Disciplining a screaming child is hard enough when we’re at our best.
But it becomes even more thankless when the tantrum occurs in the middle of the night, when we’re dazed and confused.
A recent post on the “Am I the A**hole (AITA)” subReddit offered an example.
The Original Poster (OP), known as incompatibilityTA on the site, began with a simple, albeit vague title.
“AITA for refusing to sleep on the camp bed?”
OP led with some key facts.
“I have a 9 year old stepson. I am also 8 weeks pregnant.”
“My partner and I are currently renting a place after our home was damaged in a flood so we’ve got a one bed apartment right now.”
Those numbers don’t exactly add up.
“My stepson sleeps in the same bed as his birth mother, he has his own room at hers but spends every night in her bed.”
“When he was younger, he used to try and get in our bed but he grew out of it seemingly. He had his own room in our old house.”
“As we have a one bed right now, we’ve made him up a campbed in our room as he was too scared to sleep alone in the living room.”
But there were a couple unforeseen issues.
“Where we are staying currently is a big old building and does have a slightly haunted vibe about it.”
“First night, he’s crying in the camp bed.”
“We think he’s having a nightmare but no, he thinks the bed is too small. He’s used to a kingsize with his mother.”
OP and her husband did their best to respond.
“We urge him to get to sleep but he begs to come in to our bed. My partner tells him he’s too big for that and our European double and he keeps crying.”
“He eventually climbs into our bed and pushes my partner towards me so I’m out the bed.”
“At this point, I ask my partner to put him back into his own bed. It’s hot, he kicks and I’m exhausted all the time these days.”
The next course of events surprised OP.
“He then throws a massive tantrum and demands I sleep on the campbed.”
“My partner asks if I would and I point blank refused. Tantrum went on for another hour before he tired out.”
“I may be the a**hole as I could have solved the tantrum by sleeping in the campbed but I am a grown pregnant woman in my own home so why should I?”
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
When some comments came flooding in, OP felt the need to clarify a cuople things.
“EDIT : It’s a really fancy campbed to be fair, maybe the better description is trundle bed? It has a mattress and is comfortable, size wise it’s around the size of a child’s bed. I’ve slept on it for two weeks when I moved previously and it was fine.”
“Also I’m asking if I’m being an a**hole to my partner, not to my stepson. I haven’t been an a**hole to any children. I was patient and loving with him and gave up more sleep reassuring him over this than I would have sleeping on that bed.”
A majority of Redditors told OP she wasn’t the a**hole. They expressed the importance of discipline.
“NTA. A camp bed isn’t great for anyone but it sounds like a temporary situation. Kids gonna have to suck it up for a bit. 9 years old is old enough to learn the world doesn’t revolve around them.” — boxer_lvr
“NTA giving in to a tantrum only reinforces the effectiveness of throwing one. And your husband shouldn’t have asked you anyway.” — AntiochGhost8100
“NTA…he’s 9 and sleeps with his parents?? Assuming there’s no underlying medical reason he needs such supervision, he’s at an age where it’s hindering his maturity. Time to enforce boundaries for his and your own good.” — brockleehead
“NTA. And if you had given in and slept in the camp bed it would have set the standard for your stepson that if he complains enough he gets his way.”
“You and your partner need to make a plan together in how to tackle this CONSISTENTLY” — Substantial-Fox-4905
“NTA. Your stepson is trying to drive a wedge between you and your partner and the camped is a perfect excuse. Once you’re out of the bed, the kid has his parent all to himself.”
“A camped is certainly big enough for a 9 year old so it isn’t the size of the bed at all. It’s jealousy. Also, a pregnant woman shouldn’t be thrown out of her own bed.”
“Hang tough with this kid. He will continue to try and get you out of the bed until he realizes the you won’t be taking the camped ever. If he wins with his tantrums, he will learn that tantrums work really well to get his way.” — No_Proposal7628
Others had some choice words for OP’s partner.
“NTA but your partner is. It is definitely your husbands responsibility to handle this situation by not allowing your step son to sleep in the bed.”
“Your partner is the a**hole for even asking you in the first place and making you, a pregnant woman, look like the bad guy to your step son for saying no.” — fsyfsy2038
“NTA Massively short-sighted of your partner to suggest going along with the tantrum demands.”
“That would only guarantee tantrums being the go-to behavior for the boy to get what he wants, part of which looks like putting you at the bottom of the pecking order (you in the place he thinks is not good enough for him) and him at the top with your partner being the enabler of that.”
“You did well to say no and your partner needs to see why giving in to the tantrumists is a bad idea, so you can get on the same page.” — jwjnthrowawaykfeiofj
And a few offered up some ideas.
“Partner and stepson need to set up a sleeping fort in the living room each night and camp out on the floor there. Leave the bed to OP! NTA.” — Ecstatic-Highway-246
“NTA. But it sounds like stepson should be allowed to stay with his mom until your accommodations are better.”
“I wouldn’t want to go from having my own space to being in the same room indefinitely with my dad and stepmom. His mom can offer him space and comfort. Right now dad can’t.” — Able-Bumblebee-8461