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Teen Livid After Dad Plans To Skip His Graduation To Attend Stepdaughter’s Dance Competition

A teen boy in a graduation gown.
FatCamera/Getty Images

It takes very little for a child, or anyone for that matter, to think their parents prefer or prioritize their siblings to them.

No matter how old they get.

Most of the time, this is just in their heads, and their parents were not pointedly playing favorites with their siblings.

On the flip side, blatant favoritism is hard to ignore, and very easy to notice.

Ever since his widowed father remarried, Redditor Big_Swan_5867 always felt that his father always prioritized his younger stepsister over him.

This became even more abundantly apparent to the original poster (OP), when his father chose to attend an event his stepdaughter was participating in, over a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence for the OP.

While his father said he’d “make it up” to him, the OP made it abundantly clear that this wasn’t remotely possible.

Wondering if he was being unreasonable, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for telling my dad there will be no making up for missing my high school graduation?”

The OP explained how his father’s recent actions may have put an effective end to their relationship:

“I’m (18 M[ale]) graduating high school at the end of this month.”

“My dad dropped the bomb on me two nights ago that his stepdaughter (14 F[emale]) has an award ceremony for some competition she entered and won in another state on that same day and that she really wants him to be there.”

“He told me he couldn’t possibly make it to both and since his wife and their children together will be going, he needs to be there too.”

“He told me he would make it up to me and we could celebrate another time.”

“I still live with him (not for much longer).”

“My mom died when I was 7 and my dad got married again when I was 11 or 12.”

“It’s been a few years anyway.”

“His stepdaughter never knew her bio dad, so my dad has accepted her as his own.”

“And he has prioritized her a lot in the last 5/6 years.”

“It doesn’t always show in the most obvious ways but it can be felt.”

“Father/son time was put on an indefinite hiatus and instead dad told me we needed to include her in our time together but he also spent time with just her for father/daughter time.”

“I brought it up to my dad and he told me I wasn’t exactly making an effort to be closer to her so he wanted us all to bond and didn’t want me to just focus on my relationship with him.”

“He has attended her dance things instead of my basketball games if they’re on at the same time.”

“It doesn’t matter if mine was known about first, he will still skip my stuff to go to hers.”

“He will take us on family days and whenever he and his wife say ‘kids can choose’ he picks her choices over mine.”

“He claims it’s because they will be the most fun for everyone but really, he even says it afterward, anything his little princess wants.”

“Our refrigerator and our shower broke at the same time.”

“His stepdaughter’s birthday was coming up so he took money from my birthday fund to pay for that stuff and so his stepdaughter would definitely get what she wanted (this barbie house thing and a whole fashion set and they were I think dad said $250).”

“He didn’t get all the money back by the time my birthday came around so instead he bought me a $30 gift card for Steam when he had promised me a new monitor and keyboard for my computer (that was a gift from my grandparents).”

“When my dad told me he wouldn’t be at my graduation to go and support her, I told him there is no making up for that and he can forget about being included in my life going forward.”

“He told me he would make it up to me and I told him I will always come second to his little princess and I’m not going to be okay with that.”

“I told him he’s discarded me for the last time.”

“Dad begged me to be reasonable but I walked away.”

“Then I invited both sets of grandparents who agreed to come.”

“His wife told me I could have come with them and I don’t need to attend the ceremony but could support ‘my sister’.”

“I said her daughter’s not my sister and I do not want to support their family anymore and I will be out of their hair soon.”

“She called me selfish and told me I can’t deny her daughter a dad.”


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

The Reddit community unanimously agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for giving his father an ultimatum for skipping his graduation.

Everyone agreed that the OP was absolutely valid and correct in claiming his father always played favorites with his stepsister, with several shocked that his stepmother had the gall to beg him not to “deny her daughter a father”, when he’d clearly been deprived of both of his parents.

“I hope you pointed out to your father that while trying to make up for his step daughter having a loser father that he has indeed become a loser to his own child, how ironic.”

“NTA.”- Rainbowbright31


“Your father’s wife felt your best option was to miss your own graduation to support her child.”

“That’s the way to make you feel included in a family.”

“This is sarcasm by the way.”

“Two children, two events, two parents- that is one parent per event.”

“There may be a reason for your Dad to go to other event if say wife scared to drive.”

“But then she should be supporting you if ahead bothered to build that relationship.”

“You’re right.”

“Your Dad has too much to make up for and no history of doing it.”

“Ask your Dad’s wife why it is OK to deny you any parent at all so her daughter can have two.”-Timely_Egg_6827


“’Can’t deny her daughter a dad’.”

“What about you?”

“You lost your dad too.”- servnc*ntt


“‘I told him he’s discarded me for the last time’.”

“That’s the key point here: it’s not just about this one incident’.”

“‘His wife told me I could have come with them and I don’t need to attend the ceremony’.”

“The same applies to her child.”

“They could have come with you.”

“‘She called me selfish and told me I can’t deny her daughter a dad’.”

“She and her daughter have deprived you of one.”- diminishingpatience

“Wow what a horrible way to keep showing you you don’t matter to them.”

“Totally NTA.”

“And congrats on the freedom that awaits you.”

“I’m impressed by your clarity of thinking took me much longer to get that level of understanding.”

“If not done already get your plans started or refined further.”

“The shame they are hiding may cause some additional grief and manipulation.”

“You got this, good luck.”

“Life is very sweet without constant disappointment.”- fishfountain

“Oh God, I felt this in my soul and it reminded me of my own childhood.”


“It’s his job to be there for you.”

“It’s his job to be your dad and I’m so f*cking sorry he’s failing at that and doubling down when it’s pointed out.”

“IDK if you need to hear this but don’t ever let yourself feel guilty for going NC after this, if you decide to.”

“He decided you weren’t worth his time as a child, so you’ve decided that he’s not worth your time now.”

“That’s valid.”- TheBerrybuzz


“It’s great he accepted bis step daughter has his own.”

“But he shouldn’t forget his existing kid for it.”

“Great that your grandparents will attend!”

“And good, you communicated your feelings clearly to your father.”

“He needs to know the consequences of his behavior.”- NixKlappt-Reddit

“Massive NTA.”

“Besides the fact that that’s his step daughter, high school graduation trumps essentially all childhood activities in priority of attendance by parents.”- ConfidentSun9592

“I agree with you.”

“There is no coming back from this.”

“What other milestones does your father plan on missing for you?”



“It’s better to cut your losses as soon as you’re able to and move on to avoid other disappointing moments down the road.”

“You are wise to catch this now instead of pushing it down.”

“HS graduation can also be your liberation party.”

“NTA.”- VictoryShaft

Children want their parents present at all their major events, which sometimes simply isn’t possible.

However, as many pointed out, the OP’s father could have missed out on one, of presumably many, of his stepdaughter’s dance competitions to see his firstborn graduate from high school.

Particularly as the OP’s stepdaughter would still have a significant amount of family in attendance.

And perhaps the disappointment the OP’s stepsister would inevitably feel knowing the OP’s father was not at her dance competition will allow her to see how the OP has felt ever since his father married her mother.

One can only hope the OP’s father changes his mind and attends the graduation, and won’t learn what a huge mistake he made owing to his son wanting nothing to do with him anymore.

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'.