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“My Step-Mother Bought My Daughter Earrings to Try to Force Me to Get Her Ears Pierced!”

One mum asks if she was in the wrong to exchange a birthday gift that her daughter received for her 5th birthday from her grandparents, for something that she could actually use. After discovering that she didn’t intend on keeping the earrings that they had gifted the little girl, the grandparents were furious – despite being told numerous times that she would not be getting her ears pierced.

My daughter is turning 5 later this month. We have a trip coming up, so we decided to have her birthday party last Saturday instead.

When we got home after the party, we helped our daughter open her gifts. The only ones she didn’t open were the ones we realized were jewelry or clothing (she doesn’t care about those, only the toys), which me and my husband opened without her. Those were gifted mostly by family members. The jewelry department mainly consisted of necklaces and bracelets. The sole exception was a pair of earrings, gifted by my father and his wife.

My daughter’s ears aren’t pierced. We didn’t pierce them when she was born, nor do we intend to do so anytime soon. We want to let her decide whether she wants to, and she’s never expressed any interest.

So me and my husband already knew we’d be exchanging the earrings. Usually, we don’t tell people we’re exchanging a gift they bought for us. This time is different.

My stepmother has been pestering me about piercing my daughter’s ears since she was born. There’s always a different reason why. First, it was because “people wouldn’t know she was a girl if we didn’t”, then it turned into “she’ll get jealous of her friends”, and so on. But she always makes the point that girls need to have their ears pierced.

She brings it up almost every time we see her. My father usually doesn’t comment on it, but has backed her up a few times. Also, my stepmother’s never complained about my older son’s appearance, so I know this is rooted in sexism.

When my father called us the next day to ask what we thought of the earrings, I told him they looked nice. My stepmother joined in and asked, “So you’re getting her ears pierced?” I tried to dodge the question, but she later asked it again.


So I told them no. I looked at the store’s website and found a matching necklace, which we’ll exchange the earrings for. There’s a price difference, but I’ll cover it.

Well, they weren’t happy. Apparently, my stepmother started crying. My father told me off for thinking about exchanging a “thoughtful gift” he bought for his granddaughter, and said it was wrong of me to dismiss my stepmother’s opinion like that. In return, I told them I couldn’t take her insistence anymore, and she needed to stop obsessing over my daughter’s ears. It escalated into a fight.

My husband, while 100% on my side otherwise, thinks I didn’t need to tell them.


Commenters did not hesitate to call the ‘thoughtful gift’ out for what it was – a blatant attempt to manipulate the mum into having her daughter’s ears pierced!

It’s not a “thoughtful” gift if it came with an agenda. (LeslieJaye419)


If you tell someone how to use a gift, it’s no longer a gift. It’s an obligation.

Don’t give people obligations! (CatLionCait)


“thoughtful gift” pfft! more like manipulation attempt

Nta (medical_Ant2027)

People also disagreed with the husband’s opinion that she should have just exchanged the gift without saying anything. Whilst that ordinarily might have been the more tactful approach, her step-mother’s pushiness about piercing her daughter’s ears required a more direct approach.

NTA If you hadn’t returned the earrings they would have been forever used as the pretext for bringing up your daughter getting her ears pierced ears so she can wear them. They bought them for that purpose.

You weren’t being rude — you were rejecting rudeness. They jammed their foot in your closing door like a pushy salesman who won’t accept no for an answer. You are removing the foot so the door can be closed. (Kurokomainu)


NTA. Normally I’d say there’s no reason to tell people you’re exchanging their gift. But she’s pushing something onto you that you’ve already told her you don’t want to use, and following up aggressively. So you’re fine. I probably would have said “we’ll hold onto them in case she ever decides she wants her ears pierced,” but you were definitely not the AH. (OkeyDokey654)

Considering the step-mother’s bizarre insistence on the child having her ears pierced, people were concerned that she might cross an even bigger boundary and take the child to get it done herself, without the parent’s permission, given an opportunity.

NTA. Honestly, I’d never let them babysit your daughter unsupervised because of that level of insistence.

Your stepmother pushed. This is a more than reasonable boundary to hold: No, you will not be piercing your daughter’s ears. It wasn’t a gift, it was an attempted manipulation.

Even if it were his side of the family, your husband would be out of line here. This is an example of needing to tell them that the gift was inappropriate–because they knew full well it was! (Tangerine_Bouquet)


In order to drive the message home, some people thought that the mother should embrace her petty side and start gifting her step-mother things she can’t use in the future.


It’s ridiculous they tried to manipulate their bizarre desire to pierce your daughter’s ears by gifting you this. They knew what they were trying, and don’t like being called out on it.

It’s not their kid, so they don’t get to decide anything about parenting her.

Get your step mother a gift she can’t use and see how she likes it. Tell her you think she needs to take up scuba diving, and get her a dive mask. All gifts going forward are things she can’t use, and when she questions it you can tell her that it’s a thoughtful gift and you’ve decided she needs to get into scuba diving. (BulbausaurRanch)

Get her nipple rings (lady_wildcat)

What do you think? Should the mum have put the earrings away for when her daughter was older and could wear them, or was she right to confront her dad and step-mum, and tell them she would be exchanging their gift?

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Jolene enjoys writing, sharing and connecting with other like-minded women online – it also gives her the perfect excuse to ignore Mount-Washmore until it threatens to bury her family in an avalanche of Skylander T-shirts and Frozen Pyjama pants. (No one ever knows where the matching top is!) Likes: Reading, cooking, sketching, dancing (preferably with a Sav Blanc in one hand), social media, and sitting down on a toilet seat that one of her children hasn’t dripped, splashed or sprayed on. Dislikes: Writing pretentious crap about herself in online bio’s and refereeing arguments amongst her offspring.

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