Children’s birthday celebrations could cause more drama than expected. In this case, a dad chose to exclude a student who has been bullying his daughter. She had told him she didn’t want him at her party. However, he doubted this decision when the student’s mother confronted him in the parking lot for inviting most of the class except her son who felt upset at the situation. He took to Reddit to ask if he was wrong for excluding a bully from his daughter’s party.
AITA for excluding a bully from my daughter’s birthday?
“I’ll be honest, I’m still learning the ropes with this whole dad thing,” he began his post. He had only been an active father in his daughter’s life for about a year. He wasn’t aware of her until then and ever since he began his fatherly duties, the mom has been out of the picture. Nevertheless, the daughter is about to turn seven and the dad planned a birthday celebration in their backyard with some of her classmates. Excluding the bully.
“When school opened again we started having problems with one kid in particular, ‘Nick’,” the father explains. “A lot of the parents have been complaining about him because he’s a huge bully to the other kids and gets benched (basically a time out) a lot during recess. I’ve had talks with the teacher because he made my daughter cry after teasing her constantly about her mom.”
The father complained to the teachers who promised to handle the situation and keep Nick away from the little girl. Additionally, they spoke many times with his mother but “all she seems to do is baby the kid”. Fortunately, Nick hasn’t bothered the daughter since that incident. Still, it’s no surprise when the daughter included most of the class on the guest list but not him.
“[His] mom confronted me after school when I was picking her up,” wrote the father. “I guess he was crying that he didn’t get an invitation. I had my daughter wait in the car and this lady was giving me hell for excluding her son when this could’ve been a chance for him to finally get along with his classmates.”
Including or Excluding a Bully?
However, the father pointed out that “he had months to do that (or her to teach him to).” This confrontation occurred in the last week of school and Nick didn’t make many attempts to befriend his classmates instead of bullying them.
But the mother refused to listen. “She just kept saying I should be ashamed of myself for not taking this opportunity to teach my daughter a valuable lesson on learning compassion.” Despite the intense situation, the father stood by his daughter’s decision to exclude the bully.
However, the encounter left him shaken. “I’m still thinking about the whole interaction. I’ve never dealt with a parent like that and being still new to it all myself I’m sort of having doubts on how I handle it. I did the right thing or wrong? I want my daughter to be comfortable and happy on her b-day but I get this upset another kid.” 
For the most part, Reddit took his side. “She should be ashamed of herself,” said the top comment. “This would be a great opportunity for her to teach her son about the consequences of his actions.”
Many added that it would have been a terrible lesson for his daughter if he caved. Instead, it was more important for her to see her father have her back. As one comment said, “What would OP be teaching his daughter if he would make her invite Nick? That it’s okay to put up with an abusive guy because at his core he’s good? And what would the mom be teaching her son? That he can get by with whatever behavior he wants and still get his ways?”
Many comments expressed sympathy for the bully who seems to be enabled by a coddling mother. It’s unlikely that his behavior will improve if she doesn’t change, which could pave a difficult future for him. Also, based on her actions, it’s likely that he doesn’t have such a happy home life.
How Should Parents Deal With Bullies?
It’s difficult to verify the details of this “excluding a bully from a party” story because it was posted on Reddit. However, the question of this post remains relevant. What should parents do when their children are being bullied?
Bullying could range from hitting, threats, name-calling, spreading rumors, stealing possessions, or taunting them online. No matter what the child is facing, never brush it off as “something they just have to deal with”. Little actions could have a very big effect and many bullies know how to toe the line by doing something seemingly inconsequential but extremely hurtful for the victim.
Your child may be a victim of bullying if you see signs such as:
- Acting anxious or out of character
- Not enjoying the things they usually do
- Acting moodier than usual
- Not eating or sleeping well
- Avoid certain situations where the bullying may occur
It’s important for parents to offer support, comfort, and most of all, a listening ear. “Often parents will get angry or frustrated, but children don’t need you to overreact. They need you to listen, reassure, and support them. They need to see you as stable and strong and able to help them in any situation,” said Lauren Hyman Kaplan, a school counselor and a specialist in social-emotional education and bullying prevention. 
How to Support Your Child
Here are some things you should say:
- Praise your child for telling you about the situation.
- Tell the child that they are not alone and that many people get bullied.
- Affirm that the bully is the one at fault — the child is not the one behaving badly.
- Reassure them that together you will figure out how to improve the situation.
And here are some solutions to suggest:
- Use phrases like “leave me alone” or “yeah whatever” to stand their ground without being antagonistic.
- Role play with the child until they are comfortable facing the situation
- Teach the child brave body language such as looking the bully in the eye
- Tell the bully how you feel or use humor to deflect their comments.
- While it’s imperative to teach a child to stand up to bullying, it’s often helpful to alert the school about what’s going on so they could protect your child from another occurrence. Often they will alert the bully’s parents but you could do this as well if you believe you could work together to improve the situation.
Remember, every case is different and there are no one-size-fits-all solutions to bullying. For instance, while the dad in the story seems to have done the right thing by excluding the bully, in some cases, inviting the bully might be the best course of action. The important thing is that you build your children’s confidence by spending time with them and encouraging them to do things they enjoy. Don’t make their bully the focal point of every discussion; instead, talk to them about the positive moments in their day. Above all, let them know you believe in them and you will help them address any bullying.