“AITA For Telling A Fellow Mother Of A Special Needs Child That My Daughter Is Not Responsible For Her Child?”
When it comes to children, parents appreciate all the help they can get. Moms, dads, grands, aunts and uncles—everyone is more than welcome to come around and help out. Even older kids get to play eventually, when they’re old enough to.
But, deep down, you don’t want to push it. After all, others are also limited in their helping capacity. It’s only human. Well, then, you decide to pay them back with some peace and quiet by means of a ticket to a summer art program. Good for the soul, right?
Sure, but then you learn that the person you sent off to have the time of their life and recharge on a mental level is now doing more of the same they did at home because another mother decided their special needs kid needed a friend, and then it is quite understandable why you’d feel livid about it.
More Info: Reddit
Being the older kid in the family entails more responsibilities than it would if you were the younger sibling, and it can sometimes get very out of hand
Image credits: crudmucosa (not the actual image)
A mother of two—14-year-old daughter Maria and 7-year-old David (fake names), the latter of whom is on the autism spectrum—has recently shared her story on the Am I The A-Hole subreddit regarding a conflict she had with another mother, also a parent to a special needs kid named Helen.
OK, a bit of context: David requires quite a bit of specialized care. Whenever there is no way the parents, or the babysitter, could come in to provide said specialized care, Maria jumps in to help. Now, given that she’s still a minor and it’s only fair she is not stripped of her childhood, OP compensates her in various ways. Mostly in cash.
So out of hand that one mom started going ballistic on another because the latter arranged the former’s daughter to be her kid’s special needs caretaker
Image credits: u/Calm-Hurry-8589
The idea was to give OP’s daughter a break from all the caring, but the other mom simply called the school and arranged otherwise
Image credits: Michael McCauslin (not the actual image)
But it does happen. Hence, so as to not push the envelope, the OP decided she’d give Maria a bit of a break and enrolled her in a summer art program. Needless to say, she’s been thrilled about it for the whole time before it even started, and even more so on the first day. But the enthusiasm quickly subsided, and she was begging not to go after a couple of weeks.
Turns out, Maria was effectively assigned to watch over this little girl named Helen. Like David, Helen too is on the spectrum, and OP personally knows the mother. And when the mom found out OP’s daughter was going, she thought it would be a good idea to ring up the school and have them pair up the two because the mom was “close friends” with OP. The school did not fact check this request with OP.
What is worse, OP didn’t find out about it until weeks later when the kid explained what had happened and the school elaborated
Image credits: u/Calm-Hurry-8589
And so, the first two weeks, Maria was burdened with Helen. For the most part, instead of doing her own artsy thing, she had to help Helen do hers. OP also pointed out one particular incident when Helen had an anxiety attack and Maria had to jump in and help manage the situation together with the teacher.
Needless to say, OP was furious. Her first step was to get in touch with the school and ask them what they were thinking simply pushing this responsibility upon Maria, let alone a minor, given that Helen is a special needs kid. Second, she demanded a refund, which she did end up getting in the end.
One of the people at the school explained that Helen’s mom had called and asked for this, claiming the moms were good friends. That made OP even more livid, so the next phone call was with Helen’s mom. She explained that Helen wanted to attend the program, but was too afraid. Given that Maria was attending too, and had experience with special needs kids, Helen felt safer with her, hence the arrangement.
Besides the other mom getting upset, OP’s husband also had something to say that she later clarified in an update
Image credits: u/Calm-Hurry-8589
Image credits: Mike cardus (not the actual image)
This entire confrontation escalated quickly into Helen’s mom calling OP names, saying that OP should understand where these intentions were coming from and that she should be more understanding. OP is now looking into private tutoring options instead.
But, what is more, OP’s husband got wind of what happened and was upset that OP called Helen’s mom and confronted her. It’s important to explain that the hubby was not upset Maria was pulled from the class or that she was being used as a caretaker—he agreed that this was wrong.
He didn’t like how OP dropped Helen’s mom in “the fighting ring” and duked it out personally, as opposed to putting all of the blame on the school. OP should have been understanding of why Helen’s mom did what she did.
Well, folks online had a fair amount of things to say about it, all in the vein of “OP’s not wrong”. Most agreed that the school was unprofessional in how it approached the situation without even double-checking with OP about the decision.
Folks online were siding with OP and her daughter, calling everyone else in the situation jerks
Others were of the opinion that Maria should be priority here no matter what—not only does she deserve a break from caring for her own brother, but also, OP paid money for her daughter to get to do art, and yet she wasn’t able to, so, if anything, it’s not fair to Maria or OP.
Yet others asked the question of why Helen’s mother thinks she can now decide to just take away Maria’s summer. And moreover, while the husband was asking OP to be understanding, it’s not like Helen’s mom made an effort to make it known. Because now it looked like someone was just having their way without even wanting OP to know about it.
The only bit of criticism OP got from the AITA community was this part: “Maria does have to step up when I and my husband fail.” While it is understandable that sometimes older siblings do get to care for younger ones, the comment claimed the biggest reason Maria was disappointed that she couldn’t do the art program was that she needed a break from parenting her brother, and didn’t get one in this situation. And summers come and go, time is finite in this situation.
Whatever the case, the post got over 22,700 upvotes with a bit over 20 Reddit awards. You can check it out all here. And we have actually covered a very similar story not too long ago here, if you haven’t met your special needs kid caretaker sibling AITA quota yet.
But do tell us your opinions on who’s right and who’s wrong, or share your experiences if you were the older kid and had to care for your younger siblings way too often in the comment section below!