Many Redditors praised them for taking a stand against their son's bully while some warned that they need to reevaluate their daughter's friendship.
Making hard decisions is a major part of everyday life for parents. They're confronted with difficult choices every step of the way as they attempt to do what's best for their offspring. It gets even more complicated when more than one child is involved as the best interests of one might sometimes be in direct contradiction to the happiness of another. This was more or less the case with Reddit user u/101iLikePapaya who turned to the r/AmItheAsshole forum to ask fellow Redditors whether they were in the wrong for "not inviting [their] daughter's new friend to her birthday party because she bullies [their] son?"
Providing some context into the situation, the Redditor wrote: "I have sent out invitations to my daughter Andy's 10th birthday party. She invited all her friends, teammates, and cousins but she got upset when I told her she can't invite her new friend Trisha (11). Trisha's family moved into our neighborhood last month and she and Andy became good friends as they are teammates in Lacrosse. I told Andy that I heard Trisha mimicking her brother's tics (repetitive muscle movement and sounds) one time while visiting."
"That was the first time I saw her do that and I talked to her and explained Adam's condition. She said it was just a joke and she won't do it again. But recently my son told me that Trisha laughed at him and mocked him by copying his tics," they added, revealing that their 8-year-old son, Adam, has Tourette's syndrome. According to the CDC, it is a "condition of the nervous system [that] causes people to have 'tics.'" These tics "are sudden twitches, movements, or sounds that people do repeatedly." Individuals who have tics are unable to stop their bodies from doing these things.
The Redditor explained that their daughter wasn't too happy about her friend not being invited to her birthday party. "Andy told me that Adam can just stay in his room so that he and Trisha won't see each other. But I refused and told her I will not tolerate anyone bullying Adam," they wrote. To make matters worse, the Redditor also received an angry message from Trisha's mom, calling them out for not inviting her daughter to the party. However, the Redditor immediately hit them back with a reality check. "I told her her daughter makes fun of my son and she needs to tell her off," they wrote. "AITA? It's my daughter's birthday party and she's not excited anymore because she can't invite one of her friends."
Fellow Redditors praised the parent for taking a stand against their son's bully. Some even pointed out that they might need to reevaluate their daughter's friendship with Trisha. "You need to treat this with a sense of urgency. Trisha's behavior is toxic, and it is also contagious and even after spending the last 8 years raising an empathic child who treats her brother well, this behavior is literally resulting right now in a war in your daughter's mind, where she is weighing the pros and cons in participating in the bullying privately or blaming her brother for his disability," wrote u/steak_dilemma.
"A lot of wild stuff happens to the human brain starting around this age, hormones and change and whatnot, and early adolescents constantly reinvent themselves in response to all these changes. You do not want your daughter to reinvent herself as a bully, or as someone who loves her brother less, because she's gaining socially from her association with Trisha," they added. "Be mindful that Andy should also not be taking on the mental and emotional work of trying to 'save' Trisha, either, and neither should you. But, talk to Andy about how she should respond to Trisha."
"'Calling in' is a good strategy, a script like, 'Trisha, when you make fun of Adam, you're making fun of something that he can't help. You know, even though he has Tourette's, he can still understand when he's being made fun of, and it hurts him. I wish you would instead get to know Adam and all the things that make him my awesome little brother.' And of course, if Trisha continues to retaliate, Andy is going to need to lean on her resilience skills - 5th or 6th grade is old enough to have these - and just be like 'Making fun of a little boy with a disability is not a good look, Trisha.' And that's that," they concluded. "Hopefully, Trisha reinvents herself well, too, but it's not Andy's job to make it happen."