There’s no question that parents are not always enthralled with whatever hobby or interest their kids decide to hone in on that week. From Paw Patrol to Minecraft to maybe even a favorite genre of music or sport, there is no rule that says parents need to love whatever their kids do. However, most parents will still engage, learn, and try their best to show some sort of interest.
Reddit has discovered one dad who didn’t quite get that memo.
Published to Reddit's popular “Am I The A**hole” forum — where Reddit users share their stories in which they may come off looking like a not-so-great person and ask for feedback — a man under the username u/MandemFandem2 shared his story.
The original poster (OP) prefaced his situation by noting that he has two sons — 12 and 14 — as well as a 16-year-old daughter. He explained that he and his sons go fishing, play sports, camp, and enjoy coding camps.
“We spend a lot of time together bonding as father and sons ... ,” he wrote.
While the relationship this dad has with his sons seems to be thriving, he seems frustrated with his daughter’s lack of interest in the hobbies that he and his sons enjoy. He continued, “I asked my daughter if she would like to go to any clubs, but she declined, and I said fine by me.”
Now, here’s where things get worse. The OP went on to explain that while his teen daughter is not interested in fishing or camping, she does ask her dad to join her in things that she enjoys like fashion and makeup. His issue is that he is not riveted by those hobbies.
“My daughter comes around asking me to come shopping with her which I find unimaginably boring so I pass on the offer,” he wrote.
The OP continues to dig his grave as he explains in words that drip with sexism and misogyny that his daughter asks many times to spend time with him, but he denies her the time. He belittles her interests and won’t bother even trying to engage. “The last few weeks she has been asking me to spend time with her, but she never does anything that would interest me. All she does with me is show me new clothes, talk about tv shows, and typical teenage girls stuff. I am not interested in things like getting my hair done so I do not spend time with her often,” he continued.
As one could predict, after multiple attempts to spend quality time with her dad, the daughter became angry and hurt. “She started calling me out saying how I never spend time with her and that I love her brothers more than I care about her. (Which is not true),” he explained. “ ... my daughter will not speak [to] me. I feel really bad.”
Fellow Reddit users started to weight in on this dad’s main question: Am I The A**hole? And the majority believed that — yes — this dad is definitely the a**hole. While many blasted the dad for basically being a bad dad and a selfish human being, others offered ideas for how this dad could blend his hobbies with hers.
One user bluntly responded, “Your daughter shouldn't have to think of activities that entertain YOU for you to want to get to know her. She is not the parent. That she wants to spend time with you is a blessing that you're squandering. You will not always have this opportunity. Again, she is your child. You are, ostensibly, the adult," u/madelinegumbo said.
Reddit user TheRealEleanor offered up a great idea. “Shoot, he could do something like “Would you like a new vanity for your makeup?” and then they could plan it out together and go to Home Depot to get the materials and then build it together. Like, if my dad had done something like that with me I would have found it to be awesome ... ”
Another user brought up the interesting point that this father’s disinterest in his daughter and how he prioritizes his sons’ interests sets up his sons to behave similarly towards women when they grow up. “ ... his role modeling for his sons is that women and their interests are worthless,” Longjumping_Tea_8586 wrote.
After over 13,000 upvotes and 7,000 comments in less than 24 hours, one can only hope that this dad took a long, hard look at himself and his behaviors to try and repair the damage done between him and his daughter before it’s truly too late. One Reddit response put it best: “That's how you end up with a child that turns 18 and wants nothing to do with you."