When it comes to the ways people choose to parent their kids, most of us would agree it’s best not to insert ourselves into matters.
But what happens when you witness parenting that could be actively harmful? Where does the fine line between privacy and responsibility lie?
That’s the dilemma a Redditor found himself facing with some of his family members. So he went to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit to present a hypothetical scenario.
The Original Poster (OP), who goes by the name yeahnahjustthrowaway on the platform, asked:
“WIBTA (Would I Be The A**hole) if I called CPS on my Aunt and Uncle for letting their children play in a dump?”
“Using a throwaway bc my family and friends know my real account”
“G’day, I (18m[ale]) have recently moved away to study at uni. My relationship with my family is great, I love my parents, siblings, and cousins. This whole problem is relating to my Aunt and Uncle.”
“Now, don’t get me wrong, I love them too. However, I don’t necessarily agree with how they parent their kids. They lead a very alternative lifestyle, they’re all vegan, no sugar, unvaccinated, and the children (one who’s 11 and two twins at 5) go to school 3 days a week at a Waldorf school.”
“Obviously, I can’t tell someone how to parent their kid, especially not my family. However, a couple of days ago I saw something on my Aunt’s instagram page that made me feel sick”
“It was a photo of the eldest kid, standing in the middle of a dump, wearing a suit made out of cardboard pieces and string he’d found there. The two twins were in the background, along with a handful of other parents and kids who must’ve been friends with my Aunt and Uncle.”
“I have no idea how she has thought that taking her unvaccinated children to a dump and letting them play around in the rubbish was an ok idea.”
“So for the past few days I’ve been tossing up whether or not I should call CPS (or the Australian equivalent) on them. It would cause a huge fight between me and my family, as my parents are especially close with them, and they do love their children.”
“And ultimately, even though I disagree with how they parent their kids, it’s their kids, and I can’t tell them what do do.”
“But it just doesn’t sit right with me. According to my mum they’re planning on doing it again, and it makes me feel like they’re endangering their kids by letting them play in a rubbish tip. I’m torn between this, WIBTA?”
OP’s fellow Redditors then weighed in on who would be in the wrong in this scenario using the following acronyms:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
And most seemed to find OP’s aunt and uncle’s parenting egregious.
“Tetanus. Tetanus is why you don’t play in dumps while unvaccinated. Because Tetanus is excruciating and often fatal. NTA” —Toirneach
“I believe everyone has the choice to vaccinate or not vaccinate themselves or their children. However, tetanus is a VERY real thing. Letting their children play in a dump without a tetanus shot is very dangerous.”
“Every time my siblings or I stepped on a nail or cut ourselves with old barbed wire we had to get a new tetanus shot. Untreated it will kill you and it’s not a fun way to go.” —buckethead2019
“NTA – there are so many risks clambering around a dump that adults shouldn’t be doing it let alone kids. Also it’s probably illegal to be playing there (I can’t imagine getting away with it across the ditch where I am).” —Aenthralled
“All I can think about is all the broken glass, used needles, and other nasty things that would be there. I feel sick imagining young unvaccinated children in such a dangerous place!” —Buttercup_1019
“NTA. They’re unvaccinated kids playing in an area where they’re at extreme risk of getting tetanus.” —PotentialityKnocks
“NTA, look the whole point of CPS is to keep children safe from parents who endanger their kids and would never accept it. If talking to them about it doesn’t get you anywhere. Do what’s best for them, but also know if you are found out in any way. They and possibly many others of your family could resent you.”
“The trade off in my opinion is worth keeping the kids safe. So do what you’re heart tells you is right.” —Velthure
“NTA. An anonymous tip can be made. They are exposing their children to serious diseases and risks. It’s all fun and games until their kids get lock jaw.” —fwankhootenanny
But not everyone was of the same mind–several thought OP should mind his own business.
“YTA. While I don’t agree with them allowing their children to play in the dump for numerous reasons, ultimately it’s not for you to report. It’s not out and out endangerment of the the children.”
“It’s gross, and reckless given that who knows what could be in the piles. Involving authorities will likely just cause lots of bad feelings in the family and I doubt CPS (or equivalent) would find anything of substance.” —scalled2011
“YWBTA. Children are being abused and you want to waste resources on some kids playing in a dump?? CPS will laugh at you and your aunt will still have her children but will hate you. This is not worth it.” —Crafty-Particular998
“YWBTA and CPS won’t investigate something like this.” —MattinglyDineen
“YWBTA if you call. I agree, the kids need vaccinated, but if your CPS wouldn’t remove them for not being vaccinated, then just going to the dump will seem petty and is unlikely to have them taken away.” —sapphireminds
“YWBTA. From the presence of parents you describe in the photos, this was a supervised trip, they weren’t sent off on their own to play in the dump unsupervised. It’s not a field trip I’d make with my kids, but I don’t think it meets a standard of either abuse or neglect, which is what CPS is for.” —Sharpblackberry3
Hopefully everyone involved can figure out how to do what’s best for the kids in this family.