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Parents Refuse To Learn ASL For Daughter Because They’re Busy With ‘Church Responsibilities’

Andrii Lutsyk/ Ascent Xmedia/Getty Images

Communication is key in life.

And sometimes people have to figure out new ways to communicate with one another.

New ways means new learning.

And for some that can be problematic.

Case in point…

Redditor Maleficent_Round1611 wanted to discuss his experience and get some feedback. So naturally, he came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

He asked:

“AITA For Listing Everyone Who HAS Learned Sign Language For My Sister To My Parents?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I’m getting a lot of trouble for this one, so I could use some outside opinions on if I should apologize or not.”

“I (16 M[ale]) am the middle child, with my older sister being 23 and my younger sister being 13 now.”

“Five years ago, there was a car accident and my older sister (will call her Natalie) got banged up very badly.”

“Most of it she got better from but she’s mute now from damage to her vocal cords.”

“Natalie gets by very well with sign language, however, our parents have always refused to actually learn A[merican] S[ign] L[anguage].”

“They always insisted that Natalie could write anything out, that text-to-speech was good enough if she didn’t want to carry around a pen and paper.”

“Most of her teachers were like that too, but I get it for them, she’s just one student and they’re busy.”

“These are our parents.”

“Natalie and I face-time a lot, because I did learn sign for her and it’s how she prefers to communicate.”

“She texts my parents okay.”

“But my parents want to use text to replace the long phone-calls they had with their parents when they went away to college .”

“And Natalie doesn’t want to just sit around and text with our parents for hours at a time.”

“They expect her to be sitting on the couch with the phone and replying as fast as possible in real time, and she’s not interested.”

“I overheard my parents complaining about this and insulting Natalie for it, and I blew up at them.”

“I pointed out everyone who’d learned sign for Natalie-me, multiple cousins, our grandparents, multiple aunts and uncles.”

“The two boyfriends she had after the accident (one of whom cheated on her so he wasn’t exactly Prince Charming but he still learned).”

“Her current girlfriend, and her creative writing teacher in high school.”

“So many people learned to sign for her, but never them.”

“My parents got really angry at me and told me I couldn’t understand, then grounded me.”

“Then both of their sisters, who never agree on anything, called to tear into me.”

“They told me that my parents both worked full time, had three kids to raise, both had church responsibilities.”

“And that Natalie and I were brats for expecting them to learn a new language on top of that.”

“They sarcastically asked me what clubs and sports me and our little sister should have lost so my parents could spend time learning a new language when Natalie’s hands worked fine.”

“My aunts never agree on anything.”

“We can’t have activities with both sides of the family because they’re so bad.”

“But they both agree that Natalie and I are awful.”

“They can sign I love you, but only because they know the trivia about that also being the gesture Spider-Man makes when shooting webs.”

“The argument is that we’re Mormon (ish for some of us) and so the belief is that God directly chose them to do their church tasks.”

“Mom to teach a class and Dad to be the clerk for the local congregation.”

“And that Natalie can write or use a text-to-speech app.”

“I don’t like it, but I feel like I should lay their arguments out in full.”

So I guess I just wanted to come here and see if y’all agree that we’re unreasonable and that I should apologize to my parents.”

“So AITA?”

Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA:

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

Many Redditors declared OP was NOT the A**hole.

“NTA, parents should’ve been the first ones to learn ASL.”

“If ‘church responsibilities’ are more important than parental responsibilities, then they should get a reality check on what said church is teaching them.”

“Also, it’s not Natalie who wants those long phone-calls, so they have to find a solution for them, not Natalie.” ~ LordNeo

“But, but ‘family values…'”

“…Ah Mormons… figures… you can get the Mormon out of the cult, but not stop the The Church of Jesus Christ of L[atter] D[ay] S[aints} Church from being one.”

“Conditional love is just the best they can offer.”

“OP you are NTA.”

“You are a good egg.”

“I hope you can preserve this for yourself despite the social pressure of your family.”

“You and Natalie might want to have a plan though and play this smart.”

“As long as you are financially dependent on your parents they have considerable power over you.” ~ Panzermensch911

“Which is why my first instinct would be to tell their pastor that they’re using the church as an excuse to not learn ASL for OP’s sister, then let’s see how well that goes.”

“Any church who doesn’t understand that you need time off to learn a new language to properly communicate with your child is a church you shouldn’t be a part of.”

“OP, if your parents really wanna push it, have your sister only communicate with them through you instead of texting them.”

“That should piss them off enough to make them learn. NTA.” ~ MrDXZ

“Now OP knows what will bring his parents and their sisters together: being awful.”

“NTA, OP. A perfect callout.”

“That’s why they’re so mad.”

“Their lack of commitment to communicating with your sister how she prefers compared to so many other people puts them in a bad light.” ~ Curious-One4595

“OP, why don’t you ask them how they think Jesus would react finding out that parents put more effort into a place of worship than their own child?”

“I’m not religious, but was raised in Fundamentalist Baptist principles.”

“Fellowship starts at home, and how can they foster a sense of community in their own family if they never even make an effort to learn her language.”

“The fact that a boyfriend who cheated put more effort into the relationship than her own parents is heartbreaking.”

“Quite frankly, they’re not good people and need to come to terms with the fact that this is PERMANENT.”

“Your sister’s vocal chords aren’t going to miraculously be healed, and they’re only going to alienate her by forcing her into hours long text conversations.”

“It’s clear that she’s not important enough to them to be bothered to learn how to communicate.”

“Ask if that’s how little all their children mean to them or if it’s just because she’s ‘broken’ now?”

“She’s not broken and has a way to communicate, but that doesn’t mean that your parents see it the same way.”

“There’s literally no way your parents aren’t the AH’s in this scenario.”

“They can get on board and learn how to communicate or, in all likelihood, find themselves slowly distanced from the extended family and their children once all your siblings are grown.”

“Everyone else made the effort to learn because they care about your sister when her own parents didn’t, and that’s not a secret within the family.”

“Your parents are showing their true colors, and it’s not attractive. NTA, OP.” ~ RogueSlytherin

“NTA personally, I feel that ‘church responsibilities’ come after family and communication with your daughter is necessary.”

“I think they could find time to learn ASL for her.”

“There’s no set time frame for fluency, I found anywhere from 60-90 hours to years.”

“But wow- they can’t even sign ‘I love you’ or ‘I’m proud of you.'” ~ Glock212327


“That explains a few things.”

“You’re NTA.”

“You’re also right that of all the people who have dedicated the time to learn sign language for your sister, your parents failing to do so is, at best, negligent, at worst malicious.

“Your aunts are both wrong.”

“If a teacher took the time out of their life to learn some sign language to communicate with your sister, your parents have zero reason not to do the same for their own child other than they simply don’t care enough.” ~ tofu_deluxe

“I haven’t been involved with the LDS church for 15 years, but I am a life long Utah resident.”

“Them being Mormon raises more questions actually.”

“A huge number of Mormons are multilingual because they served a mission.”

“Family values and familial unit are also of huge importance to Mormons.”

“The LDS church has a million issues with it, but the average Mormon is actually really pleasant, kind, welcoming, and understanding.”

“The problem is the institution, not the individual.”

“Not to say that certain beliefs aren’t more popular with Mormons, but they aren’t common.”

“OP is NTA.”

“The parents are TA, but not because they are Mormon.”

“They are just being shi**y parents and using their church as an excuse to be shi**y.” ~ Jonin4life

“Former Mormon here.”

“Being a bishop or chuech president is a time commitment; teaching a class or being the ward clerk does NOT take up that much time. Maybe 2 to 3 hrs/week.”

“Not learning ASL was a CHOICE that they made.”

“They simply don’t want to make the effort. Your parents are being extremely selfish.”

“And in my opinion, God would want your parents to prioritize the welfare of their children over their church commitments.”

“I have 3 kids and I work 50 to 70 hours a week.”

“And let me tell you, if one of my kids needed me to learn ASL in order to communicate with them, I’d do it in a heartbeat. NTA.” ~ Miserable-Arm-6797

Well OP, Reddit is with you.

You’re a good brother for learning ASL.

Hopefully you can bring your parents around one day.

Good luck to you and Natalie.