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Parents Demand Apology After Teen Son Calls Out Their Favoritism For His Autistic Brother

Teen ignoring his berating mother
Highwaystarz-Photography/Getty Images

No matter what any parent or guardian tries to say about it, parenting is hard, and no one is going to be absolutely perfect at it.

But some parents are really delusional about how well they think they’ve done, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor AITATA2124 was sick of living in his parents’ home where they prioritized his older brother’s needs and wanted a fresh start somewhere new.

When his parents kept accusing him of being selfish and ungrateful about all they had done for him when he wanted to go off to college, the Original Poster (OP) decided it was time to speak up about their parenting.

He asked the sub:

“AITA for telling my parents they were bad parents to me?”

The OP didn’t have a positive relationship with his brother.

“I (19 Male) have an autistic brother (20 Male). He’s fairly manipulative because he realized pretty quickly that the threat of a meltdown would get him his way every single time.”

“He is considered high functioning by medical personnel, but he’s got my parents convinced he just doesn’t understand what he’s doing, and they don’t ever punish him. Doctors have told them that he understands and that he knows what he’s doing. They think they know better.”

“They also expect me to revolve my entire life around him. I was never able to do anything I wanted because it upset his routine.”

“I wanted to play a sport? Nope, I had to think about his routine. I wanted to get a job? Nope, his routine. Friends? Yeah, forget about that.”

“I tried not to be resentful, but I am.”

His parents accused him of being selfish when he wanted a fresh start of his own.

“The problem: My parents are flipping out because I plan to move several states away and in with my grandparents soon to attend college.”

“They keep trying to guilt me into staying because of my brother.”

“I usually just say that I’m sorry that they feel that way, but I’m still going.”

The OP finally had to put his parents in their place.

“Well here’s where I might be the a**hole.”

“My mother was going on and on about how the world doesn’t revolve around me and how I was being really selfish and how I was going to ruin my brother by doing this.”

“She said how they’d always been the best parents they could be to both of us and we both got equal attention.”

“I got frustrated and told her that she was delusional if she thought she or my father were ever good parents to me. They made my life revolve around my brother’s, I had nothing of my own, and he had to be the center of everything.”

“I said he wasn’t the center of the universe, even though she tried to make him it.”

“I told her that the only people who were selfish were her and my father because they actively ignored me in favor of babying my brother, who played them like a fiddle to make sure he always got his way.”

“I told her that his routine was not my problem, that it was up to them to make the appropriate adjustments, and asked if she really thought I’d just not live my life because of him.”

The OP’s parents were furious with him.

“She started crying, and I walked off and shut myself in my room.”

“My father is demanding an apology for what I said, but I’m refusing.”

“My grandpa said he’s proud that I stood up for myself, but my parents are still demanding an apology for being an a**hole.”

“I don’t think I need to give them one.”

“AITA here?”

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 were happy for the OP for speaking up for himself.

“NTA. High 5, virtual applause, and a standing ovation. I was literally fist-pumping reading what you told your mom. Good for you.”

“There is nothing to apologize for. You told her the truth.” – v2den

“You have absolutely nothing to apologize for. You’re a teenager, and you deserve to do teenager things like play sports or get a job and especially hang out with friends. You deserve your own life and to try new things.”

“Congrats for standing up to them and best of luck for college.” – olive_maths

“The job thing absolutely appalled me. If I was the parent of a teen and they said they wanted a job, I’d be f**king thrilled.”

“It sounds like they expect OP to be the brother’s carer when mom and dad get too old.”

“Not letting OP have friends is just WTF. These parents are straight-up delusional for thinking they were good parents to OP.” – PillowOfCarnage

“I’m sure wanting a backup carer is why the parents are now freaking out. Out-of-state school means an out-of-state life… which means they no longer have a live-in and submissive caretaker for him.”

“Good for you, OP. I’m so glad you took charge of your own life before it was too late and at a much younger age than most people. Best of luck to you!”

“And NTA!” – chaichaibaby

“If you have abusive parents, you know they absolutely can pull stuff like this. My abusive mom told me I would struggle to learn to drive and tried to talk me out of it. I ended up waiting a year to get my license because she made me believe it would be too hard.”

“Good parents don’t do this. They instead encourage age-appropriate independence and help their kids get to a point where they don’t rely on them.”

“OP, you’re 19! Your mom doesn’t want you to go to school?! Honestly, just saying that, without everything else involved, will make most people do a double-take.”

“You didn’t have kids. It’s nice if you can help out with your brother every once in a while, but he’s your parents’ responsibility. They had him.”

“It’s a factor all responsible people consider when they decide to have kids: what happens if the kid has a debilitating disability or illness and I have to care for them forever?”

“This isn’t on you. Go to school, for f**k’s sake.”

“Oh, and ask your parents if they honestly believe it’s normal or healthy to want to stop their 19-year-old from getting an education. I’d love to hear what bulls**t they come up with.” – anonympushover

Others regretted what the OP’s parents had also taught his older brother. 

“If the brother is high functioning autistic, why is he not being set up to be mostly independent? Autism does not mean a person can’t live on their own or achieve some level of independence if they are high functioning. Sounds like the parents are doing a disservice to both kids.” – JaxAndMia

“The saddest thing about this is that they did OP’s brother just as dirty, only in a different way.”

“If he’s high functioning, then he potentially could be living on his own now, but they fostered dependency instead of encouraging growth.”

“Good luck reversing it now, though. At 20, the damage is likely done. I used to work with developmentally disabled adults and I’ve seen this s**t more times than I can count.” – Vilnius_Nastavnik

“My grandson has Asperger’s and he will graduate this summer even taking some advanced classes. He even joined the track team.”

“The parents won’t live forever and their parenting will ensure that OP will have a hard time getting over the resentment to care for him.”

“Also, if he is high functioning, why would he not push for more independence? If he could have and didn’t, then the joke is on him when he has to live in-patient at a facility.” – cutiepatutie614

“I know a guy in his upper 40s that is a high functioning autistic, and he is the worst a**hole ever. He manipulates everyone into thinking he is the victim and giving him special favors, and it’s how he survives, on handouts from anyone who feels sorry for him.”

“He doesn’t have a job, has family ‘caring’ for him, and all he does is sit at home all day playing video games and manipulating people.”

“If you do ever meet the guy, he is such a bully that he will push and push until you give in, with a constant temper tantrum nonstop, even going to others to push you to give in.”

“My mistake early on was buying into the guy’s crap and feeling sorry for him and trying to ‘help’ him from a nursing perspective. I’m so glad I blocked him and walked away from that one-way user’s friendship. I hope OP can do the same.” – TennaTelwan

“I have a lot of experience with disabled adults. My uncle is developmentally delayed, and I have been around his friends my whole life.”

“My uncle is not capable of living a ‘normal’ life, but there are definitely things he does to make life easier. His friend will never be capable of living alone or caring for certain needs, but he works part-time at a Tim Hortons as a cleaner, he goes out on his own to the park and the grocery store, and he enjoys taking the bus independently to his activities.”

“And this man would not be classified as ‘high functioning’ (which technically doesn’t get used anymore, but old habits).”

“The parents have basically coached the older son into being dependent. Of course he is going to act up if he doesn’t get his way; it has worked his entire life, so why change?”

“Did the parents really expect life to never change? It’s true people who have a disability do not react well to change. But the majority of people who care for adults with disabilities will help them cope with change and give them strategies, rather than set an expectation that things will always be the same.”

“Change is inevitable, and I’m appalled they tried to stunt OP’s life rather than help the older son cope. NTA, OP.” – Bi-Bi-Bi24

The subReddit was so glad the OP had stood up for himself and was going to be creating physical distance between himself and his immediate family by continuing his education out-of-state.

While in another situation, it would have been lovely to see the OP wanting to be there for his brother when and if the need arose, limiting his life “just in case” was hardly the route his parents should have taken.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit