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Teen Sparks Drama After Explaining Why She Doesn’t Like Her Cousin With A ‘Cruel’ PowerPoint Presentation

Ronnie Kaufman/Getty Images

You can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your relatives.

But what if your family is determined to force you to be friends with family members?

A father dealing with the fallout of his wife trying to force their daughter to be best friends with her cousin wondered if he handled the situation correctly. He turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

Redditor feelslikenotmyissue asked:

“AITA For not punishing my daughter for mocking her cousin?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“My wife and her younger sister are best friends. As a result, when our middle daughter and her cousin were born around the same time, my wife really expected them to also be best friends.”

“With sixteen years of hindsight, I can say with certainty that the expectation was misplaced.”

“Nothing happened in particular. My daughter just doesn’t like her cousin.”

“My wife keeps pushing the relationship. This includes making my daughter spend time with her cousin during family gatherings, inviting her cousin on trips, forcing my daughter to call her.”

“We’re pretty sure I’m the favorite parent (a fact that keeps my ego well-inflated), and, therefore, my apathy towards the situation is not well-received by my wife.”

“From my perspective, this isn’t important, and I do not possess the ability to make two teenagers become friends. I’m also pretty sure that trying to push this kind of knuckleheaded stuff makes kids not want to speak to you.”

“This is where I’m probably an a**hole. Yesterday, my wife forced my daughter to video call her cousin.”

“My daughter rejected the request, and my wife told her: ‘Unless you have a valid reason for disliking your cousin, you will do this because we’re family’.”

“The call occurred. This morning, we awoke to a PowerPoint presentation titled Valid Reasons to Dislike [Cousin]. Using clips from the Zoom call, segments included Why is [Cousin’s] Voice so Grating? A Music Theory Approach, A Case Study: Conversations That Provide No Value, Rethinking the Idea That There Are No Dumb Questions, etc…”

“With the benefit of a couple of hours of hindsight, it was a very cruel takedown of her cousin’s entire personality.”

“My wife was furious. My eldest daughter and I lost our sh*t laughing.”

“My wife is demanding I support her in punishing my daughter for bullying her cousin.”

“I have refused because I feel this whole situation wouldn’t have occurred if she didn’t push the relationship, but I’m starting to have second thoughts because it was very mean.”

“AITA?”

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

The majority of Redditors decided the OP was not the a**hole, but the scenario elicited a variety of responses. 

“YTA. You are teaching your daughter that she can say anything she wants, even against family, as long as it gets a laugh. You participated in laughing at your niece behind her back.”

“You, the favorite parent, are endorsing this behavior, painting your partner as the bad person here, and refusing to say your daughter shouldn’t say these things.”

“Ignoring your feelings that you were mean is the precedent you are potentially setting up for your daughter. You don’t have to punish her, especially because you egged her on, but I think you should level with her, saying ‘this is obviously a mean thing to do’.”

“Even if not shown to the person, which would be unbelievably cruel, it is still OBVIOUSLY mean to make a PowerPoint like this about family. Imagine if the niece has insecurities about the specific thing your daughter has mocked!”

“Pretty hard to defend that I would say.”

“You are sitting by, allowing your daughter to be mean—your laughter encouraged her whether or not you realize.” ~ Diggydigdug

“It’s not anybody’s business why the daughter doesn’t like the cousin. And nobody has the right to force a relationship between them.”

“Trying to control who someone does and doesn’t associate with is abusive behavior. This entire situation would not have happened if the wife simply respected her daughter’s choices.” ~ Napalmeon

“YTA. A bully is a bully. Just because your daughter might be the ‘smart’ one, doesn’t mean she shouldn’t be nice.”

“Why do they not like each other? That might be something to look into.”

“Your wife should not push the relationship, but you and your daughter are being mean.” ~ Accurate-Ant-6764

“ESH—your wife is/was in the wrong to force a friendship, and now that that’s been established…”

“Jesus, dude. You’re a grown man who laughed at an entire powerpoint making fun of your niece. Really?”

“This is not just your ‘daughter’s cousin,’ this little girl is YOUR F’KING NIECE. I definitely went through an awkward phase when I was 13, everyone is annoying at some point, and to be honest I’m sure an uncle has at some point laughed at a disparaging comment a cousin made about me.”

“Hell, my parents have been mildly bemused (usually before scolding me) about comments I’ve made about my cousins before. And I LOVE those people, and love hanging out with them.”

“But the idea that an uncle of mine would sit there as someone systematically took me apart and made fun of every aspect of *me* , or even worse, laugh hysterically the entire time? Even imagining that made me want to cry.”

​”I get why your daughter made it, but it was incredibly unkind. Teens sometimes have those unkind impulses, it’s supposed to be YOUR JOB as a parent to try to teach her where the line is.”

“You could have supported her sentiment (of not wanting to spend time with her cousin) without reinforcing her cruelty. Even if you scold her now, she already got the positive reinforcement of you acting like her asshole friend instead of her dad, and encouraging her shittiest impulses.”

“Her cousin (your niece, in case you forgot. Who probably loves both of you) did not do anything on purpose to hurt your daughter, she does not sound like a bad human.”

“Your daughter wasn’t the cruelest one there. It was you.” ~ alliebeemac

“YTA, OP. You’ve let your wife bully your daughter about this.”

“And now you are letting your daughter do the same to someone else. YTA for letting it get to this point.” ~ Jazzlike-Flounder882

“It could have been much worse, like losing emotional control and actually bullying her cousin! She told her immediate family how she felt and I see nothing wrong with that.”

“Mom needs to stop trying to force a relationship onto her daughter.”

“Absolutely agree with you! NTA.” ~ tgwke

“As a person who has been forced to be on good terms with multiple cousins (first and second cousins, paternal and maternal sides) who just happen to be born in the same year as me, you and your daughter are absolutely NTA.”

“I dislike the fact that I was pushed to foster a relationship with any of them when I barely see most of them, except during festivities and occasional family gatherings.”

“Two of my second cousins were in my class and that wasn’t supposed to be too bad except one of them basically wanted me gone (as she saw me as her one and only competitor in class—her parents basically told her that she must beat me in every damn subject).”

“Dude, I just want to have a good time in school instead of caring about scores but she won’t let me live if I beat her even by one point in my strongest subjects (which are her weakest subjects). It was a horrible five years to be in the same class as her and I am SO GLAD I never saw her again after I’m done with secondary school.”

“I only hope I don’t need to interact with her ever again, it has been ~7 years since I last saw/talked/interacted with her so I’d say it’s going pretty well.” ~ autumne96

While people had a lot of opinions about both parents’ behavior, the original question was if it was wrong for the father to not punish his daughter. On that question, Redditors decided the presentation created just for her own family to see didn’t call for her punishment.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metis Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. She considers herself another proud Maineiac.