Parenting is terrifying when something bad happens to your kid. No one wants to see their kid suffer, and some parents can’t handle it.
Redditor SmudgestC encountered this very issue with her sister. So she turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for moral judgment.
AITA for telling my sister she’s mean and cruel to her son?
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“My (24, female) nephew (5, male) has always been claustrophobic. Even as a baby he hated being swaddled or cuddled too long. He’d get fussy and cry until he was put down and able to move freely.”
“My sister thinks he’s just being dramatic and tells him he needs to overcome this ‘phase’ even though it’s a true issue.”
“Recently he’s taken a neurological test because he wasn’t developing at the right speed I guess? I’m not entire sure. Anyway the test determined something wrong and they took some X-ray or something and saw a mass in his brain.”
“He needs an MRI.”
“Flash forward to two days ago. My sister (34F) asks me to go with them for support. Obviously I’m all for it.”
“We drive over an hour to this place, my nephew is miserable in his car seat but dealing quietly by playing on his iPad.”
OP was curious about how they would handle the situation.
“I ask my sister if she explained to him what’s happening (mentally prepare him to be in an enclosed machine for 45 minutes). She said no and he’ll be fine.”
“I warn her this will not end well if he’s not prepared properly.”
“She shrugged it off and says they’ll ‘knock his ass out if he moves too much’ I tell her that won’t happen because they need to test him for anesthesia allergies, etc.”
“It’s a quiet drive and when we arrive, as predicted, my nephew has a mental breakdown when they try to put him in the MRI machine. He’s sobbing, shaking, sweating and trying to hide behind the trash can.”
“He got so terrified that he wet himself. It honestly broke my heart.”
“My sister was incredibly mean to him about this. She didn’t reassure him or comfort him. She grabbed him and tried to force him onto the bed which just made him scream ‘please God, protect me’ as he cried.”
Doctors were not comfortable continuing the tests.
“At the end of it, the doctors said they could not proceed with the MRI because he would not settle down. We left.”
“In the car, my sister RIPPED him into. ‘Why are you so stupid?’ ‘you wasted my time for nothing’ ‘are you happy now?’ ‘you can say goodbye to all your things.'”
“He cried himself to exhaustion and I silently fumed until he was fully asleep. Then I ripped into her that this whole this was her fault for not talking to him about the process knowing he’s claustrophobic and even if he wasn’t an MRI is scary to children and even adults.”
“I told her she was mean and acting cruel to her son.”
“She bursted into tears saying she was so stressed about this and she couldn’t help it. I said it’s her job as the parent to keep it together for her son, not take her frustrations out on him when he’s also scared (he’s asked me if he was going to die because of the mass in his brain).”
“After she dropped me off, she sent me a long text calling me an AH for saying she’s being mean and a bad mom and since I don’t have kids I wouldn’t understand her struggle.”
“AITA for calling her out on her mean and cruel acts?”
Redditors gave their opinions on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors agreed OP was not the a**hole.
“NTA, she IS being cruel and literally dismissing her child’s severe issues with enclosed spaces, then caused a literal panic attack and trauma for him and then BLAMED HIM FOR IT??? Then PUNISHED HIM FOR IT??? Like what??”
“You didn’t keep it together at all for your son lady, you discounted his feelings entirely and didn’t even remotely try to have any empathy… Children cannot process such big emotions like this and she has no idea the long term trauma she may have caused by her complete disregard for his condition within confined spaces.”
“It’s a very real fear and she deserved every bit of you ripping into her. I have a 4 year old and would NEVER force him into something like this knowing he had that specific fear without warning him or even attempting to recreate it at home or preparing him for an enclosed space like that, or having something to soothe him… that is insane to me… god knows the long term damage she’s done to her child’s mental well-being or even their relationship as a whole… Her little boy will need therapy. Poor kiddo.” ~ Shelbie0419
“The fact that the kid was asking if he was going to die makes me think that Mommy dearest is telling him he will die, or at least implying it.”
“That Mom has no ability to be a mom. She sucks at her job and that kid would be better off pretty much anywhere else. Poor kid.” ~ Simple-Opposite
“Or at the very least, she’s not reassuring him that he won’t die. It’s possible he came up with the idea that he might die on his own, but she’s not telling him it won’t happen, so obviously he’s scared. Poor kid.” ~ Lanky-Temperature412
OP added some edits.
“EDIT for all the comments saying I’m an AH for not sticking up for him:”
“I tried to help in the hospital. My sister was tense and my nephew was obviously terrified. I stepped in to coax him out of his hiding spot and helped him change clothes as he had wet himself.”
“During that time I did try to explain to him what the MRI machine does and how it won’t hurt him. The damage was already done though. I couldn’t explain or prepare him before because my sister wouldn’t tell me ‘scare him before it even happens.'”
“The reason I didn’t say anything in the car while she yelled at him was because everyone has told me that you should never call out a parent in front of their child. Again I can see why I should have stopped it, but I’ve tried in the past and it’s only escalated the situation.”
“EDIT #2 : An unforeseen thing happened late last night. My sister called me crying and told me to take my nephew, she can’t handle it at the moment. I went to pick him up and she had a majority of his things packed up -clothes, toys, bathroom accessories. He was asleep so he had no idea what’s going on.”
“I will be taking care of him and she will send me child support money for his care. We both believe it’s what is best for him and she admits she needs to reevaluate her life and behavior.”
“Apparently my mother ripped into her as well for treating him poorly and it got her thinking. His MRI is scheduled for next week so I’m going to help him prepare so he can be ready and make sure it’s done probably this time.”
“Thank you all so much for the support.”
OP really stepped up for her nephew.