Siblings tend to be competitive. It’s important that as parents, we do not show preferential treatment, and celebrate their individual accomplishments.
We should also encourage them to follow their own path.
However, some parents have a harder time supporting one of their children if they feel intimidated by them.
16-year-old Redditor shadierlamps just encountered this very issue with her parents. So they turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for moral judgment.
“AITA for ‘showing off my intelligence?'”
The Original Poster (OP) explained.
“This happened today and I’m still furious about it. I (16F) do generally well in school. I’m in the top 5% of my class and take mostly AP and honors classes.”
“My parents do not really care that I do well in school. They pay attention and invest their energy into my brother who is really talented, athletic and play a myriad of high school sports. He was being scouted by colleges and they expect him to play professionally.”
“I’m not jealous of my brother and do not look down on him. Him and I get along well and I just think we are both talented in our own ways.”
But, that’s not the case with her uncle.
“Our extended family fawns over him and his athleticism is normally the bragging point for our parents. My maternal uncle doesn’t, he went to a top tier school and go out of his way to make me feel special too.”
“He will often buy me books and discuss them with me mostly via email or texts. He called my mom on Facetime and after exchanging pleasantries with the rest of the family (we were all in the living room), him and I started taking about a book he recently bought for me.”
“It is an autobiography that centered around morality and economic redistribution. We discussed the main themes for about 15 minutes then my mom said she wanted to speak to my uncle privately. I told my uncle that I’d text him as we normally do, to discuss further.”
Her parents were not impressed.
“After the call, my mom said it was rude of me to discuss the book with my uncle especially in their presence. She said I was trying to show off my intelligence to make my brother feel bad.”
“I was not. It turned into a heated argument and I pointed out that they clearly favor my brother which is why my uncle is the only person who seem to care about my education.”
“I am now grounded (idc, it’s not like I was able to go out anyways. ) My dad wants me to apologize because I was disrespectful. I don’t think I should and will rather stay grounded.”
Redditors gave their opinions 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
Most Redditors sided with OP.
“NTA – OP please commit the following to memory. Never dim your light so that someone else can shine brighter!”
“It really is disturbing that it seems like your own mother wants you to dumb yourself down for anyone. I can’t understand how a woman would do that to her daughter. Keep up the good work on your education and send a thank you to your uncle.”
“I was like you at that age, and am that aunt now. Every holiday and birthday I get Barnes and Noble gift cards for the kiddos and take then to go pick out books and stuff. Then we talk about the things they get afterwards. Their mother got mad at me saying I was showing off. I told her to go read a book.” ~ CS163973
“Talk about insecurity. Your discussion was between the two of you, why should any of them think it was at all done to make them feel stupid? When your brother plays his games, is he doing it to make you feel weak? I don’t think so. NTA.” ~ Lanky-Temperature412
“NTA, you might not be jealous of your brother, but your parents might resent your own independence/intelligence. Keep it up. I’m glad you’ve got him to talk to, you deserve to be treated by everyone the way he treats you.” ~ chesscoach_R
“NTA. Don’t you make yourself small for anyone. As long as you avoid arrogance, pride in your intelligence is not misplaced.”
“I’m not sure if you’re ever going to overcome this attitude of theirs, because it doesn’t come from a logical place. As others have said, it is most likely an inferiority complex.”
“You could try asking them if your brother should stop running so fast because it might make you feel bad. You could ask why his feelings and accomplishments matter more than yours, but I think they would not take this constructively.”
“It would probably count as “disrespectful”, because to a lot of insecure people, when they talk of respect, they are talking about their position as an authority figure, not as a human being.”
“Just keep following your interests and talking to like-minded people like your uncle. Eventually you’ll be able to live life on your terms. It sucks that you can’t share a part of yourself with your parents, I know.” ~ bethan2406
“It should be an honour to have a child who is an improved version of you.”
“OPs parents should be ecstatic they produced two highly talented highly different children. They have all their bases covered literally. Its a shame they can’t see it.”
“A big hug to you OP.”
“Don’t dumb yourself down to please anybody. In the family, at school, or in your future workplace.” ~ encouragement_much
“Can you do a apology that is not an apology? Tell your parents you are sorry they felt uncomfortable with your conversation with your uncle and that your intention was not to humiliate anyone.”
Can you compromise on only communicating with uncle via text, email or in separate, individual calls (when your family is not present)? This might appease them enough to remove their negative attention on you.”
“If I were you I would first talk to your brother and ask him directly if he felt slighted and that you were showing off. Speak honestly and tell him you are concerned he feels bad and assure him that you do not wish to start a competition with him for your parents attention.”
“With him being the golden child, he could be a valuable ally for you. Continue building a good relationship with your brother as he can advocate on your behalf, and sadly they will defer to him in how they treat you.”
“It seems you father will defer to your mom to avoid rocking the boat, and you cannot depend on him for support. Your mom is either knowingly or unknowingly showing sexist preference for the male child and throughly enjoying the attention he is getting and seeing it as a reflection on her.”
“You on the other hand, are threatening that as her ingrained sexism doesn’t allow her to see you as a source of praise. Keep building a good relationship with your brother and uncle. you will need people on your corner that can somehow substitute your parents lack of nurturing affection.” ~ Hollow_Vegetable
Everyone should celebrate their accomplishments, no matter the field.