If you’re familiar with the ever-fascinating corner of the internet that is Reddit’s “Am I the asshole?” forum, aka AITA, you know that sometimes readers are quite divided on whether the poster is, indeed, the asshole — or whether they were acting reasonably. This week’s posting by a dad who called the cops on his sixth-grade daughter for taking $20 out of his wallet was not one of those cases.
The dad wrote that every morning, he has his daughter “take a couple dollars” out of his wallet for her lunch money. However, recently, he noticed a few more dollars had gone missing. So he put the poor kid to a test: He planted a $20 bill and waited for her to take it, which she did.
Seems like a prime opportunity to sit your kid down for a little chat about money and personal property, right? Talk about how you shouldn’t take someone’s things or their money without express permission, how if you need more money for whatever reason (which, she did — more about that later), we parents are always here to listen and work something out? Nope! Not according to this dad. Instead of using the moment as a teaching opportunity, he went straight to the hard stuff: He called 911.
“I called the police and asked them to come with me to the school so that we could teach my daughter a lesson,” the dad wrote on the AITA forum. “Two officers met me there and we pulled my daughter out of class.” Um, first of all, where do you live that the police officers honestly have nothing better to do than terrorize a middle schooler for taking petty cash from her own parent?
But it only gets worse: It turns out, the kid had been siphoning away the extra cash because, her dad wrote, “there is a bully who is stealing her lunch money” AND “she also has been buying lunch for one of her friends who cannot afford it.” And kid ain’t lying, either: Her statements were “confirmed by both the bully, and the friend,” her dad wrote. So, basically, she’s the sweetest kid ever.
And readers did not hold back, informing this dad that yes, absolutely, he is The Asshole in this scenario.
Plenty of responders wrote variations of the same SMH statement: Why on earth didn’t you just talk to your daughter first? Others pointed out how much this “imma just call the cops on my kid NBD” attitude stinks of (white) privilege.
“Here’s the thing about adolescents,” certified teen life coach Cyndy Etler tells SheKnows. “They were literally designed to think for themselves. To break away from their parents’ norms. To flex their budding autonomy. That’s what their brains are doing right at this very moment: splitting away from their parents. And to truly help them, we need to illustrate our respect for their thoughts and solutions.”
Hear that, Pops? Even if you didn’t know that your daughter was acting out of a) a desire to help her peers and b) a desire to, you know, eat her damn lunch, it would have been worthwhile to sit her down and ask about what she was thinking, and what were the reasons behind her actions.
But at least the daughter has one parent who’s got her back: The dad wrote that his wife was “in full tears” about the incident and told him “this is a one-way ticket to estrangement from our daughter.” Yep, pretty much sounds like Mom’s spot-on there.
Like I said, this was not an AITA of conflicting opinions. The entire internet, and this guy’s wife and kid, agree: He is the asshole. And he has some serious amends to make if he wants to repair his relationship with his daughter and begin to build her trust.
Here are some awesome celebrity dads we like a whole lot better than this guy.
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