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Dad In A Bind Between His Kid’s Boundaries And New Family’s Special Needs Kid Who’s Being Difficult To His Child
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Dad In A Bind Between His Kid’s Boundaries And New Family’s Special Needs Kid Who’s Being Difficult To His Child

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Being a good parent is actually not that easy – probably one of the most difficult things that a person has to deal with throughout their life. Much more difficult than becoming, for example, a good businessperson or a skilled employee at literally any job. After all, in parenting, the so-called ‘soft skills’ and just flair are often way more important than ‘hard skills’.

Yes, you constantly have to maneuver between different options, make difficult choices, and not only learn yourself, but also teach a little person what is right and wrong in this world. And all this despite the fact that sometimes you yourself are far from being sure whether what you are doing is actually right.

A similar problem was once encountered by user Normal-Plastic-7514, whose post in the AITA Reddit community, published just a few days ago, managed to gain over 10.8K upvotes and almost 1.4K different comments. And in the situation described, the father had to make a difficult choice between his own son’s boundaries and his neighbors’ special needs kid who was being difficult to his child.

More info: Reddit

The author of the post has two sons, and they have a special Saturday walk ritual with the younger son

Image credits: Anete Lusina (not the actual image)

So, according to the author of the original post, he and his wife have two sons, twelve-year-old “James” and six-year-old “Sam”. In recent years, the Original Poster and his youngest son have developed a kind of ritual – every Saturday morning they walk around the neighborhood together, digging in the mud, looking for spiders, and end their walk in a local park, where parents from neighboring houses also gather to talk.

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Image credits: u/Normal-Plastic-7514

Recently a new family moved in the next block over, a woman with two kids, and the author invited them to join other neighbors in the park on Saturday

Recently, as the OP says, a new family moved in on the next block over. The author of the post met the new neighbor on the street, and she said that she also has two sons, 13-year-old “Kyle” and 7-year-old “Aiden”. The OP, in his turn, told her about the meeting place for parents with children on Saturdays, and invited the woman to join them.

Image credits: u/Normal-Plastic-7514

As the OP recalls, when looking at Aiden, it was clear that he had special needs. Mom was friendly, sat down with the rest of the parents while the children played – and from time to time tried to calm the youngest son’s enthusiasm. No, Aiden was not aggressive, just excited, the original poster notes. “Loud noises, banging on things, getting up in the other kids’ faces,” the man reminisces.

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Image credits: u/Normal-Plastic-7514

The younger boy had special needs and the author’s son sometimes felt uncomfortable playing with him as he was so loud and excited

The following Saturday, Aiden and his mom came again, but this time Sam told his dad quite loudly that he didn’t want to play with that boy and asked if they could go home. The OP and his son left, and the next day Aiden’s mom came to the OP’s door and told him that he should have talked to Sam about disabled people instead of just abandoning her son. The father promised that he would definitely do this.

Image credits: kegfire (not the actual image)

The next weekend, Sam and Aiden played together, but when the boy got loud again, Sam climbed onto the highest platform where Aiden could not reach, and did not respond to his calls to come down and play. Then the OP just invited the boy’s mom to come over. The man remembers that Aiden had one meltdown, but other than that, it went fine. However, when the guests left, Sam asked his dad if it was possible to make sure that they did not come again. James, in his turn, admitted that he did not really like Kyle either.

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Image credits: u/Normal-Plastic-7514

After the boy broke the author’s son’s favorite toy, the author’s son yelled at him and the dad just took him away

The next weekend, when Aiden accidentally broke Sam’s favorite toy in the heat of a game, Sam broke down and yelled at him. As the original poster recalls, he didn’t say anything to his son this time – they just left the park. Moreover, now the father decided to make changes to their Saturday ritual and come to the park later, after Aiden and his mother had already left.

Image credits: u/Normal-Plastic-7514

The father and the son started avoiding that boy and so did some other parents later

The OP admits that other parents gradually followed him, and Aiden’s mom, realizing that it had all started with the author of the post, wrote him a long heartfelt letter, claiming that he did not do enough to ensure that Aiden was not ostracized by Sam, and that it was at the pull of the OP that the rest of the parents started avoiding them. In turn, the man admits that his children treat their neighbors with respect, but they just do not want to get their own boundaries violated.

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Image credits: u/Normal-Plastic-7514

On the one hand, the dad did everything to protect his kids, on the other – he tried to teach them respect towards others, an expert thinks

“Of course, this is a very difficult situation. On the one hand, you can understand a father who puts his children at the forefront. On the other hand, children should, of course, understand and respect people with special needs as much as possible,” says Irina Matveeva, a psychologist and certified NLP specialist whom Bored Panda asked for a comment on this story. “However, friendship cannot be forced on both sides. Apparently, the mother of these boys is trying to socialize her sons, but in this form it can cause inconvenience to both themselves and other kids.”

Image credits: cottonbro studio (not the actual image)

“The author of the post honestly admits that he is trying to teach his children to be tolerant to special needs kids’ behavior, although, of course, in the case of the youngest son, this is quite difficult as he’s still too young. In any case, the father behaves quite decently, trying to teach them respect, but without violating their own boundaries. I hope, however, that both of these families will be fine in the future,” says Irina Matveeva.

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Most people in the comments massively support the author as well, claiming that he behaved as a decent father should

Many people in the comments also agree with the expert, writing that the original poster has behaved like a decent father in the current situation. “You’re doing the right thing in prioritizing your child and their enjoyment of that time you share together,” one of the commenters wrote. And also, according to people in the comments, the OP’s sons didn’t exactly do anything disrespectful.

By the way, one of the commenters shared that they are autistic and also faced problems in their childhood when their mother tried to literally “socialize them by force”. The person admits that their mother sometimes simply imposed their friendship on other children – but this brought nothing but mental discomfort to them, as well to the kids around. “You did what was best for your kids, they expressed their boundaries and you listened and catered to them,” people in the comments are praising the original poster.

Unfortunately, not all people today know how to properly build relationships with people who have special needs, and sometimes they don’t even quite get what this means at all. Suffice it to cite this post of ours about a woman who kept heavily criticizing her brother-in-law for not taking his autistic daughter to a theme park, as an example. In the meantime, we are looking forward to your own comments to this particular story.

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Oleg Tarasenko

Oleg Tarasenko

Writer, BoredPanda staff

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After many years of working as sports journalist and trivia game author and host in Ukraine I joined Bored Panda as a content creator. I do love writing stories and I sincerely believe - there's no dull plots at all. Like a great Italian composer Joaquino Rossini once told: "Give me a police protocol - and I'll make an opera out of it!"

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Oleg Tarasenko

Oleg Tarasenko

Writer, BoredPanda staff

After many years of working as sports journalist and trivia game author and host in Ukraine I joined Bored Panda as a content creator. I do love writing stories and I sincerely believe - there's no dull plots at all. Like a great Italian composer Joaquino Rossini once told: "Give me a police protocol - and I'll make an opera out of it!"

Monika Pašukonytė

Monika Pašukonytė

Author, BoredPanda staff

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I am a visual editor here. In my free time I enjoy the vibrant worlds of art galleries, exhibitions, and soulful concerts. Yet, amidst life's hustle and bustle, I find solace in nature's embrace, cherishing tranquil moments with beloved friends. Deep within, I hold a dream close - to embark on a global journey in an RV, accompanied by my faithful canine companion. Together, we'll wander through diverse cultures, weaving precious memories under the starry night sky, fulfilling the wanderlust that stirs my soul.

Read less »

Monika Pašukonytė

Monika Pašukonytė

Author, BoredPanda staff

I am a visual editor here. In my free time I enjoy the vibrant worlds of art galleries, exhibitions, and soulful concerts. Yet, amidst life's hustle and bustle, I find solace in nature's embrace, cherishing tranquil moments with beloved friends. Deep within, I hold a dream close - to embark on a global journey in an RV, accompanied by my faithful canine companion. Together, we'll wander through diverse cultures, weaving precious memories under the starry night sky, fulfilling the wanderlust that stirs my soul.

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ngregory avatar
N Miller
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This one is heartbreaking. And truly AITA in the spirit of the question (unlike most of these where it's clear someone is fishing for validation). While the answer is mostly clear (NTA for the record), it's also clear why it was asked and I truly hope OP and Aiden's mum are able to build a more communal relationship, without putting pressure on, let's not forget, *young* children.

smi avatar
S Mi
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I agree. I did wonder if the amount of time aiden is at the park with the other children could be limited. Since his mom seems to be willing to set limits and support her son. But maybe half an hour with the other kids would support Aiden and teach the kids inclusion and empathy without overwhelming them? Just a thought around compromise.

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jrturley avatar
QueenJB
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My daughter has special needs and is incredibly difficult sometimes but I keep watch and remove her from the situation if needed and make sure she isn't pushing other children's boundaries. I do expect other people to be abit more tolerant but I don't expect to let my daughter walk all over them because she has different needs.

amyhipps avatar
amy hipps
Community Member
1 year ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Seriously that is a good job from you and considerate to both sides. On op however i feel the op was pushing his son a little too hard. After 3 no's and not even wanting to walk by the house. Now that is showing a crisis. He was tolerant as he could be and tried to play and interact but it bothers him too much. Thier is no amount of explaining that can change his mind.

Load More Replies...
sakuri avatar
peace
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

a very inspiring exchange. i can take a lot of inspiration for myself to think in a new way and to be mindful of the needs of all involved, even though this is a really hard task. it is very nice to see how these parents listen to the needs of their sons and protect them. and how there is still empathy for the new neighbour and her kids. I would like to read a follow-up. and yes: NTA

Load More Comments
ngregory avatar
N Miller
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This one is heartbreaking. And truly AITA in the spirit of the question (unlike most of these where it's clear someone is fishing for validation). While the answer is mostly clear (NTA for the record), it's also clear why it was asked and I truly hope OP and Aiden's mum are able to build a more communal relationship, without putting pressure on, let's not forget, *young* children.

smi avatar
S Mi
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I agree. I did wonder if the amount of time aiden is at the park with the other children could be limited. Since his mom seems to be willing to set limits and support her son. But maybe half an hour with the other kids would support Aiden and teach the kids inclusion and empathy without overwhelming them? Just a thought around compromise.

Load More Replies...
jrturley avatar
QueenJB
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My daughter has special needs and is incredibly difficult sometimes but I keep watch and remove her from the situation if needed and make sure she isn't pushing other children's boundaries. I do expect other people to be abit more tolerant but I don't expect to let my daughter walk all over them because she has different needs.

amyhipps avatar
amy hipps
Community Member
1 year ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Seriously that is a good job from you and considerate to both sides. On op however i feel the op was pushing his son a little too hard. After 3 no's and not even wanting to walk by the house. Now that is showing a crisis. He was tolerant as he could be and tried to play and interact but it bothers him too much. Thier is no amount of explaining that can change his mind.

Load More Replies...
sakuri avatar
peace
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

a very inspiring exchange. i can take a lot of inspiration for myself to think in a new way and to be mindful of the needs of all involved, even though this is a really hard task. it is very nice to see how these parents listen to the needs of their sons and protect them. and how there is still empathy for the new neighbour and her kids. I would like to read a follow-up. and yes: NTA

Load More Comments
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