Introducing her three children, two who are only adults at 18 and 20 (Jen and Jay, who are neurotypical) and Jack, an 11-year-old who has both ADHD and is on the autism spectrum, the original poster said she got to an argument with her older children after they put her down to express issues with the assumption that they would eventually inherit the full-time care of their brother, who the OP says will never be able to live fully independently.
“We’ve made sure both of our neurotypical kids know that one day they’ll have to take care of Jack when the time comes when me and their dad can’t,” the poster wrote. “Jen has always been neutral, but Jay has always been incredibly stubborn and rude about it. I put it down to being young and having his life ahead of him, but the year he went to college he made it very clear to me that there’s no way he’s going to take care of Jake and I’ve been arguing with him about it ever since.”
When her older children tried to address the care issue — with her eldest son even “intervening” to help her eldest daughter express her discomfort — she said they got into a shouting match over the matter.
“He said very rudely that neither of them will ever take care of Jake. He told me they were not raised to be “caregivers” and that “expecting their children to sort out this future issue for them is absurd,” the poster wrote. “…I really believe that this kind of mentality is selfish and evil. Jake is their brother, their flesh and blood, and he didn’t ask to be taken care of. It’s absurd that they just let him down. I’m not telling them to put their lives on hold and be his caretaker, just that if the time comes when we can’t take care of him, they will have to.
She says she hasn’t spoken to her eldest son since.
While this OP’s concern about her youngest’s future and stability is understandable, the people on the subreddit were too quick to agree with her kids and call her out for refusing to consider that they could lead lives that don’t suit them. directly care candidates or emphasize any kind of choices they may want to make independently.
The consensus: The older siblings are not — naturally in the same family — their brother’s guardians.
“Jack is not their child, and it is appalling of you to deprive them of their future in this way,” one commenter wrote.
Another noted that defaulting her other children as a solution to long-term care, rather than trying to fully consider what is best for all parties, feels profoundly unfair to everyone: “… your adult children are not your long-term care solution. They will get married, have children, move for work, etc. They will live their own lives. And the fact that you think it is bad of them not to sacrifice their life and ability to gain their own experience because of your shortcomings is unforgivingly awful on your part.”
Others noted that there are so many ways to involve her adult children more openly and less aggressively in family care decisions without forcing them into roles that could be detrimental to everyone’s well-being and further relationships.
“My husband (and I) will probably be his brother’s caretaker when his parents can no longer do that,” shared a poster. “Why? Because they early And he said Yes. There was no requirement, no obligation, and if we chose not to, that was our right. OP, you messed up and may not be in a relationship with your older kids anymore.
And another commenter reminded the OP that she should work more proactively with Jack and qualified experts to find the best long-term care situation that will allow him to thrive.
“OP really needs to look into assisted living. The waiting lists can be extremely long, but I have known many people who have lived in assisted living and they really appreciated the independence it provides. When I was severely disabled, I wanted to move there myself,” said commentator r/octohussy. “Expecting Jack’s siblings to take over his care is extremely unreasonable, and I doubt Jack himself would want to force them. Explore the options available outside of sibling care and discuss with Jack what he feels comfortable with, his opinion is the one that matters most!
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