Father of 4 who takes kids on Luxury Cruise shamed by wife for buying 16-year-old $80 dress

Gillian Sisley

*This is a work of non-fiction sourced from social media discussion boards and verified experts/specialists.*

A Reddit user recently shared a conflict that arose between himself and his spouse after a family cruise.

The author, along with his adult son and three other children, embarked on a vacation. The author explains:

“My family just got back from a weeklong cruise, and there is still some tension about this. My wife and I took our 20yo son, 16yo daughter, 13yo son, and 7yo son. Our oldest spent most of his time on vacation doing his own thing, having breakfast and dinner with the family, but being seldom seen otherwise. My wife and I enjoyed spending time with our kids, but we also did some couple's activities. There are clubs on the boat for kids, and our 13yo really enjoyed them, but our 7yo didn't and kept wanting to spend the day with his sister.”

That said, though the parents gave their 16-year-old permission to do what she wanted, she didn’t exactly get off scot-free:

“She was a good sport and took her little brother on most of her adventures, swimming with him, taking him to trivia, and doing the animation classes with him. I felt like this was very sweet of her and showed a great deal of maturity."

Due to his daughter's display of responsibility, the father decided to reward his daughter:

"The second to last day of the cruise, I took her to the gift shop and told her to pick out whatever she wanted as thanks for looking after her brother. She was very excited and ended up picking out a dress. The dress was $80. She wore it to dinner that night, and when she told her mom I bought it for her, my wife gave me a weird look.”

According to Today’s Life Schools and Child Care, using a reward system can be an effective way for parents to motivate and reinforce their children's responsible behavior. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that when parents consistently reward responsible behavior in children, it helps promote self-regulation and independence.

However, when the mother was informed that the father had purchased the dress, she expressed displeasure and questioned his decision:

“After dinner, she asked me why the hell I did that. I explained that it was a reward for looking after her brother. She said we can't buy an $80 dress for our daughter and nothing for our sons. I said we didn't get them nothing; we took them on a cruise. My wife said I'm an idiot. I don't think so. We got some trinkets for the younger boys, about $20 worth of stuff. My wife thinks I messed up and said I should apologize to the boys. I refuse.”

What do you think?

Was the author justified to buy his daughter a gift in exchange for being a good sport and entertaining her little brother for the entire cruise?

Or was it indeed wrong of the father to buy an expensive gift for his daughter, but not his two other children, as it’s only fair to do so to make sure no one gets jealous?

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