We’re human and all make mistakes, some of which are small and other of which carry major consequences.
For parents, that could even mean losing custody of their children, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit, and it’s a long road back to regaining that trust.
Redditor aitastomachflu worked hard to become sober and to regain custody of her four-year-old daughter, Emma.
But when her family refused to fully let her parent her child, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if it would be best if the mother and daughter got some distance from their family.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for not letting my brother and sister-in-law (SIL) see my daughter after they threw away her medicine?”
The OP had a strained relationship with her brother and sister-in-law.
“I have a 4-year-old daughter named Emma. I am an alcoholic and I’ve been sober for 2 years.”
“My brother was Emma’s court-appointed guardian from when she was 15 months old to just before her 3rd birthday.”
“I had to fight for almost a year to get her back. Getting her back was nearly impossible. Courts almost always side with the married couple with stable jobs over the single mom with a record, just got out of rehab, and working and going to school full time.”
“My brother and SIL are still upset that I ‘took Emma from them’ and have called CPS (Child Protective Services) on me numerous times, and they have made it clear that they don’t trust me to take care of my own kid.”
“They love Emma and Emma loves them so I try to take her to see them a couple of times a month.”
But the couple soon broke the OP’s trust.
“A couple of weeks ago, Emma caught the stomach flu from someone at her preschool. I’m in school full time and had a midterm that day, so I asked my brother to watch her for a couple of hours so I could take my test.”
“They said they were happy to take her, so I brought her to their house that morning with her medicines, a schedule saying when she’s supposed to take which medicine and the dosage, a bottle of Pedialyte, and a few changes of clothes.”
“I came to pick her up after the midterm, and half her medicines, her clothes, and her Pedialyte were gone.”
“When I asked about it, they said they threw away all of her medicines and the Pedialyte because they were liquids, and they were already opened so I could’ve put something in there to make her sick/sleep (not that it helps much, but I never hurt my daughter or gave her anything that wasn’t recommended by her pediatrician).”
“They also said I shouldn’t be giving her Tylenol and Motrin (again, her doctor said it’s fine) so they didn’t give her any Motrin.”
“Then I asked about the nausea medicine (prescription), and they said they didn’t think she needs prescription meds for the stomach flu.”
“They also felt her clothes weren’t good enough for her, so they gave them to their neighbor for their garage sale and bought her new clothes, meaning they most likely took her shopping when she was sick and should’ve been resting.”
The OP decided it was better to distance herself and Emma from the family after that.
“I left with Emma and haven’t spoken to them since except to tell them they will not be allowed anywhere near my kid unsupervised.”
“I’m working on Thanksgiving, so I was going to drop Emma off with my parents so she could see my family, but I still don’t want her to be around them without me, so I’m leaving her with her babysitter instead.”
“Now my family is giving me a hard time for not letting my brother and SIL see Emma and are excusing what they did by saying they were just worried about her.”
“AITA for not letting my daughter see my brother and SIL?”
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 applauded the OP for turning her life around and regaining custody.
“NTA. Congratulations on your sobriety. They’re the ones acting untrustworthy, not you. If they were actually worried about her, they’d give her medicine and rest.” – notrapunzel
“NTA. Your brother and SIL are sabotaging your recovery and relationship with your child. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them talk negatively about you and your history as she gets older.”
“You may need some distance to feel safer and have the mental capacity to deal with them.” – giantbrownguy
“NTA … my SO works for CPS and I just read this to him. He said you should absolutely report this to your social worker. They put your daughter in danger by throwing away her meds and it needs to be documented since they keep calling CPS on you.”
“Congratulations on your sobriety!” – Elspetta
“Honestly, it’s next to impossible for most people to get their kids back from the system, especially if they are placed with a family member as the family member can say, ‘they still have visitation so it’s best for the child to be with us as we are more responsible.'”
“If the OP proved to the courts and the caseworkers, then she has every right to keep her daughter from them if they are being toxic.”
“OP, congratulations on your recovery and hitting amazing mile markers! You’re NTA.”
“You must have done everything right to prove yourself! My dad is a cop and my mom is an addictions counselor. I read them your post and they both said if she proved it to the courts and to CPS, then she did better than most parents in that position.”
“Stay strong and don’t let these bullies drag you down. They see themselves as YOUR DAUGHTER’S parents when they are not. You will find your found support system. Good luck.” – bookloverr95
“NTA. They aren’t worried about Emma, they are trying to sabotage your parenting efforts so they can regain custody of your daughter.”
“It was lovely that they gave her a safe place to be when it was needed, but you’ve earned your daughter and deserve to be her mother without these people treating you this way.” – NUT-me-SHELL
Others recommended documenting everything that happened with her family.
“You did the work to get yourself sober and get your daughter back. They no longer get to make decisions about what is best for her.”
“Not giving prescribed medicines can be reckless and dangerous, no matter what the illness – particularly in infants. You gave them the instructions from her doctor and they should listen to that. They do not have the knowledge or education to go against what a doctor recommends.”
“Please document this and any further incidents with them, particularly if they keep reporting you to CPS. Keep a record of all the harassment they give you to ensure that nothing can be used against you.”
“You are an awesome mother and are doing a great job. She is your daughter and you make the decisions, don’t let anyone make you feel bad for keeping her best interests at heart!!” – bluelephnt
“NTA. What they did is absolutely ridiculous. I’m sorry that the clothes you buy ‘aren’t good enough’ for them but they should get off their high horse and start understanding that some folks are struggling a bit. And throwing away the medicine is a huge line that they crossed.”
“The fact that they are concerned and want to make sure your daughter is taken care of is fine. These sorts of attacks are not. I absolutely would not let them see your daughter again because I could easily see them setting you up for another CPS visit.” – mojo4394
“If you can stand talking to them once more, I would text them something along the lines of ‘I didn’t like that you did x y and z, and ignore medical advice given to me by her doctor.'”
“‘I appreciate you taking care of her when I was unable to, but I do not appreciate the constant comments about taking her from you and SIL, Emma is still my daughter, not yours, and I’m doing my best to give her everything she needs. Your attempts to help are only interfering with her needs.'”
“Just try to list the things they did wrong to get them to respond and try to justify themselves. What you need is written proof that they 1. Completely disregarded medical advice and 2. Are trying to take her away from you.”
“Next time they call CPS, which I believe they will, you have a way to show that it is possible they are only calling CPS because they are butthurt they don’t get to be her parents.” – lexahead
“THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! They are positioning themselves to retake custody of your child. They took away her medicine in the hopes that she will get sicker. Then they will blame YOU for not giving her the prescription medicine from the doctor. They will do and say anything to reach their goal.”
“I would mention to the police and your child’s doctor that they threw out her medicine. What they did was illegal! There NEEDS to be a record of that. This proves that they care more about gaining custody than the health of your child.”
“These people are NOT on your side, or your daughter’s side either. It’s a good thing that you are moving away from them. I know you’re not gonna tell them but make sure you don’t tell ANYONE. People that you think are on your side may not be.”
“Trust nobody! Make sure the babysitter does not let them near your daughter when you are not there. Instruct her to not let them in the house if they show up. Don’t risk losing your daughter because you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. This is far more important than that. I can’t stress this enough. “ – ILikeToYou
Some questioned why the OP would want to be in contact with her family after this.
“NTA. You know how when parents divorce and one side has a lot of money and the other doesn’t and over time the kids only want to spend time with the rich family that gives them everything they want… this is going to happen to you if you don’t go NC (no contact).”
“Your sister is trying to steal your daughter from you. Better be careful.” – PMyra
“Just straight up leave, go no contact. Let your parents know you’ve moved but make it painfully clear that it’s because you’re sibling has been actively harming your ability to parent through sabotage, harassment via CPS, and harmed her welfare by breaking her medical treatment plan as set forth by the doctor.”
“Inform your parents of this in writing, so when the brother attempts to claim you kidnapped your kid (it happens), you can flat out point out this letter as why you left.” – crypticedge
“If you really want to tell them then create a new email account with a new address and send them messages through that account. Block them on everything else. Just use that one highly controlled account.”
“Explain your reason for moving and why you are cutting them off. You should privately speak with your new local police department and old police department and explain your situation to them. I would not put it past your brother and SIL and other relatives to file child endangerment or kidnapping charges against you.”
“Get in front of this by talking to law enforcement before they can set the narrative of an ‘alcoholic’ who is a threat to this poor child. You will probably need your court documents and medical records to prove your case.” – OldPolishProverb
“If you’re looking to go no-contact, just do it. Don’t stir the pot, shake the jar, or whatever phrase means unnecessary drama where you’re from.”
“Best tell your parents to keep your whereabouts to themselves. Just in case…”
“It’s fantastic that you’re back on track. You’re definitely NTA.” – spiritedcrone
While receiving responses, the OP also shared that she planned on moving away.
“They don’t know this but Emma and I are moving across the country in February. I think the space will be good for us.”
“Our caseworker already knows that we’re moving. I’m expecting at least one family member to call and say I disappeared with my daughter.”
“I don’t have a support system but I got a job with benefits and they offer tuition assistance and daycare assistance. Plus, it’s a cheaper part of California.”
“I was going to send them postcards to let them know we arrived, but not anymore. It’ll be a lot cheaper and easier to send an email saying we moved after we get settled in.”
The subReddit was thoroughly rooting for the OP and Emma after the work she put into becoming sober and regaining custody of her daughter.
It seemed distance away from the family would be best, so that the OP would have the freedom to raise and enjoy her daughter the way a mother wants, not the way the rest of the family would like.