Grief can manifest itself in a number of different ways. For adults it can become isolationism, or anger, or drinking.
For children, it can be a number of different difficult behaviors.
Reddit user xmasiatah2020 found themselves at the receiving end of some of these difficult behaviors, dealing with two young kids who lost their mom. Their behavior caused property damage in xmasiatah2020’s house.
Worried they may have crossed a line in their reaction, they went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for some perspective.
“AITA for being upset my nephews broke every toilet in my house?”
Our original poster, or OP, told us the situation which lead to all of her toilets meeting an end.
“My husband’s brother (my brother-in-law) and his two kids (boys 13 and 8) were staying with us for christmas. They’ve had a rough year because his wife died in March.”
“The kids are a handful because of it, but I’ve been trying to be gracious. Yesterday was my last straw, and I need a gut check for if I overreacted.”
“I got home from work yesterday and discovered the ground floor toilet is cracked and leaking water. It’s a mess and after shutting off the water, I ran upstairs to get extra towels and discover the upstairs toilet is cracked and leaking too.”
“At this point I’m pissed. I go to the basement and, yup, the basement toilet is even worse.”
Suspecting the kids, OP immediately wasted no time in confronting them.
“I ran into the kids on my way up with extra towels and asked wtf they did to the toilets. The oldest said ‘maybe it was the boiling water bandits’.”
“I said that makes no sense and we get into an argument. BIL came along to ask what was wrong. He was taking a nap.”
“The kids start saying the boiling water bandits did it. As we’re arguing, it comes out the kids were trying to do a prank because of ‘Home Alone’.”
“They dumped boiling water in all the toilets and tried to blame it on burglars who go around breaking toilets.”
OP then asked the family to leave while she fixed the house.
“At this point I’m saying that’s ridiculous and they’re old enough to know the difference between a stupid movie and real life.”
“BIL gets upset at this because the kids have imprinted on ‘Home Alone’ because it’s about a mother and her kid being reunited at Christmas.”
“At this point, both kids start crying about missing their mom.”
“I told them they need to leave because I need to fix my house. BIL says ‘you’re throwing us out?’”
“I explain there’s no functioning toilets in the house and if anything they threw me out of my own home because I’m going to have to stay in a hotel.”
OP is now facing blowback from her husband and brother-in-law.
“Husband is not speaking with me because the kids’ feelings are upset. He’s staying with BIL and I’m at a hotel alone while trying to find a plumber who can fix all of this. AITA”
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
Reddit is having a hard time deciding if there was anybody to actually blame in this situation, though some are agreeing that it’s time for the kids to sit down and have a serious talk with dad.
“Your brother in law does need to pay for it. But give him the opportunity to do it. Do NOT bring it to the attention of an insurance company that will send him threatening letters and possibly sue him.”
“Following this advice will just throw gasoline on a fire.”
“Your brother in law is currently adrift without a paddle. His kids are even worse off. So don’t be angry with them, try to be understanding.”
“Yes, he should pay for the toilets, given the opportunity he will hopefully offer as much himself shortly.”
“Also he needs to talk with his kids, but try to be patient. I cannot imagine what they are going through right now.”
“NAH here, just some kids in unimaginable pain.”~Spamacus66
“You have the right to call the cops and it will not make you an a**hole, but if you do it will permanently damage your relationship with your BIL and, based on the story, probably your husband and the rest of his family, too. I don’t think there is a simple solution.”
“You have clearly been trying to be understanding and empathetic to their situation and you deserve credit for that, which you do not seem to be receiving.”
“That is not fair. Husband, at least, should recognize your efforts even if he is willing to let more slide than you are.”
“Husband is not in the ‘wrong’ here for his reaction, either, though imo.”
“He is just prioritizing his empathy for BIL and the children, probably because he is also still deeply wounded from the death of his sibling and he can easily understand the situation.”
“This does not excuse the toilets or invalidate your feelings.”
“The kids know they did wrong. Kids do stupid sh*t ALL the time with far lesser justification. That’s just being a kid.”
“BIL knows that the toilets are expensive and a pain in the a** to fix. He’s just in pain and trying to keep his family together and get back to normal life.”
“Husband knows that your feelings are valid, he’s ignoring his own annoyance to try to be supportive here. He’s just doing his best.”
“And I’m sure there are some unspoken truths that you are holding onto as well. You all just need to sit down and talk this over. I believe this situation just calls for a little bit of honest communication.”
“Merry Whatever-You-Celebrate and good luck.”~TempusVenisse
“NTA – They don’t get to turn into human wrecking balls because their mom died. The father is overcompensating by giving them no structure or discipline, which is doing them no favors.”
“Did your husband expect you to be happy that your house has no working toilets? Where did he expect everyone to go? Spackle buckets?”~idrow1
“NTA – the ‘kids’ knew what they were doing, they damaged not only the toilets but the cause water damage to the house. Plus they made the house unlivable until the toilets are replaced.”