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Well-Off Dad Takes Away Stepdaughter’s Luxuries After She Bullies ‘Trailer Trash’ Classmate

an upset teen girl sits on steps with her head in her hands
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According to the Centers for Disease Control, almost 14% of public schools in the United States report bullying is a discipline problem daily or at least once a week. Reports of bullying are highest in middle schools (28%) followed by high schools (16%), combined schools (12%) then primary schools (9%).

About 22% of students ages 12–18 reported being bullied at school during the school year in a report from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Internationally, UNESCO’s Institute of Statistics reported 33% of Earth’s youth are bullied. Numbers ranged from as low as 7% in Tajikistan up to 74% in Samoa.

Low socioeconomic status was cited as the main factor in youth bullying within wealthy countries.

How bullying is handled at school, by the school, is a matter of public concern. How it is handled at home is something every child’s guardian(s) must decide for their family.

A stepfather struggling with the punishment he and his wife meted out to his stepdaughter after she was exposed as a bully turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

LearningParenting215 asked:

“AITA for punishing my 16-year-old stepdaughter after we found out she was bullying a kid for being poor?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“About 2 months ago my wife (female, 38) and I (male,41) learned my stepdaughter (female,16) was bullying a girl in school over being poor, getting free lunch at school and not being able to afford neccessties such as her own nice car and stuff.”

“Our daughter was kinda spoiled.”

“We provided her with everything she needed along with an allowance and a part time job at my company (small family service business). We’ve been considered middle-class, doing things others weren’t as privileged to do such as buying our daughter a car on her 16th birthday.”

“I come from a family of immigrants and was considered in poverty growing up.”

“After learning about the bullying I was furious as we thought we didn’t raise her to behave that way. She was in honors and top ranking of her class.”

“I tried to talk to our daughter over why she would do that and I was disturbed to learn it was because she viewed that girl as ‘trailer trash’ which irrated me. The girl from what I learned is very smart and works hard, she bought her own beater car by herself and works 2 jobs.”

“Stepdaughter considered the money our family had as our family’s money, so I put her in her place and told her that it was not her money but her mom and I’s money.”

“I decided from that point I was spoiling my daughter too much.”

“We ended up taking away her latest iPhone and replacing it with my old iPhone 8 (by switching phones with me) with a talk and text plan. We took away her family credit card, sold her car, along with her MacBook and other luxuries.”

“I also told her she would have to find a job without neopotism and work a minimum wage job like everyone else her age, because I’m done giving her handouts if she’s gonna act entitled.”

“Fast forward 2 months later, she is working at a fast food resturant with us driving her around. She doesn’t talk to me unless she needs something like a ride and is very upset with me.”

“My wife feels like I am taking this too far because its affecting her social status and grades and school. I however feel like she needs to be humbled because I can’t have a daughter who will disrespect people just because the amount of money they have.”

“I also feel that her behaving this way will affect her younger sister (female, 12) and how she percieves the world.”

“AITA for punishing my 16-year-old step-daughter after we found out she was bullying a kid for being poor?”

The OP added:

“I would also like to add, we took away her MacBook but she still has access to the family computer in the house. Windows computer for school that is powerful (i7 and great gpu) and recently new.”

“She still has Wi-Fi access at the house however we did throttle her speed because high speed internet is a privilege. She has fast enough internet to do homework and watch videos that aren’t in HD like Netflix and stuff.

“She also isn’t failing.”

“She went from a straight A student to mostly B’s and 2 A’s which I still find great.”

“I would like to clarify some things, yes we are upper-middle class, not multi-millionaires or anything like that but enough to live comfortably.”

“She is practically my daughter as I’ve raised her since she was practically 4 and her real father walked out on the family when she was 2. My wife helps runs the business and we both agree on punishments.”

“We came to an agreement that I would make decisions with her on things.”

“We did talk with the family and had her apologize to the girl at school. She was required to do 5 hours of community service at the school (volunteering for food drives and after-school activities) due to the school’s no bullying policy.”

“We also didn’t force her to get a job. She wanted the job to get money so she could hang out with her friends and buy things she wanted.”

“We just cut her off from her $15/hr receptionist job for a non-nepotism job.”

“We also warned her that if her grades become too unsustainable, she would be forced to quit her job and focus on school because she doesn’t need extracurricular activities outside of school. She needs to focus on her education.”

The OP summed up their situation.

“I took away all the luxuries that my stepdaughter enjoyed after I caught her bullying her classmate for being poor.”

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

Most Redditors agreed the punishment met the offense (NTA).

“NTA. Let her social status be affected, by all means! If she experiences what she put that poor girl through, maybe she’ll recognize how unkind she’s being and what it’s like to be treated how she treated that girl.”

“It’s Karma. She can learn from it.”

“I don’t think mom is a help with respect to the bullying. Clearly mom puts emphasis on social status (regardless of whether the status is justified).”

“Could be that daughter got this sense of worth being related to social status based on the importance of the issue to mom.”

“And mom advocating for lessening the restrictions based on losing social status doesn’t really support the view of her being punished because she was bullying someone who she felt was of lesser social status.” ~ Prize-Bumblebee-2192

“Definitely NTA, and I am proud you for standing up to your stepdaughter, and giving her a taste of what life is really like. You may just save her from that path to hell that she was on.”

“She acts very privileged and entitled from what you described. It is good for her to see how the other half lives, I am sure it is very eye opening for her.”

“I would continue this path for at least a year, so she does not slide back. Hopefully, you will have a much more respectful and kind stepdaughter.”

“It really is too bad other parents don’t do more stuff like this to their children, instead of spoiling them rotten and then wonder why they are in trouble. Good for you.” ~ EastAir1386

“I was a poor kid whose dad was an alcoholic (everyone knew). My mom could squeeze blood from a nickel, but we still had hand-me-downs and clothes that didn’t fit.”

“I was near top of my class (12th/1000+). I got bullied relentlessly.”

“Those girls still mostly live in the neighborhood, while I did well in school, married well, and do well now. Their words still hurt.”

“OP did the right thing. NTA.” ~ LingonberryPrior6896

“NTA. It’s important to teach your daughter the value of empathy and respect for others, regardless of their financial situation.”

“By holding her accountable for her actions and making her experience the consequences of her behavior, you are teaching her a valuable life lesson. It may be tough for her now, but in the long run, this will help her become a better person.” ~ Opposite-Mention5124

“NTA, as for your wife, she needs to get a clue, taking away and selling her luxury items and making her work a typical teenage job is not affecting her grades. Her grades come from the effort she puts in.”

“By dropping her grades she figured she could get the punishments to end. I am sorry she was spoiled and entitled in the first place, but glad you took real issue with it.”

“In the end I hope these life lessons shape who she becomes. Buckle up for at least a rocky year.” ~ many_hobbies_gal

A few wanted to give the stepdaughter a pass on her bullying (YTA).

They claimed limiting her to resources still better than most students was going overboard.

“Teenagers are too young to understand the ramifications of these consequences. She won’t learn any lesson.” ~ Edogmad

“People just want their harsh justice. They don’t care about the human—in this case, a literal child—behind it.” ~ Open-Cricket6994

“YTA. The principle is fine, but he took it so far it’s not going to teach her anything and just breed resentment.” ~ floral_hippie_couch

“Yes, OMG. bullying is bad on the kid, but dude, this is a MASSIVE overreaction, holy sh*t. To the point of YTA.” ~ Own-Let2789

“Bullying is bad but it’s also something that’s actually quite common and to a certain extent a normal part of growing up.”

“Most people have both bullied and been bullied, most of the time people realise it by themselves and prevent it from going overboard, other times some significant course correction is required.”

“None of this is course correction, it’s gleeful annihilation. YTA.” ~ cesarethenew

“YTA. Like, this needed correction but this is a GROSS overreaction. A teen was a sh*tty person, SHOCK! You don’t have to make permanent life changes over it.”

“You just sound like a bad dad to me. Kids suck sometimes. The way to teach them to be better isn’t to torture them.” ~ Audrin

Some also thought everyone sucked (ESH).

“ESH. Basically, I think OP should realize they messed up by giving all these things to the (step)daughter when she didn’t really earn or deserve them, so OP should be the one to have to live with that mistake.”

“There is no question that daughter is an AH and deserves consequences for being a bully, but I agree that this is too far.” ~ pheniratom

“ESH. You are right to punish your daughter. She needs to learn the value of hard work, of money, of struggle.”

“But this is a predicament that you, as a parent, put her in. I understand it; you grew up in poverty and resolved to make sure your daughter did not have the same experiences of deprivation, so you gave her everything.”

“This is a mistake that you made.” ~ _Sinnik_

While a small segment blamed the parents and absolved the daughter of any responsibility for her actions, the vast majority felt the punishment was warranted and taking away luxury items wasn’t the “torture” some Redditors thought it was.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.