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Mom 'humiliates' daughter who lied to the whole family for months, 'she isn't graduating.' AITA?

Mom 'humiliates' daughter who lied to the whole family for months, 'she isn't graduating.' AITA?


"AITA for 'humiliating' my daughter for making her tell her relatives that she isn’t graduating and paying me back for the all rental stuff?"

My daughter was suppose to graduate college this semester. We have been talking about her graduation party for basically 7 months. What she wanted to do and who to invite. We have already sent out the invites and multiple relatives have booked flights to come up. The issues daughter isn’t graduating. She lied to everyone for at least 4 months. She failed a class she need to graduate last semester and didn’t inform anyone.

She told us this yesterday, the party is in about a month, everything has been paid for already. So I informed her she needs to call all her relatives and explain the situation. If they can’t get a refund for their flights I expect her to offer to pay them back. I also informed her she needs to pay back the rental price since I can’t get a refund for some stuff.

This resulted in a huge argument and she is calling me a jerk for humiliating her. I explained that it is her fault and if she informed us months ago this wouldn’t be happening. My husband thinks I am being a bit harsh but is sticking with me.


She new she fail the class by break, the first week of December. She had all December, January, February and this March to inform us and didn’t. She continues to plan with us for the graduation party and never informed us she wasn’t graduating. It was a core class, offered once a year. She will need to take it in the fall. She knew she wasn’t graduating. The school isn’t letting her walk, she will have to walk at the December one.

Multiple people are asking what I would have done if she informed me. I would have moved to the party and helped her figure out how to make the best out of the extra semester. Probably would have looked into if she can add a quick minor but can’t do that now since most of the summer classes have been filled.

She never informed us she wasn’t graduating and continued to plan with us. We were throwing this for her but she is very excited about it. It was pretty large, friends and family. She failed the class, she tried to save it and couldn’t.

No idea if it is a common class to fail. She can’t take it over the summer it was one of her core classes that they only offer once a year. She will need to take it next fall. It will probably be around 2000-3000. She has the money to pay it back from working in the summer and her office job at school. It will hurt her savings though.

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

Dusty_Porksword said:

ESH. Your daughter should have told you she failed the class, but based on your reaction, it sounds like there's a reason she didn't tell you. You may want to look real hard at your relationship with her and why she doesn't trust you enough to talk to you when she has a problem if you want to maintain a relationship once she heads out and starts her own life.

JMellor737 said:

This is one of the those situations where, as a parent, you need to accept that you're right, but that youthful inexperience and insecurity are taking a toll on your daughter, so it is better to focus on being supportive than right. Going forward with your plan will likely damage your relationship with your daughter long-term. So yeah, technically, you're "right," but it just doesn't seem worth it. It doesn't seem like she was lying for greed or to hide infidelity or something. She's embarrassed about failing. She feels humiliated. That's an important distinction.

Tell the relatives that if they can't or don't want a refund, you'd love to have them for a great summer family party. Just change the focus. Maybe even find something else to celebrate about your daughter. Forcing her to pay all that money seems untenable for someone in her position. If it were me, I'd tell my brother to come anyway and bring his kids. Let's just all go to a baseball game together. Whatever. Spending time with family is its own reason.

Your daughter's punishment for failing and lying about it is that she will not get the big graduation party she dreamed of. Your immediate family can take her out to dinner instead. She should be able to accept that and take it as a lesson.

Use this moment to teach her that hiding from the truth, even a painful truth, is never a good idea, and also tell her she does not need to be embarrassed about failing because her whole family loves and supports her anyway. She needs to take the consequence for what she did (i.e., she doesn't get a graduation party), but punishing and humiliating her at a very vulnerable moment in her life will do no good.

And it may hurt her enough that even when she does graduate, she won't even feel proud because the whole experience will be tainted. Graduating from college, even if it takes extra time, is still a huge accomplishment and she should be able to feel pride when that day comes next year.

IamIrene said:

YTA. Your daughter hid her failure because she didn't feel she could tell you about it. I actually went through a very similar situation with my daughter, except our relationship is quite different and she did tell me. I took the opposite route you did, I supported her. Her school let her walk and we still had her graduation party. She worked out her missing credits a couple of years after she was supposed to graduate. She has her degree now and it's all good.

Our relationship is as good as ever! She tells me everything because she knows I love and support her, no humiliation, no shame. I wish that kind of relationship for you and your daughter. I can promise you, purposeful humiliation will not create that for you. This is more about you being embarrassed by your daughter's (perceived) failure.

AllisonRipplee said:

NTA. Your daughter lied to everyone about her graduation, and it's only fair that she takes responsibility for her actions. It's not your fault that she failed a class and didn't inform anyone, and it's not your responsibility to shield her from the consequences of her deception.

Calling her relatives and explaining the situation might be embarrassing for her, but it's a necessary step in owning up to her mistakes. Your daughter needs to understand that her actions have financial consequences and that she must take responsibility for them. Her choices led to this situation, and while you still love and support her, she must face the consequences of her actions. She needs to understand that honesty and responsibility are crucial values that will serve her well in the future.

otsukaren_613 said:

NTA. She's not the first kid to fail out one class at the last semester. She's what... 21? 22? I would expect this kind of behavior from a high school kid that got in trouble for drinking. She's too old for that now. She could have just told you she needed to take a summer class first, or just one more semester before you did the party. She didn't have to lie. It's important she gets this NOW, before she enters into the workforce thinking she can pull this crap.

uberprodude said:

NTA. I've been in your daughters shoes of having to tell my parents that I'm not going to graduate, so I can definitely sympathize with her but at the end of the day, she brought this upon herself by seemingly focusing more on planning the party than on her studies.

I'd argue it's even in her best interest to call everyone individually. If you go ahead with the party and it comes out that she isn't graduating she'll have an EXTREMELY public humiliation that would likely cause a lot of anger too. If anyone humiliated her it is herself.

The opinions were fairly divided for this one, but most people were more defensive of OP's daughter. What's your advice for this family?

Sources: Reddit
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