Parenting is full of learning opportunities, for the parents and their children alike.
But there are some lessons that should be pretty clear from the beginning, and when a parent makes a senseless mistake, they'll probably be called out for it.
Take, for instance, the mom who was planning a birthday party for her daughter, who is in second grade. The Reddit user, "SufficientPractice4," who shared her story in the "Am I the A$$hole" subReddit, had a learning opportunity she could have shared with her daughter that they both totally missed.
"My daughter is in the second grade, her birthday is coming up and we have a pool party planned at our park district for her birthday with her classmates. One student in her class, let's call him Tyler, is nonverbal autistic. I've met him a few times, and he's a sweet kid, but yeah nonverbal autistic. He is in my daughters class partially but leaves midway through the day to go to a special program or something."
She proceeded to tell her daughter that she could invite everyone in her classroom, or just the girls.
But instead of choosing one of these two options, her daughter chose a third option that her mother probably should have just dismissed.
"Now I told my daughter she can either invite all the girls, or the entire class. I am not letting her invite specific people and single anyone out. She ended up choosing the whole class, but my daughter, as respectfully as a second grader could be, asked me if it was okay if Tyler did not receive an invite. She said he's barely in her class and doesn't really know anyone, and it might be tough for him to be at a pool party."
For many parents, this would be a very straight-forward situation.
You shouldn't avoid inviting someone to your party just because they're a little different. However, the Reddit user needed a little more time to think, and even discussed the matter with her husband.
Together, they came to a very different conclusion.
"I talked to my husband about this and we ended up deciding that she does not have to invite him. She has to give out her invitations through mail however, because I do not want him seeing her giving invitations out."
But not everyone liked the mother's decision.
"Anyways, I was talking about this at my work with a couple other nurses and a few of them thought I was being horrible by telling her she didn't need to include the child with special needs. I said that I do not have any experience handling special needs children, and I didn't know if he would need special assistance or even need his mom or a caretaker there the whole time. A coworker told me I made a huge mistake by 'teaching my daughter that it's okay to exclude those who are different'. Idk if I'd read that much into it."
Because of her fellow nurses' reactions to her choice, the Reddit user decided to pay a visit to the "Am I the A$$hole" subReddit for a second opinion.
The responses to the mother's post were overwhelmingly negative, questioning what she was thinking in the first place, and what this situation has inevitably taught her daughter.
"You are definitely teaching your daughter that it's okay to exclude people who are different. It's not your choice if he can handle the party or not. He should absolutely receive an invite and his parents/caregivers can decide if he's capable of attending."
"ETA: I missed the fact that you're a f**king NURSE because I was so mad already. You really should know better. I hope your coworkers report your lack of compassion to the higher ups because I can only imagine what your bedside manner is like." - nyorifamiliarspirit
"OP, you're not his parent or his caregiver. It's not your place to assume that a pool party would be tough for him. Too many children with different needs spend their childhoods being left out. Did you verify that all the other children in his class know how to swim or like swimming before you invited them??" - lunarelfqueen
"He's non verbal autistic. Do you think for a second that that you'd actually be expected to care for him or be responsible for him at the party? Do you really think they'll just dump him off on his own? If his parents decide he can attend, I guarantee he'll be accompanied, and probably not even stay long, if he's allowed to attend."
"Also, it's a public pool. It's not even like you have liability of something bad happening at your house. Other kids have issues, too, and you're okay with whatever they might bring to the party: food allergies, not being able to swim, asthma, etc,. You told her only girls, or the whole class, but she's not inviting the whole class. YTA." - gimmesomewater
It's so important to be inclusive whenever you can be, and to be kind to others. This is especially important when raising children, who are watching your every decision and observing how you treat others.
Though the decision has already been made in this situation, hopefully this mom has learned a few things from her lengthy Reddit commentary, and will take the time to discuss what she's learned with her daughter.