Sometimes imagining what could have happened is more stressful than what actually does.
But does that mean we should punish people for what might have been?
This was a top question recently on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
The Redditor, who has since deleted their account, left her 10-year-old daughter alone with her brother to babysit for the first time, and the Redditor expected better.
But when she saw her brother’s reaction, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she overreacted to what almost happened.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for excluding my brother from the family vacation after he almost caused my daughter to get hurt?”
The OP was getting ready for a family vacation.
“Me (35 [Female]) and my brother (30 [Male]) are very close, and we always have been.”
“He has been coming over almost every day for the past couple years, and he practically lives at my house (despite him having his own apartment).”
“I don’t mind it and neither does my husband, because he helps out around the house and is great with my daughter, Stella (10 [Female]).”
“Every year we go on a family vacation with me, my husband, my daughter, and my brother.”
“I don’t bring our mom and dad, because they already do their own vacations around this time, it’s nothing personal.”
“This year we were going to stay at a hotel by a beach, and I reserved suite rooms for all 4 of us.”
“The vacation is in 1 week at this moment.”
The OP asked her brother to watch her daughter while running errands.
“Yesterday, I had to run a few errands, and I needed my husband to help out with a few of them.”
“I asked my brother to babysit Stella while we were gone, and he agreed. I told him thank you and then was out the door.”
“I was a little bit worried because he has never babysat Stella before (I don’t usually need my husband for errands, and he is unemployed, so he’s always home), but I knew how great he was with her, and assumed everything would be fine.”
“After running the errands, I drove back home, and to my horror, I saw my daughter sitting in the road, playing with her dolls.”
“I stopped the car, ran out, grabbed my daughter, and brought her inside.”
The OP reprimanded her brother for this.
“As soon as I walked in, I saw my brother watching some movie on the couch.”
“I screamed something along the lines of, ‘What TF, you just left my daughter unsupervised in the road after I told you to babysit her! She could’ve gotten run over by a car, or someone could’ve kidnapped her!'”
“I continued, ‘You’re always so great with Stella and I gave you one effing job, to babysit her for a little over an hour while I ran errands. F you, get out of my house, and you are excluded from the family vacation.'”
“He stared at me with wide eyes and said something like, ‘I didn’t mean to, I just got so into the movie and I thought Stella would be okay’ and ‘At least she didn’t get ran-over or kidnapped.'”
“And afterward he started begging for me to let him go on the vacation still, saying he never gets to do ANYTHING nice, and it would be cruel to exclude him for one little mishap.”
“He called me a major AH.”
“I asked some of my friends about it, and most of them said, although what he did was wrong, he said sorry and it was just a mistake, and I should stop being such an AH. None of them have kids though.”
The OP edited the post to add a few details.
“Stella can be slow and sometimes acts way younger than she is.”
“She has gotten into dangerous situations before.”
“We haven’t brought a doctor into this situation because we assumed she’d grow out of it.”
“Anyways, I thought it’d be safer to have her be babysat due to us noticing this. I probably should’ve mentioned this.”
The OP also edited again to answer some questions.
“For the person that asked, we homeschool her.”
“And the other reason we never took Stella to the doctor is that the year we actually were thinking about it, my husband broke multiple bones after being in an accident and we had to pay a lot of money for the cast, etc. We thought that we should just save our money because we thought it was something Stella was likely to get over.”
“Also, I see a lot of people saying ‘Poor Stella,’ and I get that what I did was wrong now, after seeing the majority of comments being YTA, but you can’t judge my family after one post.”
“Stella is completely content with us as her parents, loves us so much, and expresses that very often. We take good care of her other than a couple of slip-ups. We provide her a roof, food, clothes, love, hugs, kisses, and everything we possibly can.”
“The other thing I would like to address is someone said my brother could be abusing her. I promise you this is completely out of the question because my daughter is a very vocal child and always says how much she loves my brother, playing with him, and etc. And my husband is always home when they hang out and sees how much fun they have.”
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 said the OP was the AH because of the questionable upbringing.
“OP is TAH, this is child neglect. No diagnosis, homeschooled, isolated. Children learn from being with their peers, especially girls, they learn through mimicking behavior patterns which is partly why girls are diagnosed with Aspergers, Autism, ADD & ADHD later than boys.”
“She needs to see a specialist in behavior and development asap.” – SnooChickens5652
“OP said they didn’t take her to the doctor because they wanted to save money after husband’s accident… but now they’re going on nice vacations… and still not taking her to the doctor. Major YTA” – CabernetTheCat
“After reading the edits, all I can think is the brother messed up one time on a given day, but mom and dad have consistently not been properly parenting for years.”
“Why is this kid not seeing a doctor? Why is she being homeschooled by someone not smart enough to notice a 10-year-old should know better than to play on a road? I have to be a YTA on this because the brother has only done the favor to the family of showing up how messed up this situation is.” – IPetdogs4U
“I’m going to give OP the benefit of the doubt and guess this was also how she was raised which broke her normal meter. She doesn’t understand that the reason why they’re withdrawn from the world is to easier disguise abuse and neglect.”
“I mean, I love my brother and all, but most 30-year-old single men have friends and interests they spend time on after work, not hanging out at their older sister’s house. It seems like their extreme familial insularity goes back a couple of generations at least.” – Cheaperthantherapy13
Others urged the OP to have her daughter evaluated.
“As an autistic adult whose diagnosis was missed until my late twenties, PLEASE OP GET HER EVALUATED SO SHE CAN GET THE SUPPORT SHE NEEDS!! My life would be totally different right now if I had been correctly evaluated as a child. Autistic girls often present quite differently than boys and fall through the cracks. I seriously feel so bad for this girl..” – SusieSharesTooMuch
“I know people like this who are extremely religious. (IDK if OP is, just saying that the people I know who act this way are.) And they want so desperately to believe they’re doing ‘what’s right’ and/or ‘what God wants them to’ that when delays appear or something similar arises, they plug their ears, paste on a smile, and repeat the phrase, ‘Everything is fine!'”
“It’s such a shame and so sad for the kids. I hope so much that, whatever her reasons, OP gets a clue, gets her daughter evaluated, and gets Stella the help she needs.” – EducatedOwlAthena
“This is so f**ked up.”
“That girl has never been to a doctor? She needs an evaluation and probably special schooling OP can’t or isn’t providing.”
“Not everyone should be homeschooled. Especially not when used to keep her from treatment and diagnosis she clearly needs.” – Creative-Training175
The OP came to the subReddit concerned about how her brother had taken her reaction to finding her daughter playing in the road, but the subReddit was concerned about other things. Not only should a 10-year-old know better than to play in the middle of the road, but the prioritization of a family vacation over medical care couldn’t be more of a red flag.