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'AITA for wanting to end a family tradition that excludes one child?'

'AITA for wanting to end a family tradition that excludes one child?'


"AITA for wanting to end a family tradition that excludes one child?"


Every April, my wife's family holds a family reunion. They don't celebrate holidays together often, so they go all out for these, renting a hall, catering, the works. The only weird event at these reunions is a clothing swap between the women of the family.

For whatever reason, when my wife and her sisters all had daughters close in age, they decided a long time ago that this was the best way to do family hand-me-downs.

All the women in my wife's family ended up being very short (4'10"-5'1"), so they all wear "rare" but similar sizes, so it's always worked out. With a 70/30 gender split and the only men in the family being myself, my brother in law, and my sons from a previous relationship, this swap meet is the MAIN event.

They make it a whole show about it. It's incredibly boring from the outside, so my boys and I always head out early if we go at all. This would be a non-issue if it weren't for my daughter, Kate.

She's my wife and I's "ours" baby. Kate took after my side of the family. We're a taller family, or at least not Keebler Elves, so by the time she was 11, she started coming back with nothing from those parties.

The first time, I assumed that she was just picky until I realized that she was starting to be bigger than her older sisters and cousins and had outgrown any size they would wear.

My wife thought she needed to realize that not everything was for everyone and to just have fun being there. Last year, she started having body image issues thinking she was "fat" and needed to go on a diet, and now I'm thinking having this event is feeding it.

This year is going to be a massive deal as my MIL is going into a nursing home and is downsizing. She was so into fashion that she has an entire storage unit full, so this is going to be a TON of stuff. I'm starting to think the reunion shouldn't involve a clothing swap at all and all of that should be done privately at another time. Family shouldn't be about a fashion show.

My wife thinks that's ridiculous and Kate is just having typical teenage problems that will go away on their own, but if she's so bothered, she can just not go or stay with the boys. I don't think that's right. This is mainly a girl's reunion!

It's not like there's anything else for an alternative for her to share in because they don't really get rid of accessories or anything, it's JUST clothes. This event is starting to get mean and exclusionary. And it needs to end. I'm trying my best to make them see sense, and I'm getting nothing but arguments. Am I really in the wrong here?

Here were the top rated comments from readers in response to the OP's post:


NTA. Take her out shopping that day. Your wife will come home w/ “new” clothes, your daughter should get some new things also.


Or take her beforehand so she goes to that event already excited about her new stuff.


NTA for wanting to end it. Probably would be NTA for actively ending it, at least if there were no resistance. But there will be resistance. Your wife doesn't see the problem, and frankly it doesn't sound like she's going to.

Still, the first solution is always talking about it- talk with your wife about why it's upsetting and even harmful, and simply being told to sit out- by your MOTHER- while everyone else is having fun is NOT a healthy solution.

If she refuses to get it, maybe have a heart to heart with Kate directly. Tell her that it's clearly an insane ritual at this point (jokingly) and you don't get it, so why don't you and she go spend some time together, maybe watch a movie or something.

Ask her if there's anything else she wants to do, she might make suggestions, or you keep giving alternatives like I just suggested or even specifically go to help Kate get some new clothes for herself so she doesn't feel like she's missing out on that angle.

I feel like if the boys can maybe go do something else for a bit (like grandparents or just go out, depending on their ages), the child who's struggling would really appreciate some close time with and attention from daddio, where you both laugh and joke that mom's side of the family are nutcases.

That's how I'd solve this anyway. First, talk with mom about it frankly and seriously. If it doesn't work, see if you can be very close with Kate and give her an alternative to look forward to, ask her what she'd like to do, etc in its place. Good luck.


This would be cute! Then she can put things on with everyone else and show off her new digs


Probably unpopular opinion, but I think you are overreacting. My friend group has clothing swaps all of the time. I am on the larger side and often don't fit a lot. I still love that they have them and love participating. One, clothing swaps support sustainability by encouraging wearing used clothing. The clothing industry is a huge contributor to climate change.

Two, they save so much money. Three, it is usually fun together. I really love that your wife's family includes it as part of their reunions. Like how fun. And what an incredible way to celebrate your MIL by everyone getting to take some of her clothing collection.

If Kate really doesn't like it, don't make her go. She can leave early with you and the boys. But to want them to cancel the entire thing because your daughter feels insecure seems extreme. I can't imagine asking my friends to stop them because lots of the clothes aren't my size.


Took awhile to find someone who said this. Not everything is for everyone. It's nice he wants things to be fair but really it's just a way of being able to recycle clothes. if his daughter doesn't fit the clothes for whatever reason then take her shopping while they do it or something else. Don't ruin a tradition for everyone because of one person.


YTA. I get where you're coming from, but you go into the wrong when you say that this event is, "starting to get mean and exclusionary". It's not.

Kate doesn't fit the clothes that are getting swapped around, and yeah, that kinda sucks. But your wife is right, the really important thing is the fun of being there. Don't let your own biases take that away from your daughter.

So, if you could give the OP and their daughter any advice, what would you say?

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