Whether or not we want to admit it, most of us have a love-hate relationship with family reunions and similar gatherings. There are typically some people that we’re happy to see, but there may be a few difficult people present, as well.
This can make us question how important it is for us to attend, admitted the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Korzaz recently walked out of a family reunion because of an unexpected altercation that occurred between one of his relatives and himself.
After he received repeated pushback, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if he overreacted.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for leaving a family gathering because my family made me sit at the kid table?”
The OP recently went to a family gathering.
“For context: I haven’t seen my full family together in quite some time, so they set up a get-together at a park today.”
“The family gathering included me (22 [male]), my brother (21), my sister (25), her husband (29), and their two kids, my dad, step-mom, and her kids (6 and 9), aunt, uncle, my two cousins (15 and 20), grandma, and grandpa.”
“I got there with some picnic items (I brought a quiche and the cups) and saw a few members setting up.”
“I said hi and helped set up the tables and set the food out. We talked and played games while the others show up.”
But the OP was surprised by the seating arrangement.
“When everyone got there, we sat down to eat. I sat next to my dad and got a weird look from my aunt as she said to me, ‘This is the adult’s table.'”
“To which I replied, ‘I am an adult?'”
“She told me that the 1st and 2nd generations were considered adult and the 3rd and 4th generations should sit at the kid’s table since we ‘don’t have much to contribute to adult conversations.'”
“I told her that I can drink, that I drove there, that I pay rent and have a job, so how was I still considered a child?”
“She said that until I have kids of my own, I’ll have to sit at the kid’s table.”
“According to my aunt, there are 8 children (ages 6-22) and 8 adults (ages 25-75) so I should just sit at the kid’s table since it’ll be even.”
The OP did not agree with this reasoning.
“But there is plenty of space at the adult table, and I didn’t want to be stuck with 5 literal children.”
“She still disagreed and at this point my uncle and grandparents backed her up, so I said f**k it, took my quiche back, told them to have a nice day, and drove away.”
“I got a few texts telling me to come back by my dad and grandparents.”
“I asked if the aunt was going to apologize and they asked, ‘For what?'”
“That was enough for me to disregard their other messages and calls until I got home, where I am now.”
“I feel s**tty that I may have possibly ruined a nice family gathering, but I feel my family doesn’t respect me at all, enough to say that I am still a child and apparently have the same mentality as 6-year-olds.”
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 absolutely right to stand up for himself.
“All the facts you pointed out to your aunt are true. You are an adult and she’s an idiot with that reasoning. My wife and I don’t have kids and will most likely never have them. We’re both in our mid/late 30s…”
“I think if you decide to be around your aunt again and she pulls this crap you should either; tell her firmly and assertively, ‘No. As an adult, I’m going to sit here, enjoy the food and company of fellow adults, and if you have an issue with that, you can move.'”
“Or… Ask her for her specific reasoning on why you’re not an adult. When she’s done talking, stare in her in the eyes for just a few seconds then say, ‘I’m sorry, what were you saying? I wasn’t paying attention.'” – rummhamm87
“Frankly, I would not go to any more family events. Why on earth should OP set himself up for being disrespected?”
“Just wait until OP gets married. Boy, would that be the time to get back with the seating chart. Although I don’t think that I would invite them to the wedding.”
“NTA” – Avebury1
“NTA, don’t feel bad about yourself, dude, and don’t take it too personally. This happens a lot in families, h**l, I wasn’t treated as an adult till I was over 25.”
“You can’t ‘talk’ your way into family treating you as an adult. Sometimes it’s more effective to disappear for a while and do your own thing out of their sight. Sometimes it just takes your long absence for people to take you seriously.” – CrisirR
Others questioned the purpose of kids’ tables in the first place.
“My family only ever did the ‘kids table’ if there was a space issue and a lot of kids. Most of my cousins are significantly older and the other two my age and myself always just sat with everyone.”
“Like unless someone misbehaves (which I don’t remember any of us ever doing), why should they have to sit elsewhere?” – dasbarr
“The kid table thing is so weird to me. Growing up, I was at the table with adults, I was very well behaved because I had to learn to be, and I was able to converse with adults really easily.”
“My parents had friends that did the kid table thing and I hated it. We would be relegated to the kitchen for every meal and given kid food and ignored until bedtime.”
“My parents only allowed it for a while and then pushed back, as at home I was expected to eat what everyone else ate, and they didn’t think it was fair to separate us.”
“I was 8 when they pushed back, so I think pushing back in your twenties is more than appropriate!”
“Also, I’m childfree, does that mean at the age of 41, I would be at your aunt’s kids table??” – TequilaMockingbird80
“Some families are weird like this.”
“My mom’s family never had a kid’s table at their gatherings, but my dad’s family always did.”
“There weren’t many of us ‘kids’ either – just me, my brother, and one cousin. I think my brother was about 18 when he finally said he was done with the kid’s table and just wouldn’t go if we didn’t all sit together (I’m 2 years younger, and I think our cousin is about 2 years younger than me). Thankfully our mom had our back and just started moving the tables together at our next gathering.”
“Some people get hung up on the tradition of it, especially if that’s how they grew up.”
“Your aunt’s system doesn’t even make sense – if it’s by generation, then your sister and her husband should be at the kid’s table too. If your brother moves to the adult table, that leaves the 15-year-old with the 9 and 6 y.o. kids, which I’m sure they’ll hate…”
“Abolish the kids’ table. Family time is important for everyone to spend together.” – Molenium
Some did not appreciate the aunt’s shallow reasoning.
“So you, your brother, and your cousins were expected to babysit the young kids while their parents got to sit with the adults?! Yeah, no thanks. NTA.” – Fianna9
“Eh, you could have said, ‘Well, as far as I know. But as we know birth control is not 100% effective. Fingers crossed for next time, I guess?’ and then left with the quiche. Missed opportunities! (ends sarcasm)”
“Seriously, NTA. That mindset keeps many of us as children in the eyes of our elders. By her rules, I’d be at the kids’ table because I’m mid-40s and childless (childfree by choice). Although, I’m petty and would have said, ‘Okay, seems like more intelligent conversations will happen there anyway.'” – Ladygytha
“Out of curiosity, let’s say this happens again 5 or so years down the road. Hypothetically speaking, you do not have kids. Are they still gonna make you sit at the kids’ table?”
“Because FFS (for f**k’s sake), you’re a grown-a** adult. I just wonder if their idea of ‘adult’ means you must have children to be considered an adult, which is all kinds of f**ked up.” – poodlefanatic
“NTA – I have a hard time with ‘children’ and ‘adult’ tables for this very reason. Why make children feel undervalued?”
“They don’t deserve it, and they have to learn how to interact with others on a mature, adult level at some point.”
“You were just fine to leave, and if your family doesn’t understand why you left and didn’t go sit at the ‘child’s table’, perhaps they should be denied the pleasure of your company more often in the future.”
“I have an aunt who does the same thing because she is a bully, and wants to control the conversation – when anyone stands up to her, they are automatically wrong. You sound like a normal ‘adult’ to me.” – Neteam87
“NTA. Your Aunt sounds like she is not ready to see you as the adult that you are. She may have thought you’d want to sit with the other 20 somethings at the other table.”
“I remember being 22/23, and adults at my Bible study introducing me to their high school teens like I’d want to hand out with 16 year olds.”
“Like no thanks, we don’t have a lot in common. At that point I had graduated college, had a car, had my own apartment, lived on my own far from family, and had a professional job.”
“What I really wanted was to connect with adults older than me to gain their wisdom and insights.”
“If your aunt chides you again about kid’s tables, you can always tell her you want to catch up with the adults. If she says you won’t have much to contribute, you can tell her you want to hear how the adults handle their business or some other thing.”
“I remember a time my older sister and friends were snide about singles and she and my friends were so impressed with themselves for being married. They said things in front of me while I was single.”
“Frankly they were immature and jealous. Remember an adult doesn’t have to say they are an adult.”
“They simply are and act like it. Don’t storm off next time.”
“Keeping your cool under pressure is a mark of maturity, and a skill to master and practice. If your aunt acts this way again speak to her about it calmly.”
“You can tell her that her comments are unkind and divisive, and its so unfortunate that she is acting hurtful at an event meant to being the family together to connect with each other.”
“Explain that her comments make you feel very belittled. Explain that you are there to connect with everyone both children, teens, and adults.”
“I remember wanting to prove myself at 22 and wanting others to validate that I was an adult. I knew I was, but wanted others to see it too.”
“I’m sorry your aunt was hurtful and still seeing you as a kid. Keep being a great adult, and eventually your family will recognize what you are seeing in yourself.” – Illustrious_Pen3472
Though the OP wondered if he went too far and ruined the family gathering, the subReddit reassured him he was right to stand up for himself as an adult.
The family clearly had some fairly archaic beliefs that they needed to revise before their next gathering.
After all, how long could a child-free adult possibly stay at the kids’ table before “graduating” up?