Raising children with disabilities comes with numerous challenges.
Particularly if said child isn’t your only one.
Even though it’s in no way the parents’ intention, sometimes the sibling of a disabled child might feel forgotten or neglected, owing to all the care and attention their sibling requires.
Redditor Then-Yoghurt-6322 could sense that his older daughter was feeling this way, owing to the fact that her autistic sister required a large amount of their attention.
As a result, the original poster (OP) came up with a solution which he thought would show his older daughter how much he loved her, only to end up infuriating his wife.
Wondering if he was, in fact, out of line, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I the A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for getting my eldest daughter a kitten when wife is already overwhelmed with our disabled child?”
The OP first gave some insight into the challenges his household faces on a daily basis.
“My eldest NT daughter (7 F[emale]) has had to make so many sacrifices for her sister with non verbal autism (5 F).”
“More sacrifices than any child should have to make.”
“She has unintentionally been put on the back burner ever since her younger sister was born, it is clearly taking a toll on her and I felt really bad.”
“The poor child cannot even have playdates unless I’m there because my wife cannot manage another child alone on top of our two because our daughter with autism needs constant supervision, can be aggressive and is very prone to meltdowns.”
“She cannot even go to friend’s houses unless I’m there to help unless the other parent can drive her and bring her back because our daughter with autism is too difficult to handle in cars without another adult there.”
“She has also been subject to aggressive behaviors from her sister and has been always expected to let her sister have the first turn, the biggest piece and the winning ticket so to speak.”
“She is also had her toys frequently destroyed by her sister.”
As a way of rewarding his older daughter for all that she’s had to put up with, the OP decided to reward her with something she’s always wanted.
“I partly blame myself for this and I’m trying to do better by her, she has been dying for a kitten ever since she could speak, but my wife kept saying no because she couldn’t handle any more work as our autistic daughter requires so much care.”
“I see the longing look on my daughter’s eyes whenever there’s a kitten on the television in a magazine etc.”
“I’ve tried to get easy pets like a betta fish so my wife wouldn’t be overwhelmed but she still wants a kitten.”
“My wife is a stay-at-home-mom, and I work long hours.”
“I thought my daughter has had it rough these past 5 years and for once deserved a little joy in her life, so I decided against my wife’s wishes to get her a kitten.”
“The Joy on her face ever since having her new kitten brought tears to my eyes and I’m not a crier.”
“My wife is furious with me and has demanded that I return the kitten, our daughter cried so much overhearing this I have usually acquiesce to her, but this time I put my foot down and said absolutely not.”
“I understand she’s overwhelmed but our daughter deserves a little bit of joy in her life for once, and as she gets older she will be able to handle the kitten more.”
“Our daughter is a person and not just supposed to be a decorative artifact in her sister’s story.”
“I understand she’s the one who’s home and has to help take care of it much of the time, but it will not be a kitten forever and it will grow into a more independent cat.”
“At least our daughter was asking for a kitten rather than a puppy which is a lot more work.”
“I’ve seen a lot of posts on here about adult children of disabled siblings going no contact with their parents due to emotional neglect and I am trying to prevent that from happening.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
If not everyone agreed that the OP was the a**hole, there was a general consensus that he shouldn’t have bought his daughter a kitten.
Just about everyone wondered how if the OP and his wife already felt overwhelmed with their two daughters, if they could really handle taking care of a kitten as well, or if the kitten was in fact safe in their house as his younger daughter has been known to have violent outbursts.
“Who is going to stop the aggressive toy breaking child from hurting the kitten?”- YMMV-But.
“Who is going to take care of the kitten?”
“Your older daughter is way too young to reliably take care of any animal.”
“Pushing it off on your wife, even partly, even only sometimes, would make you the asshole.”
“Even if a kitten is less work than a puppy.”- Nikkian42.
“What happens when your violent younger daughter kills the kitten?”-kr85.
“I’d like you to do something for me, OP.”
“I’d like you to try to imagine this from your wife’s perspective.”
“Your tired, soooo tired from dealing with your special needs daughter day in and day out.”
“It is mentally and physically exhausting.”
“On top of that, you have to deal with the guilt of constantly disappointing your eldest daughter.”
“You have to put her second because of her sister’s needs.”
“You would love more than anything to fulfill her biggest desire, but you just can’t handle one more thing.”
“So you have to tell her no.”
“Suddenly, daddy swoops in and delivers this magical gift and gets to bask in the glow of your daughter’s joy.”
“And then leave you to deal with the mess.”
“You’re still the bad guy, while he gets to be the hero without having to deal with any of the repercussions.”
“Still feel like you did the right thing, OP?”
“You definitely need to figure out how to assist your wife with handling youngest’s needs while not neglecting oldest, but this… this was not it.”- Acceptable-Read-5428.
While some felt the OP was indeed the a**hole, for buying a pet without planning things out.
“What’s the plan to keep the kitten safe from the younger sister’s aggressive behaviors?”
“Since you don’t seem to have a plan to protect the kitten,YTA.”-mindful-bed-slug.
“The kitten is defenseless creature that has no control or say in the matter.”
“Your out of control daughter destroys toys and gets violent with her sister.”
“It’s cruel to subject an innocent animal to that kind of treatment.”
“You know your wife is already overwhelmed, that you work long hours and won’t be home, and that your 7 year old will be expected to care for it, and you still went against her wishes.”
“The cat deserves to be safe and should be rephomed.”
“Help your wife.”
“You won’t be the one taking care of the kitten and neither will your daughter.”
“Also what are you going to do if the youngest has a meltdown and accidentally kills the cat.”-CompleteInsect8373.
“First of all you don’t get a pet unless everyone in the household is on board.”
“Second of all, if your younger daughter is prone to violent outbursts and breaking things, how is that fair to the kitten?”
“Will it be reliably safe?”
“Your youngest won’t know any better how to treat an animal gently.”
“Lastly, if your wife is already overwhelmed, what are you doing to help her?”
“How do you think this will improve as your daughters get older?”
“Spoilers, it won’t.”-ShadyVermin.
“How are you going to protect the kitten from your daughter’s out of control sister?”
“You said that she breaks toys.”
“Who’s going to feed the kitten and clean out its litter box and take it to the vet for checkups?”
“At the very least you should have rescued an adult cat.”
“Now your wife has another burden added to what is already unbearable.”
“This is a bit above Reddit’s pay grade.”
“Your family needs some respite help so that your poor wife isn’t on call 24/7 taking care of one kid while unwillingly neglecting the other kid.”
“Are there family members or family friends who can take your daughter out for fun activities?”-AMerrickanGirl.
“So you want to do better by your daughter, and your solution is to buy her something that will make her happy while making your wife’s life more difficult, then peace out again.”
:A kitten is not going to solve anything here, at all.”
“You need to figure out practical solutions that will allow both children to get the attention they need.”
“That could range from you finding a job with fewer hours and/or getting professional in or out of home care for your younger child on a regular basis.”
“You don’t seem to care at all about your wife’s well being.”
“And you only care enough about your daughter’s to buy a cat and be done with it.”
“Do better by your family.”- Temporary_Badger.
It does at least seem that the OP’s heart was in the right place by getting his daughter a kitten
But that might have also been the problem, he was thinking with his heart, rather than his brain.