There is little more upsetting for a parent than learning that their child is being bullied at school.
Perhaps the only thing that is more upsetting is learning that your child is the one doing the bullying.
Parents of bullies must teach them that abusive behavior cannot be tolerated, often resulting in a punishment.
But what is the most effective punishment to teach children to stop bullying?
Redditor bamato4832 was upset to learn that his teenage daughter bullied another boy at school, and thought he found the perfect punishment to teach her a lesson.
Even though the original poster (OP)’s wife and mother felt that his punishment was too severe.
Wondering if he had gone too far, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for not letting my daughter buy clothes?”
The OP explained how he knew that his daughter needed to face consequences for bullying another child at school, and faced blowback from his family when he refused to back down.
“My wife (37 F[emale]) and I (37 M[ale]) have 4 kids (14 F and 14M, 12M, and 11F).”
“We generally agree on parenting them, but a recent incident had me and my wife disagreeing and I want to see if I was in the wrong.”
“A few weeks ago, I was at home with our 12 y/o because he was sick with a stomach bug.”
“While I was making him soup, I got a call from my twin’s high school, telling me that they wanted to speak with me, and that my daughter had received 3 days of ISS for a bullying incident.”
“Because of my son’s sickness, I spoke through them via phone and they told me everything that had happened.”
“My daughter and a group of her friends were picking on a boy for wearing a crop top.”
“The boy told the teacher, she asked them to stop.”
“When they didn’t stop, she sent them to the office.’
‘After talking to the boy, he admitted the bullying was going on for a few days, and that they kept bothering him when he asked them to stop.”
‘My daughter and son came home and my son’s face was bright red.”
“I told my daughter to go to her room and then sat down with my son to see if he was okay.”
“Apparently the boy she bullied was a close friend of his, one of his football teammates.”
“The boy was talking to my son and their other friends and said something about how he thought it was cool that some men used to wear sports crop tops.”
“The boys told him if he thought it was cool, he should try it.”
“The boys went out and bought some jerseys from the thrift store and made them into crop tops.”
“I then spoke to my daughter, she didn’t show much remorse and was dismissive of me.”
“Last year she also got in trouble for bullying someone bc of clothing.”
“She’s also gotten in trouble for racism at school.’
“Very white area, we are white, her and her friends were saying racist stuff in class.”
“When my wife got home, we discussed a punishment and agreed on not buying her new clothes for a while, she has plenty of good clothes already.”
“This weekend, we went to visit my brother.”
“My brother lives around 3 hours away in a small town and we don’t see him often.”
“This week was the town’s annual fair.”
“At the fair, they had booths from local businesses.”
“Our oldest son went to the booth with antique sports stuff and then the book booth to get books on sports history, son loves reading those.”
“Our 12 y/o got some plushies and toys and our youngest was looking at video games.”
“Our oldest daughter went to the clothes.”
“I stopped her and told her the rule was still in place.”
“I said she could buy books, a video game, candy, ect, but clothes were the one thing she could not get.”
“She was bugging my wife and my wife eventually told her she would reconsider it.”
“She then talked to me and I told her that I wasn’t changing my stance because I am letting her buy other stuff and I thought she was being entitled.”
“My daughter didn’t buy anything and my wife thinks I was too tough on her.”
“When I called my mom for advice, she also agreed with my wife.’
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
While the Reddit community agreed that the OP did the right thing in forbidding his daughter from buying clothes, he was still met with little to no sympathy from the Reddit community.
Everyone agreed that since this was not the OP’s daughter’s first instance of bullying, she was worthy of a much harsher punishment, with many also concerned that his wife and mother thought he was being too harsh when their daughter clearly has serious issues which needed addressing.
“Your daughter is a remorseless racist bully, and you say ‘here’s a lot of money sweetie, you just can’t buy clothes, unless that makes you too upset’?”
“Are you intentionally raising an entitled a**hole?”
“Do you hate society and humanity?”
“You, your wife, your mom, your daughter, all a**holes.”- Content-Potential191
“Other than no buying clothes, how are you handling the fact that your child is a racist bully?”-sunfloweries
“You absolutely did the right thing by enforcing the punishment.”
“But you and your wife need to do some research, reach out to local experts and come up with a better response to your daughter’s behavior.”
“Your daughter has on two occasions engaged in bullying that is rooted is biased and discriminatory beliefs.”
“What is she doing to address those believes, what is she doing to make amends or restitution, either to the individual or group she has hurt?”- photosbeersandteach
“Your daughter is a racist bully and your response is ‘we’ll buy you anything but clothes’ and your wife won’t even hold to that?”
“Have you considered real consequences for your daughter’s sh*tty behavior?”- madelinegumbo
“Your daughter is a racist bully and ‘you don’t get to buy clothes’ is her only punishment.”
“You and your wife are AH and you have raised your daughter to be an AH.”- Cat_Lilac_Dog22
“Her for the bullying, your wife for enabling, you AND your wife for being incredibly lax with punishment.”
“This is a recurring issue.”
“Your daughter needs serious intervention.”
“Like, potentially changing schools.”
“It sounds like she’s running with a mean girl kind of crowd right now.”
“Intervention, therapy, grounding, no spending money intervention.”
“Your punishment isn’t sufficient at all.”
“If it was, it would’ve worked the first time.”
“Step tf up before she causes someone permanent damage.”- inkpaperdream
“This is above Reddit’s paygrade.”
“Your daughter is a bully and her consequences are weak at best.”- devlin94
“I commend you for sticking to your guns.”
“However, that is the weakest punishment I’ve ever heard of.”
“You need to actually make her endure something meaningful that will address the horrible behavior she is exhibiting.”
“THEN stick to your guns on it.”- subsailor1968
“A 14 year old is racist and a bully and her only punishment is not getting clothes for a while?”-Mission-Friend9854
“ESH except your other kids.”
“Your response to your daughter’s continued behavior as a bully are to simply restrict her from buying clothes?”
“So candy and toys are okay?”
“HOW IS THAT A PUNISHMENT?”
“And your wife can’t even manage that?”
“No wonder your daughter has a problem.”
“You guys need to implement consistent and actual consequences for her actions and teach her why bullying is unacceptable.”
“She is more than old enough to learn compassion.”
“Also, living in a predominantly white neighborhood does not excuse you for failing to teach her to be aware of other races/cultures.”
“You have only a few years left with her, get on it.”
“Your job now is to go the opposite way and teach her with verifiable sources the history and social stigmas attached to POC and the LGBTQ2 communities.”
“Also, these beliefs are learned at home.”
“Perhaps it’s time to delve further into why your daughter has such an easy time getting into the white supremacist rhetoric and why you and your wife have had such a cavalier response to it to date.”
‘Start these conversations at home.”- ouatedephoq
“I am flabbergasted that her punishment for being a racist bully is no new clothes.”
“I get it’s cuz she made fun of someone’s outfit.”
“There needs to be way more serious consequences.”
“Yall are all YTA.”
“You for not having a stricter punishment, mom for enabling, and you already know why your daughter is.”
“Do better as a parent.”- throwaway_lifesucks_
It was important for the OP to teach his daughter that actions have consequences.
But temporarily barring her from buying clothes might not have been the most effective way to get the message to sink in.
Particularly if the OP’s wife felt he was being too hard.
In the likely event the OP’s daughter finds herself in trouble at school again, hopefully he and his wife will take more drastic actions regarding her behavior.