“She said, ‘Alyssa is crying and she won’t talk to me. Did she show you her room?'”

“I said, ‘Yeah.'”

“She said, ‘Aaaaand?'”

“I said, ‘And what? That’s what she’s supposed to do.'”

“Then my wife got all dramatic and said, ‘Oh my God, please don’t tell me you said to her.'”

“And then we got into an argument, while I’m in the shower, mind you.”

“All I wanted to do was come home, take a shower, eat dinner, and go to bed. Not deal with all this crap.”

The OP didn’t see what the issue was.

“My wife wanted me to apologize, but I told her I don’t see what I have to apologize for.”

“After I took a shower, I came out to eat and to talk to Alyssa, but my wife (still in her bad mood) said that Alyssa had lost her appetite and then cried herself to sleep.”

“Either my wife is overexaggerating, which she tends to do when she’s in a bad mood and wants to make me feel bad, or Alyssa inherited her mother’s dramaticness.”

“Then she wouldn’t talk to me for the rest of the night or even come to bed.”

“I don’t feel bad because I know I’m right in this case.”

“When did we start congratulating people on doing what they’re supposed to do?”

“I’m sorry to even bother you guys with this, but I just need confirmation that I’m not going insane.”

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 it would cost the OP nothing to show their daughter a little praise.

“YTA. SHE’S F**KING FIVE! She was proud of herself and you acted like a total a**.”

“Be a better parent.”

“You said you ‘didn’t want to deal with this.’ Guess what, it’s called being an active parent. Your poor wife and daughter.”ChemicalParfait

“I deada** read the title and thought this was about a teenager or something but a bloody 5-year-old?”

“Especially since they did this without being asked to (that day at least). Can’t even give her a high-five for a job well done?”

“Almost hard to believe a**holes like this exist. YTA.”Frozen_Hipp0

“It’s like Op went out of their way to hurt their child as much as possible. Like what normal human would have this reaction?”

“Even on autopilot, when I barely even heard what they said, I still don’t respond to kids this way.”lordmwahaha

“Also, it costs literally nothing to give praise to your kids. I spend a few seconds telling my kid she did a good job coloring or pooping or whatever, and she goes off feeling good about it. This is a win-win.”

“Giant a**hole moves to anyone who thinks praise should be transactional like OP.”Scatteringashes

“I’m nearly 20 and my parents still come tell me I did a good job cleaning my room – as in, they will come stand in the doorway without prompting from me and inspect – whenever I do a deep clean (which is move everything I can out of my room/off my desk and dresser and spend a good few hours cleaning).”

“Depending on the week I’ve had, they’ll also tell me I did a good job putting my laundry away.”

“Five-year-olds cleaning without being told? Absolutely deserve praise. I would have given her a treat, probably, not just verbal praise.”thalisebn

Others agreed and pointed out the OP created more work for themselves as a parent.

“This was also so counter-productive. You reinforce positively if you want good behavior to continue, especially at that age.”serabine

“He just taught her that there’s no point in bothering to clean her room, because he’s just gonna tell he ‘So what?’ What a nightmare of a person.”lightthroughthepines

“I gave a high-five to a 2-year-old because she peed by herself and remembered to flush and wash her hands. Y’know, because I’m not dead inside.”

“They’re toddlers, literal babies, they just want approval, and celebrating their accomplishments will motivate them to do it again. How does this dude not get that?”ZaraEve

“Our nonverbal 3-year-old has started grabbing paper towels and cleaning if something gets knocked over. Any time he does this, we clap and treat it like he just won the Olympics.”

“Positive reinforcement is so crucial and beyond easy to do. Just don’t be a toxic piece of trash human.”Colton82

“$10 says OP expects praise and gratitude for things like ‘babysitting’ his daughter, taking out the trash, and doing the dishes.”

“YTA, OP. It’s called positive reinforcement. Especially for a little kid who is still learning what they’re ‘supposed’ to do.”not_princess_leia

The OP was positive that they had done nothing wrong by reacting to their daughter this way, but the subReddit believed they had another thing coming.

Not only did they hurt their daughter’s feelings over something she was really proud of, but they likely also taught her to either not show them her future projects or to not bother doing them at all, because they’re not ‘important.’

Parents have to remember that their words have power, and when they use the wrong ones, apologizing costs nothing.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.