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Mom Accused Of Holding Her Deaf Son Back By Not Allowing Him To Get ‘Too Close’ To Non-Deaf Kids

Mark Edward Atkinson /Tracey Lee / Getty Images

Children are an interesting look at navigating the world. They don’t have a lot of the same preconceived notions adults do, unless they were taught those things.

But it’s the adults in their life that determine how they grow up and learn to navigate.

One dad found himself wondering if he navigated a social situation wrong when dealing with the parent of another child. Where else to ask but the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for the titular question?

Redditor AITAPLAYGROUND asked:

“AITA for telling a deaf kid’s mom that she’s holding her son back?”

The original poster (OP) starts by explaining his situation.

“My Jack (10) is very quiet, he likes to read, he likes the quiet, he likes bright visuals and museums, he didn’t speak for a long time, he loves to learn, and he’s got a tiny group of friends but he’s happy and always looking for more.”

“Jack is autistic and doesn’t like much noise.”

“Jack met James at the playground we go to. James is deaf and he’s got a serious case of helicopter mom, they waved and talked and ran around before we left and we’ve been almost every day since and they’ve seen each other.”

“Because James is deaf and isn’t extremely loud and understands that about Jack, they’ve become very good friends.”

“Jack came to the conclusion that James can read and write like him and so he got a little pen and notebook and he had me put him on YouTube so that he could try and learn some sign language (friend, play, run, would you like to go with me to…, hello!, and other friendly things). And now they’re best friends.”

“Jack recently had the idea that because James can’t hear, they have to do things with seeing, we live near a big and beautiful aquarium and Jack had the idea that we could all go together (me and my husband would be with James’ parents) and they could be actual friends outside of the playground setting.”

“I approached James’ mother to ask them yesterday and she informed me that she didn’t want the boys to get to close because James is deaf and they don’t want him to make too many friends that aren’t because he’s already at a disadvantage and she doesn’t want him to be left out.”

“I informed her that if her son would be going to public school and entering the world, he’d have to get used to being deaf and having all sorts of friends and all she was doing was pushing away the friends that he could be making and being selfish while not looking after what her son wanted.”

“I don’t know what happened exactly but I got a call last night from James’ father with James SCREAMING in the background and everything has been set up, we’re going with him and his wife (step-mom) on Friday and calling it a day. We’ll all wear masks and have a nice outing and it’s all completely fine.”

“The boys are both extremely excited to go together.”

“I saw his mom at the playground this morning and she was quite aggressive, telling me I should’ve never set up the play date and involving her ex husband, I told her that if she only thought of her feelings, there was a reason her son had had to go to his dad to be able to see his friend, and I walked away from her.”


Redditors responded with one of the following:

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

The overwhelming majority of responses assured OP that he was NTA.

“NTA, you handled it calmly on your end and didn’t overstep anywhere. The dad stepped up and thankfully did the responsible thing for his son.”Mister2Scoops

“The deaf child’s mom is MAKING SURE her kid gets left out by trying to limit his friends. 😔😔😔”shynerdnextdoor

“Right?? I had to reread that to make sure I understood what she said. “I don’t want your son including my son… because that will make him feel left out”?”emilyarran

“NTA. She sounds selfish and insecure. The dad is James’ other parent, absolutely nothing wrong with him setting up a play date.”bunnylover582

“NTA, I can’t add much more than what other commentators have. But I think the most important thing is how happy your kids are. Might be worth reminding the James mum of this.”killerkebab1499

However, not everything is clear.

There was a vocal subset of responses that felt OP went too far in his response to James’ mom.

They said everyone sucked here, or even told OP he was the one wrong.

ESH. Don’t make snide comments like that about people that you don’t know well. Just don’t.”

“Also there is a notion that some people have that deaf children should be around other deaf children. That that’s what’s best for them.”

“Yeah she may not have the money to have her child be in a school only for deaf children but maybe that is what the mother is thinking.” – Flubber1215

“ESH, I think the delivery could have been a bit better but the ex calling to set up playdate is totally fine, he called you not the reverse so she has no reason to be mad about that.”

“BUT ticking her off is going to make it harder for them to be friends, they’ll have to hang when he’s at his dad’s most likely”realmotherofdragons

“Um NTA. I’m glad you’re helping encourage the friendship. But you gave a whole lot of honest feedback to another parent in a playground setting. Might wanna be careful with that. It can tip into a****le territory pretty easily.”Maximum_System_7819


“Why are you telling this woman how to raise her deaf child? “I informed her that if her son…” no offense meant, but you don’t need to “inform”other parents of the challenges their deaf child may face unless your is deaf too.”

“I understand your child is autistic, but that doesn’t mean you can just decide and make suggestions about how others should parent their children.”TheIndefiniteHiatus

“YTA. You insulted this woman’s parenting bc it inconvenienced you and your child. You didn’t do it out of concern for the other boy.”

“You were the one being selfish and rude. You’re also not dead nor raising a deaf child, so it’s not like your the authority on deaf kids.”

“You could have handled this so much better, instead of annihilating the relationship with other kid’s mom.”voiceofajeneration

Here’s hoping Jack and James have a great time at the aquarium. And the parents learn a little more patience with each other.

Written by Ben Acosta

Ben Acosta is an Arizona-based fiction author and freelance writer. In his free time, he critiques media and acts in local stage productions.