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‘Professional Mom’ Gets Schooled After Trying To Tell Brother How To Parent His Autistic Daughter

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Giving advice to other people on how to parent their children is generally pretty inappropriate.

People’s parenting styles vary widely, as widely as their personalities, and the impetus to get on their case about it will likely land you in hot water, no matter how right you think you are.

This was the point Redditor CulturalEngine4337 tried to make to her sister-in-law, only to be harshly rebuked and told off.  Her sister-in-law, who tried to intrude on she and her husband’s parenting, was not happy when she was told her opinion was not welcome.

After a particularly unpleasant confrontation with her sister-in-law, our Redditor went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for objective feedback from strangers:

“AITA for making a point to my husband’s sister?”

Our original poster, or OP, told us about the struggles she already has with her sister-in-law’s advice:

“My husband’s older sister considers herself a professional mom. She has seven kids, aged 17 down to 6. She has always liked to give advice to new parents in the family or parents who are struggling.”

“Sometimes the advice comes across as very condescending and I told her this before when she was telling me how I should change my oldest when he was a toddler because she didn’t like that he was given choices (between two outfits).”

“She took offense and I told her she didn’t need to give unprompted advice. My husband also told her to back off. I think she wrote us off as parents because of this if I’m honest.”

“And I have been more sure since our daughter was diagnosed on the spectrum three and a half years ago.”

OP’s sister-in-law still struggles with OP’s parenting:

“She feels like we coddle her and don’t make her face experiences like every other kid. We do what we have been told to do.”

“She has extreme anxiety around new things or doing stuff with other kids. For example, she loves computers and video games. So we got her into this summer camp that does computer coding for kids.”

“She struggles with going though and she’s made it to 3 of the 15 days so far. My husbands sister was telling me to just drop her off no matter how hard she cries, that she’s probably fine the second we leave or even the second she sees it.”

“So I told her to come along for the drive with us two days ago. My daughter was already not wanting to go, but per her therapist and psychologist’s advice, we take her and wanted to see if she would calm down.”

“She was hysterical from the time the car started to the time I parked. After twenty minutes (a cool down time to see if she settles), she had made herself sick three times, and was rocking in the back seat.”

“She also started pulling her hair which happens about 40% of the time she’s stressed and anxious. I also called her therapist after the whole ordeal because she has shown regression in the last three or so months.”

OP’s sister-in-law suddenly believed OP:

“My sister in law was shocked and I told her that is why we don’t follow her advice and that is why she doesn’t get to dictate how we parent our kids because she has no idea what it was like.”

“She told me I didn’t need to be so rude and making a point wasn’t helping anyone. She complained to my husband and three members of the family (father in law, brother in law and another sister in law) and all of them are like what do you expect us to do.”

“But sister-in-law’s husband said it’s wrong to try and make people feel bad for not understanding which is what I did. AITA?”

Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:

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

Reddit had one message for OP’s sister-in-law: play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

“The kid is sick with anxiety and this adult woman ‘feels bad’ and is tattletale-ing to people to help her bruised ego out?”

“Some people live in a fairy land of crazy and I don’t know if I want to join them or run screaming. NTA at all OP.”-Nomada88

“My in-laws were like this SIL a few years ago. Our son was speech delayed which meant his way of communicating was very simple: happy = giggles and smiles, upset = screaming and hitting.”

“Seeing grandparents meant he could stay happy for a long time, but once he started acting tired we needed to gtfo before he got upset.”

“They never saw him truly upset till one day they delayed us by about 30 minutes from leaving when we said we needed to leave. Full. Blown. Meltdown.”

“He was their 5th grandchild and the first to have diagnosed special needs. Not surprisingly they don’t fight us when we say we need to go now.”

“Sometimes people need to be slapped in the face (not just figuratively for my in-laws lol) with a person’s truth to understand that things aren’t black and white.”-X-cited

“NTA. My son has OCD and anxiety. My MIL told us the same thing as your SIL. We had her take him to preschool one day (years ago).”

“She came back with him, still in the car. (We always managed to get him to go.) She said she tried everything she could, but she couldn’t get him to preschool.”

“I honestly think she was shocked and never again said a word about us ‘just making him’ do anything.”-crystallz2000

“NTA. You simply brought her along for the ride. Her husband is doing his job, his words are really the words of his wife puppeting through.”

“You didn’t do anything to her, you made your point by having her sit in the car while you did something you do every single day, she wants to play victim because she can’t handle being ‘proven wrong.’”

“All the Y-T-A and E-S-H posts clearly aren’t reading what you’ve written. To those posters, you seem to have missed that this is part of her routine and this advice was provided to her by medical professionals.”

“You don’t have to agree, but calling OP TA for ‘torturing’ her daughter pipe down, she’s following what the doctors have told her.”

“You’re not the physician overseeing the care of the child, nor is this the reason for the post.”-silfy_star

And since SIL didn’t want to mind her own business, she can reap the reward of that.

“I’m going with NTA. No one should be giving unsolicited advice to begin with.”

“But when you’re doing it AND not taking individual circumstances into account AND judging the people who aren’t taking your advice because it isn’t suited for them, then you’re a real a**hole – which your sister-in-law definitely is.”-JustNoThrowsAway

“NTA. You were doing what actual trained professionals asked you to do. You brought SIL along to educate her on your situation because just telling her didn’t seem to get the point across.”

“You weren’t doing anything that is not part of your actual routine that has been suggested by the professionals.”

“SIL and her husband need to take their own advice and stop giving you advice on a situation neither if them truly seems to understand.”

“You and your husband have told her already her advice is not welcome and they know your daughter is in the spectrum.”

“She still continues to give you unsolicited advice for a situation that she truly does not understand. You already have enough to deal with without condescending advice from someone who has been asked to stop.”-RamenNoodles620

“NTA. She’s clearly made ‘kids’ her whole life, and a dry person with no interest sure tends to brag about the only thing they know: it’s a way to avoid feeling ‘the lesser one’ in a group of people that actually have lives.”

“It’s so common between ‘professional moms’ in my area it’s sickening. You probably were much more rude than what you showed in this version of the story, but one should always watch his mouth about how someone else is putting up with his children.”

“And your experience is particular on top of that, so (imho) you’re entitled to be a bit more rude than usual to someone who behaves like a know-it-all while actually knowing jacksh*t.”-Matt_J_Dylan

“NTA. Definitively. Hopefully she shuts up from now on.”

“Also high five for your daughter making it 3 days, that’s genuinely awesome. I hope she continues to work on her threshold and improves every time 💖 you’re a great parent and doing your best.”

“Ignore all the people in the comments who don’t know the reality of severe anxiety… I would never go to work if I called out every time I vomited from stress or nervousness. Our ‘normal’ is not theirs.”-ashtarok

“Dude. I’m so familiar with this. My sister has 6 kids. I have 2, one on the spectrum. He has same troubles and honestly good for her that she can be in the camp at all without a para or therapist support.”

“Me and my sister argue about this stuff constantly too, she thinks I can just disrespect his boundaries until he melts down like she does, and if I just spank him when he’s overwhelmed and it will make his autism go away.”

“I just started loudly saying when her kids develop disabilities to please let me know but until then popping kids out isn’t a good enough accreditation to supersede the team of therapists and educators that work to raise my son and if she cares she will go read even ONE book on the subject. Other than that she can keep her nerotypical ideas to her neurotypical self.”

“NTA, everyone else listening to your sister is. You wouldn’t give glasses to a blind kid and then expect them to see.”

“Just because she has a disability they don’t understand doesn’t mean she doesn’t have it.”-ApprehensiveHalf8613

And the child’s well being is more important than an adult’s ego.

“NTA. I’m autistic with autistic kids. TAKE HER OUT OF THE CAMP. Your daughter is communicating to you in every way she knows how that THIS CAMP IS NOT GOOD FOR HER.”

“You are a great parent for encouraging what she loves, but this place is obviously not good for her.”

“If your neurotypical child was this upset about doing something – to the point that they made themselves sick and were self-harming – you wouldn’t bring them back.”

“Think of an autistic doing SIB the way you would a neurotypical cutting. Because it’s the same thing. Hurting yourself because you’re so emotionally overwhelmed you cause physical pain.”

“This camp is causing her to cut. TAKE HER OUT. And find a new therapist.”

“This therapist clearly cares more about getting her to act ‘typically’ and ‘expand her horizons’ than they do about her safety. Please, please don’t send her back!!!!!”-catchyourwave

“NTA. But you might want to find a new therapist (this is coming from an autistic person).”

“Having a rule that your daughter needs to puke more than once before you call it isn’t a good way to help someone associate expanded boundaries with positive experiences.”

“Camps are exhausting, even if it’s something centered around what you like. I almost never wanted to go when my mom would sign me up because I couldn’t do the socialization AND focus on the content in a new environment.”

“Also, just curious: is this ABA therapy? Because if so, it’s a really harmful practice.”-HomeboyCraig

“NTA. You’ve previously told her to back off. She has continued to offer unsolicited advice.”

“Her husband though saying it’s wrong to make people feel bad for not understanding – if they continue to offer advice which you don’t want, and then you take action to help them understand, then any bad feelings are on them, not you. Keep being a great parent.”-xpotential31

“NTA. SIL continued to give advice that you did not want or need. Your daughter has different needs than other kids who aren’t on the spectrum.”

“SIL doesn’t have any kids on the spectrum then she doesn’t know and shouldn’t be forcing ‘advice’ down your throat.”

“SIL is upset because you showed her that her advice doesn’t apply to your child but sees nothing wrong with her giving you unwanted advice.”

“Hopefully now she will stop. Kudos to the family who didn’t call you and pester you about this.”-new_clever_username


So let this be a warning to all who read: telling other people how to parent their children truly never ends well, because you will never truly grasp the needs of that family.

Mind your own business and all will be well.






Written by Mike Walsh

Mike is a writer, dancer, actor, and singer who recently graduated with his MFA from Columbia University. Mike's daily ambitions are to meet new dogs and make new puns on a daily basis. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @mikerowavables.