Being a good parent involves more than just taking care of your own kid's basic needs.
Parenting also involves learning about their friends and helping them navigate their social life as they get older and their life becomes more and more developed outside of the home. Sometimes, helping support their social development means that you're also challenged to learn new things and move beyond your biases.
AITA for not letting my son invite his special needs friend to his sleepover?
My son has been excitedly planning this sleepover with his school friends, and I initially had no issue with it since I'm already familiar with his friend group as they often come over to play basketball after school. However, my son recently made friends with a boy named Jason who has special needs.
I'm not exactly sure what his condition is, but he clearly has some sort of developmental disorder and has the mind of a 5-year-old despite being almost 12. My son wanted to invite him to the sleepover, but I was hesitant since I wasn't sure if I was equipped to handle someone with special needs.
Plus, Jason has a caretaker at school that is always with him, so I know he requires a lot of attention and supervision. I initially told my son that he couldn't invite Jason over because of his special needs, but he got upset and said that he didn't want Jason to be left out since he's his first and only friend.
I still told him no because I didn't think I could care for Jason properly, and I didn't think it was appropriate for my son to have to take on that responsibility either. At this point, my son was having a bad attitude, so I decided to cancel the sleepover altogether.
When I told my wife about the situation, she called me an ableist for not wanting Jason to come over just because he has a disability. She said that we should have called his mother to find out how we could accommodate him and make him feel included in the sleepover. Was I the a**hole here?
Thankfully, your son gets his attitude from his mother and not you.
'When I told my wife about the situation, she called me an ableist for not wanting Jason to come over just because he has a disability. She said that we should have called his mother to find out how we could accommodate him and make him feel included in the sleepover.'
Your wife is EXACTLY right.
I’m with your wife here. Why wouldn’t you talk to the parent of your son’s friend to find out how to manage it? Totally YTA.
I get the concerns. But you're still TA. Listen to your wife. Talk to the parents. You didn't try to find a solution. You just decided it's too much of a hassle.
Talk to the other child’s family for f*ck sake. YTA. Your wife is 100% correct & you’re an off-the-scale ableist. I really hope your child doesn’t start seeing disabled people as an inconvenience, like you clearly do.
YTA. Not for being concerned about your ability to manage the situation but because you didn’t even try to find solutions. Maybe a call to Jason’s parents to see if there were any accommodations or how sleepovers have been approached in the past, or inviting him for part of it but not the actual sleepover portion.
It sounds like your kid really likes him and cares about him feeling excluded, you could learn a lesson from your son.
Clearly, OP has a lot to learn from his son and wife. Hopefully, he's willing to learn it.