Raising a child who is neurodivergent is a difficult experience. When you and your child see the world in different ways, it can be frustrating to relate. But so long as everyone is treated with love and care, and a lot of effort is made, things can work out.
Redditor Vivid-Occasion-7180 knows how difficult things can be for her son in large groups, with loud noises. To try and prevent the issues that may arise with him during her wedding, the original poster (OP) decided to have him cared for that day at home instead of coming.
However her ex-husband doesn’t like this idea, and claims she’s being a bad parent. OP isn’t sure, and asks the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit what they think.
“AITA for having a big wedding that one of my children can’t attend”
This is what happened:
“I have 2 kids, a neurodivergent son with my first husband and a neurotypical daughter with my fiancé.”
“We are planning a big wedding for the fall and have decided not to bring our son because he hates strangers, noise, bright lights, and changes in routine. Instead, he’s going to stay home and do a normal day with one of his favorite caretakers.”
“It will be a little tough for him because my fiancé and I won’t be there, but much less bad than taking him to a bright crowded noisy place.”
“I asked my ex to watch our son for that day. My ex is not available that day but is very upset that I’m leaving my son home but including my daughter.”
“My ex thinks I’m setting them up for resentment and I’m favoring my daughter. I understand I’m not putting my son first for one day, but this wedding is really important for me, and any wedding of any size would be an issue for him.”
“We tried to include him as best we could with a little wedding themed family photo shoot with everyone dressed up which was really fun, but my ex still says that I’m being a bad parent. AITA for having a big wedding even though it’s a special day that my son will be left out of?”
To provide more clarity, OP answered some of the comments.
“INFO: does your son have the capacity to share how he feels about this? Have you talked with your son about this and tried to understand how he feels?” – DumbSpearoSparrow
“He is non verbal” – Vivid-Occasion-7180 (OP)
“That does not mean he is incapable of input.” – Mammoth_Ad1374
“He is incapable of communicating. He does not speak, sign, or communicate beyond showing emotions. We only know what he likes and prefers depending on his emotional reactions. “
“He does not understand what we are saying to him beyond a few basic words.” – Vivid-Occasion-7180 (OP)
The AITA board listens to people’s stories and judges them based on their choices.
This is done with one of the following acronyms:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
To many, it can feel cruel to leave one child out of a special day while inviting and involving the other. But if anyone knows OP’s son well enough to determine whether he can handle a wedding, it’s going to be OP.
The board voted that OP was NTA.
“I would argue that you are actually putting your son first by being conscious of his needs and not putting him in a situation he would hate and that the stress of which might ruin an otherwise joyous occasion for him, you, your fiance, your daughter, and anyone else that might have to comfort him instead of just enjoying the festivities.”
“Your ex can go piss up a rope.” – sylviaca
“NTA. You know your son better than anyone and if you know it’ll cause him immense stress as well as causing you and your family immense stress, so much so that it would have a significant impact on your big day then I think you are pretty much right in leaving him home for the day.”
“This doesn’t mean you guys can’t have a smaller celebration with just you guys. The people calling you an asshole aren’t thinking about the fact that he is neurodivergent and would be overwhelmed and very unhappy at the wedding.”
“As long as you get him his favorite activities and maybe some food he loves, then it seems like he would feel much safer and happier at home!” – ecul034
“NTA. You have to make accommodations for your neurodivergent son, and that’s totally fine, especially considering he’s non-communicative save for emotions.”
“Exposing him to a big event that you *know* will overwhelm him would be irresponsible. Regardless of what some people might think, it’s REALLY OKAY to step away and have a day for yourself.”
“That goes for ANY person with a child, regardless of their developmental state. It’s just the developmental state makes it a little different how you include/exclude them from events.” – Seventeen_Serpents
“NTA The ex is just plain wrong. On so many levels.”
“The child cannot handle crowds, noises, or high activity levels and doesn’t have a way to clearly and immediately express himself in ways that will be understood readily by most people.”
“I have an anxiety disorder that makes large gatherings kind of unpredictable for me—I might be fine and have a wonderful time, I might spend the entire event white knuckling and searching for a dog or cat to hang with, or I might be mostly fine but need to excuse myself to reset a few times.”
“I am an adult with the ability to monitor myself, advocate for my own needs and comfort and can safely go off by myself to find a quiet place. Because I am an adult, nobody is going to try to physically stop me from making an exit.”
“None of this is true for this child. There will inevitably be guests who want to engage with the child who don’t understand his needs or tics.”