There are some families that stick together specifically because there’s a family member who reminds everyone of their “familial obligations” and that at the end of the day, “family is family.”
But some behaviors shouldn’t be tolerated, even when they come from family, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Okay-Bananas was tired of her uncle’s behavior and only went to family events where he would be because it was important to her mother.
But when he lashed out at her six-year-old daughter over a banana, the Original Poster (OP) knew it was time to take a step back.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for causing a mass exodus from my uncle’s BBQ?”
The OP didn’t enjoy spending time around her elderly uncle.
“My (32 Female) uncle (71 Male) and his wife (69 Female) recently hosted a family BBQ at their home. This is normally a rotating thing so everyone in the family takes turns hosting.”
“My uncle is a very… difficult man to get along with, and I mostly went because it is important to my mom (66 Female).”
“He is very rigid in his beliefs and will make it very clear to you if you have done something to offend him. Once that has happened, there is no chance for redemption regardless of whether you are family, friends, or a stranger.”
The uncle recently turned his negative attention to the OP’s daughter.
“While at the BBQ, everyone was standing around and my daughter (6 Female) helped herself to a banana from the fruit bowl.”
“Now obviously, you shouldn’t take anything that doesn’t belong to you without asking, but she is six and manners are still being learned. Not saying she was right in this.”
“That being said, my uncle lost his mind. He called her a thieving brat and started threatening to call the cops.”
“I stepped in, and he told me to pack up my stuff and go because he didn’t want thieves in his home. He told me that neither myself, my daughter, nor my husband (33 Male) would ever be welcome again because clearly, this was a taught behavior.”
“I was furious. I told my uncle that this intolerance was why he had no friends, and why we only visited his home out of obligation.”
“I told him that without my mom’s family values, there wouldn’t be anyone at the BBQ.”
As it turned out, the OP’s final comment about the BBQ was correct.
“In the middle of this, he pulled out his phone to call ‘Mr. Police’ and asked how a little girl would survive in prison.”
“My daughter was beside herself, so I gathered her and my husband, and we left.”
“Apparently, after we left, my uncle was ranting and raving, and eventually my cousin (24 Female, and not his child) told my uncle that he was lucky he didn’t try with someone else in the family because I was still polite in what I said. “
“She told him that she refused to eat at the home of someone who thought it was okay to bully a child.”
“As my cousin left, apparently quite a few people followed, and suddenly it was just my uncle and his wife left at the party.”
The OP’s uncle’s wife lashed out at her.
“His wife has been calling me telling me that I humiliated him in his own home and I can’t expect his generation to be PC (politically correct).”
“She has also told me that he has been moping ever since because he feels like an outcast in the family and that I shouldn’t have been so harsh.”
“I am glad I stood up for my daughter, but I never intended for everyone to leave as a result of the banana. Now I wonder if I was too much.”
“Was I the AH?”
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 reassured the OP that she had done nothing wrong.
“Maybe you can’t expect people of his generation to be ‘PC (politically correct).’ This has nothing to do with being PC this has to do with being a decent and sane person.”
“He doesn’t FEEL like an outcast. He IS an outcast. And it’s all of his own making.”
“You never have to go back to his house. You win.”
“NTA.” – CalendarDad
“Threatening a child with the police over a piece of fruit is deplorable. He deserves to be humiliated and to sit in a stew of rejection for his behavior. This is the most ridiculous thing imaginable for an adult to do. His wife is just as bad for enforcing his behavior and victim-blaming when his own actions are what got him in the family doghouse.”
“Both need therapy and possibly a test of their mental health. With few friends and being a known problem, it might be hard to detect signs of cognitive decay without a medical professional.”
“If someone has always been a**holish, it’s hard to notice the amplified aggression and behaviors associated with mental decline. Especially if his significant other either supports his behavior or constantly excuses them as other people’s behaviors cause the excessive outbursts.”
“NTA. NTA. NTA.” – False-Importance-741
“NTA. You can teach your six-year-old daughter to ask for a snack from family members without terrorizing her and saying she belongs to rot in jail. And from the sounds of it, everything you said to your uncle sounds completely true.” – Good-Examination-2239
“NTA. He’s expecting a child to have manners he can’t summon a modicum of. If he’s old enough to understand right and wrong, he’s old enough to understand he’s being an a**hole. Tell your aunt this isn’t about being PC (politically correct), it’s about being a decent human being.”
“You left, you didn’t invite anyone along for the ride, they chose to leave after. If he feels embarrassed in his own home he can take comfort in the fact there won’t be any guests over in the future for a repeat situation.”
“Good for you for having a back bone. Old folks don’t get a pass to be mean cause they’re old.” – CuriousTsukihime
“NTA. I don’t see how ‘being PC (politically correct)’ has anything to do with this. He blew up at your kid for a minor infraction. Heck, he was the one who told you that you, yr husband, and your kid were no longer welcome!”
“The fact that all those people left proves that they all felt as you had, but did not have the nerve to speak up before. And they all confirmed you were not too harsh!”
“Sounds like you’re free from having to visit him again at least. If others want to make peace with him that’s their business. But you have nothing to apologize for.”
“Expecting your family to treat you with decency and respect is not ‘being PC.’ The fact is, the uncle sounds like a big bully. If he doesn’t want to accept the consequences of being a bully, that’s his problem.” – stroppo
“Oh, how I wish he’d actually called the cops. I’m willing to bet OP would’ve been able to hear the cops howling through the other end. Trying to pin Grand Theft Banana on a six-year-old…”
“I really hope the family refers to this event as the ‘Great Banana Heist of ’23’ from here on out. NTA.” – Zombemi
Others said the OP was only the AH for subjecting her daughter to her uncle at all.
“YTA for bringing your daughter to this man’s house.”
“I am estranged from some very abusive mentally ill family (like your uncle), and I also have a mom with strong ‘family values,’ blood is thicker than water, yada yada. But once my kids were born, I decided to choose potential loneliness over subjecting my kids to people who can destroy their self-esteem or question whether they are safe in a space that their own parents brought them to.”
“Sorry, but you shouldn’t have brought your daughter there.” – Electrical_Ad3450
“YTA. No way was this the first time you subjected your daughter to this, it was only the last straw.”
“Your uncle has no need to change his behavior because you still show up! You may have caused an ‘exodus’ from the BBQ, but you will no doubt be right back there for the holidays.” – LasVegasMooie
“NTA, OP. A 71-year-old man should have the intelligence to understand that a six-year-old girl hasn’t mastered the class of asking politely. So instead of making a fuss, he could’ve kneeled down and taught her the concept of grabbing a banana bringing it over, and asking if she could have it!”
“OP, you didn’t disrespect your uncle in the slightest! All in all, I think this was a good situation because the elephant in the room finally has a name and a face! Time to reflect, uncle! Uncle, YTA!” – RedPorscheKilla
“ESH, accept the little girl involved. The uncle for doing what he did, but you and all of the rest of the family for tolerating that kind of behavior until now.” – ShepheardsPath622
“NTA… but also semi-ESH because you never should have been there to begin with. He sounds like a massive a**hole, and I guarantee there were MANY prior incidents of him being an a**hole.”
“F**k visiting anyone because of ‘obligations.'” – MrFilthyNeckbeard
“NTA. Your uncle? He’s a YTA. Regardless of age, the man is awful and clearly has issues. But the straw that broke the camel’s back is bullying a child OVER A BANANA! He deserved to be humiliated at his own house and maybe, hopefully, he’d get a serving of humble pie.”
“I would shut him out of my life. He did this to himself and given how angry he is, he’s probably too stubborn to admit to doing anything wrong and is blaming everyone else. Seriously, someone has to be messed up to threaten to call the cops on a six-year-old over a banana. He’s got a vendetta against the world.” – WorstHatFreeSoup
The subReddit completely understood that a child should learn manners and to ask for things that they want in someone else’s home, even if it’s the home of a friend or family member, but there are limits to that. Threatening to call the cops and send a child to prison are not that.