Thousands of internet commentators were quick to call a mother who explained why she refuses to let her teenage daughter out of competitive dancing.
In a viral Reddit post posted to r/AmITheA**hole, Redditor u/Primaballerina1992 (aka the original poster, or OP) said that he danced as a child and understands the difficulties that come with it, but made it clear that the hanging your pointe shoes is not an option.
Entitled, “[Am I the a**hole] for not allowing my daughter to ditch competitive dancing?” the since-removed post received over 5,000 votes and 3,000 comments in the last day.
Writing that her family has just moved to a new state, the original poster said that her daughter had already studied French and wanted to continue, but was disappointed to learn that her new school does not offer the language.
As an interim measure, the teenager suggested taking private French lessons instead of dancing lessons, but was immediately turned down by the original poster.
“She came to me the other day telling me that her new school doesn’t offer French… and asked if I could sign her up for private French lessons,” OP wrote. “I told her absolutely not with her dancing she wouldn’t have time for it and it’s very [difficult] of a subject, taking up a lot of your time.
“She told me she hasn’t liked dancing for a while and was too scared to tell me, but she wants to stop dancing,” OP continued. “I told her she wouldn’t give up dancing because she’s so good at it and I’ve already put in a lot of money.
“She accused me of living vicariously through her… and I [grounded] her for it,” added OP.
For parents, conveying a love for certain sports, hobbies, and other activities is a labor of love and can rekindle passions left over from a previous life.
But from competitive dancing — which more than 24 million Americans participated in last year, according to Statista — to individual and team sports, many parents make the mistake of living out old dreams through their children.
“Most parents encourage their children to do things their parents enjoy,” reports the mental health website Good Therapy. “It can be difficult for parents to decide whether they are involved and supportive or obsessed with pushing their children to fulfill their broken dreams.”
While parental support is often necessary for success in competitive youth activities, there is a fine line between being there for a child and living the unfulfilled potential through that child. And when that line is crossed, there are consequences that last a lifetime.
“Parents must help…by supporting children to pursue their own dreams. When parents are unwilling or unable to do so, children’s emotional and intellectual growth can be stunted,” continues Good Therapy. “This can make it difficult for children to succeed as adults, to feel self-efficacy, or to make decisions without parental input.”
Despite the negative connotations associated with dropping out of a sport or other competitive activity, separating yourself from your parent’s passion can make a world of difference for children and should be honored as an act of individuality rather than an admission of defeat and wasted money. .
Throughout the comments section of the viral Reddit post, many Redditors echoed this sentiment and called the original poster ignoring their daughter’s wishes and logical explanation for wanting to get out of the competitive dance.
“This is you not listening to your child’s interests,” wrote Redditor u/No-Rub1544 in the top comment of the post, which received nearly 11,000 votes. “She told you what she likes, you don’t believe her.
“I hope you believe countless people who think [you’re the a**hole] and a huge [a**hole] with it,” they added bluntly.
Redditor u/Elfich47, whose comment received over 8,000 votes, offered a similar response.
“Your daughter told the truth: she doesn’t want to dance anymore. Listen to what she’s saying,” they wrote. “If you make her keep dancing, the only result is that she burns her ballet shoes when she turns 18 and then goes to language college.
“And she hates you for the next four years because you’re wasting her time doing something she’s going to hate,” they added. “Stop doing this about you, do this about her…she doesn’t want to dance.”