in ,

Parent Called Out For Sparking Nephew’s Hours-Long Tantrum By Not Letting Him Keep Son’s Toy

Ekaterina Goncharova/Getty Images

When we think of Thanksgiving dinner drama, we typically assume lively discussions of politics were the cause.

But a recent post on the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit illustrated that plenty of other dynamics can cause family drama too.

The Original Poster (OP), known as aita_toy_tantrum, touched on the key details in the title:

“AITA for not giving one of my son’s toys to my nephew, causing him to have an hours-long tantrum?”

It all began just as the Thanksgiving gathering was coming to a close. 

“We hosted Thanksgiving at my place. My brother, his wife, and their almost four year old son were among the guests.”

“As people were leaving, my brother asked if my nephew could take home one of my 2 year old son’s toy trucks. My nephew had been playing with it nonstop since they arrived and wanted to keep it.”

“My brother said that he’d replace the toy if I told him where I got it.”

But OP had their own view of the situation. 

“I told my brother that I’d be happy to give him a link to the store where I bought it, but I would not give him the toy then and there.”

“I refused for two reasons: firstly, my brother/sister-in-law have a terrible habit of giving my nephew everything he asks for. He is way too old for that.”

“Secondly, I don’t want to reinforce in my nephew that it’s OK to just take things he wants.”

This led to a debate.

“My brother said that my nephew would throw a tantrum if he didn’t get the toy then and there, and that everything would be easier if I just let him take the toy and get sent a replacement in the mail.”

“I told my brother that I would not be an enabler for my nephew’s bad behavior, and that it’s my brother/SIL’s problem if he throws a tantrum.”

“Of course, the inevitable happened—my nephew started shrieking inconsolably at the top of his lungs and my brother/SIL/nephew had to leave.”

OP, of course, heard all about it. 

“Later that evening I got an angry text from my brother saying that my nephew screamed his head off for the entire 3 hour car ride home and only stopped screaming after he literally passed out from exhaustion.”

“He said that the tantrum was my fault since it would have been completely avoided if I’d just given my nephew the toy, and accused me of ‘backseat parenting,’ since in his words it’s not my place to set an example for his son.”

Eventually, OP talked it over with their wife. 

“My wife thinks we should have just handed the toy over to make things easier, especially since our son has a ton of toys (and is not particularly attached to that specific truck) and would not have noticed it missing for just a couple days.”

“I still maintain that it’s well within my rights to set an example for my nephew even if it goes against my brother/SIL’s parenting style of coddling their son, and that the tantrum is 100% a result of their terrible parenting habits.”

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

A clear majority of Redditors assured OP they hadn’t been an a**hole. 

“I-N-F-O how can you backseat parent if there are no frontseat parents?”

“NTA” — Rat_Kin

“NTA They are awful parents. The reason their kid threw a fit is because they give in every time the kid throws a fit.”

“New rule:. Their kid can’t come to your house.” — teresajs

“NTA. Your brother may think that it’s ‘easier’ to give in to his son’s tantrums, but he’s starting to reap what he’s sown now.”

“The 3-hour tantrum is his own fault for never teaching the kid proper boundaries, and for teaching him that his parents would give him anything if he’d just throw a tantrum.” — asianingermany


“YOU didnt enable. They are in for a hell of a life with that kid. He holds the power in house. Fear for them when they are old and he is in charge of them with that temper and selfishness.” — grianmharduit

“NTA. Don’t get into the habit of appeasing and making concessions for this kid because it’ll be hard to stop when he’s older.”

“And next time it comes up, I’d keep my mouth shut as far as my feelings towards my brothers parenting is concerned, and I’d just tell him his kid can’t take my kids toys every time they visit. No is a complete sentence. If he wants to blame the kids tantrum on you, so be it.” — MikkiLake

A few people acknowledged that their might be more in play than meets the eye. 

“I came into this expecting you to be in the right, but your brother has you pegged: you’re a backseat parent, and YTA.”

“How close are you with your brother? Do you know 100% for sure that your nephew is developmentally on track? What about your brother and his wife’s mental health – are you privy to the intimate details there?”

“Do you know for a fact that this couple who lives three hours away from you is spoiling their toddler beyond what you deem acceptable?” — geekgames

“As a parent of a child with autism, I want to say that autism meltdowns are a real thing. It is impossible to tell from the limited info here if there is more going on with this four year old, or its just bad parenting.”

“If the child has autism or some other issue, I don’t think these parents would react well to the suggestion that there is a problem. If it is autism or something else, they could get help working with their child so he can learn to cope with his emotions.”

“I am going to say not enough info to know what is going on.” — Ordinary_Attention_7

With all this commentary in mind, OP is likely to rest easy about the whole incident. 

And if they want, they can follow up with their brother to understand it all a little more clearly.  

Written by Eric Spring

Eric Spring lives in New York City. He has poor vision and cooks a good egg. Most of his money is spent on live music and produce. He usually wears plain, solid color sweatshirts without hoods because he assumes loud patterns make people expect something big. Typically, he'll bypass a handshake and go straight for the hug.