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Mom shocked when older daughter screams, 'I'm just a GLASS child. You only love MARY.' AITA? UPDATED 2X

Mom shocked when older daughter screams, 'I'm just a GLASS child. You only love MARY.' AITA? UPDATED 2X


When this mom is concerned that she's being a bad parent, she asks the internet:

"AITAH for not giving enough attention to my daughter?"

I know that sounds mean but listen up. I 35F have two daugthers let's say their names are Anna 14 and Mary 9. So Mary has bone cancer and down syndrome, and it takes me and my husband a lot of time caring for her.

But lately Anna has been telling about being a glass child (a child who isnt cared enough bc of a disabled sibling). I told her that we understand her and we are going to work for it.

But last week Mary was taken to the hospital for a checkup but it pissed Anna off she got breakdown and started crying. I didn't have time to comfort her but in the car I called her and she didn't answer.

At home I asked why she didn't answer and she just ignored me. On Friday, she told the school psychologist how she is not taken care of and my husband was called from the school we explained to them our situation. They seemed to understand but today Anna has been ingnoring me so what should I do and AITAH?

Before we give you OP's updates, let's take a look at some of the top responses:

pokliish writes:

YTA. You are neglecting the glass child who is rightfully feeling as her parents do not care about her. It's the parents fault when a child feels that way, it's because you are not doing enough for her, entirely your fault, not hers.

Remember that you have 2 children, not one, "we are going to work for it" is just a shitty stupid comment that means nothing to her, are you not ashamed of yourself for being such a shitty cold parents? Both you and your husband are unworthy.

spainjanet writes:

Soft YTA. Of course you are going through a lot. It's a huge emotional burden and trauma for you and your husband. That said, however, you DO have two children and they both need you.

You must put in more effort to love and give sole attention to Anna. She's at a fragile age right now -- becoming a young woman but still a child. Don't let her fall off the edge because all of your attention was turned the other way. Hire help to care for Mary if you have to.

gather writes:

YTA split up who goes to the hospital. Y’all are failing as parents. All I hear is excuses. My mother and sister both have lupus and cancer. My mother has passed. My sister spent ages 5-15 in hospitals maybe getting out for a week before going back.

My parents split their time, both parents do not need to be at the hospital. I did band, track and more during those years. I spent my weekends and free time at the hospital. My parents hugged us both and yes there was some spoiling done with my sister.

My parents also had the conversation about everything she was going through. I held my sister after chemo. I braided her hair when it grew back. There’s so many stories I could name.

My dad and mom would rotate whom stays and supports the child at home. I’m 30 and love my little sister because my parents fostered a good relationship.

When I threw a fit and said I wanted to be sick, my dad sat me down and we talked. That’s when I got more involved in her care, medicines. I wasn’t expected to put aside my feelings or take care of her, but to have empathy. My dad said I could be upset but do no wish for sickness.

I could go on and on. Y’all need to be there for her. Again rotate. We had days with mom or dad. I rarely had my parents together unless we were at the hospital. When my sister was doing treaments at home they rotated and still made time for me.

Both parents do not need to be at the hospital. You can FaceTime and text updates while still being present for your other child.

This irks my nerves because I always felt bad for kids that came to the cancer ward with their family. No one would give them attention. I was never treated like that.

Edit: I went harsh on this post, it’s triggering because I made tons of friends on the cancer ward. Sick or healthy and so many parents didn’t even cook for the healthy child.

Or so many kids had no visitors. I made friends that were treated like nothing and hated their parents. Hated their siblings and it wasn’t their fault.

I use to cry to my mom and invite random kids to my sisters room or the cancer playroom. Just to be friends. I watched kids my age never leave the hospital and siblings saying good riddance because of their parents treatment.

I still have friends that do not speak to their parents and sibling because of that treatment. Stop putting it off and set up a plan for you and your husband.

creaaapti writes:

Soft YTA. Of course you are going through a lot. It's a huge emotional burden and trauma for you and your husband. That said, however, you DO have two children and they both need you.

You must put in more effort to love and give sole attention to Anna. She's at a fragile age right now -- becoming a young woman but still a child. Don't let her fall off the edge because all of your attention was turned the other way. Hire help to care for Mary if you have to.

And now, OP's update:

From the last post many thougth that I don't care about Anna, but thats not the case. I love both of my children equally. Can I get some tips how to spend more time with her while still being with Mary.

Me and my husband have thinked about splitting the hospital visits so other one could be with Anna. I just asked Anna does she want to watch a movie with just me but she said no. So what should I do with her

So, I'm going to give you a blunt answer. It isn't to hurt you, but because you still don't seem to be understanding the severity of this situation.

This is not a teenage tantrum or snit. Your daughter has spent her life feeling unseen, unheard, and, at times, unwanted. EVERYTHING has been about Mary and always to her detriment.

Mary got two attentive, loving parents who were always there for her. Anna got whatever scraps of attention you could spare her when you weren't focused on Mary.

Can you imagine how hurtful it has been for her to watch you be so attentive to Mary? It's been proof that you can be loving and present parents, but never to her.

You leaving when Anna was upset may well be the defining moment of your relationship.

You've had years to fix this, you've had since she first brought up glass children to reconsider how you treat her, and then she gets upset because there's another thing that is all about Mary. She felt she was still invisible and unheard even after she told you her feelings.

And did you comfort her? Did you try to make her feel better or loved? Nope, you hopped in your car and left. You honestly thought that a quick phone call would be sufficient comfort after you left her feeling hurt and neglected yet again.

She didn't answer because you had your chance, and even after hearing how neglected she feels (and yes, emotional neglect is still neglect), and even after seeing her upset, you still couldn't take the time to be there for her, so what would even be the point in talking to you? So you can ignore her feelings some more? So you can not listen yet again?

I get that having a child with health issues is hard. My mum's friend raised 4 children, 2 of whom had learning disabilities and one of those children has Downs. However, she always made sure ALL of her kids got attention. She did things with them individually, and they always knew they could talk to her and be heard.

You and your husband have been at the hospital whilst Anna has been alone. When was the last time you did anything with her? What does she enjoy? What does she want to do when she grows up? What shows is she watching?

Do you know any of these things? How many events of hers have you not gone to? Because if you're focusing on one child, the other always loses out. Mary has two parents all the time, so when have you had the time to be a parent to Anna?

Anna doesn't want to watch a film with you, and one film night doesn't fix things. She has disconnected because she tried to get you to consider her, and you failed to do so. Why should she keep trying with you? You left her alone, and now she wants to stay that way.

If you want to fix this, you need to get Anna therapy, and you need to have therapy as a family. You need to hear her and not excuse your neglect of her with, "But Mary needed..," or, "But Mary's sick," because you have two children, but you've only been parenting and present for one of them and no amount of excuses will make Anna feel better about that.

You need to take time for just Anna, and you also need to understand that at this point, the damage may already be done, but even then, you keep trying. You need to prove to her that you do want to be there for her, that you do hear her, and that you do love her and want to be an active participant in her life.

You also need to make plans for when you're unable to care for Mary because you cannot ask Anna to take on her care.

Anna has already lost her parents and time with you because of Mary's health problems, so you cannot ask her to give up her life and freedom to become a carer to Mary. Such a request would likely cost you any relationship you've managed to salvage with Anna.

I don't think that you're a bad person, but you've been so focused on making sure Mary is okay that you have completely overlooked Anna. Now she's 14 years old, only 4 years away from being able to leave home.

If you do not right this ship, there's a chance that you really will only have one child because it's clear that Anna has had enough. She's had all these years of feeling pushed out and overlooked, so you're going to need to invest equal time in fixing things.

Update 2:

I just wanted to update you guys so go check the first 2 parts. From friday-monday Anna just came out off her room for food but on monday after school I asked her what happened in school and she told them.

Later that day she asked my husband that can she order some makeup online. He told that we should go to a mall to get them, so were going there today with my husband her and me.

Now I just want to answer to some things people have said. First we haven't used Anna as a free nanny ever. Then on do I know anything about her, I do know basic stuff like friends but i'm working on talkin with her and asking about her interes. I also connected to a family therapist but I havent been answered.

If you thougth I ingnored her for saturday-monday I didn't. I asked her if she wants to talk with me or dad but she didn't answer to me. I also asked her to come to store with me and she just told me what to buy to her.

Update 3:

If you are going to read this please read the posts I made before this. So on tuesday we went to the mall Anna came with us but clearly she prefers to be with her dad (my husband) in the car going there we tried starting a conversation but it didnt work out but when we came back Anna talked with her dad what happened in school.

On friday there was Annan football match that me and my husband went to see. Anna seems to be a little happier and she comes out of her room like to play games or watch tv.

Also wednesday the family therapist called us and we had our first meeting yesterday I wont go to much detail on that but first we talked with family then the therapist talked just with Anna.

In the first meeting we mostly just talked about what we will talk about on the next visits and when will they bee. So I think stuff has gotten better.

Readers continued to weigh on OP's update:

afhagywrit writes:

Posts like this break my heart. I grew up in a similar situation - very sick sibling who spent our entire childhood and adolescence on the verge of death requiring all of my parents attention. It gave me a lot of problems which took years of therapy to work out.

My earliest memory is being 4 or 5 years old with a wood chip stuck in my eye and crying to my mom for help, and her telling me she didn't have time because she had to get medicine in my sister

My sister and I are 28 and 32 now and things still are not good. I didn't talk to my parents at all from the moment I left home at 17 until I was 25 or so. I only this year explained to my mom why our relationship is the way it is, and all she could say was "i did my best"

It still hurts me, and I think it always will. Even as adults my mom can't/won't acknowledge that I got left behind as a kid and that it had a lasting impact on me. That's exactly where "Anna" is headed if the parents don't course correct now.

agarehtys writes:

I was a glass child. My youngest brother has Angelmans Syndrome. As an adult, I am still affected by the neglect, abandonment issues, self esteem issues, I'm a people pleaser due to the neglect.

So much more that my therapist helps me with every week now. So, yea, YTA. But, you can change it. She needs one on one time with you both and separately.

agarthy writes:

I'm the disabled kid of the family. My parents fought for years to save what they could of my sight, but the first 2-3 years were really hard, with travelling abroad to specialists a lot and other stuff.

My older brother's entire personality changed, according to them. He went from a happy, extroverted 5 year old to a quiet kid who definitely felt neglected. And it's not that my parents didn't love him. They did their damned best, and they feel guilty af they couldn't do better. But it doesn't change how much it affected his life.

imaginedragonez writes:

Gosh, are you really that clueless? If Anna is treating you so much worse than your husband, then YOU are the problem. Say that again - YOU are the problem.

Anna didn't want to go to the store with you but is willing to go to the mall with dad. Why is that?

Could it be that every time you are with her, you are "explaining" why Mary needs all your attention? Do you think she really doesn't know that Mary is ill? Do you really think she doesn't know that Mary has multiple doctor appointments that someone has to take her to?

Are your conversations with Anna more like a drill Sargent issuing orders? "Come straight home after school and get your homework and chores done. I will be at Mary's appointment until 6pm so take the laundry out of the dryer. Find Mary a sweater for tomorrow and lay out your clothes for school!"

You are so wrapped up in Mary and Mary's needs that you can't see the forest for the trees. Make a fricking effort with Anna, will you? Find a sitter for Mary and take Anna somewhere- and don't talk about Mary at all.

Spend a couple of hours with your kid and actually be present and engaged. It can be something simple like going for a mani-pedi together. Or take her to a play at the theater.

Or going horseback riding. Just do something that she likes and talk to her. Or send Mary to grandma's overnight and ask Anna to invite her friends over for a sleepover and then have her help you make popcorn balls and pizzas / snacks for them to eat.

Anna doesn't want you to sit and barrage her with questions in an attempt to prove you love her and are interested in her. She wants you to be engaged with her and spend time with her. She needs that attention.

She needs to feel like she is wanted and not an afterthought. She deserves you to be fully present, engaged, and happily spending time on her - and not angrily trying to fold her up to fit her into a 5-minute window in your life where you can ask her about school.

You also need therapy and parenting classes. I can not fathom how you could let this go on for as long as it has, and not realize how badly you have treated Anna. You have really failed her. Congrats on supplying the world with another damaged human being.

Sources: Reddit
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