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Daughter refuses to 'play nice' with brother; dad says, 'don't bother coming for holidays.'

Daughter refuses to 'play nice' with brother; dad says, 'don't bother coming for holidays.'


"AITA for telling my daughter not to come home for the holidays?"


I (49M) have a daughter (F19) and two sons (M16 and M12). My daughter Sydney is, when we're one on one, a great kid. She's bright, she's funny, she sets goals and works hard to meet them.

I love her very much, and have done my best to support her. She currently attends college about an hour from our home, which my spouse (F48) and I pay for, along with her housing and everything.

However, Sydney is just awful to her 16 year old brother, Lucas, and pretty much always has been. She picks on him constantly, calls him stupid, belittles his accomplishments, and is just generally mean.

We've tried to improve this behavior many times over the years. We've done individual counseling for her, individual counseling for Lucas, family counseling with all of us, we tried finding them activities to do together, we've tried any consequence/incentive we could think of, and finally we just tried to keep them separate as much as possible.

For his part, Lucas spent his younger years thinking Sydney was the coolest person ever and tried so hard to play with her and be nice to her. I'm not saying he never started any of the conflict, but it wasn't nearly the same level of random meanness as from his sister.

He also responded to consequences and his behavior generally improved over time. He's also a great kid, has lots of friends, does well in school, and is researching colleges now. For the last few years he mostly just tried to avoid Sydney, which got easier as they both had their own activities.

We had hoped that through all our efforts and the process of growing up, Sydney would at least learn to ignore her brother rather than lashing out. She's very capable of being nice to others.

She has her own circle of friends, she gets along well with our 12 year old, and never really got in trouble at school. I know that I'm not seeing her 24/7, but I really think this is isolated to her relationship with Lucas.

When she came home from college for Thanksgiving, everything started up again. She immediately started teasing Lucas about his clothes, told him he'd never get into a good college, and generally took every opportunity to pick a fight.

It was exhausting. Now, she's planning on coming home for two weeks at Christmas. She lives in an apartment and doesn't have to come home like she did when she lived in the dorms. I told her that if she can't be kind to, or failing that at least ignore, her brother then she can't come home.

I think she thought I was joking at first and kind of laughed and said something about not being able to promise that, and I said that's fine, don't come home then. I've made it clear she's welcome any time she can act civilly with her family, and I'm not threatening to cut her off financially in any way.

We made a promise, I intend on keeping it. Now that she's an adult with her own living space, I don't think Lucas should have to deal with her any more, and he's still living under our roof.

Sydney is very angry with me and says she's never coming home again, and my wife thinks I'm being too harsh, and that maybe we should've just told her she couldn't stay as long so Lucas can still enjoy his break. So, AITAH for telling my daughter not to come home? I feel like I might be because it's also her home, but she still has housing available so maybe not.

Here were the top rated comments from readers:


NTA. Don’t let this bully into your home until they apologize. Time for her to face consequences. Good job protecting the younger one. Stay strong.

PS, I’d cut off all financial support to.


Yeah, I think that as an adult there are very consequences for Sydney , so she feels quite safe bullying Lucas since all she receives is a ‘stop that’ or ‘be nice’ . Cutting off her money may be the thing that makes her at least be nice.

But there has to be a reason for conflict , and until that is found get to that I don’t know how you could start to fix the issue. I know that my older sister disliked my middle sister because she was born a week before Halloween and it meant the she couldn’t go trick or treating, it didn’t get better until the middle sister sarcastically apologize.


NTA. You aren't forbidding her from coming home, you're just insisting that she refrain from bullying her brother or not come home. She is choosing not to come home rather than not be a bully.


NTA. You should have done this years ago. Glad you are finally stepping up. DO NOT back down. This is long overdue. Your daughter is LUCKY you are not pulling financial support. I would have cut her off long ago. Financially as well.

Gotta say, you must have had really bad therapists if no one could stop her from bullying your son. Or were you just dismissive of her behavior towards him and never followed through on the consequences the therapists recommended? Do right by your son now.


Has anyone ever gotten to the issue of why she hates her brother?


He's the second born and "took away" her parents undivided attention. Might have something to do with it. Just taking a guess, but it's something I've run into with friends' kids.


This is why I loathed my little brother well into my 20s. Took away resources and time and was completely babied compared the other siblings. He eventually turned out to be a good human, but I couldn't see it until the hormones drained away in my mid 20s. He idolized me and wanted to be involved in everything and my mother forced me to include him in things. That just made it worse.


NTA. In life, we have consequences for our actions. You have tried repeatedly to help Sydney identify her feelings, address how she handles the relationship, and worked to find a way for everyone to manage. But she still decided that her brother is her punching bag, and as an adult, has to face adult consequences.

I appreciate the effort you put into making everyone feel seen and every effort to negate the situation. At this point, it is ultimately up to Sydney to grow up and treat her brother with respect in what is his home as well.

Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la- ouch.

Do you think the OP is being too harsh as a mother or is her daughter truly unwilling to 'play nice' for the sake of the family? Why do you think there is such bad blood between these two siblings?

Sources: Reddit
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