When his mother-in-law started body-shaming his teenage daughter with inappropriate gifts, this dad decided to do something about it.

Every day we are bombarded with messages about how we should look. Magazine covers, billboards, and social media all shape the way we view ourselves, often telling us that we don’t measure up to the impossible standards powered by a billion-dollar beauty industry.

Thankfully, we’ve come a long way with the body positivity movement but we still have a long way to go.

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Teenage girls in particular struggle with body image. Research shows that around 50% of 13-year-old girls report being unhappy with their bodies. This number grows to nearly 80% by the time girls reach 17 years of age.

However, one dad is trying to change all this by changing the messages his daughter receives about her body, and he’s starting close to home.

Grandmother Body-Shames Granddaughter with Birthday Gift


The dad, aka u/Beneficial_Gas2232, took to Reddit’s popular “Am I The Asshole” (AITA) subthread begging the question, “AITA for giving my [mother-in-law] the wrong address so she could no longer send her granddaughter gifts?”

He explained that he’s been married for 15 years and has a 14-year-old daughter and an 8-year-old son.

He shared that when his daughter turned 12, his mother-in-law sent her a book about crash dieting: cue the toxic body shaming.

“Two years ago, for our daughter’s 12th birthday, she sent her a book about crash dieting that promised something like 10 pounds of weight loss in three days. Our daughter was devastated because the underlying message was clear as day.”

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The damage was swift and long-lasting. It was a month before his daughter started eating a whole plate of food for dinner again.

He went on to explain that his daughter is healthy. She “is highly active, studious, and most importantly, happy.”

However, her grandmother believes that she isn’t reaching her “full potential” and could be gracing the covers of magazines if she’d only drop a few pounds.

What One Dad is Doing to Protect His Daughter From Being Body-Shamed

Thankfully, dad wasn’t having it (Go, dad!) After the crash diet book debacle, he decided to make it his mission to block any unsupervised contact, particularly where gifts are concerned.

When his daughter’s 14th birthday rolled around, dad was prepared. The family had recently moved and his mother-in-law texted him asking for the new address. Suspecting more weight-shaming wrapped up in a birthday bow, he gave her the wrong address.

He wrote, “I couldn’t guarantee that I’d be home to intercept any gifts, and my daughter would open something addressed to her. I gave her some numbers/a street somewhere that I wasn’t even sure existed.”

Apparently, the address he gave did not, in fact, exist. Two weeks later, the gift was returned to sender. And grandma wasn’t happy about it. Neither was u/Beneficial_Gas2232‘s wife.

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“Both she and my wife were furious, and my wife amended the address I gave her before.”

His mother-in-law re-sent the package, claiming its innocence. However, it was far from it.

“When it arrived I opened it up and found a baton-twirling uniform (my daughter’s hobby). Sound innocent enough? It was at least two sizes too small,” he wrote.

Believing that the obvious size discrepancy was intentional, he decided to dispose of the offending gift – in his neighbor’s garbage.

“I sat my wife down with the stupid thing in front of us and said it was clearly intentional, which my wife refuses to acknowledge,” he wrote. “Now she and her mother are even madder at me for throwing the uniform into the neighbor’s garbage (with the neighbor’s permission). Did I handle this correctly?”

How One Father’s Actions Received an Outpouring of Support

hands seen typing on a computer

The post has received more than 16K upvotes and the comments are resoundingly in favor of dad’s actions, to a point.

While people did not agree with the way he handled it with his wife, they did agree with him protecting his daughter from her grandmother’s problematic messages about her weight. Messages which could have devastating impacts on her self-esteem.

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u/Foggyswamp74 replied, “Perfect response! Dad was doing the right thing of protecting daughter from Grandma’s landmine gifts. Having had a grandmother who would send stuff like that to me when I was a teen I know how devastating it is to get garbage like that. OP NTA”

u/PolskiParasite wrote, “I completely agree – nearly every person I know that has an unhealthy relationship with food and dieting learned it from their family.”

“Definitely NTA, my dad contributed to my [eating disorder] with offhand remarks and doesn’t understand how impactful those are at that age. OP could have handled it a bit better, maybe talking with his wife first, but its nice to see him looking out for his daughter like that,” u/Actual-Ad6937 wrote.

The Messages We Hear About Our Bodies Matter

girl poses outside in front of fence

Thankfully for this teenage girl, her dad recognizes just how true this is. There is nothing wrong with her body. But there is something wrong with the messages she’s getting about her body. Poor body image can result in eating disorders, body dysmorphia, depression, self-harm tendencies, substance abuse and more.

The fact that he is trying to control the narrative around her body is commendable and will go a long way in shaping how she views herself. Because the messages we hear and tell ourselves, and each other? They matter.


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