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Teen Furious When Parent Forces Her To Miss A School Dance To Take Care Of Her Autistic Brother

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High school dances might not mean a lot to adults, but to teenagers those moments seem like the most important thing in the world.

Obviously, life happens and those events sometimes don’t work out, but it is important to understand where teenagers are coming from.

Redditor goodidahopotato encountered this very issue with her daughter. So she turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for moral judgment.

She asked:

“AITA for telling my teen she can’t go to a dance because I need her to babysit and she’s my only option?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“My kids are Bindi (17) Ava (14) and Fritz (9).”

“I’ll cut right to the problem: my sisters and I are going for an overnight trip late this month. With my oldest sister’s work schedule the only time we can go for the foreseeable future is the 29th.”

“This has been planned for several weeks.”

“Bindi announced to me this week that her school is doing a Halloween dance on the 29th. She was so excited and was excitedly planning her costume, I hated to burst her bubble but I had to tell her she can’t go.”

“You see, Fritz is severely autistic (exactly what you’re probably thinking, he’s nonverbal, no eye contact, no toilet training, that sort of thing). This makes him much more difficult to leave with someone than his sisters ever were – I could easily find a sitter for them when they were younger.”

“The only people who will even take Fritz outside our household are his grandparents, who cannot watch him that weekend. He also does well with Bindi, meaning she is literally our only option.”

OP’s daughter had her heart set on this dance.

“Bindi didn’t take it well and asked me why Ava can’t watch him for a few hours while she’s at the dance, since Ava has babysat before.”

“Well, Ava is having surgery the Monday before that, nothing major but she is not going to be healed up enough to deal with one of her brother’s meltdowns by Friday. (I’m not saying that would happen but it’s always a possibility with him).”

“She can help but someone else needs to be there and that someone else is going to have to be Bindi.”

“She responded by saying she ‘didn’t realize her siblings were so much more important’ and went up to her room scowling. I’ve tried knocking and calling her, but she keeps sending me straight to voicemail.”

“I get that she’s upset and was really looking forward to this dance (it’s only for juniors and seniors and school didn’t have it last year thanks to COVID), but I’m going to need her to make a small sacrifice for the family right now.”

“I fully intend to make it up to her. But does expecting her to be there for family make me TA?”

“ETA: Dad died when Fritz was a baby, besides my younger sister who will be going on trip, my family all live in another state.”

Redditors gave their opinions on the situation by declaring:

NTA – Not The A**hole
YTA – You’re The A**hole
NAH – No A**holes Here
ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors agreed OP was the a**hole.

“One kid special needs. One kid just had surgery. And you’re going out of town? In what world are you not the asshole? YTA” ~ AllOutofFs

“I was just thinking this. Is Bindi expected to take care of both of them? When does she get to have a childhood? YTA Op.” ~ JuniorFix3344

“OP is TA for leaving her 17yo with a 14yo recovering from surgery and a 9yo who needs 1:1 support. That’s fucked up.” ~ RadioSupply

“But you see, OP only has that weekend because her sister can’t at another point. So Bindi has to step up and be the adult in this situation, even though she’s a teenager and not responsible for either of these two kids.”

“So OP who is, can go have fun instead. At the expense of her daughter.” ~ -TheOutsid3r-

“And considering Fritz’ level of disability, I wonder how many ‘small sacrifices for the family’ Bindi, and probably Ava, have been expected to make.”

“OP, tread carefully. Bindi is 17 years old. Meaning soon she’ll be an adult. And then your ‘only option’ will be free to remove herself as an option.” ~ MissRedditCritter

“I’m guessing that Ava will be promoted to ‘only option’ then, but she’ll be an adult three years after that. What’s Plan C?” ~ Mysterious-System680

OP needs to have a wider support circle.

“Older children aren’t our childcare. They are their own person and deserve to be treated as such. The little ones aren’t Bindis responsibility, they are OPs. So if OP doesn’t have someone to watch her children then she does it herself. As is the job of a parent.” ~ Otherwise_Dinner3162

“That’s exactly what it is. I get that it’s beyond difficult to be a single mom and one to a severely autistic kid and she needs breaks too. But it can’t be at the expense of others.”

“There could be a negotiation in there somewhere. The first that comes to mind is that mom and sisters change their plans and do it local or even at home so mom can cover during the dance hours.”

“Or get another adult she knows to come during the dance and help younger sister with son.” ~ dannihrynio

“Add that she most likely missed so much of the high school experience last year due to covid, she’s already sacrificed. Missing this dance is no small thing, and is something she is likely to remember for a long time. There is no making this one up to her. She needs her childhood too. YTA” ~ mommy_san

“It’s terrifying the idea of these 3 kids being left overnight without any trusted adults nearby when one is neurodivergent and the other recovering from surgery. Under 18s should never be in charge of siblings overnight, especially without an emergency backup.”

“How long is this trip for altogether?” ~ PhDOH


“OP why can’t YOU make the ‘small’ sacrifice? Bc an overnight trip with your sisters, which you can literally do ANY time you can organize child care, is a much smaller sacrifice than a high school dance, of which there are a limited number, and when they’re done, they’re DONE.”

“YTA.” ~ usernaym44

OP needs to understand her kids’ priorities.