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She Refused to Learn ASL Despite Having a Deaf Stepsister, But an Unexpected Family Crisis Made Her Reconsider Her Decision.

The story follows the Original Poster (OP), a recently remarried woman grappling with her daughter’s resistance to accepting her new husband and deaf stepsister, escalating to her refusal to learn American Sign Language (ASL) for the safety of the little girl. As tensions reach a breaking point, a family emergency forces a surprising turn of events that may just bridge the widening chasm.

A New Union

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OP, a woman in her late forties, marries a man who has a 7-year-old deaf daughter who communicates via American Sign Language (ASL). She herself has a 17-year-old daughter from a previous relationship. The 17-year-old daughter, while typically well-behaved, does not show any affection or interest towards her new stepfather and stepsister.

Tensions Rising

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The relationship between the step-siblings remains cold; the 17-year-old even avoids social engagements, such as her stepsister’s birthday party. Despite efforts to bring the family closer together, the older sister continues to distance herself. OP decides not to push the issue any further as long as there is no outright rudeness.

Language Barrier

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Recognizing the importance of communication, OP takes up ASL classes and becomes fluent. However, her daughter does not show any interest in learning ASL. OP accepts her daughter’s lack of interest since she does not technically bear any responsibility toward her stepsister.

Responsibilities Shift

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A change occurs when OP’s daughter starts babysitting her stepsister. OP believes that now her daughter needs to learn at least basic ASL to ensure the young girl’s safety. However, the daughter outrightly refuses to make any effort, justifying her actions by claiming she’s not responsible for her mother’s decision to marry a man with a disabled child.

Tides Turn

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The situation strains OP’s marriage. Her husband voices concerns about his daughter’s well-being and contemplates divorce due to the lack of interaction with his stepdaughter. The overall environment of the household grows increasingly uncomfortable.

Standing Ground

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OP decides to assert her stance and demands her daughter learn basic ASL, given they live with a deaf individual. She clarifies that if her daughter refuses, she can opt to stay in a dorm during her college years. OP emphasizes that living in their house comes with some basic rules.

The Silent Treatment

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Following this confrontation, OP’s daughter gives her the silent treatment for seven days, leaving OP in a state of uncertainty about her actions. She contemplates whether she has been too harsh or unjust in her decision.

The Initial Story Ends, But an Update to Follow

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At this point in the original story, OP was wondering if she was in the wrong to force her daughter to learn ASL. With tensions high and her marriage on the line, OP reached out to a popular internet forum for advice.

Before reaching judgment, this thread has subsequently been updated six months later with an update by OP on the family issues.

Rebuilding Trust

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After some soul searching, OP attempts to encourage her daughter to rebuild her relationship with her stepsister. She proposes they attend an ASL class together, as a shared experience could be a step towards reconciliation. The daughter, however, remains stubborn and non-responsive.

Mediator’s Entrance

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Seeing no improvement in the situation, OP decides to bring in a family counselor. The counselor agrees to help mediate the complex situation. The daughter seems indifferent to this, continuing her refusal to engage in conversation.

Hidden Resentments

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In a therapy session, OP’s daughter vents her feelings. She explains that her reluctance towards her stepsister and father stems not from a dislike but from feeling displaced and unheard in the new family setup.

Follow Up Conclusion

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Ultimately, the family manages to come together despite the initial reluctance and tensions. OP’s older daughter not only begins to learn ASL but also begins to build a connection with her stepsister, easing the tension in the family.

After an initial struggle with OP wondering if she was wrong to force her daughter to learn ASL, she feels more content with her initial persistence. Still, the question lingers, was she right to force her daughter to learn ASL?

Was The Woman’s Behavior Appropriate?

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The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter. Here are some of their responses:

Forum Responded

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One reader said, “You signed up for this. Your daughter didn’t. Would it be nice if she wanted to be a big sister and do everything you did to welcome this new family member? Sure. But she didn’t sign up for this, so it’s unfair to demand that she save your marriage.”

Another Viewpoint

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Another responder wrote: “‘I’m going to divorce you unless you kick out your 17-year-old daughter or make her learn sign language’ is an ugly ultimatum.”

A Different Perspective

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A different person states, “I think you need to realize that, from your daughter’s perspective, this relationship is still relatively new, and as a near-adult, she is less likely to see your stepdaughter as her stepsister.”

What Do You Think?

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What are your thoughts on their actions?

What would you have done in this situation?

This story is inspired by a Reddit thread.

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