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Teen Enrages Mom By Considering College Instead Of Taking Care Of Her Eight Younger Siblings

Scott Stewart on Unsplash

A child who aspires to go to college is usually a dream come true for most parents.

But one 17-year-old young woman got a decidedly different reaction over her future goals. So she turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for perspective.

Redditor notam0use asked:

“AITA for wanting to go to college even though my siblings need me?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“Hey, I’ll get straight to it. I am the oldest of 9 children.”

(in summary)

  1. OP, age 17
  2. brother, age 15 who has the same father as OP and he pays child support
  3. brother, age 13, a twin, who has a different father than OP and he pays child support
  4. sister, age 13, a twin
  5. brother, age 12, who OP’s mother doesn’t know who the father is
  6. sister, age 10, who OP’s mother doesn’t know who the father is
  7. brother, age 7, who has a different father than OP and the twins and he pays child support
  8. sister, age 5, who OP’s mother doesn’t know who the father is
  9. brother, age 2, who OP’s mother doesn’t know who the father is

“My mother is a single mother who works hard to supply for us but relies mostly off child support (as most of my siblings and I have different fathers).”

“Though I’m only a half sister to most of my siblings, I still love them all very much and try my very best treat them as equal.”

“I got a job at 14 to help make extra cash and my days normally consist of getting up early to help get all the kiddos to school(or getting online for virtual school) and then going to my classes of the day (I’m a junior in high school) before going to work right when school ends and getting home a little before midnight.”

“During the day while I’m in class, I’m still watching my 2 year old brother and making sure all the other kids are still in class/paying attention. My mom works at a small restaurant nearby from around 7am-3pm, but when she’s home mostly just sleeps because she’s tired from her long shifts.”

“Now for the actual AITA.”

“Recently I’ve been looking at and getting ready to apply to colleges but haven’t told my mother. She went through my laptop the other day and found out I was looking up financial aid and looking at some state schools a bit farther away (600-700 miles) and got really upset.”

“She started crying saying she couldn’t afford to send me to school and that she couldn’t continue to care for my siblings without me. I felt really bad and apologized and we just sorta dropped it, but I didn’t plan on stopping searching.”

“I mentioned the other day I was really interested in a nearby state school (one state over) that offered my major and was cheaper than in state tuition at my state school. I was super excited and told my mom.”

“She completely blew up at me. She kept telling me how selfish I was to abandon our family and that if I left I’d be setting my family up to fail.”

“She started yelling and crying and soon my siblings got upset and also started crying too. It was a mess that left me really conflicted.”

“On one hand, I don’t want to be selfish and prioritize my future over my siblings but on the other hand, I’m just exhausted. I’m so so tired on running on 4 hours of sleep and then just spending all day either working, babysitting, or doing school.”

“I understand that’s how life is and that it’s just hard and I have to learn to deal but at the same time it all feels so frustrating. I see all these other kids my age going out and having fun and doing teen things and it makes me sad that I have to miss that.”

“But I know it’s my responsibility to take care of my siblings. I’m at a loss and at this point.”

“I just need to know if I’d really be an asshole if I decided to go to college. I’d still send money home as often as possible and I’d get financial aid and take out a loan to spend as little money as possible.”

“But I feel terrible for wanting to be selfish and leave my family.”

The OP returned with more information and to answer some questions.

“I had no idea I’d get this much response and to each and every single person I am so, so grateful. To the people sending me private messages offering college help, thank you so much.”

“I’m trying to reply to as many comments as I can but I don’t have a lot of free time so I hope this makes up as a thank you! You’re all such kind people.”

“Addressing some common questions and points:”

“• ‘Why don’t the other kids have jobs? Specifically the older boys?’ I understand they’re the same age as when I got a job but I can’t ask that of them.”

“I want them to be able to study and have fun and be teens. Unless they want to get a job, I don’t plan on asking them or forcing them to get a job.”

“Though, now that I’m sure I’d like to go to college (thank you for helping me decide!) I might sit down with them and talk about getting a job, something that brings more cash but won’t prevent them from having their childhood taken over.”

“•’Parentification’ I originally had never heard of this but I read about it and now realize that this is in fact incredibly accurate to my situation unfortunately. I’m still a bit confused about why it’s considered abuse, but I know it’s a type of emotional manipulation.”

“•’You are being abused’ This is similar to my above point, as I’m still having trouble understanding how I’m being abused if I’m not hurt, so I’d still love explanation on that. I know what emotional abuse is, but I’m confused if mine is actually that, as I don’t want to be over dramatic and take away from others actual trauma.”

“•’Its not normal to hit your kids’ I mentioned in a comment that my mom has hit me when she’s upset or drunk, but didn’t consider it her fault since she always apologized.”

“I’m trying really hard not to sound ignorant or impolite but I always assumed this was just considered discipline? And why is it not?”

“I’m very very sorry and don’t mean to be discrediting in any aspect, but many people have told me to to call CPS but I wouldn’t want to do anything rash. Any advice is appreciated.”

“•’Where’s the dad(s)?’ We only know the identities of me and my 15-year-old brother’s dad, the 13-year-old twins’ dad and the 7-year-old’s dad.”

“My mother had too many ‘dates’ when the others were conceived to know who the fathers were for sure. The fathers we do know pay child support but my mother got full custody of all of us anyways.”

“Thank you all again so so so much. I’m going to be applying to colleges with low tuition when the time comes and won’t tell my mom until the day I move out.”

“I also plan to talk to my siblings about what this means. I’m considering trying to find a situation where I may also bring along the 2-year-old and maybe the 5-year-old.”

“Much love to all of you.”

Redditors weighed in on the situation by declaring:

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

Redditors were of one mind in their response.

“NTA…. You are too young to have this much pressure on you for someone else’s choices. You don’t have any kids therefore you are not responsible for any kids.”

“Your mother needs to step up and do what’s best for all of you. And that’s take care of all of you instead of having you take care of her and her kids.”

“I know you don’t mind helping your mom but actually you are enabling her. She can work more hours, stop having kids (not to be mean or harsh), and figure out what to do with the children she has.”

“It’s NOT your job to make sure your siblings are cared for or to support your mom. She needs to be doing all that you do. Including looking into furthering her education, even one class at a time, to better her own situation.” ~ Massive_Ambassador_6

The OP returned with an update.

“Hey. I wasn’t sure where to post an update and wasn’t even sure if I wanted to, but you deserve one. First off, thank you all so much for your kind words, resources, offers of help, etc…”

“I’m still sifting through much of it and trying to reply where I can.”

“Now, for the actual update portion. I am NOT going into intricate details about this so please do not send messages asking for more info.”

“A close friend recognized the story and brought to the attention of a guidance counselor at our school, who confronted me about it. I denied it as I didn’t want anyone to find out it was me (I was mostly just embarrassed.)”

“My friend called CPS after that. I was pissed, and didn’t talk to her for a few days.”

“CPS came but I’m not going into details. My siblings and I will be separated a bit. I’m still pretty broken up about this as I really don’t want to be separated from them but I know it’s likely the best.”

“Thank you all again for the massive support I received. Sorry if this sounds sloppy or lazy but I’m still processing a lot of emotions right now.”

While it’s not the outcome the OP waz hoping for, it’s as they said—probably for the best.

Hopefully the OP and their siblings will get the help they need.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.