One of the downsides of social media is its focus on looks and likes, and how that impacts kids in their formative years. We parents are still trying to figure out how to navigate these barely-charted waters — which is why a father turned to Reddit to see if he messed up.
The man, who goes by the username of DadFatherSon17, tells Reddit users: “So my daughter has this friend who has all the kids in her grade falling head over heels for. I thought it was an exaggeration but she’s literally that girl in high school.”
He goes on to explain that the “it” girl posted a picture of herself and his daughter for his daughter’s birthday, and yet everybody commented on her and ignored his daughter–not even bothering to mention the birthday girl–which, naturally hurt her feelings. So she asked her dad if she was pretty.
“At first I thought I should give the whole ‘of course, you’re so beautiful, these guys are just crazy’ speech,” he writes, “but I couldn’t see any benefit from that so I gave it to her straight. When I told her she wasn’t she was taken aback but when I explained she was much better. I said something around the lines that she doesn’t have the looks but that doesn’t matter. Told her she had an amazing personality and is just an amazing girl.” He did try to bolster her confidence about her looks by pointing out that “she had the world’s greatest eyes (might biased but it’s true) and that her smile is contagious (which it is). Mentioned that I wasn’t a looker when I was a teenager but my confidence got it me places. She was a bit quiet but she thanked me for it. We laughed, hugged and I left feeling like I gave the greatest parent speech ever.”
When he told his wife about the conversation, however, she was not happy and accused him of giving the backhanded “but you have a great personality!” speech to their adolescent daughter.
“I still think I did great. Aita [Am I The A**hole]?” he wonders, adding that: “after my wife went to ‘fix my mess’, my daughter told her that she was fine and felt better after my talk with her.”
The post has since garnered nearly 8,000 upvotes and, as you can imagine, many responses. One popular response came from user ItsNotFull who said, “Oh dad.. YTA [You’re The A**hole]. I just literally had flashbacks to my dad and I want to curl up under a blanket and die” — and many agreed, asking if they could join her under that blanket.
Others pointed out that he could have simply underscored her eyes and personality without having to mention she “doesn’t have the looks.”
“Pro tip: If you want to avoid telling someone they’re pretty when you don’t think they are, maybe don’t preface it with “you don’t have the looks.” You literally said, don’t worry, I was ugly too, so just be confident and it’ll compensate,” wrote another Redditor.
One lamented, “What chance at “confidence” does this young woman have if her FATHER insists on making her aware that he doesn’t think she’s beautiful?!! The heck?”
And a mama bear chimed in: “I mean, maybe it’s because I’m the mom and my hormones make me see this way, but my kids are absolutely the most beautiful creatures on the planet. I couldn’t imagine thinking they’re less than that, let alone telling them!
OP definitely did NOT do great, and is a major AH.
In fact, the responses were unusually unanimous — not a job well-done, Dad.