At what point is it totally legitimate for a full-blown adult to get down in the weeds with the antics of a young child?
A recent post on the “Am I the A**hole (AITA) subReddit posed that very question, and provided an illustration to go along with it.
The Original Poster (OP), known as OrdosDeluxe on the site, shared a few more details in the title.
“AITA for giving a neighbours bully kid two tellings off in the same evening?”
OP shared that things were wholesome in the beginning.
“I [35-year-old male] decided to take my daughter [2.5 years old] out for a walk round the block with her new scooter this evening.”
“She’s still learning to go on it, but when she gets a solid run at it she’s really good!”
But they had company.
“As we were making our way around, I had noticed a couple of boys on bikes (I’d say they were between 10-12) passing us.”
“They were doing fast laps on the road, while we were sticking to the pavement.”
Then came the run-in.
“Suddenly on one lap, one of the boys literally cut onto the pavement in front of us, blocking our path.”
“He looked at my daughter and said ‘get off this street, and don’t come out until I tell you.’ His tone was definitely not light-hearted or funny.”
OP’s dad instincts kicked in right about then.
“Now, my daughter is 2, and doesn’t have a clue what’s actually happened here, so she’s smiling and waving – I however, am unimpressed.”
“I step between them, and tell the boy ‘if you threaten my daughter again, I’ll take your bike, and when your parents come to get it I’ll tell them how nasty their son is.’ “
“He did back off, and we went on our way.”
But there would be further developments.
“Later we went to the park just opposite our house. We were at the swings, and another girl came into the park, going on a swing near us.”
“Then the same two boys rounded the corner, coming into the park, and making their way over to the girl.”
“She quickly said ‘stay away from me, I’ve asked you before!’ The boys laughed and ignored.”
That was all OP needed to see.
“I again, intervened, and this time said ‘she’s told you no, I suggest you get on your way before you get into more trouble.’ “
“The girl then thanked me and left, and then we did too.”
Again, things didn’t end there.
“The boys obviously noted what house I went into, because not long after i got paid a house call by the mother, screaming at me for ‘scaring her kids.’ ”
“I told her that her son was a complete piece of sh**, trying to intimidate toddlers and girls. She said that this wasn’t over, and stormed off.”
OP was left thinking it all over.
“Nothing has since happened, but my wife is saying that I took things too far.”
“I don’t agree, given that this brat is a complete bully based on the clear cut examples I’ve seen today.”
“However, I’m open to criticism.”
“I think I might be the AH because it possibly isn’t my place to scold children who I don’t really know.”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Most Redditors determined that OP wasn’t an a**hole. In fact, they congratulated him.
“NTA imo you had remarkable restraint for not getting really angry with the punk for threatening your toddler” — JMLKO
“NTA these boys are clearly seeking out younger weaker kids to bully and exert power over. It’s totally unacceptable behavior and I wouldn’t expect any adult to witness it and let it go.”
“As a nanny, I believe it is your responsibility to step in. To ignore it is basically to support the bully.” — JustheBean
“NTA Don’t start none, won’t be none.”
“Him getting the word from a grown man that it’s wrong to bully little girls might make a difference. Not today, if he’s still running to his mum, but it might sink in.” — karskipellis
“NTA and you’re the total opposite for looking after the other girl. Some people wouldn’t have done anything because it wasn’t their kid.”
“If the bully’s mum has an issue with her kid being called out for being an asshole maybe she shouldn’t be raising an a**hole.” — whereisourfarmpack
Plenty of people had choice words for the bully’s mother.
“NTA. It is completely your place to protect your 2 year old from bullies. And I applaud you for stepping when they were bullying the other girl.”
“Maybe if mom would ‘scare’ her kids a little with consequences, they wouldn’t be out bullying toddlers.” — Malachite_Macchiato
“NTA After meeting his mother, are you surprised by his behaviour.” — highwoodshady
“You ‘took things too far?’ I don’t know if I think you took them far enough.”
“Though maybe you didn’t know where those kids lived or who their parents were – but those parents definitely need to hear about the way their kids are acting towards other kids. NTA.” — cyanraichu
“NTA. You were defending your child and your neighbor’s kid against a Junior Sociopath. I would have probably said worse.”
“I want an update on how it plays out please! And giod luck with that mama. Bullies are often the way they are because their mamas never told them ‘no.’ They are cowards. Do feel free to tell them so.” — Freakin_Merida88
Some offered recommendations if the problems persist.
NTA.After meeting the mom and how she screamed at you, it isn’t surprising she’s raised to bratty bullies.”
“Better be ready to videotape any further interactions with these boys so that you will have proof if the cops need to intervene! The boys aren’t going to stop their behavior since mom doesn’t think they’ve done anything wrong.” — No_Proposal7628
“NTA but this is why video evidence is powerful. Sounds like a body cam or having your phone easily set to start recording would be a smart move since the last thing you probably want is the cops knocking on your door for threatening a child.” — [deleted]
Here’s hoping OP and his daughter can have peaceful scooter rides in the future.