A new foster mother who took to Reddit with worries that she might inadvertently be “parentifying” her eldest foster daughter is not doing so at the moment — but will need to be sure that she does not in the future, an expert told Fox News Digital.
Reddit user AmazingWheel4790 asked users of the subreddit “Am I the A–hole” (AITA) to weigh in after her friend accused her of parentifiying one of her three foster children.
“AITA for ‘parentifying’ my foster daughter?” asked the original poster in a Friday, Feb. 9 post on the subreddit.
In the post, AmazingWheel4790 said she recently took in three foster children: a 13-year-old girl named Diana, a 5-year-old boy named Michael, and a 4-year-old girl named Emily.
“They are all siblings who were going to be separated, so I got them to avoid that, and I’m planning to adopt them because they are wonderful kids who I love very much,” she wrote. (She did not share her location.)
Little Emily, however, “is a very picky eater and if her food is not made in a specific way she will not eat it.” wrote AmazingWheel4790 of her youngest foster child.
“For example, her bread needs to be cut in a very specific way. I have tried to cut it the way she wants, but she never eats what I make, because she says I’m doing it wrong,” the foster mother wrote. “She will eat what Diana makes, though, even though I can swear Diana’s bread and mine look exactly the same.”
Perhaps both girls could be involved in food preparation — which “could alleviate any feelings of burden on the older sister.”
Attempts to trick the younger girl into thinking her older sister prepared food that was actually handled by AmazingWheel4790 apparently have failed.
“She can’t be fooled,” wrote the foster. mother. “She is picky with so many things.”
Diana would assist with the preparation of meals, without incident, the woman wrote — until Thursday, that is.
“Yesterday I had my friends over for dinner,” wrote AmazingWheel4790. “I called Diana and asked her if she could please help me prepare Emily’s food because Diana knows her best.”
The mom added, “She agreed and started helping me.”
AmazingWheel4790’s friend asked if Diana was “always responsible [for] feeding Emily,” to which the foster mother replied, yes, Diana “helps me with this a lot.”
The friend, said AmazingWheel4790, called her an “a–hole” and “accused me of parentifying Diana, saying it’s my job to feed my kid, not her job.”
So — “am I really the a–hole?” asked AmazingWheel4790 of others on social media.
Fox News Digital reached out to AmazingWheel4790 for any updates to the story she shared.
The story as told does not rise to the level of “parentification,” Najamah Davis, MSW, LCSW told Fox News Digital.
Davis, a licensed clinical social worker, is based in New Jersey and is the owner of Najamah Davis Counseling Services.
“Parentification occurs when a child is expected to take on adult responsibilities, such as caring for younger siblings, at an inappropriate age,” Davis told Fox News Digital.
This situation, she said, is not likely that.
“Parentification occurs when a child is expected to take on adult responsibilities, such as caring for younger siblings, at an inappropriate age.”
However, “the foster mother needs to be mindful of the dynamic between the two girls and ensure the older daughter doesn’t feel like she’s being forced to take on a parental role.”
Davis suggested that perhaps both girls could be involved in food preparation — which “could alleviate any feelings of burden on the older sister and allow the younger sister to gradually become comfortable eating without her sister’s direct involvement.”
David said that, in addition, “it may be helpful to talk to the older daughter about her feelings and make sure she knows she can communicate any concerns or worries about the situation,” she said.
On the AITA subreddit, people can reply to posts and indicate the poster is “NTA” (“Not the A–hole”), “YTA” (“You’re the A–hole”), “NAH” (“No A–holes Here”) or “ESH” (“Everyone Sucks Here”).
Users can “upvote” responses they think are helpful and “downvote” ones that are not.
More than 600 people commented on the fosher mother’s post, with the majority saying that she was “NTA” for asking her foster daughter to help with dinner — and that chores like this are a normal part of most childhoods.
“I think the only way you’d be [at fault] is if Diana expressed that doing this for her sister was something that bothered her,” said Reddit user “shesacancer” in the top-upvoted comment.
The same commenter noted that “whatever situation that led to them being in foster care resulted in Diana doing some degree of parenting well before you entered the picture since Emily prefers food from her.”
“For what it’s worth (and I don’t know if you’ve done it already), I think a good idea would be to have a conversation with Diana about this,” the commenter wrote — and ensure that Diana is OK with the arrangement.
“NTA, seems like you’re doing your best and meeting Emily where she’s at,” said shesacancer.
Another user concurred with that.
“NTA. If Diana doesn’t mind, this is the temporary solution to making the child eat,” said a Redditor called “Ok-Nobody9590” in another top comment.
“For a 4-year-old it makes absolute sense. Since there is so little they can control, they tend to try and ‘control’ food,” said Ok-Nobody9590.
“Obviously, time and perhaps therapy will change things for all of you,” wrote the same commenter.