yes or no?

A Dad Wonders If He Should Throw A GED ‘Graduation Party’ For His Daughter

He doesn't think a celebration is deserved.

A mom is wondering if she's wrong for refusing to throw a graduation party for her daughter's GED co...
Sladic and Getty

One of the best parts of being a parent is celebrating your children’s accomplishments — and a traditional accomplishment for many teens is graduating from high school. But what if your child goes a non-traditional route, hits some roadblocks, and doesn’t walk with the rest of their class? What if they earn a GED after going through some growing pains?

That was the question on one dad’s mind when he wrote into Reddit’s “Am I The Asshole?” forum this week.

His daughter wants to have a party, but her dad doesn’t think a party is called for.

Here’s how he explained the situation:

“My middle daughter has always struggled with academics. She was in the average classes usually getting a C or B. In high school it got harder and she went through a lot of tutoring. When she was 17, she almost failed out,” he began.

Things didn’t get better any time soon.

“We learned at that time that she decided to stop, she wasn't turning stuff in and told us there was no point since she doesn't do well academically. She also had a huge resentment at the time for her younger sister that was academically inclined,” he continued. “She turned 18 and refused to go to school and dropped out. After this she spiral[ed] and ruined a lot of relationships with friends and family. She had an addiction. Her three siblings do not speak with her and my wife doesn't interact with her. That's a whole different story but in short she stole a lot of money.”

But now things have turned around. She’s been clean and sober for four months and has spent that time working towards goals. But old wounds haven’t healed.

“She is now 26 and back on track. She called me asking me to host a graduation party since she got her GED. That I did it for the rest of the kids,” he says. “I told her no for three main reasons. The first being she isn't a graduating, she got her GED. No one will show up, she has screwed almost all of the family so they won't go and her friends are shady so I don't want to invite them. My last is that she is 26 and this was supposed to happen when she was 18.”

In response, his daughter called him a jerk. Who’s right?

Down in the comments, many readers didn’t think a party was a good idea in this situation.

“4 months of being in the straight and narrow doesn’t make up for 7 years of poor behavior and destroying relationships,” one person wrote.

“She's an adult. This seems like an odd request,” another posted.

“I might offer a compromise, she needs to try to make amends with the family. If she does then I might offer a nice dinner out with the immediate family or those willing to go,” one person wrote, to many upvotes. “Her accomplishment deserves to be recognized but she also has some work to do. Sounds like until now things have been pretty toxic.”

But other people had a different take: it sounds like she’s turned her life around, and GEDs should be celebrated just like any other accomplishment.

“When my aunt got her GED she was probably around 30,” another person wrote. “We all went and celebrated her as she walked across the stage and got the ged then went out to dinner. It’s an accomplishment even if it’s coming late.”

“She isn't entitled to a party or gifts for it, as well as relationships with her siblings,” another wrote. “However, that doesn't mean her achievement doesn't matter. I didn't go through the bad behavior she has, but I also got my GED at the exact same age. The societal take that you have to do x y z by age whatever has always been stupid and counterproductive. I get that her past behavior makes you wary, but that's not an excuse to put her down when she's actively trying to do better.”

“She’s asking for a little recognition and as a parent, I would want to celebrate my child.”

Parent-child relationships can be so difficult. And it’s hard not to get hurt when your kid goes astray, sometimes for years. But repairing relationships, and celebrating your child’s return to responsibility might be a better road than pushing them away.