One Reddit user is asking the internet if they are the a****** for mom-shaming their sister.
“My (28F) sister and her wife (32F, 33F) have 3 kids (12F, 10F, 7M). All three kids are ‘unschooled’, basically meaning they don’t go to school or [are homeschooled]. My sister had undiagnosed ADHD until college and was miserable in school, so she said she didn’t wanna put her kids through that,” the OP (original poster) began.
“My sister explained it as letting them learn naturally at their own pace without it being as rigid as attending traditional public school. Sounds great on paper, except that my sister’s kids don’t do much of any actual learning or anything at all. My nieces attend dance classes and my nephew plays soccer, but that’s basically it.”
The OP went onto reveal how they observed the kids and found that they don’t really have any structure to their day.
“Whenever I go over there, the kids are either glued to the TV, running around doing whatever or playing computer or iPad games. I know my oldest niece is at least literate since she’s developed a thing for writing short stories, but if the younger two have ever even so much as read anything that wasn’t a restaurant menu, I couldn’t tell you.”
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“At the end of the day, they’re not my kids and it isn’t my choice to make. It’s still worrying though. As my own son is getting close to school age, my sister has been bugging me on doing the same with him. I don’t know why she thinks I’d go that route, seeing as my son has probably learned more in daycare than any of her kids have in the past few years.”
And while the OP acknowledged they were not the mother of these children, they did feel moved to share their thoughts on the subject.
“Yesterday, when this was brought up over the phone, I told my sister that me and my husband both work, so it’s not feasible. She offered to watch my son during the day if that was the case since she’s a SAHM [stay at home mom]. I had to give it to her straight: I think she’s setting her kids up for failure by not giving them a proper education and I’m not going to do that to my son. I pointed out that her kids are uneducated, do a whole lot of nothing, and it’s only downhill from here if she doesn’t set up more structure with them. I’m just not gonna have that be my son, too.”
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“My sister went off and accused me of mom-shaming her, saying I didn’t need to do that and could’ve just said no, her kids are fine and it’s none of my business, etc. She hung up on me and I got inundated shortly after by texts from her wife basically saying the same stuff, saying I’m horrible for talking about my sister and their kids like that. Now even my mom has gone against me, saying I have no right to treat family like that and how could I talk about my own nieces and nephews that way. AITA?”
One user said: “NTA. As a survivor of unschooling myself (after the age of 10), I’m glad you said something.”
While another commented: “Another unschooling survivor here agreeing you’re NTA. IMO it amounts to neglect at best and abuse at worst, and I was absolutely set up to fail by my parent refusing to step up and structure my life. I made it out okay because I realized how screwed up it was and took on educating myself, but that’s a confusing and scary process I don’t wish on anyone, and the social, science and math skills I missed out on learning [and it] absolutely [holds] me back to this day. There’s also a lot of shame, regret and resentment I live with. They should absolutely be and feel shamed for their choice to willfully isolate and fail their children.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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