There are many rules, spoken and unspoken, that people follow without question. And a lot of the times, we start teaching these rules to our kids at an early age. However, while those rules may appear harmless on the surface, they could be problematic when you dive deeper.
In a recent Am I the A–hole? thread on Reddit, one parent is questioning her child’s teacher about the dangers of her “You have to include everyone” rule.
The parent, u/protectivemommyg, explained she’s been teaching her 12-year-old daughter to set boundaries and to object the things that make her uncomfortable. But the rules enforced by her daughter’s teacher are creating conflict.
OP began by explaining the situation, before asking whether other users thought she’s was the a—hole.
My daughter is 12, I’m trying to teach her ways of creating and respecting her boundaries that are age appropriate. Teaching her that it’s ok to say “no” to things she feels uncomfortable with. There is a boy in her class who keeps bothering her and her female friends at recess. I’ve encouraged her to go to me or her teacher when this happens.
Then one day, the teacher asked them to form groups.
My daughter told me a few days ago that in class, the teacher had asked the kids to form groups of about four or five. She had formed a group of five with some other girls, then the boy who had been giving her trouble at recess came over and said he was joining their group. Another girl said that they already have five, and he should work with a group who only have two or three people.
Of course, he didn’t like this…
He said no because the teacher had said “about” four or five. My daughter then said that they didn’t want to work with him, and he should find another group. A few of the other girls agreed with her. He said that “you can’t exclude me like that, it’s against class rules” and she said she didn’t care.
OP said her daughter was firm but not unkind in standing her ground.
But then I got an email from her teacher saying she wanted to call. She said there had been an incident at school where my daughter had excluded another child, and that wasn’t allowed in her class, and she wanted me to have a talk with her about it. Her telling of events was the same as my daughter’s. I felt proud of my daughter for her honesty.
The parent then wrote an email to the teacher. OP explained she was uncomfortable with the lesson being taught to her child.
She’s at the age where she is already having to deal with unwanted attention, and I’m making a point to teach her that she does not have to be around anyone who makes her uncomfortable. And that a young lady is able to choose to spend time with people who make her feel respected. I understand you already are aware (Boy) has been behaving in ways that she feels uncomfortable with at recess, from our prior conversations.
OP went on to highlight the dangers of teaching a girl she has to “include and be kind to everyone.”
I think it is a very dangerous lesson to teach a girl she has to include and be kind to everyone, instead of teaching her to be aware of when someone is not respecting her “No” and stepping out of the situation.
I hope I don’t have to explain in too much detail why I find this important… But to put it briefly, I was brought up with the “Include everyone” mindset. No exceptions. It taught me to ignore my own comfort level, and as I became a young adult I became the victim of men who used my inability to say “No” to their advantage. It’s a dangerous lesson, and no longer appropriate at that age.
The protective mama added that the teacher responded to her email, requesting a meeting with the principal. As she prepares for the meeting, OP can’t help but wonder if she was too harsh in her message.
“AITA for my response to my daughter’s teacher?,” she asked.
It should come as no surprise that most users agreed with OP and reassured her, she wasn’t the a—shole.