A mother on Reddit has been labeled an a****** for refusing to let her 14-year-old daughter’s best friend come over to the house until she apologizes to her. In the post, written by user u/Effective-Weekend-97, the 37-year-old mother explains she needs an apology from the teenager.
Describing her daughter as a “natural introvert,” she says she and her husband were “thrilled when our daughter made a new friend her age since that is an area in which she struggles.” She describes a situation where the friend came over for dinner that her husband had cooked.
“During the course of the meal, I asked my daughter’s friend: ‘Are you enjoying the food?’ She responded ‘Yes! [Your husband] is a great cook! No wonder you’ve ended up a bigger woman.’ The room got quiet for several moments. My husband tried to laugh it off and change the subject but I wasn’t having it. The girl had just leveled a completely uncalled-for insult at me. My daughter’s friend seemed to realize that she’d messed up but she didn’t say anything else. We finished an awkward dinner in mostly silence and my daughter’s friend did stay the night.”
The OP then went on to explain that when her daughter asked if this friend could come over again, she replied, “Sure; if she’s going to apologize to me… I think it’s weird that I’m still waiting for an apology from that same girl. Seriously. That’s all I need. I just need to know that any friend of my daughter is willing to own up to her screw-ups.”
According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, “It doesn’t matter how smart teens are or how well they scored on the SAT or ACT. Good judgment isn’t something they can excel in, at least not yet. The rational part of a teen’s brain isn’t fully developed and won’t be until age 25 or so.”
Francis Jensen, a professor of neurology and author of The Teenage Brain, speaking to the University of Harvard agrees, saying, “Teens are in a discovery mode. They’re experiencing new things, and their brains are developing accordingly. There’s simply a lot going on in their brains.”
Newsweek spoke to Ruth Freeman, a psychotherapist and founder and president of parental resource hub Peace at Home Parenting Solutions about this delicate situation.
“Our job as parents is to help our kids grow up to be productive, happy, independent people,” she says. “The mom’s relationship with her daughter’s friend is secondary to supporting her ‘socially awkward’ daughter to have good peer relationships. Peers are important to the launch of young adults and the mom should mostly be focusing on her daughter’s needs.
“In fact, we shouldn’t be surprised that her daughter’s friend ends up being a bit ‘socially awkward’ as well. Kids tend to connect with others like themselves in some ways. The mother insisting on an apology puts a lot of pressure on her daughter who finds navigating friendships challenging in the first place. Sure, it would be great if the child apologizes, but (it’s) not as important as the parents’ roles in supporting the development of their children.”
Offering suggestions on how the mom might handle the situation, Freeman says: “The mom might even go so far as saying to the friend, ‘I felt hurt when you commented on my size at your last visit. There is so much pressure put on women by advertising and social media about our size. I hope you don’t feel that pressure yourself and I hope you don’t say things like that to other women in the future.’ This could be more about education than demanding an apology. But mostly, the mom will ideally just support her daughter and maybe say all that to her daughter instead and be happy that she has overcome her social challenges.”
Freeman adds: “This girl is not the mom’s friend, she is her daughter’s friend. Best to let her daughter know she felt hurt and then carry on. This might be a good training experience for the mom in case she doesn’t end up liking her daughter’s future life partner! It isn’t about the mom.”
Users were almost unanimous in their opinions of the mother’s behavior.
User MegC18 said, “Kids make mistakes. They’re not adults. They may do and say stupid things. Give them a chance and they will eventually learn the best way to handle social situations. You on the other hand can really, really hold a grudge. Very adult of you.”
User KknhgnhInepa0cnB11 commented, “Also… I think I figured out why daughter is socially awkward…. look at who raised her. She learned from the best, it seems.”
User Iunaticc said, “LOL kids are brutal. OP needs to let it go.”
Newsweek has reached out to u/Effective-Weekend-97 for comment.
If you have a similar family dilemma, let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.
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