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Woman calls husband 'bad dad' for poking fun at daughter's Barbie video game. AITA?

Woman calls husband 'bad dad' for poking fun at daughter's Barbie video game. AITA?


The task of being a good parent requires a lot of flexibility and humility. Even the most loving and intentional parent is bound to mess up now and then. The determining factor that separates 'good' parenting from toxic parenting is the ability to admit wrongs and move forward in a better way.

Unfortunately, this improvement arc often requires an uncomfortable wake-up call. And who better to give that wake-up call than the partner you parent with?

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a mom asked if she was wrong for telling her husband he's sometimes a bad dad to their youngest daughter.

She wrote:

'AITA for telling my husband he is a bad dad to one of our kids?'

Me (F36) and my husband Will (M35) have three kids Adam (M9), Maddie (F7), and Megan (F6). Will has always been into video games, Star Wars, and anime etc.

It’s never been my cup of tea but I think it’s healthy that we have separate hobbies and interests and we have other stuff in common.

When we had Adam Will was super excited to share his interests with him and bought him Star Wars themed toys etc. For Adam’s first Halloween Will dressed him up as Darth Vader and it was super cute. It was the same for the girls.

I did tell Will that I had no issue with this while the kids were small but we had to let them develop their own interests. Both Adam and Maddie love playing computer games with their dad and have similar interests so there have been no issues.

The problem now is that as Megan is getting older she is showing more interest in princesses and barbies etc and finds her dad's and siblings’ interests boring. Will seems to have an issue with this and keeps trying to encourage Megan more toward his interests. At Halloween, he seemed annoyed that Megan wanted to dress as Elsa.

He always took pride in Maddie not dressing up as a princess like lots of her classmates. This Christmas it came to a head. Will spent all of Boxing Day playing the switch and Legos with Adam and Maddie while leaving Megan out.

Will has invited Megan to play with them but she wants to play with her new toys and the games that she likes. I played with Megan most of the day but she asked if she could play her new Barbie game on the switch for a while with her dad.

I told them all to let her have a turn and play the Barbie game with Megan. Adam and Maddie were actually fine and seemed to have fun but Will kept making fun of the game and telling Megan that other games like Mario Kart were more fun.

I could see Megan losing confidence in the game and she started to say she didn’t want to play anymore so I pulled Will aside and told him off.

I said that while he was a great dad to Adam and Maddie, he was being a bad dad to Megan by ignoring her interests. Will was really, really hurt by being called a bad dad and has been quiet ever since.

The kids are now starting to notice that their dad is upset. I’m now wondering if I was too harsh as he is generally a good dad and I do know that he loves Megan as much as he loves Adam and Maddie.

People were quick to share their two cents on the situation.

ShotDate6482 wrote:

NTA. 'I told them all to let her have a turn and play the barbie game with Megan. Adam and Maddie were actually fine and seemed to have fun but Will kept making fun of the game and telling Megan that other games like Mario kart were far more fun.'

This is pretty gross. Will doesn't sound like much of a dad at all, he just sounds like a guy who likes having fun with miniature versions of himself.

PsychologicalWall196 wrote:

NTA. As the kid who was always excluded for her girly interests please protect your daughter from being ashamed to like the stuff she likes.

SweetNatalieMayson wrote:

NTA he sounds almost misogynistic. He doesn’t like that the youngest likes “girl” things, took pride in Maddie not wanting to dress up like a princess and having interests that are less “typically” girl interests.

It kinda screams he’s proud because “she’s not like other girls.' He discourages and criticizes things he thinks are “stupid” which again seems to line up with “girly” things…just might be something to seriously think about and consider.

I get being bored or annoyed with a kid’s video game but criticizing it and putting your kid’s interests down is just gross. I may also just expect more emotional maturity and emotional intelligence from an adult though.

Primary-Criticism929 wrote:

NTA. I think you should sit down with your husband and talk to him calmly about this though.

Hopeful-Situation wrote:

NTA. Pressuring or forcing your children to have your same interests is not OK. It prevents them from developing their own identity, and can hinder their self-esteem and confidence in the long run.

It's really important to let them be them, and support them regardless. Also, leaving them out and ignoring them or putting other siblings on a pedestal is very wrong. They should be treated as equally as humanly possible.

Your husband was being a bad dad to your daughter. Was it harsh to say that and call it out? Yes. But treating your daughter like that for simply having a different interest is pretty harsh too.

WRose287 wrote:

NTA. I was always a girly girl and my parents (even though it was subtle and not intentional) always wanted me to be like them and have their interests. My mom made fun of my makeup or how I cared about things that she didn't.

This caused a BIG gap in our relationship. I felt like my interests were less than and not important and I was somehow failing them.

I am an adult now and I can say things have gotten better but I am still unable to talk about my interest swith them even though I believe they now could have a different response. So, this could have effects on your daughter long-term.

You could have said it differently but he seems like he cares, I would apologize for the delivery and try to work a plan for him to include her and spend quality time with her.

After getting lots of feedback, OP jumped on with an update.

EDIT: Thank you all for your comments, it’s been really helpful to read through them all although some were hard to read. Will saw this post which I have to admit to myself I knew was a possibility as I used real names.

We are going to have a long talk after the kids are in bed this evening but he has apologized to Megan and surprised her with tickets for the Frozen musical in the West End.

They are currently making plans for a daddy-daughter day in London to have fun and see the show. I’m hoping this was the kick up the arse he needed as I do genuinely believe he is a good dad and a good man.

Luckily, while OP was NTA, it seems like her husband genuinely wants to be more intentional as a dad moving forward.

Sources: Reddit
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