After his daughter bullied another student to the point that they had to switch schools, a father explained on Reddit that he and his wife decided to withhold several of his daughter’s privileges.
From school dances like her senior prom to a car for her 18th birthday, the man said he wasn’t intent on letting his daughter get away with her actions.
Reddit users have since praised the dad for his “harsh” punishment, agreeing that bullying in no way should be tolerated and should face the proper consequences.
The father posted his story to the “Am I The ***hole” Reddit forum, writing: “Yesterday I was informed that my daughter Sam was a part of a group of students who bullied another girl to the point that she had to switch schools.”
He noted that after school officials informed him and his wife that there was “a racial aspect” to the bullying, they were in a state of “complete shock”. He said they found themselves questioning everything they’d done as parents, previously believing that they had done their “best to raise [their] three kids to be kind and honest individuals”.
Because he didn’t believe confiscating his daughter’s electronics would be a harsh enough punishment, he wrote that he told her that “she won’t be allowed to participate in homecoming or attend senior prom,” nor would she be “getting a car for her 18th birthday either.” But the father didn’t stop there. He also told his daughter that she would have to “delete all of her social media accounts” while either of her parents watched.
According to the Reddit user, his daughter begged him to allow her to attend her “once in a lifetime” senior prom and keep her Instagram because there were photos she hadn’t saved anywhere else. His parents, who had recently moved in with them as their house was undergoing renovations, agreed that, while Sam should face the consequences of her actions, they believed that making her miss senior prom and delete her social media was “far too harsh”.
Reddit users responded to the post commending the dad, with the majority writing that he was “not the ***hole” in the situation. However, many users replied with varying stances on the punishments and suggestions on which to keep or what approach he should take with his daughter from here on out.
One user replied: “The person she bullied has also missed lifetime events - having a trauma-free school life for one. That trumps going to prom or homecoming for me.” They also suggested he give Sam the chance to “back up” her Instagram photos before deletion.
“That trauma follows you for the rest of your life and getting proper help is hard as even in large cities, it can be difficult to find a therapist that specialises in racial trauma, especially a non-white therapist,” another user, who said they previously experienced racially-motivated bullying, remarked: “Sounds like you’re doing your job. I wish more parents take note!”
Another wrote that the punishment “seems fair,” while someone else commented that “if anything, [Sam’s] punishment is rather lenient”.
According to the National Institute of Health, the long-term effects of bullying have been found to last as long as “40 years later.” Those who were bullied more severely, frequently, or chronically are likely to carry the trauma well into adulthood.
Even those who stopped being bullied at a younger age have shown “lingering effects,” whether it be on their health, self-worth, or quality of life years later when compared to those who have never experienced bullying. Those “lingering effects” are worse for those who experienced bullying that was far more intense and long-lasting.
The NIH also said that racially-motivated bullying, in particular, had shown a high likelihood of a negative outlook on one’s health paired with low self-esteem.