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Mom tells teen daughter that 'alienation' isn't a good enough reason to switch schools. AITA?

Mom tells teen daughter that 'alienation' isn't a good enough reason to switch schools. AITA?


"AITA for telling my daughter that 'alienation' is not a good enough reason to change schools?"

I'm (38F) going to be as straightforward as possible. My daughter (16F) started high school last September. She's an incredibly smart kid and got into the best high school in our city (and best nationwide ranked by admission grade; for reference her class had 26 spots up for grab & the lowest admission grade was 9.89 / 10). We were so proud of her.

Now, this school also has a reputation as a hub for wealthy kids. We're solid middle class. We didn't think this would matter that much, since rich kids are still just kids at the end of the day and she should try being friends with everyone. She's quite a shy and quiet person. Even though she was nervous about the whole thing (to be expected), she also looked excited until high school actually began.

Immediately after the first day, she started complaining. She said the teachers are amazing, facilities are good, but her classmates...not the best experience to say the least. Apparently they're all from very rich families, and her and her benchmate are the only "poor" students in that class. She said they're not mean and don't bully anyone, and if she asks them about school related things they always respond nicely/willing to help; but they're extremely cliquey and essentially ignore her and her benchmate - it's as if they're invisible.

She said she tried to talk with them a few times but they respond in a friendly but blunt matter, which doesn't leave room for conversation. She said academically they're extremely strong, but she feels the teachers are biased towards them 'cause they get private lessons by them (especially at math, physics and computer science). I considered getting her into these tutoring lessons as well, but the hourly rate these teachers charge is just too high for us.

My husband and I made efforts to send her on 2 school trips so far (skiing in February and weekend sighting in December) and she said she was ignored the whole time. Basically she feels like a pariah, and said she sometimes goes into the bathroom and cries during breaks as she's lonely the entire day (she doesn't have a good relationship with her benchmate).

Recently she came up to my husband and I and told us that she wanted to transfer to another school for 10th grade. We listed to what she had to say but told her no, because there's no serious reason for that. She's not bullied, the school has great prestige, the academics and teachers are great, etc.

Just because people are distant doesn't mean it's enough for her to move. School is like a job, you go there to work and return home; making friends is not a requirement. She was very angry at us and said that we're deliberately obtuse and don't care about her mental health. I personally think she's just childish.

Here's what top commenters had to say about this one:

BulbasaurRanch said:

My god, terrible parenting. What I’m reading is “my kid is struggling, having mental health issues, but has taken it upon herself to communicate her needs to me- but f-k her, this school is great on paper. I want to pride myself on where she goes to school, her being miserable is none of my concern.”

You aren’t supporting your own child when she is telling you her problems and what she wants. But somehow that doesn’t matter because….not clear, I don’t have an asshole mindset so I can’t be certain why you’re ignoring her pleas.

YTA. If she survives into adulthood (children in her situation don’t always….) you are likely not going to have much of a relationship with her. You aren’t supporting her, why would she want to keep someone like you in her life? And don’t try the “but I’m her mother” bullsh%t - you’re not acting like a mother here. You’re just an ahole she has to live with.

owls_and_cardinals said:

I mean, do you want her to be miserable for the next 3 years? Is that worth it to you? At her age, social isolation is a significant problem and it sounds like she has been thoughtful and patient, waiting for most of her 9th grade year to pass before even raising this. You seem like thoughtful and conscientious parents too but you are minimizing this and that's doing your daughter a disservice.

You absolutely should talk about options with her. Could approaching the school leadership potentially help? Are the guidance services available? Ultimately, in my eyes, you should care more about your daughter's mental health even if it means going to the 'second best' school in your area.

You '"think she's just childish?" Well, she is a child so I guess that has merit. But she's also developing, this is a formative period, and her social and mental health do matter even if she is "just a child." You can do better. YTA.

mfruitfly said:

YTA. You have an exceptional daughter in every way, so exceptional that she got in to a great school and is clearly gifted. And yet, you do not want to listen to her. You call her childish, after noting how incredibly smart she is, and having expectations of her that are anything but childish.

So do you value your daughter as she currently is? Do you value her intelligence and her drive? Do you value her ability to navigate the world? Or not? Because if you can't even hear out your daughter, you also don't get to take great pride in all that she has accomplished and her potential.

You have a very smart and driven kid, and she is struggling. You could call her "childish" and put the potential of this school above all else, or you could love your child. She can accomplish great things in another school AND develop better social skills and friendships. In short, she can be smart and happy, or she can be in a celebrated school and miserable.

It is not lost on my at all that you want your daughter to be adult and driven, and take great pride in her ability to do that, until she disagrees with you, and then you disregard her entirely. If your kid is so smart, why does her opinion not matter? Why is her success more important than her happiness? And why- above all else- can you not apply basic empathy and critical thinking skills to the reality that she could FAIL at this school if she is unhappy.

So if you cannot find a way to care about your daughter's happiness, at least use reason: By keeping her in this school you could undo all her success and intelligence and she could fail out or having lasting mental health challenges, and you won't get a shiny award for that to post on your wall.

moongirl12 said:

YTA. For one: Alienation/Shunning is a form of bullying. She’s being bullied. For another: your CHILD IS CRYING IN A BATHROOM AT SCHOOL DAILY. THAT IS SOMETHING YOU TAKE SERIOUSLY!

mdthomas said:

So you're just going to force your daughter to attend a school where she has only one friend and everyone else ignores her. YTA.

NoExplnations said:

Oooof that was harsh. She expressed her concerns which are understandable and you called her childish. She’s battling with self worth and self esteem because of how those kids are treating her. YTA.

No one on OP's side for this one. What's your advice for this family?

Sources: Reddit
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