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Teen Called Out For Refusing To Let Seven-Year-Old Stepbrother Open Her Birthday Presents

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There is always bound to be some initial tension between children and their new or prospective stepparents and stepsiblings, particularly for children of divorce.

Owing to the fact that their presence is a reminder of the fact that their parent’s marriage didn’t work out.

Down the line however, children may grow to love their new, blended family members as if they were, in fact, their own flesh and blood.

Others are not so lucky.

Such was the case with Redditor Maarleyyy, who frequently found herself at odds with her father’s new girlfriend and her young son.

But things came to an all time head during what should have been a joyous celebration, when the original poster (OP), unequivocally told her quasi stepbrother he couldn’t have something that belonged to her.

The tantrum that followed resulting in the OP being scolded not only by her father’s girlfriend, but also her father.

But wondering if she was, in fact, in the wrong, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for refusing to let my step-brother open my presents?”

The OP explained how her relationship with her father’s girlfriend and stepbrother could have been better, but an episode with her stepbrother during her birthday party saw things quickly go from bad to worse.

“My (16 F[emale]) parents got divorced pretty recently and my dad already has a new girlfriend, Sofia.”

“I’m sure they were a thing before my parents divorced so I strongly dislike Sofia.”

“Sofia has two kids, Ainsley (7 M[ale]) and Sierra (4 F).”

“Ainsley is one of the most spoiled brats you will ever meet while Sierra is way more toned down.”

“Now that the backstories mainly over here’s why I’m posting this.”

“Yesterday was my birthday and while I didn’t have a giant sweet 16 I had a bigger than average party with my friends and family.”

“When the party started It was super fun, but Ainsley quickly started his complaints.”

“I blinked for a second and he was on the floor crying and having a tantrum because he noticed the gifts I was receiving over the day.”

“Sofia tried calming him down but he was too far gone.”

“For some reason Sofia decided I should let him open my gifts and most likely just have them knowing her.”

“Sofia: ‘could he just open your gifts?'”

Me: ‘what?'”

“Sofia: ‘it’ll calm him down!'”

“Me: ‘he’ll just beg for the gifts and cry when he realizes he can’t keep them.’”

“Sofia: ‘do you really need all those gifts anyway?””

“At this point I was pretty pissed because people bought these for me, not a bratty 7 year old.”

“I stood by my choice and the night went on as you could hear Ainsley sobbing like his entire family was just found dead.”

“Sofia quickly told her whole family about what happened and most of them are saying I’m TA, including my dad, but I don’t think I am.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

The Reddit community agreed that the OP was not at all the a**hole for refusing to let her stepbrother open her birthday presents.

Everyone agreed that allowing Ainsley to open gifts which didn’t belong to him would teach him a terrible lesson, and that he needed to learn that he can’t always get what he wants, and tantrums shouldn’t be rewarded.


“That child is headed towards misery if his mom keeps this up.”

“Plain and simple.”

“Your gifts.’

“You get to decide.”

“She is not family nor is he your brother.”

“If your dad can’t support you as his daughter, I would try to stay with your mom more if possible.”

“Also, I would have a stern conversation with your dad, Sofia and your mom all in one setting, putting boundaries in place.”- Connect_Poet775

“NTA, they’re your presents.”

“Bought by friends and family for you.”

“They’re just mad because they actually have to deal with the brat they created.”

“Dad, dealing with GF, and his GF dealing with monster she created.”

“Opening up someone else’s presents is rude and a ridiculous expectation.”

“If you had said yes, you’d be the ah to the people who spent time and effort to pick you out a present.”

“Honestly, tell dad and his gf to suck it and they’re horrible people that ruined a milestone birthday for you.”- Tasty-Biscotti355

“Definitely NTA.”

“Sofia needs to be teaching her son he shouldn’t be doing that, not giving in to every demand and tantrum.”- JVNT

“NTA and BTW he’s your dad’s girlfriend’s son not your step brother you don’t have to claim him or her for that matter.”

“Sorry your birthday got jacked up.”- Calm_River9

“NTA, they were your presents.”

“Like you said, Ainsley couldn’t keep them and that would start another fight.”

“Don’t worry about Sofia’s family, they’re biased, and likely contribute to Ainsley’s bratty behavior.”

“After everyone’s calmed down, try talking with your father that you don’t appreciate him wanting to give away your presents to Ainsley, noting also that age has nothing to do with it as Sierra was able to behave.”

“If your dad suggests they weren’t ‘for real’ going to let Ainsley have them, ask him why opening YOUR presents was acceptable and HOW it wouldn’t send a confusing message to Sierra?”

“Will you be able to pick through your dad’s gifts?”


“If not, then why would Sierra be able to open yours?”

“As long as you weren’t violent or super insulting, you’re 110% in the clear.”- Accomplished_Ruin_25

The OP later offered an update as to everything that happened after the party, which did not include a resolution of any kind.

“Around an hour after I posted this and read some comments I decided to talk to my dad after Sofia left for groceries so we could be alone.”

“I told him how ridiculous what happened was and that if he didn’t do something I would be leaving to go to my mom’s.”

“This incident is one of many but if I mentioned all of them this post would be a mile long lol.”

“Anyways he said that he wanted to wait for Sofia to come home to talk but I refused because that girl can be crazy when she’s genuinely mad.”

“I had my friend pick me up and drop me off at my mom’s.”

“I’m pretty sure my dad told Sofia what happened because I got a lot of calls/texts from her but I just ignored her.”

“I got sick of Sofia’s calls and texts so I answered a call and asked her what she wanted.”

“She was in a room with my dad and I believe Sierra, her other sweeter kid.”

“She quickly told me I needed to talk with her which I turned down because I was tired which just made her more angry.”

“She told me if I came back to their apartment she wouldn’t be mad, which is a total lie, but I told her I had no way of getting there.”

“My mom takes sleeping pills so she can’t drive and I don’t have a license yet.”

“She told me if I didn’t figure it out she was coming down to my house and hung up so I got my mom and we called her again a few times before she finally answered.”

“This is where she officially went absolutely crazy.”

“She said she was driving to our house with my dad and her kids and that we were going to figure something out.”

“My mom let her know that if she came here she would be calling the cops which Sofia just told her to call them.”

“After 5 more minutes Sofia pulled into our driveway like she was in NASCAR and grabbed her kids out.”

“Sierra was crying and Ainsley looked upset too.”

“She ran up to us, we were waiting outside for them. and got into my face yelling about how entitled I was etc.”

“The entire time she was yelling I could hear Sierra sobbing to her mom about how she was tired and just wanted to go home which absolutely broke my heart.”

“My mom got in between us luckily and told Sofia if she didn’t leave now she was calling the cops.”

“Sofia was bright red and just yelled ‘FINE!’ before she shoved the kids back into her car and sped off.”

“The entire time my dad just sat in the car looking like he was contemplating his life.”

“I’m finally back in my bed but I’m not sure if I can sleep after that.”

“Sofia has something wrong with her I swear, none of her logic works In the slightest.”

‘By the way for everyone asking, yes I did bring as much of my things to my moms and I don’t plan on visiting my dad for as long as Sofia is with him.”

It’s a shame Sofia didn’t think to ask him how Ainsley might feel if other people opened his birthday presents.

Which could have actually resulted in a lesson being learned.

And a strain on the OP’s relationship with her father could have been avoided.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.