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Mom asks if she's wrong for threatening to cancel daughter's birthday if bio dad comes.

Mom asks if she's wrong for threatening to cancel daughter's birthday if bio dad comes.


Almost everyone has a major fight with a parent or caregiver once they reach their late teens. When you're near adulthood, listening and following the rules of a parent can feel like it's stifling your autonomy, even if they have your best interests in mind.

Similarly, a lot of parents have a difficult time releasing their teen into adulthood, and accepting that it's time for them to start calling their own shots. This tension between parent and teen can explode into major conflict, sometimes damaging the relationship for years.

In a recent post on the AITA subreddit, a mom asked if she was wrong for threatening to cancel her 16-year-old daughter's birthday party if she invited her estranged bio dad.

She wrote:

AITA for refusing to let my daughter invite her bio dad to her birthday and threatening to cancel it?

I'm a mother of a 16-year-old (soon 17) daughter 'Kelly.' Her bio dad left when she was 4. It's complicated but despite him being away he still sent money or had his family help from time to time.

I still struggled a lot raising her til I met my now husband 'Christopher.' Christopher is like a dad to Kelly. He's the only father figure she had.

However, I found out that she's reconnected with her bio dad through his family which I wasn't happy about but I didn't make a fuss about it. Then she started mentioning him often, visiting him while canceling plans to hang out with us, etc.

Her justification is that her dad is sick and might be (I say might because she's a child and may not know what it meant) terminal. She sees him at his friend's house where he's staying now.

Christopher and I were planning her 17th birthday party at our house. Kelly told me that she'd like to have her bio dad come over to celebrate since he may not be able to be around next year. Christopher said no immediately.

He said he won't let that man come into his house which made Kelly cry, she said we're robbing her of a last chance to make memories with her dad after finally finding him. I told her that I don't feel comfortable having him come to the house.

Her stepsister said that both me and Christopher are overreacting and that Kelly wants her dad to take part in her birthday so badly. Christopher left the house and I snapped at Kelly and threatened to cancel the whole thing.

Later when we calmed down I suggested she goes to celebrate with him but she said her friends and their parents won't be able to attend. She also said he can't throw her the party since he's sick.

We had another argument and she started ignoring me and Christopher while staying in her room. She's saying she won't forgive me if I let her dad miss what could be her last birthday with him.

Am I being unreasonable or is she?

Commenters had a wide range of takes on the situation.

Some felt that OP was infantilizing her daughter, while others felt she offered a reasonable compromise.

antitheticaldreamgal thinks OP needs to suck it up for her daughter:

Dealing with your kids' other parents when you don’t want to is part of parenting. I sure as f*ck never wanna be around my kids' dad again, but I suck it up and deal with it because it makes my kid happy and it’s good for them to see everyone getting along.

You can’t just nope out of the parts of parenting that make you feel uncomfortable. It’s her right as a person, but it’s not good parenting.

BusinessCow5266 thinks it's a sad situation all around:

This is a sad situation all around.

Let me just point out: 'She's saying she won't forgive me if I let her dad miss what could be her last birthday with him.' She has laid out her terms.

You don't want to be around him at all. 'I don't feel comfortable having him come to the house and be in the same room as him.' She is old enough to understand that.

She is also old enough to know what terminal means, so I think that is rude of you to suggest she doesn't.

As much as she wants to see her father, you are well within your rights to not want to see him. I can understand how jarring that could be for you. However, in your situation, the good thing to do would be to suck it up and let her see her biological dad, it's what she wants.

I'm going with NAH due to the horrible situation that this is, and I understand it puts pressure on you and your husband. But please listen to your daughter. She may never forgive you. This is clearly important to her.

gogogadgetrage believes OP is withholding crucial information:

OP didn't mention a real reason she doesn't want to see bio dad other than 'he left her' and stepdad feels he did all the work so why is bio dad here to claim credit. Both of which are about the egos of the adults.

If there was actual abuse because of which she didn't feel safe around him, I'd have a different stance. But I would say that the needs of the daughter dictate that she can be civil to a dying man for a few hours.

And well, YTA if for nothing else not recognizing any agency from her daughter. And pretending a 17-year-old does not know what terminal means.

ConstaLobo thinks OP is TA, 100 percent:


This isn't about you. Your daughter has reconnected with her dad and wants him in her life for as long as he is alive, which apparently is not very long at all.

I understand you have resentment against him, but he, by your account, helped with money throughout your daughter's life.

If this is the hill you want to die on, be prepared for your relationship with your daughter to take a massive dive. Also, 17 is not a child and she does know what terminal means.

heyitsta12 implored OP to communicate calmly with her daughter and get more information about her bio dad's illness:

Info: why haven’t you, as her main caretaker, found out more info about her father and his illness?

You seem to be unsure of whether or not he’s actually sick and are not really aware of how they spend their time together.

You should be more on top of this and not just allow someone who hasn’t been around to pop up out of nowhere without a bit of gatekeeping and boundary setting. You let this get out of hand because you haven’t bothered to communicate.

How do you not think she’s capable of understanding the word terminal, but at the same time think she’s old enough to process the emotions of dealing with a parent coming back into her life that may be dying.

Talk to her! And help her!!!

Blonde-Engineer-3 thinks it's a tough situation all around:

You’re well within your rights to feel uncomfortable and resentful around him and not want him in your home.

She’s well within her rights to want to know her bio dad, especially when he might not be here this time next year. That does not mean she loves or appreciates you and Christopher any less.

Ask yourself if your resentment and discomfort for one day is worth your daughter's resentment towards you for depriving her of this one clearly important memory with him.

I guess NAH.

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