Associating with children is hard.
Whether you are their parent, uncle, babysitter, or school teacher, it can be challenging to meet their chaos with a level head.
So, what happens when chaos ensues and a caregiver has some choice words for the child in question?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Downtown_Wrap_7862 when he came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
AITA for telling my nephew the truth, that no one in the family likes him?
OP began with a brief introduction.
“This involves me (25 M), my sister ‘Diana’ (31 F), and her son ‘Darius’ (10 M).
Then he got right to the point.
“I get along with my Diana fine. I won’t pretend I like Darius.”
“I think he’s an entitled brat who has gotten away with crap far too many times.”
“I don’t think Diana has ever reprimanded him, and every time the little sh*t acts up Diana makes excuses for him.”
“He’s already been suspended from school for stealing, he’s a bully to all his cousins, and I know for a fact no one in my family likes him at all.”
“Both of my parents cannot stand him.”
“My mother, a woman who could find the love in her heart to babysit a honey badger, refuses to watch Darius at all because of his behavior.”
“My father will take all of the grandkids out to fish every few months, except for Darius because he’s too tempted to throw him out into the lake and drive off (his words, not mine.)”
OP explained the specifics of this situation.
“On Monday, I got a call from my sister who panicked because she got called into work.”
“Darius was out of school, and her babysitter was not available.”
“No one else in the family will watch Darius, so I told her to drop him off, and I would watch him.”
“It was a nightmare.”
“Darius was mad he had to spend his day off at my place.”
“He refused to do anything I offered, made a mess in my bathroom, harassed my dog, and had a tantrum because I would not let him use my work computer to play games.”
“By lunchtime, I was frustrated beyond all belief.”
“I made him mac and cheese, and he demanded I take him to wendy’s.”
“He refused to eat and eventually dumped his bowl of food on my floor.”
“At that, I just kinda lost it.”
“I didn’t yell or get aggressive at all.”
“I just sighed and asked him if he realized that everyone in the family literally despised him.”
“I explained that he was at my house because grandma and grandpa cannot stand him, and in fact, refuse to let him come to their house because he acts like a little sh*t. I won’t lie. I got pretty brutal.”
“He started crying and locked himself in my bathroom until he came out and sat and watched tv till my sister came and got him.”
“I told her what happened, and I and her got into a massive argument as well. She called me cruel, and I told her that she’s to blame and he would have learned eventually.”
“My family is split on this.”
“My dad thinks ‘the little sh*t deserved it,’ while my siblings have mixed opinions.”
“My mother has told me she’s staying out of this, but if I feel the need to apologize, do it and move on.”
OP was left to wonder,
“What do you people think? AITA?”
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: ESH
Some thought this could’ve been handled differently.
“He’s been raised badly.”
“He didn’t just wake up one day and decide, ‘You know what, I’m gonna be a total AH to everyone’. This is your sister’s failure, and as much he is a total little sh*t.”
“It’s not entirely his fault. Because he’s 10, and he’s never been taught better.”
“Did he need a serious talking to? Yes.”
“Was your way the right way to do it? Not really.”
“It’s better to talk about behavior and outcomes than make it about the kid.”
“Instead of telling him that his actions caused people in the family not to want to be around him (which I would applaud), you told him that his grandparents loathe him, himself.”
“It’s not very effective because it doesn’t give him anything to change.”
“Behaviours can be changed, but if you tell a kid that everyone hates them, that’s them as a whole, not something they can change.”
“It’s not like telling an AH adult that everyone dislikes them cos they’re an AH.”
“An adult can figure out what that means and deal with it.”
“But a kid?”
“Their family is their whole world and all the people they rely on, and you told him that basically everyone in his world loathes his very being.”
“That’s what makes it cruel.”
“I really don’t want to call you an AH, cos I’m not sure I would have lasted even til lunchtime with that little sh*t! But it wasn’t the right way.” ~ Left-Car6520
“You hit the nail on the head with this one.”
“Correct his actions, tell him his behavior is sh*tty, but god, don’t tell him everyone in his family hates him.”
“As someone who was raised with no boundaries/rules and had to figure that stuff out on my own later in life, you internalize a lot of the sh*t people say to you.” ~ lexicaltension
“A lot of people don’t realize what a huge difference there is between telling a child ‘I don’t like this behavior’ and ‘I don’t like YOU.'”
“The former is an important part of discipline. The latter is the kind of stuff that f**ks up a kid for life.” ~litefagami
Others pointed out that this was an impossible situation.
“You are spot on.”
“I feel for OP because I would not have lasted till lunchtime either, and Darius seems really obnoxious.”
“But what OP told him was deeply, essentially cruel.”
“He is a kid and does not have the recourses to do better.”
“He would need some serious parenting and counseling, and needs to be taught that SOME BEHAVIOUR is not acceptable but not his entire SELF.”
“I can only imagine how incredibly difficult this has to be, but he seems to be seriously lacking something, and if he grows up like that, in hatred, he may turn into something very nasty.”
“God forbid a serial killer”
“I am very sorry for all those involved, and I am giving a regretful ESH here too.” ~ Prangelina
Not everyone thought the situation was beyond salvaging.
“This is so well said.”
“OP, you CAN fix this. Or at least try.”
“Sit down with your nephew and say, ‘hey, I was wrong to say that stuff to you, and I’m sorry. I was overwhelmed and wasn’t thinking about how hurtful my words were. We don’t hate you.'”
‘”People all have different behaviors and quirks about them, and it’s our job as fellow people to help each other be our best selves.'”
‘”I’d like to start over if you’ll give me a chance, but if you need a little time to be upset first, that’s ok too.”‘
“Kids know when people don’t like them.”
“They just don’t know why.”
“Of course, he was a sh*t at your house.”
“That’s all he’s ever been, and he probably didn’t want to be around someone who didn’t like him.”
“For the record, I have a niece like this, she and I have had many conversations, but dear lord, that kid pisses me off sometimes.”
“And sometimes we have to take little breaks.”
“And that’s ok. But she’s also getting better with her behavior at my house.”
“She knows what is and isn’t allowed, and she also knows that when someone f*cks up, we’re going to talk about it.” ~ Traum4Queen
There were also personal stories.
“Sounds just like my kid. They have been diagnosed with ADHD and ODD. It’s extremely rough.”
“But since going to therapy and getting help from their school and the right resources, it’s gotten more manageable.”
“We still have our bad days, though.”
“But this is not the kid’s fault at all. Poor kid just needs the right help.”
“And OP’s way is not it. But OP should try looking into ODD or at least tell the mom to. It might help.” ~ Able-Still7809
“Yeah, one of my friends had a brother like that.”
“That family had three kids, and the other two (my friend included) were perfectly fine.”
“The brother was NOT.”
“His mother was also constantly making excuses for him, even to me (another kid!) So her parenting would work perfectly fine on NT kids, but she had no idea what to do with the ODD kid.”
“Unfortunately, in my culture, therapy is stigmatized, so neither parent wanted to take him to the doctor.” ~ Wise-Butterscotch-81
OP did return to add some clarity to his story.
“Ok, the early consensus is I’m an **shole. That’s fine.”
“A little info.”
“We’ve talked to Diana about this before. My parents sat her down and told her they will not watch Darius because of how he behaved and that she needs to do something else.”
“We’ve all had talks with her about him bulling his cousins. She has done nothing.”
Children are difficult, irritating, and loud. They are also loving and creative, and excited about everything around them. The beautiful brand of chaos they exist in can be difficult to work through.
While none of us are perfect, remember that the kid is seeking knowledge, which is always a difficult prospect. Perhaps it’s best to meet them where they’re at to improve their behavior and temperament.