Friendships are something that simply cannot be forced.
Part of what makes friendships so special is that unique bond and connection between two people which cannot be explained.
Regardless, people will still try to turn certain friends and family members into instant best friends.
Even if the results are never what they hope they would be.
The wife of Redditor feelslikenotmyissue was and remains best friends with her younger sister.
As a result, when they had children around the same time, she had hoped they might become just as close as them.
This was sadly not the case, which the original poster (OP)’s. daughter made abundantly clear in a rather shocking manner.
Something the OP’s wife felt was worthy of a severe punishment, but the OP felt was simply hilarious.
Wondering if they handled things as well as they could have, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where they asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA For not punishing my daughter for mocking her cousin?”
The OP explained how their wife’s attempts at forcing a friendship between their daughter and her cousin finally came to a head.
“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 to 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, ect.”
“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 shit laughing.”
“My wife is demanding I support her in punishing my daughter for bullying her cousin.”
“I have refused because I feel this is 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.”
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 was somewhat divided, they generally agreed that the OP did not behave appropriately to his daughter’s behavior.
Everyone agreed that the OP needed to make it clear to their daughter that her behavior was not acceptable, and their decision to laugh at her presentation, which they knowingly called “cruel” and “mean”, was encouraging her bad behavior.
“You are teaching your daughter that she can say anything she want, 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.”
“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
“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
“Not because what your daughter did wasn’t funny, it was, but because your job is to teach her not to do cruel things to others, especially family.”
“Karma comes back around, and your name is supposed to be karma.”- tigerCELL
“YTA, and frankly a bad father.”
“No consequences for casual cruelty raises sh*tty children that become sh*tty adults.”
“Your kids are going to grow up to be complete garbage people if you let them go on like this.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if this event is the impetus that ends in your divorce.”
“Y’all just cheered on the damage and probably destruction of your wife’s relationship with her sister.”- monkey_mcdermott
“Yes you’re the a**hole.”
“Not for your indifference to the situation, but because you’re condoning sh*tty behavior.”
“You’re literally raising a sarcastic little sh*t.”
“And while it might be funny now, the fact that you’re okay with her just demeaning the sh*t out of family is still f*cked.”
“She doesn’t have to like her cousin, but to make a presentation about why another 16 year old girl sucks, and then just laugh and show it off is pretty f*cked.”
“Now this 16 year old thinks her cousin hates her and probably by extension that whole side of the family.”
“If she’s unstable enough she could off herself.”
“And then what would be your defense?”
“That it’s your SIL fail for trying to make them friends in the first place?”
“Yeah you’re a little f*ckwit. If she’s capable of doing this to family, imagine what she’s like to people she doesn’t care for at school.”
“But hey, your 16 year old daughter thinks you’re cool so there’s that right?”- LokiiVegas
There were some, however, who felt that the OP’s wife didn’t help the situation by trying to force the friendship, even if they still agreed that OP could have handled it better.
“Your wife is/was in the wrong to force a friendship, and now that that’s been established.”
“You’re a grown man who laughed at an entire powerpoint making fun of your niece.”
“This is not just your ‘daughter’s cousin’,” this little girl is YOUR F*CKING NIECE.”
“I definitely went through an awkward phase when I was 13, everyone is annoying at some point, and tbh 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 a**hole friend instead of her dad, and encouraging her sh*ttiest 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
The OP’s wife should know that no matter how hard she tries, she can’t force a friendship between her daughter and niece.
However, the reaction of the OP’s daughter was not funny, but cruel and malicious.
The fact that the OP knew this as they laughed at the presentation only makes this sad situation all the worse.
Hopefully, civil conversation amongst the family will help everyone see that there is room for improvement all around.