Parenthood is full of difficult decisions, and some of them feel overwhelmingly personal.
The hope is always that a parent will be able to put their child's needs before their own, but sometimes it takes the internet chiming in to make that happen.
One mother struggled with whether or not to allow her daughter to continue being friends with another girl, when she feared their friendship was impacting their mother-daughter relationship.
The mother came forward to ask:
"[Would I be the a**hole if I made my daughter break up a friendship?"
The mother started off by sharing what should have been good news: her daughter made a new friend at school.
"My daughter, we'll call her Lily, is 14 and she is in a wheelchair. She made a new friend, Barbara, also 14, earlier in the school year who also uses a wheelchair, and they've become very close."
But it seems the friendship has resulted in some hardships at home.
"Barbara has, in a way, strained mine and Lily's once very close relationship. She thinks Lily should be able to hang out more outside of school with their other friends, but I can't risk anything happening to my daughter with zero adult supervision, so I've had to say no."
"Barbara has come to our house several times, before the virus, and I can just tell that she puts things in my daughter's head about me, and I'm not comfortable with it at all, but my husband wants to encourage the friendship."
And the virus in no way has slowed their communication, or Barbara's influence on Lily.
"So, Lily has been talking to Barbara a lot during this isolation period over the phone and internet, and she told me today that she would prefer if I don't call her a special needs child anymore to family, my friends, or basically anyone else."
"She has never expressed this concern to me before, and I asked her what's wrong with what I've said, and she said that she would prefer to use the term [or] identify as disabled. Special needs is apparently an old-fashioned and offensive term now."
Though asking to be referred to in a new way is a very simple ask, the mother is really struggling with it.
"Now, I know that Barbara must have put some ideas into her head. I don't think special needs is a bad word at all, it's the only way I've ever described Lily. [S]o while I did tell her I would think about it, I don't think I can do it, and only because I feel like she was manipulated into this decision."
"My husband thinks I should suck it up and do what our daughter wishes, and Lily has given me the silent treatment since talking to me."
She's so upset about her relationship with her daughter, she's considering forcing her to end her friendship with Barbara.
"I'm very close to letting her know that she is not to talk to Barbara anymore. I feel like that would release a lot of tension, if not right away, definitely in the future. WIBTA (Would I Be the A**hole)?"
Though some could understand where the mother was struggling with the shifting relationship, longing for what used to be, the vast majority of Redditors encouraged her, the OP (Original Poster), to respect Lily's wishes.
"Disabled children become disabled adults, as any children they need to learn how to manage, interactions, real world, world without supervision."
"OP, as much as I understand your worries, YTA (You're the A**hole), you need to let your daughter grow up. have as normal live as possible, people on wheelchairs are often able to lead quite independent life."
"Your child disability isn't your identity." - Trirain
"I'd like to piggyback off this to say that Lily is right. People in the disabled community (myself included) often dislike the term 'special needs' as it implies that our needs are somehow extra and unnecessary. Plus it feels infantilising, like it's sugar-coating something that doesn't need sugar-coating."
"Of coarse, I shouldn't have to say this, because it shouldn't matter in this situation what the community at large thinks, it should matter what LILY thinks. It's up to Lily to decide how she wants to be referred to, and OP refusing to do this just goes against basic human decency." - speculum_speculorum
"Exactly this. You don't get to decide what is offensive to someone else. If someone tells you something you're saying is offensive, it's your responsibility to change your language. Or alternatively, blatantly disregard their request and thus be the AH (a**hole)." - jbrook7
"Yeah she's 14 and growing up most teens that age don't want to be thought of as children anymore. The term 'special needs child' does invoke the image of someone that's kinda helpless and needs an adult or caretaker constantly with them." - GoodQueenFluffenChop
"Has to be Barbara's fault that you think like that [end sarcasm]"
"Can we just talk about how OP thinks her own daughter can't form ideas of her own? She wants to go out - Barbara's fault. She thinks being called 'special needs' (ugh) is offensive - Barbara's fault."
"OP, if you don't learn quickly that you don't raise a puppet which blabbers your opinions right after you sputter them out, but a human being with the ability to form her own opinions based on hearing differing opinions from around her, you'll get the silent treatment not only now for a short time, but for the rest of your life."
"It's now that you have to turn around and embrace your child as her own person." - ChristieFox
Though Lily may have not voiced these concerns before, there is a first time for everything.
Hopefully, the mother will find the strength to grow in a new direction with her daughter and respect the woman Lily grows to be.
*If you enjoyed this article, you can read more like it by clicking on the AITA link below.*