Commenters criticized a father who bought his daughter a kitten because he felt she was “put on the back burner” when her younger sister with nonspeaking autism was born.
The anonymous man, known as u/Then-Yoghurt-6322, posted about the incident on Reddit’s popular “Am I The A**hole” forum where it received nearly 7,500 upvotes and 3,000 comments. The post can be found here.
Autism spectrum disorder is a term that encompasses a variety of neurodevelopmental disorders that affect a person’s development, behavior, communication, and ability to socialize.
It is estimated that between 25 to 30 percent of individuals with autism are minimally verbal or completely nonspeaking.
In the post titled “AITA for getting my eldest daughter a kitten when wife is already overwhelmed with our disabled child?” the man said his seven-year-old daughter has had to make more sacrifices for her sister, five, than “any child should have to.”
“She has unintentionally been put on the back burner ever since her younger sister was born,” the post read. “It is clearly taking a toll on her and I felt really bad.”
He explained that she is not allowed to have playdates unless he is home because his wife cannot “manage” another child because their daughter with autism needs constant supervision. He also said she “can be aggressive” and is “prone to meltdowns.”
“She has also been subject to aggressive behaviors from her sister and has been always expected to let her sister have the first turn, the biggest piece and the winning ticket so to speak,” the post read. “She also had her toys frequently destroyed by her sister.”
The dad said she has been wanting a kitten ever since she was little but that his wife refused because she said she couldn’t handle any more work since their other daughter requires a lot of care. He also added that while she is a stay-at-home mom, he works long hours.
“I thought my daughter has had it rough these past 5 years and for once deserved a little joy in her life, so I decided against my wife’s wishes to get her a kitten, The Joy on her face ever since having her new kitten brought tears to my eyes and I’m not a screamer.”
But he said his wife was “furious” and demanded that he return the kitten, which the daughter heard.
“I understand she’s overwhelmed but our daughter deserves a little bit of joy in her life for once, and as she gets older she will be able to handle the kitten more,” the post read. “Our daughter is a person and not just supposed to be a decorative artifact in her sister’s story.”
The man said he understands that his wife is the one that is home all the time but that the kitten will eventually grow into an independent cat and added that at least it was a kitten and not a puppy.
“I’ve seen a lot of posts on here about adult children of disabled siblings going no contact with their parents due to emotional neglect,” the post concluded. “I am trying to prevent that from happening. AITA?”
Nearly 3,000 users commented on the post, with the top comments criticizing the man for going against his wife’s back and getting the kitten.
“You definitely need to figure out how to assist your wife with handling youngest’s needs while not neglecting oldest, but this…this was not it,” one user commented.
“You need to figure out practical solutions that will allow both children to get the attention they need,” another user wrote. “That could range from you finding a job with fewer hours and/or getting professional in or out of home care for your younger child on a regular basis.”
“IF OP had said he’s going to 100% do all the litter box and feeding and play with the cat when he’s home, he’d be a little less of an AH, but he didn’t, he strongly implied mom is on the hook for this,” another added.
Others added that it did not seem like having a kitten around her younger sister is a good idea.
“Who is going to stop the aggressive toy breaking child from hurting the kitten?” one user asked.
“Since you don’t seem to have a plan to protect the kitten: YTA” another wrote.
“The cat deserves to be safe and should be rehomed. Help your wife. Do better,” another added.
Newsweek reached out to u/Then-Yoghurt-6322 for comment.
One mother recently took to Reddit to ask if she was “satan” for planning to give away the family’s 10-month-old puppy.
Another man was recently slammed online after telling his pregnant wife that he wouldn’t help her with chores around the house because it is a “mother’s job.”
In another Reddit post, a man was criticized for introducing his wife to coworkers as “the housewife” rather than her first name.