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Mom Balks After Her Sister Demands Her Nephew Also Receive Gifts At Her Son’s Birthday Party

Joyce Adams/Unsplash

We all know that kids enjoy receiving gifts, particularly money or toys.

And some of them really struggle when other kids are the ones on the receiving end, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor Immediate_Poetry_640 was surprised when her sister started trying to plan her son into her nephew’s birthday party, because she knew her son would not take the lack of attention well.

When she started receiving ultimatums, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she should just give in.

She asked the sub:

“AITA for fighting back against another child receiving gifts on my son’s birthday?”

The OP experienced a lot of changes in the past year.

“I had a rough past year, including losing my husband to cancer, job, and my home.”

“My 9-year-old son and I moved in with my sister, her husband, and their 8-year-old-son while I tried to figure out the next steps.”

“I did find a new job rather quickly but it’s taken me some time to find affordable housing.”

“Suffice it to say, a birthday party really isn’t in the budget. My mom offered to throw one for him and I agreed, thanking her profusely.”

“The party will be thrown in my sister’s backyard, and she’s okay with that.”

The OP’s sister had expectations for the birthday party.

“We were working on invitations. I always say something to the effect of, ‘No gifts please, your presence is a present enough.'”

“This year more than ever, my son has a ton of toys, and given we’re living out of the same room currently, there’s just not enough space for more stuff.”

“My sister wanted to add, ‘If you do bring gifts, please bring one for both kids.'”

“I was confused and she told me that my nephew struggles on birthdays.”

“I have noticed in the past that he doesn’t seem to enjoy birthday parties, but I assumed like some kids, he’s just not social. No, apparently, he can’t handle watching other kids open gifts.”

“I told her that it’s ridiculous to expect my son to share the spotlight with her son.”

“She pointed out that I’ve lived with her rent-free for a year and the party is at her house, so we need to follow her rules.”

The OP didn’t like how that sounded.

“I said if this is how she felt, then we won’t have the party at all.”

“My mom says I’m being ridiculous and to just have the party. If I don’t, it’ll spite my son more than my sister.”

“I feel it’s just ridiculous.”


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 said the OP’s son deserved a nice birthday party. 

“The kid has been through enough. He doesn’t need to have his birthday ruined too. Also, the sister’s kid is gonna be a real treat as he gets older if this is how he’s being coddled already. NTA” – supergeek921

“Who suffers here with the canceled party? OP’s son! Sure, the nephew is being spoiled but wouldn’t the birthday boy prefer a party to no party?”

“Soft YTA on this one, because you are ignoring your kid in favor of (correct) principles.” – OblioWasRobbed


“Your son has had quite a traumatic year. He deserves to have his presence celebrated without having to share the spotlight on his special day.”

“Your sister is kind to allow you to live with her, but if she’s going to hold it over your head, is it truly kind?” – picosapecosa

Others agreed and recommended how the OP could keep gifts out of it. 

“Canceling the whole thing is overkill when there are other options. OP could hold the party at a park, a friend’s place, or even request in lieu of a gift that parents contribute to the cost of a ‘destination’ party like the plaster funhouse or chuck e cheese or (w/e is feasible/appropriate during a pandemic.)”

“If the sister is pulling a power trip, just cut her leverage. Focus on the kid.” – ginsengtea3

“I would probably just go ahead with the party leave out sisters note (you can say what you said here: you don’t have enough space for more toys anyway and the focus is on celebration, not gifts) but tell her she’s welcome to bring a gift for her son to open if she’s worried about his reaction to feeling left out.”

“No, it’s right, yes she is enabling her son to be entitled, but if your housing is contingent on her for the time being it’s probably best not to die on this hill. Also, it would stink for your son to miss out on a birthday to teach your sister a lesson.”

“If you can, work with mom to make sure there are other non-gift-related ways you can make this extra special for your son. His favorite character on the cake, his name everywhere / in balloons, guests sharing things they appreciate about him, stuff like that. once you’re more independent of your sister, there will be lots of opportunities for you to throw parties and enforce the no gifts for non-birthday boys rule.” – capsulestories

“OP, you and your mother should redirect the funds and planning from the birthday party to a nice little gathering for you three, and maybe a couple of his friends, at Dave and Busters, or somewhere else that he’ll enjoy.”

“Another location so that he can feel special and celebrated, as he deserves to. NTA at all. Your sister’s audacity is absurd and ridiculous.” – allxand

While she wondered if she should play along because of staying in her sister’s house, the subReddit insisted taking over the birthday party was not the right thing to do for a family member in need.

Rather, doing something of her own for her son might have been for the best, so the sister could guarantee that both boys would be able to enjoy the party.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit