As much as we’d like for it to be perfect, family is a messy, complicated, and beautiful concept.
Sometimes two family members may have a much bigger beef between them than anyone else expects, until it suddenly flairs up, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
While helping prepare for her stepdaughter’s Quinceañera, Redditor Otherwise-Cycle-2441 was shocked that her biological daughter lashed out by destroying her stepsister’s dress.
The Original Poster (OP) demanded that she replace the dress, but when her daughter accused her of choosing her stepdaughter over her, the OP wasn’t sure what to do.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for making my oldest daughter pay back a $3,000 Quinceañera dress she ruined?”
The OP’s daughters’ relationship was worsening over time.
“My oldest (Bethany 16) has a step-sibling, Maria (14, almost 15).”
“Bethany and I are white while my husband and Maria are of Hispanic descent.”
“They have been in each other’s lives since they were six and seven, and overall the relationship was good until recently.”
The worst of the trouble came up around Maria’s Quinceañera.
“Maria’s Quinceañera is coming up, and my husband and his ex-wife took her to get her dress. The dress and alterations came to around 3,000 dollars.”
“My daughter has been very jealous of the whole party.”
“I’ve informed her that it is part of the culture just like when she had a huge sweet sixteen party with her friends. I spent more time with her to try to make her feel better about it and got Bethany her own much cheaper dress for the party.”
“I spent a lot for her sweet sixteen party, around 4,000 dollars for the venue and all that.”
“Comparatively, Maria’s party has cost around 6,000 dollars in total, but the cost is split between my husband and his ex. So he really spent 3,000 dollars on her party.”
“The difference in the dress I got her is a lot. I only spent 450 dollars on a dress Bethany picked out for the party. You wear basically a prom dress as a guest to a Quinceañera, not the huge fluffy dress that Maria is going to wear.”
Bethany lashed out just in time for Maria’s Quinceañera.
“The party is supposed to be in two weeks, but after an argument with Maria about the TV, Bethany scribbled Sharpie marker all over Maria’s expensive dress and ripped the back of it.”
“This was the first thing she’s ever done anything to this extent. Usually, it’s just arguing. Neither have ever destroyed each other’s stuff before.”
“The story short is that everyone is p**sed.”
The OP gave Bethany a serious punishment.
“I gave money to my husband and his ex to try to get a new dress as soon as possible.”
“Then I informed my daughter she would need to get a job and pay back the full price of the dress as punishment.”
“She thinks I am being unfair at the moment.”
“But in the meantime, my husband and his ex called up the store and are asking for express processing. Luckily, the store has close to the same dress in Maria’s size right now. They need to order it now if she wants the exact same dress, which will be a fee for us, and I am worried the stuff won’t be done in time. This is a discussion with Maria if she wants to change it or get the one in-store and do tailoring basically tomorrow.”
“His ex is p**sed, and I don’t blame her.”
“While they’re doing all of that, Bethany and I got in a huge argument over it, and she said the whole situation isn’t fair, and that I am choosing Maria over her, and that I’m being a huge jerk.”
“Am I being a huge jerk?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some completely agreed that Bethany should repay the price of the dress.
“NTA. Bethany deserves to pay the full restitution for Maria’s quinceañera dress since she deliberately and with malice aforethought destroyed Maria’s dress.”
“To Bethany: YTA for deliberately and with malice aforethought destroying Maria’s quinceañera dress, and your complaints about the OP’s favoritism reveal that you have no remorse for committing vandalism and property damage.” – TheCajunPhoenix
“NTA. Bethany deliberately ruined a dress. She has to pay for it. If she had done this to a total stranger, would she claim you’re choosing the stranger?”
“If Maria had ruined one of her dresses, would she just let it go? Bethany’s very close to becoming an adult. It’s time she realizes that comes with responsibilities.”
“I wonder what Bethany would say after reading some of these comments – because I doubt you’ll see many, if any, Y T A. Or would she complain that you put this out to the world?” – FuzzyMom2005
“NTA. Your 16-year-old destroyed someone else’s property. It is her responsibility to make restitution.”
“This isn’t taking sides, it’s good parenting. And it wouldn’t be a bad idea to impress upon Bethany that if this were the property of someone other than a family member, the police or court system would probably be involved.”
“She’s fortunate that her parent is willing to work out a repayment plan with her instead.” – Sha-Nanegins
“NTA. You spent a huge deal on her party, more than is being spent on Maria.”
“I was wondering if there was some huge disparity in how they were treated, but your daughter is being absolutely unreasonable for no reason at all.”
“I think this is the perfect way to teach her a lesson, if she did this to someone outside the family, it would be a case of criminal damage so she is lucky this is all that’s happening.” – Sloppypoopypoppy
“Speaking as a parent albeit without stepchildren, a firm NTA. Bethany is old enough to understand that actions have consequences and she’s just learned a major one the hard way.”
“Kudos to you for stepping in to resolve the situation in a fair way to both Maria and her parents and in addition for both allocating more time to Bethany before this happened and insisting she needs to get a job to pay reparations.”
“At her age, Bethany is going to find it takes a long time to earn 3,000 dollars but the experience will do her good for finding a job after school or college plus will teach her the value of money and depending on the job may even mature her too.” – Fwoggie2
“NTA. Your daughter is almost an adult. She knew what she was doing was wrong. And let’s be honest, she knew what she was doing was a crime.”
“Tell her she can get a job and pay back the money or her stepsister and her parents can file a police report. I know that sounds harsh, but your daughter needs a wake-up call. Otherwise, she’ll do something like this to someone else, and she’ll end up going to jail.” – HappyTrifler
But others thought there were far larger concerns at work than the dress.
“YTA. Not for making Bethany pay back the cost of the dress, but for allowing a toxic home environment to build up.”
“The real issue here is that Bethany feels unloved because she is unloved. By your husband.”
“He didn’t have a Quinceañera for her. He didn’t put any money into her sweet sixteen. He made you buy the dress so she could go to her own sister’s birthday party.”
“You might try to treat both of your kids equally, but it’s obvious your husband doesn’t.”
“You want to know why she said you’re “siding with Maria”? Because your husband absolutely has picked sides, and his side will always be his only daughter.”
“Bethany is lashing out because you’ve allowed your husband to make that divide.” – FriendlyAndHelpfulPup
“YTA. You are reacting to childish rage with your own childish rage, like, ‘I am going to get you and make you pay!’ Good way to turn her into a bitter, angry, resentful, slave. Is that what you want, because that is what you will get?”
“The rage, not the dress, is the problem. That was way over-the-top destructive. Why?”
“I (67 Male) am high-functioning Autistic. One of our ‘features’ is massive meltdowns, but, we take it out on ourselves, not others or their possessions. Something triggered Bethany. Something you may have been ignoring was ‘girls will be girls,’ ‘she will grow out of it,’ and then she did not.”
“The US has a long-standing tradition of executing the mentally handicapped, the very low IQ, because the ‘get even’ punishment is what it is all about. How well does that work? It does not. So, you want to use the “get even” punishment?”
“Find out what set her off. Work from there.” – My_igloo_is_melting
“YTA. Slightly, but still. She didn’t say you’re choosing Maria over her because of the dress. There’s a deeper reason for this and making her pay the money will only assure two things. First, that she’ll feel even worse about the party and Maria. And two, that she won’t talk to you about the problems, because she won’t trust you.”
“Also, she’s in full-time education. She shouldn’t have to work on top of that. That’s only gonna make things worse. Especially between her and Maria, because she’ll hate that Maria has free time and she doesn’t.”
“And she won’t have any for a long time. Yes, she should get punished and talked to, but she shouldn’t have to get a job. Ground her, let her do chores to pay it back, things like that.” – QuingOftheUnderworld
“It’s called jealousy and any non mentally challenged 16-year-old is old enough to know right from wrong. If she feels no remorse for her actions, then you’re going to have much bigger problems down the road.”
“To be honest, you have been way too SOFT on her. She needs to know that her behavior is not acceptable under any circumstance. Don’t let her go to the quince. She will try to upstage poor Maria or even try to sabotage her like she already did. Yuck.”
“Good luck with your atrocious beast of a daughter with her wicked and sinister heart. Your hubby needs to keep his girl away from yours.”
“Not gonna lie, NTA for making her pay for it. That’s the least she can do, plus a sincere apology and promise to never do it again. But sorry/not sorry to say it… YTA for raising someone unable or unwilling to control her emotions and jealousy; and you raised her with zero empathy, consideration, and respect for others.”
“Sorry, not tryna be mean, just hard to imagine someone being such a jerk and taking away from her family’s special day. She is not a good member of the family.”
“Show her what I (and everyone else) said and tell her to wake up if she does end up going to the quince, everyone is going to be giving her side eye and think she is the queen of the turds because everyone will be talking about it. She will be like Cinderella’s evil stepsister.” – Dear-Broccoli1233
“While you are NTA for making her pay it back, YTA. Think about how your kid feels. At 16 she’d have a lot of complicated emotions. Yes, the event is big in her stepsister’s culture, but from her point of view, this stepsister is being absolutely lavished with attention and gifts.”
“I’ll be she feels like total crap and I’ll bet the stepsister has rubbed it in her face.”
“From her perspective, you chose your stepdaughter over her and she will never forget that.” – New-Dentist-7346
While the subReddit was shocked by how the OP’s daughter behaved, especially given her age and ability to understand that destroying someone else’s dress was wrong, they were torn over the severity of the punishment the OP had issued to her daughter.
Some thought it was exactly the right punishment for what she had done, but others thought that more needed to be done, either to remind the daughter that this was a form of vandalism that could get her in serious trouble or to remind her that she was loved and that the OP was not favoring her stepsister over her.
Either way, more clearly needed to be done in the home to stop anything like this from happening again and to puzzle out why this happened in the first place.