Most teenagers find being mean and acting like a jerk to be the easiest resort to tackle their fears and insecurities. Be that as it may, such behavior should never be encouraged or overlooked by their parents.

An internet user asked, “Am I a jerk for making a dad joke?”. We need to hear your thoughts on the matter.


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The Original Poster’s (OP’s) stepdaughter, Madeline, was about a year old when he married her mother, Jessica. Madeline’s father died before she was born.

“I did adopt her. So, legally I am her parent.”, says OP.

What Happened Two Days Ago?

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Madeline is currently 15, and she’s rebelling for almost everything. She did something bad, so while picking her up, OP set a punishment for her.

Then she said, “You’re not my dad. I don’t have to follow you”.

“Honestly, I got a bit hurt from that.”, says OP.

How Did OP Handle It?

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But OP understands that she didn’t mean it and that she’d probably change. OP just replied, “I’m still your legal guardian for the next 3 years, and as long as you’re in my house, you have to follow my rules.”

The Dad Joke

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That happened about 2 days ago. So, their family was going grocery shopping when Madeline said “I’m hungry. I need food.” OP decided to be extremely cheeky and say “Hi Hungry, I’m not your dad.”

Everybody’s Reaction

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OP’s son just started to laugh uncontrollably. His daughter was just quiet with embarrassment. OP’s wife was berating him, saying, “Not to stoop down to her level.”

“I honestly thought it was a funny dad joke and my son agrees. So, am I a jerk?”, asks OP.

The Joke Was Pretty Harmless & Wholesome

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“No jerks here. Your daughter is 15, so she’s somewhat of an involuntary jerk by virtue of being a teenager. What she said was hurtful, but chances are she’ll come around with maturity.

Your dad’s joke was funny and harmless. I am seriously struggling to find anything negative to glean from it. Even when I was a jerky teen, I enjoyed my dad’s cringe-worthy jokes, so this just comes across as very wholesome to me.”

Time To Have A Serious Conversation

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“Not the jerk. She is old enough to know that words have power. While you may have said it in a joking manner, she got to feel a little bit of what you felt when she said you were not her father.

That being said, this is an opportunity to sit down with her and let her know that you do love her, very much consider yourself her father, and then let it ride.

Teenage girls are hard on their parents in the best of circumstances. Go with God.”

Your Wife Is Right

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“You’re somewhat the jerk here. If it was your biological daughter it would be okay. But she is your step-daughter. I know you love her but she can be really insecure because you are not her ‘real’ dad.

When she said that to you, you were a little bit hurt. But she could be devastated. Hearing that can really make her mind spin.

Your wife is right. You stepped down to her level.”

You Confirmed Something She Was Already Insecure About

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“You’re the jerk. That is not something you say to your kid. She wasn’t quiet with embarrassment, she was quiet in hurt and insecurity because her dad just confirmed something she has probably worried about her entire life, that he doesn’t see her as his real kid. She will now always feel or wonder that you don’t see yourself as her dad, all just so you could make a dumb joke.”

Hopefully, Your Joke Did The Job!

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“No jerks here. I think most stepparents get this type of thing thrown in their face at least once, and we all know teenagers can be difficult to deal with.

However, that doesn’t excuse teens from hurting people, and I think your joke was a light way to point out that’s not okay. Hopefully, it made her feel ashamed of what she said — and she should.”

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