Though people disagree about how young is too young for children to start helping with chores at home, everyone can agree that preteens and teens have to learn some basic responsibilities like how to clean up after themselves at home, save money, and meet deadlines at school.
But sometimes kids do not take their parents’ advice seriously about what these skills could mean for their future, so the consequences have to be fairly steep to get their attention, reasoned the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Infinite_Step3417 and her husband were annoyed with their teen daughter, who often did not meet school deadlines and who did not communicate well about forms and supplies she needed to take to school.
It reached a point where the Original Poster (OP) told her daughter that she would not help her with any more of her last-minute requests, but when her daughter did not take her threat seriously, she missed out on an irreplaceable opportunity.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for being petty and not paying for my daughter’s school trip?”
The OP’s daughter was struggling to meet the demands of her school schedule.
“I (37 Female) have a daughter named Mia (15 Female).”
“Mia is very forgetful and irresponsible when it comes to school. She is barely on time or late to school most days even though we live a 10-minute walk away.”
“She will do homework at the last minute and often will ask for extensions with her work.”
“Before anyone asks, Mia does not have ADHD, but she is dyslexic.”
“This does explain the schoolwork sometimes, but she will ask for extensions ON TOP OF her automatic extensions, which is a sore spot between her and my husband, who wants her to be more organized and not leave work to the last minute.”
“Mia has been tested for ADHD and does not have it. I did my research at the time and realized it often gets overlooked for girls but even after getting another opinion, she doesn’t have ADHD. She gets help from a school advisor regarding her dyslexia and at home, we have discussed strategies to help her stay on track with her responsibilities.”
Mia also was not communicating well about the things she needed for school.
“She has a tendency of reminding me to pay for school-related things like lunch money just before I go to bed, or when she needs to take something to school, she’ll ask me at the last minute if we can run to the store and quickly get it.”
“Last month, I went on a wild goose chase to help Mia locate ingredients for her home economy class after she told me at half-past 10:00 PM that she needed a list of ingredients the next day and that she had just checked the fridge and we didn’t have what she needed to bring.”
“She was reading the ingredients to me from an email she received, and when I saw it was dated a week prior, I got annoyed with her, because why couldn’t Mia have told me before we did a big food shop for the week for our family?”
The OP decided to implement a new rule with Mia to encourage her to be more mindful.
“I will gladly get Mia anything she needs for school. She knows this. She just has to tell me what she needs. Her school does not send forms or communications home; I only know what she tells me.”
“So I told her the next time she needs something for school to tell me the day she gets told or the day after the latest, or else I will not be helping her out.”
“My husband stopped helping Mia with her last-minute requests a WHILE ago and has since started calling me a pushover for helping her out.”
Mia’s lack of communication led to a major punishment.
“Today when Mia asked me to put down the deposit for a school trip, I put my foot down and said no.”
“Mia has known since the start of the school year that she had a school trip to Germany. Her school sent an email out two months ago asking for deposits for kids to secure their place on the trip. It is about 150 dollars.”
“Mia asked me today to pay as the deadline was at MIDNIGHT or she may not be able to go.”
“I reminded her what I said last time about deadlines and organization, and since she chose to tell me at the last minute, I would not be paying for her deposit.”
“She got upset with me as all her friends from history class were going.”
Mia’s reaction was much more extreme than the OP had expected.
“I told Mia that she could pay herself from her savings as she has a part-time job, which is more than enough to cover her deposit, but she wanted to save up to buy a new game console.”
“I told her to pick if she wanted to go on the trip or get a new game console, and she called me an AH.”
“Because of her reaction, now I’m wondering if I’m being unreasonable.”
“My husband is on my side, but my youngest said it was mean, and Mia is very upset with me.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some agreed that Mia needed to learn the consequences and be more responsible.
“If she didn’t have enough of her own money, I’d probably cave but she wants YOU to spend YOUR money instead, knowing full well that she blew it, AGAIN.”
“Stick to your guns. She needs to literally pay for her mistake. If she can remember what game console she’s saving for, she can remember her obligations.”
“If she has a cell phone, why isn’t she setting her own alarms and entering reminders on her phone’s calendar? She’s 15 years old, for f**k’s sake. Stop babying her. You’re not doing her any favors.”
“How is she supposed to learn and eventually move out on her own if you’re always enabling her?” – LoveBeach8
“NTA. Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.”
“At age 15, your daughter should understand the importance of making lists, acting on issues when they arise (trip email about deposit), and not ignoring them until the last minute and setting priorities.”
“I am not saying she should master them at 15, but she should at least be working on it. Mia has hopefully learned an important lesson through your refusal to pay.” – No-To-Newspeak
“NTA, Mia procrastinates to the last minute, she either needs to see a doctor to figure out WHY she forgets or waits until the last minute because there could be something going on that you’re not aware of.”
“She also needs to find solutions for herself, like immediately putting these events into her phone and setting reminders. For example, I have my phone give me two reminders if I know an event is coming up, a week prior reminder and two days before the reminder. You the parents need to help her with this.”
“Mia also shouldn’t go to Germany because of her history of forgetting deadlines, tbh it sounds like a liability and a risk for her to go if her forgetfulness is this bad.” – crocodilezebramilk
“OP is NTA, end of sentence. But for long-term problem solving, your daughter needs to be taught HOW to be more organized.”
“Take a week or two of going through emails and papers together every night. Teach her to deal with immediate things right away, and set phone alarms for later reminders, or write notes/emails for things that get delegated (picking up items, paying for things, etc).”
“I remember having a planner that sat empty until I saw someone actively using it, because it just didn’t click for me that you can write down reminders and upcoming due dates. It sounds stupid, but I needed to be taught HOW to be organized. It sounds like daughter needs that same structure.” – 1107rwf
“Even if you’ve never been taught coping strategies for time management and other responsibilities, eventually you figure it out, because you’re not a godd**n mor*n and, once you’ve made the same mistake approximately a thousand times, you buy an academic planner and use it.”
“There weren’t even cell phones with phone alarms and online calendars when I was in school and I figured this stuff out on my own. Because I had to.”
“No one was going to peg me as ADHD because I’m female, not hyper, an excellent student (who studied the period before a test and always ran up to the last minute on everything), and I managed to juggle school, work, and extracurriculars.”
“I wasn’t diagnosed until age 42: ADHD-PI. It was only when my ability to organize as a coping skill got maxed out by work, husband, kids (one profoundly disabled), house, errands, meals, extended family, my own health issues, etc. that my struggles became obvious.”
“The girl may have ADHD. That doesn’t make her incapable of trying to figure out her own s**t at 15.”
“She’s been relying on Mom to bail her out when she’s mentally acting like a space cadet and Mom is right to stop doing it.”
“Paying your own cash and having to defer a gaming console is a small price to pay for a much-needed lesson. Maybe she’ll start figuring out how to plan ahead by using whatever works for her. ADHD is not an excuse to routinely inconvenience others.”
“NTA, OP.” – LK_Feral
But others were skeptical about how the OP and her husband were helping their daughter.
“YTA, and from what you have described, you have not done what is needed to help your daughter develop organization skills or had her reevaluated for possible learning disabilities, which she clearly shows signs of having.”
“You choose this huge learning opportunity as the hill to die on? You should have together worked up timelines, fee responsibilities, etc. for the trip, which would have helped her better develop skills that will help her going forward.”
“Instead, you take a punitive approach. Perhaps you don’t want her to go and this is your way to get out of her going.”
“When you have children who learn differently, it is your responsibility to get them what they need, be it tutors, organization workshops, etc. I know for a fact those resources are available. I feel so bad for your daughter.”
“Also, since she does have dyslexia, have you found tutors to help her with this learning disability? There are excellent programs for this.” – springflowers68
“Dyslexia can affect memory, concentration, multi-tasking, and communication. All impact on everyday life. If you’re in a relationship with someone whose brain works differently to yours, it can be confusing and frustrating.”
“I have a daughter with dyslexia and we went through the exact same things with her. It was frustrating at times. But it was the way her brain worked. We had to work on ways to help her remember.”
“For example, getting her into the habit of putting anything with a deadline as a reminder in her phone. Writing notes and leaving them in prominent places around the house. Lots of visual reminders.”
“Over time, my daughter did get better, but it wasn’t because she remembered better or was more organized. She just had learned ways to help that worked for her. Her brain still works the same as it did before. She had to work hard to learn a different way of doing things than the average student and she has now begun her adult life and is managing well.”
“Dyslexia is much more than just trouble with reading and writing.” – motjh
“YTA. Your kid isn’t going to learn executive functioning skills through punishment. You need to teach her how to plan out big projects.”
“You’ve known all year about the trip and the school sent you an email. What does she need to tell you about? You’ve clearly talked about it already.”
“One of the biggest tells is that your other child sided with Mia.” – Important-Poem-9747
“Fun fact, I was told that I didn’t have ADHD, and I was screened a few times throughout my life. Each specialist claimed I had a litany of vague mental health issues that they could never pin down. I even graduated college with high marks, though I struggled the whole time, and had to drop out of college to deal with everything.”
“Then I was diagnosed with ADHD at 28, and my whole life changed for the better.”
“If you aren’t born with a penis, you’re highly likely to be misdiagnosed.”
“At the very, very least, research ADHD things like time blindness, forgetfulness, and moreover, how to parent a kid with ADHD because she has a LOT of the symptoms. If you don’t do that at least, YTA. Your ‘parenting’ is counterproductive for kids like us.” – pinupcthulhu
“As a girl with ADHD, I am astounded she doesn’t have it, but women are severely undiagnosed and often misdiagnosed with other things. Dyslexia is also highly comorbid with ADHD, as well. I’d honestly recommend a re-evaluation with an ADHD professional.”
“She’s clearly having memory issues and needs assistance, so with that, YTA. She’s still a minor and is obviously struggling to remember things.”
“This happened to me so much during school, and I also felt an immense amount of shame, as well as feeling like I was just stupid and not capable of remembering anything important. I think you need to be supportive instead of punitive.” – ginger_ryn
“You realize at 15 that she still requires a parent? I’m sorry, but YTA.”
“I also have a 15-year-old, and I also have a child who is dyslexic and requires help with reading. Maybe she didn’t understand the email. Did you even ask? You’re giving this CHILD no leeway whatsoever when you know she has difficult difficulties with reading.” – BadgeringforHoney
Though the subReddit could agree that this situation was likely frustrating for the OP and her husband to navigate, it was clear that their daughter needed more help in learning strategies that would work for her than what her parents were providing.
It might seem intentional or even ridiculous to be late or miss deadlines, but some learning disabilities struggle with issues like this, and sometimes something as simple as switching to frequent alarms on a cell phone or having a visual calendar instead of a closed book one can make a seriously positive difference in that person’s life.
It was clear something in Mia’s life wasn’t working for her, and rather than punishing her, her parents should probably focus more on finding solutions that would increase her chances of success.