Life is full of tough choices, isn’t it?
This might be especially true when we’re parents, and even more so when we have multiple kids (who, gasp, have different needs).
The kids, of course, aren’t always going to appreciate our decisions, confirmed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor 101iLikePapaya found herself on the receiving end of serious criticism after she stood up for her son over her daughter’s friend.
When she heard her daughter’s concerns, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she made the wrong choice.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for not inviting my daughter’s new friend to her birthday party because she bullies my son?”
The OP set a rule for her daughter’s birthday.
“I have sent out invitations to my daughter’s (Andy, 10) birthday party.”
“She invited all her friends, teammates, and cousins, but she got upset when I told her she can’t invite her new friend (Trisha, 11).”
“Trisha’s family moved into our neighborhood last month and she and Andy became good friends as they are teammates in Lacrosse.”
Trisha already had a history of bullying Andy’s brother.
“I told Andy that I heard Trisha mimicking her brother’s tics (repetitive muscle movement and sounds) one time while visiting.”
“That was the first time I saw her do that and I talked to her and explained Adam’s condition. She said it was just a joke and she won’t do it again.”
“But recently my son told me that Trisha laughed at him and mocked him by copying his tics.”
“My son (Adam, 8) has Tourette’s Syndrome.”
The OP and Andy couldn’t agree on a solution.
“Andy told me that Adam can just stay in his room so that he and Trisha won’t see each other.”
“But I refused and told her I will not tolerate anyone bullying Adam.”
“I got a message from Trisha’s mom, calling me out for not inviting her daughter.”
“I told her that her daughter makes fun of my son and she needs to tell her off.”
“It’s my daughter’s birthday party, and she’s not excited anymore because she can’t invite one of her friends.”
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 supported the OP and found Andy’s behavior to be questionable.
“She wants to hide her brother away for the sake of being friends with someone she’s known a month. I wouldn’t let the friend in the house again and Andy needs to be taught how to treat her brother/people with disabilities.”
“NTA” – llr_22
“Andy might start to blame her brother for all of this and become his new bully. ‘It´s all YOUR fault that my friend and I can´t hang out anymore. God, why do you always have to be such a freak?! Can´t you at least try not to embarrass me?'”
“Based on how she´s already acting, and if she still has her friend whispering in her ear, I would keep a close eye on the siblings’ interactions for a while if I were the OP.” – MaybeIwasana**hole
“Not only are you protecting your son, you are also showing your daughter that unacceptable behavior has consequences. Trisha is behaving badly, so she can’t come to the party. That’s on Trisha, not on you.”
“Judging from this tiny slice only, I’d say you’re doing the Parenting thing right.” – DemmyDemon
“This is a perfect moment to explain to your daughter that a victim is not the one who has to hide for the comfort of everyone. The abuser is the one who needs to be extracted from the situation. This might come in handy later in her woman’s life.”
“Now at ten, kids are cruel. They have the empathy of a soapbox, but they can learn. Especially with good role models. I hope Trisha’s mum is up to the task.”
“NTA” – Ryuloulou
One Redditor pointed out a massive learning opportunity for Andy.
“NTA, and just here to add, OP, that you need to treat this with a sense of urgency.”
“Trisha’s behavior is toxic, and it is also contagious and even after spending the last 8 years raising an empathic child who treats her brother well, this behavior is literally resulting right now in a war in your daughter’s mind, where she is weighing the pros and cons in participating in the bullying privately, or blaming her brother for his disability.”
“A lot of wild stuff happens to the human brain starting around this age, hormones and change and whatnot, and early adolescents constantly reinvent themselves in response to all these changes. You do not want your daughter to reinvent herself as a bully, or as someone who loves her brother less, because she’s gaining socially from her association with Trisha.”
“Be mindful that Andy should also not be taking on the mental and emotional work of trying to ‘save’ Trisha, either, and neither should you. But, talk to Andy about how she should respond to Trisha.”
“‘Calling in’ is a good strategy, a script like, ‘Trisha, when you make fun of Adam, you’re making fun of something that he can’t help. You know, even though he has Tourette’s, he can still understand when he’s being made fun of, and it hurts him. I wish you would instead get to know Adam and all the things that make him my awesome little brother.'”
“And of course, if Trisha continues to retaliate, Andy is going to need to lean on her resilience skills – 5th or 6th grade is old enough to have these – and just be like ‘Making fun of a little boy with a disability is not a good look, Trisha.’ And that’s that.”
“Hopefully, Trisha reinvents herself well, too, but it’s not Andy’s job to make it happen.” – steak_dilemma
Others saw Andy’s response as highly imperfect, but not problematic.
“Seriously, I don’t think that’s that bad. The kid is 9 for crying out loud. To her, hiding her brother away sounds like a perfectly good compromise. She’s not entitled, she’s just a young kid who doesn’t understand these things. Let’s take it down a few notches, okay?”
“Still NTA, but seriously, EXPLAIN things to Andy, don’t just do them. You’d be amazed how much even little kids can understand and empathize if you only speak to them once in a while instead of unilaterally declaring things.” – Holoholokid
“Andy sounds like a kid that wants to have her friend and teammate at her party, and doesn’t understand how hurtful the bullying is. I agree that this is a teaching moment. I disagree with the ‘entitled little s**t’ label.” – Glittering_knave
“Sounds like a standard 10yr old if you ask me.I would say most 10yr olds with younger siblings are hardly ever proud to have them as siblings, and having him stay in his room so she can have her friend over probably seems reasonable to her.”
“Obviously, it isn’t, but she’s 10! No need to call her a ‘s**t.'” – jarockinights
Though the daughter was thoroughly upset, the subReddit agreed with the OP’s decision to stand up for her son and against the neighbor’s bullying behavior. The daughter might not appreciate it right now, but this will be a good learning opportunity for her and will help preserve her relationship with her brother in the future.