Nothing makes parents more proud than when they see their children step up to the plate, and take on extra responsibilities.
But heartwarming as it is, it is also important for children to enjoy the all too brief stage of life that is their childhood, and not take on so much responsibility that they find themselves overwhelmed.
This was beginning to happen to the daughter of Redditor shoopersharn, who found herself in a very delicate situation regarding one of her classmates.
Concerned about how she handled the matter, the original poster (OP) took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), asking fellow Redditors:
“AITA for asking that my daughter not share a room with a special needs kid?”
The OP first gave readers an idea of her home life, and how her eldest daughter often finds herself with more responsibilities than most children her age while at home.
“I (35F[emale]) have four kids, 10F, 6M[ale], 4F and 1F.”
“Our eldest, ‘Izzy’ is 10.”
“She is a doll.”
“My son, ‘Luke’ has autism and ADHD and while lovable, can be a bit of a handful at times.”
“Therefore, Izzy is witness to both the fun and not-so-fun parts of neurodiversity and has developed saintly patience and a knack for helping special needs kids with a sense of maturity beyond her years.”
Izzy’s gift for being there for children with special needs helped her develop a very important friendship at school.
“Particularly notable is her kindness with ‘Maisy’, a girl in her class with autism and severe anxiety, which has worsened as a result of the tumult of the last few years.”
“Izzy’s help to Maisy has been bought to my attention before and I am a super proud mama.”
However, Izzy found herself overwhelmed when faced with the possibility of taking on even more responsibility than she was used to.
“Next weekend, her school is taking my daughter’s class on a trip, and on Thursday, Izzy’s teacher asked her to be in a room with Maisy, saying it would make Maisy happy (Maisy has intense separation anxiety and has never been away from home before) but framing it as a choice.”
“Always obedient and wanting to do good by her teachers, Izzy agreed but came home crying saying that she didn’t want to be with Maisy, because she wanted a break from having to ‘be stressed so others can be happy’.”
“This made my heart break, and I know more than anyone that my daughter deserves a chance to be a kid, as in all the lockdowns, she didn’t have her usual outlets of sports clubs and had to spend a lot of time with a cranky Luke whose routine had been destroyed and a toddler who was very excited to have her big sis at home.”
“While my husband and I always tried to do 1:1 activities, it admittedly got harder once his furlough ended and I unexpectedly got pregnant with our youngest.”
“Luke also found the baby difficult sensory-wise, so whichever parent wasn’t tending to the baby often had to be elsewhere with Luke meaning not as much attention was on Izzy as we would have liked.”
This led the OP to make a difficult decision for the benefit of Izzy.
“I feel so bad that my daughter has had a rough ride, and frankly want to give her a chance to be a little girl instead of an adult.”
“I contacted her teacher, who is aware of the situation with Luke, who agreed that letting Izzy have a break would be a good thing.”
But while Izzy and Maisy’s teacher agreed, Maisy’s mother was a bit less than thrilled with the idea.
“Today the school spoke to Maisy’s mum, informing her of Maisy’s room on the trip.”
“I know the girls in the room and they are lovely but she was clearly unhappy.”
“She asked me to ask Izzy again.”
“When I said that it was her choice and I have to respect it, she went a trade on how I was bringing Izzy up to be intolerant, how Maisy will feel that Izzy has abandoned her and how I would feel if it is my son.”
“She is now considering pulling Maisy out of the trip as she feels she would not cope with her separation anxiety without Izzy.”
“My husband thinks that it is the school and Maisy’s mum’s job, not Izzy’s, to accommodate her, but her comments are ringing in my head.”
“After all, I am not just Izzy’s mum, but also Luke’s and as much as I worry about her missing out, I worry about him being isolated too.”
“I know exactly how Maisy’s mum feels, and how much it sucks, yet am not doing the one thing to alleviate her pain.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed 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 – Everyone Sucks Here
The OP had the full support of the Reddit community, who all agreed she was in no way the a**hole for asking if her daughter could room with someone else.
Just about everyone agreed that Izzy was faced with more responsibility than any 10-year old should be, with some finding her kindness and empathy was being taken advantage of.
“Your CHILD is not Maisy’s therapist, mother, teacher, etc.”
“I find it ridiculous they want Izzy to play caretaker.”
“If you don’t put your daughters wishes first, how will she learn she needs to put herself first sometimes?”-itchybottombees.
“Maisy’s mother is being rather bold to assume it’s your daughter’s responsibility for her own daughter’s happiness and comfort on a school trip.”
“You’re in the right, and that other lady is insane.”
“Your daughter is NOT an emotional support animal.”
“She’s a 10 year old little girl who is having adult responsibilities dumped on her because it’s easiest for everyone else.”
“This practice needs to be stopped at school and at home.”- halfwaygonetoo.
“Please do not go back on your word.”
“Your child needs someone to advocate for them so she can have a good time on the trip and not have to worry about being someone else’s friend.”
“I get it that sometimes people that have issues cling to other people but it is not fair to your daughter to have to spend the entire time on the trip with someone that while she likes that person she wants a break.”-bradjanetrocky.
Some pointed out that even with her condition, rooming with someone else would be a very important lesson to Maisy.
“Special Ed Teacher with ADHD and Dyslexia here, pairing students together to help with assignments is a good strategy and can be a great learning tool.”
“Pairing students so that an unhealthy codependent relationship is formed so that one student succeeds while the other struggles is NOT an accommodation.”
“I work with my students all the time to push them out of their comfort zone in a healthy way and in a safe learning environment so that unhealthy codependent relationships do not form.”
“Students, especially neurodiverse students, need to learn healthy coping strategies and how to be independent in uncomfortable times or spaces.”
“Forcing another student to be an accommodation for a student is setting the student up for failure.”
“OP, what if your family moved? “
“What if Izzy is no longer in classes with Maisy?”
“What happens then?”
“Does Maisy stop going to school?”
“Does Maisy stop progressing?”
“Izzy cannot be the coping strategy, Izzy is a peer.”
“Izzy can be a place where Maisy practices social skills and other coping strategies that are appropriate to practice with peers, but Izzy CANNOT be the coping strategy.”
“Maisy’s mom needs to hear this.”
“The teacher or child study should have this conversation with Maisy’s mom.”
“The teacher should have NEVER put Izzy in this position.”-kfisch2014.
While a number of people felt that if Maisy’s mother was so concerned on how she would fare on the trip that she should go with them, rather than force the responsibility on Izzy.
“Maisy’s mom is parentifying your child.”
“Maybe her mom should go on the trip instead and put in some effort.”
“Your daughter is not an emotional support animal or therapist, she has her own needs too.”-Dontdrinkthecoffee.
“Maisy’s mom can go if this trip is important to Maisy and herself.”
“Your daughter is not a therapist, not a comfort item; she is her own whole person who deserves to go on this trip as a student, not a caregiver.”
“The comments are ringing in your head because you are a good person and you have some level of empathy with the mother, but it doesn’t mean you are wrong for taking care of your child.”
“I’m furious with Maisy’s mom for putting that on you and your daughter.”
“Izzy said no, end of discussion.”
“I also want to add: When our son was in Boy Scouts, one of his bunkmates had night terrors regularly; this meant that the boy’s father needed to come on campouts as the boy needed nighttime support when the other adult leaders were sleeping.”
“Our son regularly woke up to find my husband in their tent and the other boy having joined his dad in his tent.”
“Some kids legitimately need more support, but it is for the adults to manage this, not children.”-pdxflwerpwer.
Maisy seems pretty lucky to have Izzy as a friend.
But that’s all Izzy and Maisy should be, friends, and one can only hope that Maisy’s mother realizes this, and doesn’t try to pile Izzy with any unnecessary responsibilities, and let her be a child.