Father Cancels Daughter’s Sweet 16 After She Doesn’t Stick To Her Promises, Family Drama Ensues Interview
How do you teach your child about consequences? On paper, it sounds simple enough: you set the boundaries, and if those are broken – the kid loses something in return. Doesn’t matter if it’s phone privileges or a suspended Netflix subscription (yikes!). That should teach them a lesson.
The ugly part of this whole learning curve? No matter if your heart is made from the finest titanium, it’s going to break a little every time they call you ‘the worst father/mother’ in the universe. This little person you brought to Earth suddenly hates you.
This 49-year-old dad definitely knows how it feels. Not only he has to take care both of his daughter and son all by himself, since the mother lives in a whole different state. This father also has to keep them in line. Which by all rights means canceling the sweet 16 if one of them causes trouble at school.
You probably heard this before: peer pressured into bringing some booze to your so-called friends; getting one of them accidentally sick and yourself into 5-day suspension. Dad finds out about this and rightfully cancels the daughter’s 16th birthday.
Feeling guilty for calling off what’s supposed to be a very special birthday in every teen’s life, father turned to ‘Am I The A-Hole‘ subreddit seeking an outsider’s opinion. And boy, he got plenty of it.
Disappointed father gets a real taste of teenage meltdown after he tries to teach his 15 y.o. daughter an important lesson
Image credits: Kyle Broad
This is how it all went down
Image credits: Stay_Alive34
People were supportive of the father and his ‘tough love’ approach
Parenting is a tricky science. As the kids are constantly evolving, growing from babies to toddlers to adolescents to adults, parents have to recalibrate what their role is and how much control they have over their young ‘uns. The worst part? Nobody knows anything about it; equally, everyone “knows” everything about it which makes it even more difficult to learn from others’ experiences — whether it’s eerily realistic scenarios in Judd Apatow’s films or parenting tips from ‘Am I The A-Hole’ stories.
Hearing what Dona Matthews, a practicing psychologist with a Ph.D. and the co-author of ‘Beyond Intelligence: Secrets for Raising Happily Productive Kids’ told Fashion Life after critically analyzing this father’s situation — it only drives this point further.
“Wrong decision. Dad might want to scale it back and find some other ways his daughter can earn this privilege,” Matthews told us. Contrary to the general consensus of subreddit’s users (‘NTA’), she doesn’t believe another failure has helped with the situation. “Cancelling the birthday is one more rejection — I don’t think that’s what this daughter needs right now.”
Instead, Matthews believes that pilling on additional rules and focusing on the negative behavior is not the way to go, despite what everyone thinks. “That might make sense for a younger child. But with a 16-year-old, you’re alienating her further, undermining her confidence, rather than working with her,” she argued.
Trying to approach this intricate situation from every angle possible, Fashion Life has also reached out to Dr. Ronald Stolberg, a clinical psychologist and the author of ‘Teaching Kids to Think: Raising Confident, Independent, and Thoughtful Children in an Age of Instant Gratification’. And he has a rather different take on father’s way of parenting his daughter.
“The idea that her friends played a role in the alcohol at school reinforces that hosting a birthday party would be a bad decision,” Stolberg told us. He made a good point in dad’s favor that if the teenagers had guts to bring alcohol to school, this would most likely have happened at home, during the celebration.
So what’s the best damage control plan for the dad, then? Stolberg thinks limiting daughter’s contact with her troublemaker friends is a good start. But one that’s easier said than done. “We parents can help them spend time with a better group of friends by modifying curfew, access to transportation, and even financially helping out.” However, Stolberg also reminds us that “it’s nearly impossible to force teens into abandoning their friends, no matter what.”
Finally, both Stolberg and Matthews suggested that a lot of parents often forget that they were once in the same turbulent position — a phase in life when it’s hard to tell the difference between right and wrong.
“Remember that they’re also doing the best they can,” Matthews advised, adding, “this is probably the hardest thing you’ll ever do. But whatever happens: be patient and loving with your child.”