Reddit is rallying around a mom who called out her husband for his treatment of their 6-year-old daughter, whose pseudonym is Lily. The trouble first started when her husband found out that they were having a girl. She could tell he was disappointed by the news, as he had planned on having a son.
After Lily was born, her dad chose to do activities like football, rugby and boxing with her. This doesn’t bother the mom, who sees how much her daughter enjoys those sporty pursuits. Lately, though, things have taken an “uncomfortable” turn. “Whenever she cries he tells her to ‘grow up’ and that ‘crying is for babies,'” the Reddit user wrote. “Obviously this wouldn’t be right if she was a boy either, but I feel like he’s trying to force anything ‘feminine’ out of her.”
Lily has begun to take an interest in makeup and nail polish and likes to paint her mom’s nails. “Yesterday at dinner Lily asked my husband if she could paint daddy’s nails for a change. He looked at her and said ‘No, and don’t EVER ask me that again.’ She didn’t cry but was silent for the rest of the day and was obviously devastated.”
Later, the mom confronted her husband and told him that she feels like he resents their daughter for not being the son he wanted. The response? “He started calling me ‘paranoid’ and said that just because he didn’t want to waste his time getting his nails painted doesn’t mean he resents our daughter or wants to force her into anything,” she recounted. Now the Reddit user wants to know if she’s TA in this situation.
Many people chimed in to say that this was an important conversation to have. “Regardless of his answer to this question, I’d still try to talk w him about his behavior and attitude toward your daughter, it sounds quite hurtful and must be hard for her to understand why he’s acting how he is,” one person wrote.
Another suggested that the mom try to approach the conversation from their daughter’s perspective. “I’d recommend just reflecting back to him how your daughter might be processing what he’s saying/doing. Give him the opportunity to consider what he’s communicating (as opposed to what he thinks he’s communicating). That’s often a good on-ramp to identifying implicit biases when the person is well intentioned.”
Dads also hopped in to share their own experiences with raising their daughters and how they’ve adapted to — and embraced! — the lifestyle. “When they were younger, I thought they’d want to do the things I wanted to do with them and that didn’t work,” one dad explained. “They’re their own little people with their own thoughts and ideas and you’re absolutely right if you’re thinking I’ve come in to work with painted nails and spent many an hour with teddies and imaginary friends while ‘drinking’ tea.”
A Reddit user even wrote out a thoughtful script of what the mom could say to the dad to try to get through to him and alter his behavior. It’s actually pretty perfect, if you ask us. “This was the first time she’s tried to show you she wants to spend that time with you doing something that SHE is interested in. She doesn’t know it’s girly and even if it is, she wanted to share it with you – not me,” the user wrote. “Please find her, say you’re sorry and that you’d love to do some nail painting. Go and spend that time with her and please teach her that real men listen and that it’s fine to share HER interests with you.”.
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