Sad Grad

A Son is Considering Disowning His Dad For Skipping His High School Graduation

His dad is attending his stepdaughter’s award ceremony instead.

Dad stepdaughter's award ceremony over son's graduation

Where other events boast lawn games, open bars, or exciting half-time performances, graduation ceremonies offer a long list of names. If your name or the name of someone you love is on that long list, the event becomes more significant.

For high school students, graduation offers a celebratory moment to bask in the future’s potential. For everyone invested in those students, the moment is a thank you, a chance to finally exhale after a long road of sharp inhalations and held breath. It’s a few hours in uncomfortable chairs to honor 18 years of learning, growing, making mistakes, and persevering. We did it. We made it here, together.

Not everyone makes a big deal out of the graduation ceremony as a milestone marker, but what happens when it’s a big deal to the student, and seemingly less so to the parent? One 18 year old went to the infamous Reddit AITA thread to share his situation.

In a post titled, “AITA for telling my dad there will be no making up for missing my high school graduation?” graduate Big_Swan_5867 explains that his father recently revealed he would not be attending graduation due to a scheduling conflict. The father’s 14 year old stepdaughter is receiving an award the same day, and the father plans to accompany his wife, stepdaughter, and their shared children out of state to watch her accept the award. As consolation, he said, “we could make it up another time.”

The young man’s post goes on to describe their family dynamic. His mother passed away when he was 7. His father remarried about 6 years ago, taking the stepdaughter who never knew her biological father under his wing. Since then, the son has felt like he’s taken a back seat to his stepsister.

The soon-to-be graduate cites examples like his dad showing up to her dance performances instead of his basketball games, letting her choose family activities, even borrowing from his birthday fund to finance a spendy Barbie house and fashion set on her wishlist. Instead of the new monitor and keyboard his dad promised, he ended up with a $30 gift card on his birthday.

So when his dad announced the decision to miss graduation, it felt like the last straw. He said, “there is no making up for that,” and told his father they wouldn’t have a relationship going forward.

“I will always come second to his little princess and I’m not going to be okay with that... He’s discarded me for the last time.”

His father begged him to “be reasonable.” His stepmother suggested he didn’t need to attend graduation and could come with them to support his sister.

When he told his stepmother, “her daughter’s not my sister,” and he didn’t want to be in their family anymore, she said he was selfish, and couldn’t deny her daughter a dad. The post concludes here as he asks, AITA?

An outpouring of validation and support can be found in the comments.

“It's creditable your Dad wants to be there for his stepdaughter. He needs to maintain balance though & he should have made time for a once in a lifetime thing for you.”

“It could be that the Dad is so focused on NOT treating the step daughter as secondary that he's completely oblivious to the fact that he has fully moved his son into that position... He needs a wake up call.”

“Totally NTA. And congrats on the freedom that awaits you. I'm impressed by your clarity of thinking. Took me much longer to get that level of understanding.”

“Sometimes when you stand up and set clear consequences people do change. The pattern you described doesn't suggest this outcome is ever likely. I'm sorry. It isn't you, it was never you, and it will never be about you.”

In a story inspiring rage and tenderness, the way the internet rushes in to parent this kid is a bright spot. We’re all somebody’s kid, we all carry our own stories of the times we were supported, and the times we were not. The luckiest of us learned our own strength along the way, and we are rooting for this guy as he finds his.