We've all heard the term "Dad joke." But when the joke is used to make fun of a dad, and not in an endearing way, well, that's just disrespectful.
Not to mention if the dad's partner essentially joins in on the "fun."
A dad shared how this happened to him on the "Am I the A**hole?" subReddit, wondering if he was wrong for feeling hurt after a conversation turned for the worst with his wife and teenage daughter.
The OP (Original Poster) "baldfortyman" asked the sub:
"AITA (Am I the A**hole) for being offended that my daughter called me ugly?"
The OP feels divided about how he should react.
"This isn't a big deal, but I feel like I'm going crazy over it."
"Yesterday at dinner, my daughter (15[female]) was telling my wife (40[female]) and I (45[male]) about a guy she likes in school and she thinks he likes her back. My wife and I were happy for her and I would support her liking anyone that treats her right and makes her happy. She was telling us how he's smart, funny, and has a great 6-pack (I'm used to the girl talk)."
"My wife laughed and said something along the lines of, 'as long as he's a good person'."
"My daughter replied, 'Well yeah, but looks are also important. I don't want to end up with someone like daddy.'"
"I asked her what she meant by that. I don't remember her exact words but it was along the lines of that I'm round, bald and short. There was no immediate 'just kidding' from her."
The OP's wife dismissed his feelings at the dinner table.
"I told her that that wasn't a nice thing to say to and that she should apologize."
"Before she said anything though, my wife chimed in teasing that guys were always so sensitive. My daughter laughed."
"I usually would immediately address this kind of situation, but I was pretty upset and didn't want to scream or cry (I know that's so lame). I stayed mostly silent for the rest of dinner."
This, however, is an important subject to the OP, especially recently.
"A bit of background, I've recently been feeling more self conscious. I'm not ugly (even if I was, I have other qualities to make up for it!) and I know that my wife adores me, but I've definitely noticeably gained some weight and lost some hair."
"My wife is as stunning and youthful as the day I met her, and my daughter is the spitting image of her."
"However, I have a feeling that if my daughter insulted her appearance she would be very offended and expect me to back her up."
The situation didn't improve when the OP tried to speak to his wife about it privately.
"Before bed, I addressed the issue with my wife. I explained that it hurt my feelings, that I want to teach my daughter to be kind to others, and that it would mean a lot if we could both talk to my daughter about why saying that was not right."
"My wife didn't take me seriously at all. Among the things she said was that the best way to make someone stop teasing you is to ignore it (I don't want to treat my daughter like a middle school bully!), and that she (my wife) was also materialistic at that age but grew out of it on her own. She also said that I was asking for it by asking her what she meant."
"I told my wife that I was disappointed in her and I would be talking to my daughter alone when she comes home from school today."
The OP intends to speak to his daughter, but he wonders if he's overreacting.
"I plan on talking to my daughter today, both because I'm still offended and I really dont want her to say that to anyone else. I don't plan on punishing her, just having an honest conversation and seeing where it goes."
"Nonetheless, I'm partially wondering if I'm the a**hole for escalating the situation since it's a one-off occurrence?"
Fellow Redditors wrote in anonymously, rating the OP's emotional reaction on the following scale:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You're the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some rendered the OP as NTA for his reaction but reminded everyone that his daughter is only 15.
"Did you never say s**tty things when you were 15? I still lie awake at night hating myself for the stuff that came out of my mouth back then."
"OP is absolutely NTA and has every right to feel hurt here, but don't go calling his kid a monster for saying that one d**k thing." - BuzzKillSquad
"NTA: I agree with this. Punishment shouldn't always be the go-to option. Sometimes taking the time to have a meaningful conversation will have more effect."
"What I'd suggest is having the conversation elsewhere. Take her to Starbucks (or somewhere you can sit down and have a conversation out of the house) in the morning one day and just lay it out and allow yourself to be vulnerable."
"Don't be afraid to say exactly how hurt you were by it. I think it will go better than you think."
"Your wife; however, is an a**hole man. You're not being sensitive."
"I can guarantee that if she said that crap about your wife she would be **crushed** . That was a total jerk move of her to not stand up for you there. Sorry you have to deal with that." - Lucifer-Prime
"Don't be afraid to say exactly how hurt you were by it."
"I think this is the most important thing here. OP is allowed to have bruised feelings just like anyone and just because he is a father doesn't mean he cant defend himself especially when he is wanting to defend himself by having a calm and open honest discussion."
"also the added point of wanting his daughter to understand that she cant say this stuff to ANYONE because it isn't kind, is very important. she is simultaneously going to learn how to have an honest and valuable discussion AND learn a very important lesson on empathy that goes beyond her home. these are important lessons for her future !!" - HorrorificScallion
Others disagreed and saw it as a learning opportunity for the teen.
"OP said it was a one-off occurrence, so his daughter may respond well to him talking with her about how hurtful her comments were." - OrdinaryOrder8
"Sometimes, we can all say really cruel things without meaning them or meaning to hurt the other person. Sometimes, we think we're being funny. Sometimes, we're not thinking at all."
"I'd like to think that maybe she didn't realize how much this would hurt her dad and that she can grow from this. I certainly don't think she deserves to be labelled as 'devoid of empathy' from one situation." - loveunise
"Telling a kid she hurt her dad's feelings is a likely to be a better teacher than a punishment in this case." - Maximum_System_7819
More were worried about the wife's reaction than the daughter's words.
"If you raised a good kid, her seeing how hurt you are is the worst punishment ever."
"My daughter said something to me off the cuff and it hurt my feelings, I didn't even tell her it did but she could tell by my reaction and she instantly started crying and apologizing. I explained that good people can say hurtful things sometimes and it doesn't make them a bad person so long as they learn from what they did and do better next time. She was 7 at the time."
"Seems like OP is a little confused on the true character of his wife." - passivelyrepressed
"It sounds like his wife is a bully and their daughter learned it from her."
"I'm actually astounded by the wife's reaction. I can't imagine ever being dismissive of my husband's feelings like that." - vnectar
"Wtf is wrong with the two of them?"
"Go in there and call them fat and then when they freak out and get upset say that women always get so easily offended. That'll showcase their hypocrisy." - METH-OD_MAN
Though jokes among family members can be frequent and light-hearted, the subReddit seemed to agree that, if the OP's feelings being hurt, the wife and daughter should have been more receptive.
A conversation with an apathetic daughter would be just as ineffective as the OP's conversation was with his wife... but if the teen feels a shred of empathy, perhaps her father can teach her something.