Stepmom Forces Girl to Go to SeaWorld

Gillian Sisley

How much independence should children be given to make their own choices?

Divorce is never easy, but it can be especially difficult for families with children, which data shows makes up about ⅓ of legal separations. Over 650,000 divorces are finalized in the US each year.

With that said, while a parents' separation is already a challenging reality to come to terms with, kids can have an even harder time with their parents choosing to start dating again. It’s not uncommon for children to rebel against the addition of a stepparent.

These realities were highlighted in a recent online post in which a stepmother is adamant that her step-daughter goes to SeaWorld, even though she’s very much opposed to it.

How much independence should children be given to make their own choices?

A Reddit post published on May 6th, reported on by Ashley Gale from Newsweek, has gone viral with 16,500 upvotes and 2,300 comments.

The author begins the post by stating that he has a 15-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, but has since remarried. He now also has two young sons with his new wife. He offers further context by adding that the family is planning to go on vacation to Florida, and that the stepmother wants to go to SeaWorld during the trip.

The 15-year-old upon hearing this plan was immediately against it. She said she would instead stay in the hotel. This decision, however, made her stepmom very angry. The daughter further explained that she didn’t like seeing marine life contained in small tanks. She’s always had a love for animals, especially marine ones.

Hearing what his daughter was saying, the author suggested to his wife that they could instead go whale watching, embrace the oceans, and see the creatures in their natural habitat rather seeing them confined to tanks.

All creatures, great and small, deserve to be free.

Animal activists, such as PETA, state that having marine life such as whales and dolphins in places like SeaWorld is similar to having them ‘imprisoned’. This is especially considered inhumane when large marine animals are forced to perform for audiences.

The wife was incredibly upset with the 15-year-old saying she didn’t want to go to SeaWorld, and demanded an apology for her refusal. The author, however, told her he wouldn’t force his daughter to participate in something that she feels is morally wrong. He even offered that he would stay with his daughter, and she could go to SeaWorld with their two boys.

The stepmom refused this idea as well, and even accused the author of ‘raising an entitled child’. The two haven’t talked much since, and the author is now wondering if he was in the wrong for standing by his daughter.

What do you think? Is the author being a good dad by defending his daughter’s ethical beliefs? Or should the author have stood by his wife, and forced his daughter to go despite her objections?

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