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Stepparent Bans Stepdaughter From Eating With Family After She Keeps Singing At Dinner Table

Teenage girl at the dinner table.
The Good Brigade/Getty Images

We always want to support our friends and family in all their endeavors.

However, doing so might prove challenging if they don’t show any conventional talent for what they might be pursuing.

Many find it best to allow themselves to keep at it as long as it makes them happy and maybe learn from themselves that they might not have what it takes to keep at it in the long run.

Others think constructive criticism, or even brutal honesty, is the best solution, no matter how they may take it.

Redditor aitaloudsinging had two stepdaughters, one who showed an incredible talent for singing, the other… did not.

Even so, nothing could stop the younger one from singing her heart out, even at times and places that the original poster (OP) didn’t find remotely appropriate.

Having finally had enough, the OP gave their stepdaughter an ultimatum to stop singing during a certain time and place, throwing in their honest opinion about her stepdaughter’s talent level as well.

Wondering if they were out of line, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where they asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for being rude to my stepdaughter and banning her from eating with the family?”

The OP explained why their stepdaughter’s singing led to their banning her from the dinner table:

“I have 2 stepdaughters, Scarlett (18), and Ava (16).”

“Scarlett is an amazing singer.”

“She’s been in some kind of voice lessons since she was ten and just graduated from one of the best performing arts schools in the state, where she went on a full scholarship since 6th grade.”

“She has a YouTube channel where she sings that she’s starting to make money from and was accepted into some very prestigious music schools.”

“Additionally, she has been working paid gigs for the last two years and makes at least $500-1000 per week, more in the summers.”

“She’s even been the opening artist at a few concerts.’

“I’m not trying to brag; I’m just saying she’s an objectively good singer.”

“Ava, on the other hand, is not a good singer.”

“She likes to believe she is, and she might become one if she actually stuck with voice lessons or choir classes, but she always quits after 1-2 weeks because they’re ‘bullying her’ (giving constructive feedback, I’ve seen the notes her classmates and teachers have given her).”

“Ava also likes to sing very loudly and/or at bad times.”

“For example, if she feels that we’re too quiet at the dinner table she starts to loudly sing.”

“It doesn’t sound good, and I honestly don’t know how she doesn’t hear it.”

“If you ask her to stop she keeps going and if you’re blunt and say stop, that doesn’t sound good/we don’t want to hear it she keeps going and gets even louder just to annoy you.”

“If we’re in the car and we don’t let her choose the songs, she’ll loudly sing whatever she wants, not what’s playing, to annoy us and respond the same way we do to telling her to stop.”

“The only person she listens to is her dad.”

“A few weeks ago we were trying to eat and she was singing again.”

“I told her to stop and she refused so I took her plate and told her she is no longer allowed to eat at my table.”

“She can eat in her room, the backyard, her car, the garage, wherever she wants as long as we can’t hear her from the dining room, and this will continue until she can behave appropriately at the table.”

“My husband and I argued about it, but he’s not home for dinner, so there isn’t much he can do about it.”

“Today she was eating lunch with us and started singing again.”

“I told her to stop and she didn’t listen so I again took her plate and told her to eat somewhere where we can’t hear her if she doesn’t want to act appropriately.”

“Ava argued that she’s a better singer than Scarlett and that Scarlett sings all the time.”

“I was done with her bullsh*t so I asked her how many times someone other than her dad has actually asked her to sing, not even paying her to be there, just ask her to sing or how many performing arts schools she’s gotten accepted to (she’s applied to many).”

“She started to cry, and my husband wants me to apologize for being rude to her and insists I allow her to eat with the family again.”


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 – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

The Reddit community was somewhat divided as to whether or not the OP was the a**hole for how she treated her stepdaughter.

Many agreed that the OP was right in putting an end to Ava’s behavior, but also felt they went too far in being so brutally honest about her singing talents, or lack thereof.


“Ava, just because she sounds annoying af and you because you’re a parent and she’s a child, and you’ve (seemingly repeatedly) told her she’s not good at something she’s passionate about and not in a nice way.”

“Encourage her to follow other pursuits, and definitely continue to enforce that it’s inappropriate to sing when people want a quiet meal loudly but brutally laying out that she’s rubbish at the one thing she’s passionate about and rubbing in her failure to succeed is pretty harsh when it’s coming from a parental figure.”

“Especially when it’s followed up with ‘and now go eat alone’.”- Bn0503

“ESH: It sounds like she is very envious of her sister, and it’s causing her to act out.”

“She’s being immature and annoying.”

“But it sounds like you all are very quick to remind her that she sucks at singing.”

“It shouldn’t be about how good she is or isn’t.”

“It should be about being disruptive and loud at the table, in the car, etc.”

“There are times when singing is appropriate and other times when it isn’t.”

“If Scarlett were singing loudly at the dinner table, would she be asked to stop?”

“If not, then you guys are extra a**holes.”- SoMuchMoreEagle

There were a few, however, who thought that the OP’s tough love was just what Ava needed, even if they thought she could have been a little more sensitive.

“It isn’t doing anyone any favors by letting people think they’re talented when they’re not.”

“Think the number of people who embarrass themselves auditioning for TV talent shows.”

“And Ava’s behavior at the table and in the car is clearly obnoxious and inappropriate.”

“Maybe the delivery to get the message across was a bit harsh.”

“But I’ll go with NTA.”- RocknRight

While others felt the OP went way too far and crossed an unforgivable line, sensing that the OP gave far too much attention to Scarlett and Ava was just clearly vying for attention herself.

“It’s clear just from your post that you ring Scarlett’s praises and cannot stand Ava.”

“If it’s that obvious in this post, I’m gonna guess your favoritism is seeping into Ava’s reality as well.”

“YTA and a bully.”

“I’d be questioning my marriage if my partner treated my child like this.”– Melodic_Salamander55

“Okay, for almost the entirety of this story, I was ready to say NTA until the very end.”

“So her sister gets to sing at the dinner table?”

“Just not her?”

“I mean, I think it’s weird to sing at the dinner table anyways, but if you have a double standard going on here, then YTA.”

“Ava is YOUNGER then her sister, sometimes it takes some time to get better at something and acting rude to her and discouraging her because you clearly don’t like her makes you an AH.”

“Either ban singing at the dinner table completely or keep your mouth shut and invoke the thumper rule, ‘If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all’.”- Specialist-Owl2660


“When talking about Scarlett, you were bragging like someone about to burst their buttons.”

“When you talk about Ava, you have nothing good to say.”

“I’m sure Ava has felt this discrepancy for quite a while.”

“Ava might be trying to ruin music for you as a way to get even for your attitude.”

“It sounds like she wants to hurt you to the same degree that you hurt her.”

“While this is wrong, it is understandable.”

“You need to have your husband sit down with Ava to discuss the situation.”

“You have already shown your bias for Scarlett, so there won’t be too much that you can say that Ava would be willing to listen to, and you really can’t blame her.”

“What is Ava good at?”

“What does Ava want to do with her life?”

“Where does Ava see herself in two years, when it’s time for her to graduate high school and move on to the next step of her life?”

“If she doesn’t know, or if she only wants to pursue music – then your husband should help her plan a course of action to get her where she wants to go.”

“You may want to consider letting her see a counselor who might be able to navigate these waters.”

“Her sister is very good at something.”

“You are boastingly proud of Scarlett.”

“I didn’t hear you say anything nice about Ava.”

“A counselor might her her ‘find her voice’; set goals; work out a plan to achieve her goals; help her deal with a successful sibling who gets all kinds of recognition while she only gets insulted.”

“If you aren’t able to get Ava some help, her next steps will become more serious – possible self-destruction, or destruction of her relationships in her family.”

“Either way, I think you need to stay out of it since you appear to be a major part of the problem and hopefully her father can help her navigate how to salvage her future.”- G0t2ThinkAboutIt

It’s not unfair for the OP to teach Ava that there are some expectations about how people should behave in public or with company which usually doesn’t entail breaking into song whenever you feel like it.

Whether or not that should cost her a seat at the dinner table or if her insufficient talent should have come into play is a different story, however.

Ava could very well know that she is no match for her older sister, that she could always live in her shadow, and that she just wishes she could have just a smidgen of the attention Scarlett gets.

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'.