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'AITA for not sending my younger daughter to private school with her older sister?' UPDATED 2X

'AITA for not sending my younger daughter to private school with her older sister?' UPDATED 2X

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Sometimes, the whole internet logs on to give you a piece of their mind.

"AITA for not sending younger daughter to private school?"

Really wondering if I am the AH in this situation or just being reasonable with finances. Thanks in advance for help. I have two daughters, Abby and Sarah. Abby is two years older than Sarah, and is incredibly diligent, hardworking and intelligent. She is a sophomore in high school, where she excels in all her subjects in school, and is in honors and higher level (junior/senior) classes.

She attends a private school, where we pay a pretty hefty tuition, but it was obvious to me and my wife in her middle school years that she would do great there, so we bit the bullet and paid. She has proven us right in every regard. Sarah is in the eighth grade, and has already begun to excitedly talk about how excited she is about the art program at the private school her sister attends.

Sarah has a beautiful heart and is one of the kindest people I know. She is also very talented at art, but the program at our local public high school is good as well. She is not as diligent or hardworking as Abby is (or was at Sarah's age), and can be a bit of a slacker when it comes to STEM. She does alright in English and History, about average.

Yesterday, we sat down with Sarah and explained to her that the private school was not a good fit for her like it was for Abby, and we are not going to be sending her there. She immediately burst into tears, saying she knew we didn't love her as much, think she was as talented, etc.

We assured her time and time again that we did love her, we thought she was very smart and talented, but simply would not fit in at the private school, which is full of straight A students.

She asked if we could look into more arts oriented programs for her, and we told her no because we simply do not see the same ratio of monetary value to educational value — Abby is essentially guaranteed a spot in the Ivies, while Sarah would be better suited for an arts school, which we do plan to pay for after she graduates high school.

She told us we did not value her, preferred her older sister, etc. Abby overheard all of this and is siding with her sister, saying she will refuse to go to the private school again in the fall unless Sarah is with her. My wife and I are certain they are being melodramatic teenage girls. AITA here?

The internet gave OP a big piece of their mind.

psychominnie624 wrote:

YTA. The world would be a very depressing place if everyone was in STEM. Just because her talents lie outside of “guaranteed ivies” doesn’t mean they don’t have intrinsic value and shouldn’t be nurtured.

OP responded:

Understand completely. This is why we buy her art products, allow her to take art classes at her school instead of more STEM oriented electives. But it just does not make sense to me to pay for her to attend a school that does not suit her.

psychominnie624 wrote:

So send her to an arts based private school. They exist and would guarantee her a spot at a top arts institute.

OP responded:

Don't really understand how I am supposed to justify, financially, sending her to do something that she is already doing well at home. You simply do not need arts schools the way that you need regular ones. She has natural talent and can foster it without me spending thousands.

brokendollparts wrote:

YTA. You're essentially saying she's not good enough for private school because she doesn't get straight A's. You're favoring your older daughter and it's not fair to the younger.

Free_The_Pee wrote:

YTA. Both go or neither go, if she had to pass an exam to get in and didn't I would understand. But to basically say the elder is worth the money and the younger isn't is an awful thing to do and I 100% see where she is coming from. If I were her I would be upset as well and I hope you realise she isn't going to forget this. Treating kids differently like this really hurts their feelings of self worth.

Blizzardswirl wrote:

YTA. You're so much so TA that your older daughter had to step in to stand up for her sister to defend her from you. Think about that. A teen girl offered to give up her private school and her friends to stick up for her little sister because this situation is so out of line.

You're sitting there doing math about your children to maximize the ROI you get out of them, and you don't even see that you're treating them as commodities. They're not even eighteen yet and you've reduced them to their future earning values. If you couldn't afford to send both of them you really couldn't afford to send either. Why? Because of this.

Because your daughters are correctly perceiving that you think one of them is worth more than the other. However you squirm and reframe and justify, your daughters can see that a) you measure value and worth in financial terms and b) you're willing to spend more money on one of them than the other, because you think one of them will be worth more financially in the future.

You can do what you want. It is your money. I just wouldn't count on your investments--sorry, your daughters--paying out as handsomely as you hope in the future.

The next day, OP shared an update.

UPDATE: I do not know if there's generally updates here but the amount of aggressive and angry messages I received (thanks) showed me that if people are passionate about a stranger then I must be bigger jerk than I thought.

I still do not see the other side of the situation and think I am correct but this is bigger than me and I decided it is not worth it to lose a relationship with my daughter on the off chance that they are right. My wife encouraged me to look into art programs for Sarah, saying she did not want to take the back seat on this one since Sarah spent most of the night crying to mom.

I have apologised to both of them (as well as Abby) and agreed to send her to a private school as well. I still think it is low-merit so I told Sarah she could attend the arts-oriented program on the condition she also utilize the other resources (STEM, English, etc.) at the school. Thank you for the CONSTRUCTIVE feedback, some of you.

The internet continued to give OP a piece of their minds.

evilqueenmarceline wrote:

How do you still not see the other side of this? 100 people have laid it out for you 100 different ways. And just so you know, if your attitude towards Sarah continues to remain unchanged (as it seems it will), you’ll cause long-lasting problems for her and your family even if you send her to the private school. This is more than the school. It’s about your underlying feelings about your daughter’s worth.

BagelsAndJewce wrote:

He’s already done that. His daughter knows he doesn’t give a damn about her and she’s going to carry that weight forever. This dude better hope his daughter can forgive him but he’s probably going to do some other preferential shit down the road that’s going to destroy his relationship with his daughter.

YourFriendlySpidy wrote:

"I still do not see the other side."

I'll spell it out for you. You put a monetary value on your children with one worth several thousand and one worth nothing. You showed which child you value more in the most blatant way imaginable.

Alterpendagron wrote:

Sir, I want you to seriously consider what you are saying. What you have said in previous comments. You spent your time arguing and trying to defend yourself to strangers online while your wife had to comfort your crying child. You talked about how you essentially consider your daughters investments and to get a return on them.

You aren't seeing them as people--you're seeing them as investments, and judging them not as people, but as a financial investment. Let me repeat this: You are viewing your children as financial investments, not as people. Do you not see how twisted that is? How little empathy do you have to scoff at a situation like this as an emotional teenage outburst?

Why are you so concerned with defending yourself from strangers across the globe while your wife is doing the actual parenting here? You have made it clear that you think Sarah completely fails at everything except Art, while Abby excels at everything else. You're not seeing Sarah as a person--you see her as a lackluster financial investment and don't want to put anything into her.

Not just in terms of money--but also in terms of emotional investment. You don't see her as worthy, because you can only see her value as a financial investment, not as a human being and your own child. What would you do if all your plans for Abby went up in smoke? Would you treat her differently? Would she suddenly be the 'Sarah' of the family?

Is the value of a human being only worthy when you can judge their monetary gain and how you can profit? Your children--your family--are not there to be investments. They're not an extension of financial gain. They are living, breathing human beings. They are human beings with feelings and wants. They're human beings with emotions and relationships. Relationships they share with YOU.

And, good sir, if you continue down this path... your relationship with your daughters will be severely damaged at best. Please, please, just sit down and listen to your family. Just sit and listen. Don't speak. Just listen to your daughters. Listen to them not as silly children, not as a lackluster investment, but as fellow human beings. I truly hope your daughters get the father they deserve.

Sources: Reddit
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