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Parents Return Daughter’s Birthday Gift After She Calls Cousin ‘Brat’ For Blowing Out Her Candles

Girl blowing out her birthday candles
keeweeboy/Getty Images

Content Warning: Mentions of Domestic Abuse

Life has its ways of going up and down, with high points and low points, and for the really low points, some of us might find ourselves not handling the situation all that well.

We might even do some things that we regret, either while trying to cope or in a reactionary sort of way, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor BirthdayAHThrowaway recently threw a birthday party for their twenty-year-old daughter, who was going to college and whose best friend was going through some terrible things in her personal life.

But when her daughter lashed out at her young cousin for helping her blow out her birthday candles, the Original Poster (OP) was shocked at her behavior.

They asked the sub:

“AITA for not caring that my daughter is going through a difficult time with a friend and returning her birthday gift after the way she treated her cousin?”

The OP’s daughter, Brooke’s, birthday party did not go quite how she expected.

“My daughter Brooke’s birthday was on Friday, so we had a celebration at home.”

“My SIL (Sister-in-Law) was holding my niece, Aria, in her lap and keeping an eye on her during the birthday celebration.”

“Everything was going well until it was time for singing. Brooke blew out the candles, and her cousin Aria blew on the cake, too.”

“My SIL and BIL (Brother-in-Law) said ‘Oops’ and apologized. My BIL started explaining to Aria why she couldn’t blow on the candles at someone else’s birthday, and Aria obviously didn’t understand. It was just an accident.”

Brooke did not take sharing the candles with Aria well.

“We were in the middle of correcting Aria when Brooke snapped at her.”

“Brooke turned what happened into a scene, raising her voice and calling Aria a ‘f**king brat.'”

“I immediately got firm and told Brooke to apologize.”

“Brooke tried to argue that Aria ruined her birthday candles.”

“I told Brooke, ‘I don’t care who you are or what day it is. It is never okay to treat a three-year-old that way as a 20-year-old adult.'”

“Brooke refused to apologize and stormed off.”

The OP punished Brooke for how she behaved at the party.

“After everyone had left, I informed Brooke that because she refused to apologize for the way she acted towards her cousin, I was returning her purse, which was the main gift I had bought her.”

“She also got a Stanley Cup, too, but I let her keep it since it’s something practical for school.”

“Brooke tried arguing that she was too old for me to be confiscating her things, and returning the purse was going too far.”

“I just told Brooke that I bought the purse with my own money and was free to do what I pleased with it. And if she wanted to act like a child, then she’s going to get treated like one.”

But the OP’s wife, Kimberly, felt there must be more to the story than bad behavior.

“My wife Kimberly said she is not going to re-buy the purse for Brooke, and she agreed Brooke was out-of-line for how she treated Aria during the birthday celebration.”

“But Kim said that I should have more understanding for Brooke because of what’s going on with Jessy.”

“Jessy has been Brooke’s best friend since they were in fourth grade. The problem is that Jessy recently got engaged, and her fiance is not a good guy. Brooke and Jessy’s family staged an intervention to talk to Jessy, but Jessy is insistent on the marriage and has been talking to Brooke less and less.”

The OP didn’t agree with their wife’s reasoning.

“Of course, I understand that it is a heartbreaking situation, and I am sorry Brooke has to experience that with her friend. But what is happening with Jessy has nothing to do with the way Brooke treated Aria.”

“If Brooke had snapped at Aria but immediately apologized after, then I could see how returning her purse could be seen as unfair.”

“But I think Kimberly is being too lenient with our daughter, and Brooke needs to understand that going through a difficult situation is not an excuse to behave poorly towards others.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some thought that the OP’s daughter, being 20 years old, made her behavior inexcusable.

“NTA. A 20-year-old cursing out a three-year-old is TOO. FAR.”

“Also the irony of this from your daughter: ‘Brooke tried arguing that she’s too old for me to be confiscating her things and returning the purse was going too far.’ Uhhh. She’s too old to be behaving like a spoiled brat at 20 years old. She needs to be able to regulate her emotions when a toddler makes a small mistake, and not apologizing is ridiculous.”

“You can have empathy for her going through a sh*t time with her friend, but she does not get to take it out on others around her, especially little ones without a concept of their mistakes! Absolutely not okay. This wouldn’t be acceptable as a social norm in college or at the workplace. Don’t let it slide now.” – tsweetsie

“I assumed we were dealing with, like, an eight-year-old (who ought to have known better than to blow on someone else’s cake, hence the disproportionate anger) and, like, a twelve-year-old (older but young enough to be upset by this and be out of control with emotions, hence the disproportionate anger).”

“The fact that this is between a three-year-old and a twenty-year-old has blown my mind.” – My_Poor_Nerves

“OP, a 20-year-old still has more maturing to do, but part of that is learning to take accountability for when you mess up. The lack of willingness to own up to losing her s**t and taking it out on a three-yea-rold is the worrisome part.”

“This one is kinda tough to allow ‘natural consequences,’ because there probably aren’t any that she would care about at this point. She doesn’t seem concerned that she might have damaged the relationship with her aunt and uncle, or even her young cousin who might otherwise idolize her and look up to her as a sister and a friend.”

“So in that case, taking back the purse so that she at least connects it to the birthday debacle is maybe the closest thing. NTA.” – Raptor_Girl_1259

“NTA. Brooke doesn’t get a pass for being an AH to a toddler just because she’s going through a difficult time. 20 years is more than enough time to figure out you don’t take out your personal problems on others, ESPECIALLY a three-year-old. Seriously, what the f**k?!”

“Brooke’s personal crap doesn’t matter here in this situation. Brooke was a major AH, and you were right to try to hold her to some consequences.” – ElaNinja

“She gotta act her age, and cussing out a three-year-old is not acting her age. So, treating her like a petulant teenager is probably appropriate. NTA.” – tango241

“NTA. Hey, it sounds like you handled the situation with Brooke in a firm but fair way. She needs to understand that her actions have consequences, regardless of what she’s going through with her friend Jessy.”

“Returning the purse might seem harsh to Brooke, but it’s a clear message that disrespectful behavior won’t be tolerated, especially towards family members. Your wife Kimberly seems to agree with the decision too, so you’re not alone in this.”

“I was hoping Brooke would learn from this experience and understand the importance of treating others with kindness and respect, no matter what’s happening in her personal life.” – ChloeCuddlezs

But others understood where Kimberly was coming from and sympathized with Brooke.

“No 20-year-old should be cussing a three-year-old out, but we can sympathize at least a little bit.”

“First: Why was the kid right next to the cake in the first place? Especially if the SIL was already holding her and watching her during the celebration? Is this a common behavior for Aira?”

“Second: Little kids spit a lot when they blow out candles.”

“Third: OP’s daughter is going through an extremely rough time watching a friend be in an abusive situation and, although this is childish, might’ve really wanted that birthday wish.”

“This was likely the straw that broke the camel’s back, and it would not be shocking if OP’s daughter is having a breakdown, yet her parents are more worried about punishing her than recognizing that their daughter is having an extremely rough time. Especially given OP doesn’t seem to actually believe that watching Jessica be in an abusive relationship is serious enough to affect Brooke’s mental health.” – studily_curious

“By the time my kids turned three, they both knew that you weren’t allowed to blow out candles on other people’s birthday cakes or open their gifts. It’s just common sense that one must teach their child.”

“Just like it’s common sense that one shouldn’t curse out a three-year-old. In my honest opinion, there’s much more to this story, and the three-year-old’s bratty behaviors are because her parents have zero parenting skills and are raising an entitled brat.”

“YTA to ‘take away,’ AKA: steal a gift that you’ve already given your daughter. People need to give one another grace, especially parents because they’re going to need their kids giving them grace one day.” – JohnLakeman01

“ESH, except Aria. Because she’s a child.”

“1. Gifts shouldn’t come with conditions. Gifts should be given with love and thought. Not ‘If you behave the way I want you to, then you get a present.'”

“2. She shouldn’t have yelled at her cousin. I agree with you there. But where tf were her parents? How did she even get close enough to blow out the candles?”

“3. Her best friend is in a crisis and is losing her friend to an awful situation. Of course, that’s gonna affect her mood and behavior. It doesn’t excuse what she did.” – Select_Silver4695

“Brooke is still wrong for what she did, there will obviously be consequences, but one can ALSO understand that:”

1. Her behavior is likely stemming from a very stressful event in her life. A 20-year-old is still cognitively developing, and if anything, a 20-year-old is still fresh out of their teenage years. Young Adults don’t really finish developing until they hit 25.”

“2. Whether it’s someone’s wedding, birthday, or graduation, nothing excuses an adult from yelling at a child, but you most DEFINITELY can be upset that a child has ruined an event. That is on the parents for not paying attention to a young child.”

“No one wants a three-year-old spitting all over their birthday cake, a five-year-old tearing open the baby shower gifts, or a seven-year-old eating the wedding cake. Kids don’t know any better, sure, but that doesn’t excuse the parents for letting their kids run wild at an event meant for someone else, family or not. That’s just rude and inconsiderate.”

“Everyone in this case, except for the three-year-old, are all contributors to the problem.” – Immediate-Theory-867

“Taking away this present is not going to teach Brooke what you want it to teach her. You can take away the present if you want as punishment, but if you really think she’s lacking kindness and respect, why not try to teach that? When you go straight to a punishment completely unrelated to the transgression, you just teach people to be bitter and angry at something they feel is unfair.”

“If this is a common occurrence with Brooke, then you effed up a long time ago. The time to intervene was when this wasn’t ingrained in your daughter.”

“If this is totally out of character, why are you not more worried about your daughter and less worried about this situation?”

“I think a better approach is to wait until things calm down and then talk to her rationally. Is she really the kind of person to curse at a three-year-old? How could she handle it better? Is she doing okay? Does she need help?”

“Taking away the purse shuts all the communication down. She’s not going to want to talk to you, and if she does, it’s going to be to get the purse back and not to legit apologize.”

“I also have to say, of course, the parents apologized. What were they going to do? They should have stopped this before it happened.” – ErikLovemonger

The subReddit was shocked on all fronts by how Brooke, a twenty-year-old, had behaved at her birthday when her three-year-old cousin blew the candles out on her cake out of turn. While that could be frustrating and disappointing for anyone, and possibly even gross, cussing at a young child over the excitement wasn’t going to bring that moment back.

But some also pointed out that because Brooke was going through some tough, hopefully unprecedented, times with her friend, there was a distinct possibility that she was feeling out of sorts and was behaving and reacting in ways that were not normal for her. If the OP reflected on what happened and realized this was out of character for their daughter, then Brooke likely needed much more support to get through supporting her friend.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.