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Mom Refuses To Learn Sign Language To Communicate With Hearing-Impaired Stepdaughter

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It’s surprising having to adjust to a dramatic change in life. Sometimes it might be easier to just not do it at all.

That’s what it seems Redditor Terrible_Diner6795 has decided after her husband’s step-daughter reappeared in their lives.

Since she’s hard of hearing, the original poster’s (OP) husband thinks they should learn sign language. But OP doesn’t want to.

Their fight brought OP to the “Am I the A**hole” subReddit to try and sort this out.

OP asks if she’s wrong:

“AITA for not learning sign language for step daughter?”

How did all this come about?

“I (30sF[emale]) have been married to Buford (40sM[ale]) for about a year. I brought Jay (8M) and Juniper (5F) from a past marriage, and until very recently we thought Buford had no children. We had no intentions of having more kids.”

“As it happens though, it turns out Buford actually does have a daughter Markita (15F). Her mom did not tell Buford about her pregnancy and ultimately moved states, so he had no idea until she reached out on FB.”

“We were a little dubious, but she turned out to be right. Markita and mom moved back to our state in the meantime and live about 40 minutes from us.”

“She wants visitation with Buford which he has agreed to. There’s no formal custody arrangement between Buford and mom so it’s basically just sporadic weekends and school holidays.”

“Usually this is just between the two of them, but sometimes she will come to the house and has even slept over a few times.”

“Here’s my dilemma. Markita is hearing impaired. I’m not entirely sure to what degree but I do know she almost exclusively uses ASL.”

“No one in our family knows ASL but Buford has been trying to learn for her. The last time Markita was here he pitched to me the idea of us learning ASL as a family.”

“The truth is that I really don’t know if that is worth the effort. Markita is present at our house maybe once a month. I would consider it if she were going to be over more often, but I work 48 hours a week and I just don’t have time for something like this.”

“I also know 3 different languages, one of which was in adulthood and it was very difficult for me even fifteen years ago. I just can’t fit something like that into my life, but I told Buford that Jay and Juniper can still learn if they’re interested.”

“The kids don’t want to since I’m not and now Buford thinks I’m being ridiculous since I have no other way of communicating with Markita. I told him we can work something out but he didn’t want to hear it honestly.”

“Markita also thinks I should learn some basic signs but between work and kids even that would be a struggle. AITA for not wanting to learn sign language?”

OP is tired after work and raising two kids, but does that mean she shouldn’t try to connect with this new family?

To find out, Reddit commenters judge OP by including one of the following in their response:

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

Though there were a few comments in disagreement, most users found that OP was being entirely unreasonable. Sure, it might be difficult, but this is someone involved in OP’s life now.

And it wouldn’t be that difficult to learn the alphabet and a few phrases.

“YTA. WOW! ‘I don’t know if it’s worth it’, seriously? My new stepdaughter, that I didn’t want has a disability but I unwilling to make any effort to accommodate as such I have taught my kids that they don’t have to make any effort either.”

“Not only are you an a**hole but you’re the definition of a wicked stepmother and terrible role model to your own children.” keepthecrazyquiet

“YTA and ASL can be useful in a lot of places with a lot of people. It doesn’t take a horribly long time to learn the alphabet and a few key words or phrases.”BensMom2019

“YTA for shutting this down completely without even trying. Surely it wouldn’t be too hard to learn a few words or phrases and go from there.”FormalFistBump

“YTA. If you want your husband to treat your children from the previous marriage with respect, then you should do the same for his child.”

“You said it in the last sentence. His daughter ASKED you to learn basic signs, but it doesn’t seem like something you care to prioritize. Embrace Markita into your family and lifestyle. Don’t teach your children to be this way.”Marzipannn_

Some felt this idea that it’s too hard to put in just a bit of effort to make things slightly easier on someone with a disability made OP one of the biggest AHs.

They even started comparing her to past AITA posters.

“YTA. One of the biggest ones I have seen on here. Like Top 3.”

“You might be even a bigger a-hole than the dude who showed up to his ex-girlfriend’s mom’s funeral (that he wasn’t invited to) with a new girlfriend.”mgutier

“OP is up there with the guy who threw out all his girlfriend’s quirky socks because he thought they would embarrass him in front of his parents. 🤣”MySquishyFishy

“Anyone remember the guy who hated that his (very awesome) girlfriend, who was a school teacher, Ms Frizzled it up and wore themed dresses for her students? He was such a dick. Everyone loved it but him. 😂”Divagate113

“What about the guy who pawned his fiance’s Magic The Gathering cards, if which many were her dead husband’s, and part of a hobby she did with her kid”duke113

“Nothing will ever compare to the dude who put down his daughters emotional support dog so she would ‘grow up’ though.”acesarge

OP’s choice maybe isn’t as heinous as some other AITA stories, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t wrong. Markita seems like she’s going to be involved in their lives going forward.

If OP doesn’t learn, it could alienate her husband’s daughter from the family, and then OP would be the biggest AH.

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.