Parenting is difficult. Parenting alone after the death of your partner is one of the most difficult things a person can be tasked with doing.
For family members watching a person struggle with this task, the desire to help can sometimes lead to overstepping some boundaries.
Reddit user “Wall-mart928” is wondering if he is the bad guy for choosing to cut his sister out of his life after she wildly overstepped.
What better place to ask than the AITA (“Am I The A**hole?”) subReddit?
The Original Poster (OP) asked:
“AITA For Refusing to meet my sister on Christmas after she called CPS?”
Before we get into this heartbreaking and difficult story, let’s walk through how AITA works.
People share their conundrums as posts, explaining the situation and where they’re not sure if they went wrong or not. Other users respond to the OP and share their thoughts as they cast votes in the comments.
Voting options are:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Now that you know how things work, we can get back to the single father’s struggle.
“I (M37) lost my wife of 10 years and it was beyond devastating for me and my daughter. It’s unfortunate, but life goes on no matter what happens.”
“My family knows how much I struggle as a single dad and my sister doesn’t really get it. She had issues with my late wife in the past but now started “helping” with my daughter.”
“She re-decorated my daughter’s room without my consent, she’d insist I let my daughter go spend days at her house – but my daughter is uncomfortable at her home.”
“She then started calling my daughter by another name and I’m still trying to understand her logic behind this. I told her to stop doing those things and to be respectful and supportive; she defended herself saying I’m lashing out at her out of grief.”
“I recently started teaching my daughter to do stuff on her own like brush her hair/clean her room/wash her cups/make sandwiches while I take care of bigger stuff.”
“She’s 8 and she has absolutely no problem taking part of chores, but I keep it simple and also make sure she focuses on studying. I even have a schedule for her as a way to remember doing things on time and also to make sure everything is organized.”
“She helped me make the schedule so that was a fun activity for both of us.”
“My sister said that what I’m doing is wrong. That I’m giving her more than she can handle. She’s just a kid.”
“Although I told my sister that I’m teaching my daughter to be more independent, she said that I’m clearly doing this for my own benefits and avoiding parental responsibility.”
“I got into a fight with her about it.”
“Told her she has zero say in this. The next day A CPS Officer came to my house and took a tour around.”
“My first thought was ‘maybe he got the wrong house’ until he started reading the report to me saying that I’m never home and that I make my daughter do things that aren’t her responsibility, neglecting her education (btw she’s homeschooled) and that I’m not taking care of basic hygiene and whatnot.”
“I told the officer my story and explained that I’m adapting as a single parent. He proceeded to ask my daughter some questions.”
“It was clearly a false report. However I was told that I will have a permanent record with CPS and I was shaken up by this.”
“I told my family about it and my younger sister told me that my other sister was the one who called CPS after we had that big argument.”
“I was so mad I confronted her after she tried hiding herself. Called her immature and stupid to pull this crap (she’s in her 40s, she knows what the consequences could have been) and that she’s no longer my sister.”
“Then I cut contact.”
“It’s been months and now my dad started bringing her up knowing how uncomfortable I was. He said that my sister feels sorry for what she did and wanted to talk things out at Christmas dinner.”
“But I said no.”
“He and the others insisted, saying that I should be the bigger person and the family will be incomplete without me and my daughter on Christmas. They’re saying I refuse to be a ‘civil adult’ to solve the issue that is dividing the family.”
“I yelled and said that my daughter and I do not have to go after what she did; it doesn’t matter if she has issues on her own and ‘didn’t mean it’ and was ‘just concerned.’ What the f*ck was she so concerned about?”
“They demanded that I at least let my daughter go be with them ‘and her auntie’ on Christmas.”
Reddit users showed real empathy for how difficult this situation was as they cast their votes.
“Of course you are NTA, you sound like a good dad doing your best in a really tough situation.”
“Her behavior sounds absolutely bizarre, like she is trying to take over as your daughter’s mother now that your wife has passed away.”
“Calling her by another name? And then calling CPS when that didn’t work? Was she hoping to get custody?” – Curiousnaturejunk
“NTA. It sounds like your sister randomly decided that now your wife is gone this her chance to be Mum to her niece. Unfortunately for her, your daughter still has a loving parent that is actively involved in her life – you.”
“I think that CPS and similar social services will generally try to place children removed from their parents with close family, such as grandparents, or aunts and uncles.”
“So your sister gets your daughter removed from your care, steps forward saying she has plenty of space and your daughter is used to staying around her house, and gets to play Mum with your child. She even had a new name for her, which is downright delusional.”
“Learning personal hygiene, how to do some basic washing up, and making yourself some cold food, are all appropriate things to teach kids. Otherwise they grow up to be crappy adults that need to be waited on hand and foot and struggle to cope in the real world.”
“I’d make it quite clear to your father that there is no apology your sister can give to make up for trying to steal your daughter, and that under no circumstances will your daughter be having visits without you present.”
“Otherwise there’s nothing to stop your sister fabricating more claims (‘she showed up with these bruises’, ‘she showed up with unclean hair and dirty clothes’) and making a second attempt at CPS intervention.” – NannyOggsKnicker
“NTA Calling CPS just because you’re angry is wrong. She took time away from children who are being neglected and need help to get back at you.”
“Not wanting to have her around your family is a normal response, she proved herself to be a danger to your family.” – Longjumping2390
“Yep, I work for CPS and people do this kind of frequently. Call your case manager and tell them everything about your sister. If she calls again, that will be on the record.”
“But I do want OP to know that he will not have a permanent record with CPS at all. As long as nothing was actually going on, the case will close after 30 days and he will not be put on the registry.”
“Not to mention, we’re unbearably busy all the time with really intense and important cases. That case manager had to take time out of their day to handle that when they had tons of cases with children who are actually being abused or neglected.”
“NTA at all.” – OrdinaryWelcome
“NTA. She didn’t call CPS because she thought you were doing anything right or wrong, she called because she assumed she’d be co-parenting and you disagreed.”
“If you look at a whole lot of crazy people escalating, the trigger isn’t some complicated psychology situation, it’s simple rage that someone actually said NO.”
“Stay as far away from her and her supporters as you legally can. You might want to consult a lawyer with your story and get their thoughts, to be prepared if/when she escalates her false accusations from neglect to the physical or sexual abuse areas.”
“People who can’t take no for an answer sometimes take their actions into scary and baffling directions.” – Elesia
“What she did was vicious. I would be looking into some kind of legal recourse for what she did. At the very least I would want the state to be forced to add the fact that the report was malicious.”
“Your daughter could have been seriously harmed by that. You were harmed by that false report.”
“She needs to experience that sinking feeling you got when your life got turned upside down. Talk to a lawyer and see what can be done.”
“‘It’s been months and now my dad started bringing her up knowing how much uncomfortable I was‘.”
“So she’s using your father as her mouthpiece. And he is badgering you because it will be easier on him if you give into her tantrums.”
“‘He said that my sister feels sorry for what she did and wanted to talk things out on Christmas dinner‘.”
“She feels sorry that there are consequences for what she did. She was smugly certain you would suffer.”
“‘He and the others insisted saying that I should be the bigger person‘.”
“They all agree you should obey her orders and accept her abuse, so she can basically take your daughter away from you.”
“‘the family will be incomplete without me and my daughter on Christmas‘.”
“It’s their choice to spend it with her instead.”
“‘Saying I refuse to be a “civil adult” and go solve the issue that is dividing the family‘.”
“Your sister chose to ‘divide the family.’ They need to act like civil adults and get her some help for her disturbing behavior, not demand that you accommodate it.”
“‘They demanded that I at least let my daughter go be with them >>and her auntie << on Christmas‘.”
“So suddenly they have no problem with the family being divided, as long as you are the one excluded, and not the perpetrator of abuse against you and your daughter.”
“OP, she cannot be trusted, ever. Neither can your parents, because they enable her.”
“Do not ever leave your daughter alone with them, because they will immediately allow your sister to see her.”
“It sounds as if she was trying to replace you as the parent of your child long before she called CPS, and she is still trying to do it with their help. She can never be trusted, & neither can your parents. They apparently do not even see her behavior as a problem.”
“In their creepy little minds you are the problem. You are not the a-hhole. Your sister and parents are.”
“Your sister is not your daughter’s ‘aunty’ anymore. Keep your child far away from all of them and strictly limit what information you give them. I’m sorry.” – ragingredblue
After reading through the comments, OP made some decisions.
In an update added later, he explained he is choosing to take his child to spend the holidays with her late mother’s family rather than bring her anywhere near his own.
We hope the pair have a happy holiday.