Pranks are fun and often hilarious—at least when everyone is in on the joke or can laugh about it together.
Pranks turn into bullying though when the intent is to hurt the other person. When their mom and step-father took what they called a “prank” on her brother way too far, one young woman was left feeling badly for siding against them.
The Redditor jamie_doo had enough and turned to the AITA “Am I The A**hole” subReddit for a judgement on her mother and step-father’s behavior.
“AITA for telling my step-dad and mom that they shouldn’t be surprised at what my little brother said to them when they pulled a prank on him?”
The OP (Original Poster) explained the background of the unfunny parent prank:
“I [20 F] am an older sister to my little (biological) brother (17 M) who finished high school last year. My little brother and I are really close.”
“He says I’m the best friend he has and he loves me more than anyone (of course this is not true, he has many friends of his own).”
“My brother has been asking our step-dad/mother if he could get a new car for his grad party since last year, and he said he’d pay 50-75% with his own hard-earned money while they paid the rest. They said no.”
“I have a car but I had been working for one, they helped me pay it off. So my brother’s arguments with our parents got heated after awhile (one time I told my brother that I’d help him pay off expenses for a good car once I got my own. He hugged me and said I didn’t need to worry and that he owed me way more than I owed him).”
“But he continued to press our parents all of last year until they gave in and said yes like they did for me. Note that our step-dad and my brother have a negative relationship for the most part.”
“Our bio mother and step-dad got together soon after our bio dad and mom divorced when we were little. My brother thinks that step-dad and mother were seeing each other before our real parents divorced and tbh, I think that might be true. Not certain, though.”
“Anyway, my step-dad, mother and brother compromised and said they’d get him the car in 2021 so that people don’t gawk at him at the graduation party.”
“June this year my brother and step-dad/mother are still on about the car, now the arguments getting loud and lasting hours until evening.”
“My step-dad was getting into screaming matches with my brother over it but they reached a final compromise of the car being bought last week. The fated morning comes and my brother wakes up to our step-dad and mom guiding him outside to… a car.”
“But not his, our mother’s. Step-dad used his and my brother’s money on a dumb prank, bought a completely different model of car, and said it was for our mother.”
“Our mom and step dad just laughed and kissed each other. My brother didn’t lose it, he didn’t even look angry.”
After the cruel joke OP’s brother had some haunting words for the parents.
“He just looked dead in our step-dad’s eyes and said, and I’m not joking, verbatim: ‘you might think I’m f**king stupid, you might think whatever. But I’m just better than you, bro’.”
“‘You know that, I know that, and our mom is a f**king idiot for staying with a prick like you. But I’ll make you wish you’d never f**king met us’.”
“‘I promise you. You might be laughing now, but you’ll be crying later’.”
“He then walked off, not even looking back at them as they stared horrified. They asked me what was that about and I, feeling terrible for my brother, said they had it coming and not to be surprised.”
“So now they grounded both of us. I’ve had to explain the situation to my friends as I can’t see them anymore but I feel so bad for my baby brother and they back me up on this and ask me to comfort him as much as possible.”
“But our parents are so mad, and they can’t see that my brother had his heart crushed.”
“I told our parents (step-father and bio mother) that my brother was in the right to chew into them for using his money to buy a car that he didn’t ask for and give it to our mother as some stupid prank.”
“They’re offended and think I ‘condone’ my brother’s anger at them.”
“But I don’t, but I definitely understand why he’s so upset. I love him a lot and I hate seeing him hurt by this prank.”
The OP provided some more information in an update.
“If it’s meaningful to anyone, the car my baby brother wanted was around $18,000. 75% of that purchase, so $13,500, was pooled with the remainder of the money my step-father had.
“My step-father purchased a cheaper car with his own and my brother’s money. Is $13,500 worth going to court over?”
Redditors judged this situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors were furious on behalf of OP and her brother declaring a strong NTA.
“Wait…so your parents used 75% of your brother’s money to buy themselves a car as a ‘prank’?” merlin242
“That isn’t a prank…that is financial abuse. They stole from him, and since this is a car they stole…what, thousands?”
“A prank would have ended with him getting the car, or at the very least getting his share of the money back. It isn’t a prank if you make a profit off of it.”
“They stole from him, full stop. Then they laughed about it. They should be ashamed.”
“Also, what they did isn’t legal, especially if your brother is 18. Keep any text or documentation that it was agreed upon, just in case.” SubstantialDrawing7
“NTA. Your brother is a better person than I am because I would be blasting stepdad/mother everywhere.”
“I’d call the local news stations and ask if they are interested in a story of parents stealing from their child, I’d tell family, friends, people at church, random strangers on the street, post about it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, make a You Tube video, everything.”
“Your mother is the worst for letting someone do this to her child. I want to say so many things that would get me permanently banned.” Malachite_Macchiato
“NTA. Paralegal here, what they did is financial fraud, even when there’s no contract, there must be texts, any proof/witness can help to open a case against them. They committed a crime, is a financial crime aka white collar, not all crimes are violent.” dystopianpirate
“NTA. I’d move out with my brother if I were you and cut ties with them. If not now then as soon as feasible.”
“Or if your dad is in the picture still then maybe see if he can step-up for you and your brother. They stole your brother’s money to buy themselves a vehicle and laughed about it.”
“They are grounding you at the age of 20 because you called them out on it. There is no respect in that house. I wouldn’t feel comfortable relying on them for anything.”
“I wouldn’t want to go to university when any minute they could renege on whatever fiscal arrangement you guys had made. Also…that isn’t a prank. That is a crime.” SnarkyGoblin85
“I think you don’t understand what a terrible situation you are in. Your parents stole a significant amount of money from your brother to purchase their own car.”
“You are calling this a prank? How?”
“Clearly you have been groomed to think this behavior is normal. There is nothing normal about any of it!”
“Parents can’t ground adult children! Parents don’t steal money from their children!”
“I think you are ignorant about how the real world works and your value as an individual human. You’ve said ‘it is what it is’, but you need to get out now and take your brother with you.”
“Also perhaps read the book ‘Codependent No More’. You’ve been raised with so many mind-games you have no idea what’s right and wrong.” tallavery
OP returned with an update.
“In the time away from the post, it kind of blew up lmao. My brother and I appreciate everyone tuning in with their insights.”
“I took a break from work today to call my biological dad. Since I’m over the age of 18, in our state, custody arrangements aren’t as stringent on me and my brother in a few weeks.”
“My biological father legally sees us 40% of the time and my bio mother 60%. I have the legal right to choose if I should stay with my bio mom and her husband and my biological dad who in my opinion, is a much better fit.”
“My brother and I have agreed our biological dad is the only way out of this madness so we’re going to move out. We’ll raise the issue in court if need be, we need to get away from this madness.”
“Right after writing the posts and getting comments suggesting legal action, I talked to my brother about it. He’s still kind of feeling awkward about it but he feels certain that’s the route he will take so as not to pass any statute of limitations, since in a few weeks he will be an 18 year old.”
“I’m certain a few weeks is fairly safe though lol. I am not legally smart at all, nor is my brother but we’re getting good at this stuff. He got robbed and he deserves his money back.”
“A few comments mentioned the setting up of a GoFundMe. My brother wants everyone to know that he appreciates the gesture but asks people not to do that to themselves.”
“He is adamant about taking his step-father to court over this and said that the messages of support were extremely touching. He wants everyone wanting to donate somehow to him to keep their money and use it to better themselves and their families.”
“And all the offers of free cars from working mothers to him broke him – he said people with families deserve their cars more than he does at his age.”
“Lastly, I end this by saying, thank you. To everyone. For my brother’s sake and for my own.
“We realize what a terrible situation we are in. But we’re taking steps to get away. It means a lot.”
Hopefully the OP and her brother can find a peaceful place to live and get compensated for what happened.