So, when a conflicted single dad decided to consult the moral compass of the internet otherwise known as Reddit's 'Am I the As*hole' about his daughter's potential bullying behavior, people were eager to help deem a verdict.
I’m a single dad to 3 daughters. This revolves around my middle, “Juliet” (17F). A few weeks ago, I took her shopping for her prom dress. She picked one that she absolutely loved and she truly looks like a princess.
Then, last week, she was very upset because she saw on Instagram that a classmate (not a friend, but someone in her grade) had bought the same dress, but in a different color. She tried asking the other girl to change and the girl (rightfully) told her no. I was sympathetic and let her vent, also adding that it was a different color so at the very least, it wasn’t too similar.
The issue is, Juliet has been trash talking the girl for the past week. This is very out of character for her, she’s never been a gossip. But I’ve heard her venting to her friends about it. I let it go because what does venting really matter?
Then I got a call from Juliet’s history teacher saying that she overheard Juliet talking poorly about this girl repeatedly. While the girl is not in the class and there’s no evidence of bullying, she is worried it’ll get there.
I sat Juliet down and said while I understand completely that this is frustrating and I may not get all that comes with dresses and such, this isn’t fair to the other girl. From what it seems, she didn’t purposefully do this to hurt her. I pointed out the different colors. Also offered to take her to return the dress and she could get another if having a unique dress was that important.
Juliet said that she shouldn’t have to get a new dress. She kept trash talking this girl. I finally told her “It’s a dress. Your feelings are valid but you need to stop being so dramatic and let it go.” This upset her and she left the room in tears. I tried talking to her about it but she stayed in her room.
My eldest (22F) told me I technically wasn’t wrong but I shouldn’t have said it. I really try not to be a bumbling dad who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. I learned all stuff related to raising girls, have always made it clear they can come to me for anything, etc. If I need to outsource a problem or they want a woman to talk to, they have their godmother (late wife’s best friend). Was I the a*s here?
UPDATE: I want to thank everyone for your feedback and advice. Some of you suggested there is much more going on here and I agreed.
I sat down with Juliet again and said I standby my sentiment, but I also think there has to be more going on. As I said, it’s just a dress and this isn’t like her at all. Some of you suggested perhaps she had prior history with this girl. She said no, they don’t even really talk. They only follow each other on social media because “everyone follows everyone”.
I pushed more and asked why a dress was so important. She eventually admitted it wasn’t. Then went onto say that she’s felt weird about prom this whole time and her senior year overall. When I asked why, she started crying and said she missed her mom, she wished she was here, etc.
My wife passed when Juliet was 5 so she never truly had her for any of those big milestones that a girl would have with a mother. Watching her friends go through all these things with their mom reminded her that she doesn’t have one.
I gave her a big hug and held her while she cried. I cried a little myself. I knew that Juliet struggled with her mom’s death but had no clue it was still such an issue. Once she calmed down, Juliet insisted that she hadn’t ever said anything to the girl but agreed to apologize for even asking her to change the dress.
She also promised to stop talking junk. I told her next time to just talk to me about it. I miss her mom too. When my eldest was going through all these milestones her senior year, I definitely felt that someone was missing and that my wife should be there.
So crisis is over. I know some said to ban her from going to prom and if she had continued her behavior, I would’ve. But considering she’s going to apologize and is letting it go, I feel that’s an overreaction.
NTA. She is bullying this girl over a dress. This is beyond standard teenager a*sholery.
NTA: She's 17 not 7. You shouldn't have to baby her when she's acting like a jerk.
NTA. Bullying another student over a prom dress is an AH move. They aren't even the same color!
NTA. Being THAT upset about a dress is overly dramatic. Does she do the same thing when someone else is wearing the same jeans/shirt/jacket/shoes as she is? We live in a world where things are mass produced and shockingly people end up wearing the same things, sometimes even at the same time!
I would hate to see this behavior stay with her through college. It does sound like she is on a boarder of bullying this other girl though. I hope that she doesn't and you offered her multiple options that she turned down. She needed a dose of reality.
NTA. 17 is way too old to be behaving like a child and having a temper tantrum. How would she feel if the other girl had asked her to buy another dress then trash talked her when she wouldn't? In the good old days before the internet she'd have only found out about it when she went to the prom.
Everyone agreed unanimously here that this dad did the right thing by telling his daughter to let it go. There's no excuse for bullying, but the fact that it's a different color is further salt on the wound. Good luck, everyone...