Being around screaming children can be trying for anyone, parents and non-parents alike.
And while most don’t envy what parents of younger kids have to put up with on a daily basis, when it comes to helping keep a stranger’s kids under control, some people would rather just look the other direction and go about their own business.
So when Redditor PrestigiousSecond376 clashed with a mom and her unruly kids in her doctor’s waiting room, she turned to the subReddit “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) to see if her reaction was valid, asking:
“AITA for not helping a lady at the doctor’s office when she was having a hard time with her kids?”
The original poster (OP) explained the circumstances.
“Because of some arbitrary rule I don’t understand I have to go and see my therapist every month to have my anti-depressant refilled.”
Don’t know why this doctor requires me to do that, my last doctor was allowed to write a three month ‘scrip and I could call him if I needed help with anything.”
“This doctor makes me come in for a whole d*mn therapy appointment, something I can’t afford but I have to have my meds. I’m searching for a new doc. Anyway, rant over, sorry.”
She couldn’t help but notice a mom and her kids who were also waiting to see the doctor.
“I was at the doctor waiting for my appointment. There was a woman in the waiting room, the only other person, she was probably the doctor’s partner’s patient, I don’t know, don’t care.”
“She had two kids with her, one looked like it was 5 or 6, the other one was small and still in a stroller, so 2 or 3, I guess?”
“The bigger kid was playing on an iPad and I guess the battery died or his game stopped working, something happened and the kid started throwing a fit, screaming and flinging his arms around.”
“I was using my own device with headphone but I had them turned down so I could hear when the receptionist called my name for me to go back and I could hear the whole tantrum.”
“Couple minutes into the kid throwing a fit the littler one started throwing one too, not sure why, I guess the older screaming made it angry? I don’t know kids, I don’t why they do things, don’t like them, don’t want them, never held a baby, never want to.”
After the older child noticed the OP’s iPad, that’s when things took a turn.
“I tried to ignore them but they were loud as f**k. I could hear the older screaming, ‘she has an iPad, she has an iPad!’ Over and over again, pointing at me.”
“The mom gets my attention and asks me if the kid can watch what I’m watching or maybe he can play a game and she can give me, like, a dollar for every five minutes or something.”
“I declined; number 1: I don’t let anyone touch my devices, and number 2: I don’t believe in rewarding bad behavior.”
“The kid was screaming and acting like a fool; you don’t give a kid a cookie when he throws his dinner on the wall, he’ll just keep doing it.”
When the OP declined, the mom became upset.
“The mom starts begging me saying that she can’t calm the little one down if the older one is screaming and could I just help her out.”
“I declined again, because the whole kid thing, I just can’t with kids, they set me off. Frankly, kids give me anxiety. They always seem sticky and dirty and loud.”
The mom called me some choice names and ended up taking the kids outside. I got called back to my appointment like five minutes later and didn’t see them when I got back out.”
The OP learned the mom and her kids had been kicked out.
“The receptionist told me the lady had to leave because she couldn’t get them to calm down and the way she told me this kind of made me feel like she was trying to make me feel bad about it.”
“It isn’t my job to babysit someone’s kids in public. You should plan for this stuff when you take kids places, imo. I paid my bill and went home.”
“Was I an a**hole because I wouldn’t hang out with this kid?”
Redditors weighed in on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
They didn’t fault the OP for not wanting a stranger’s child using her iPad.
“‘Hello stranger, can my child use your expensive technology?'”
“And you already know Mommy Dearest wouldn’t pay for repairs when the kid whipped it into the wall and shattered it.”—miraculous_milk
“Lady, my iPad Pro is like £900, no your small child who is prone to tantrums and screaming cannot use it.”
“Also definitely off putting to see a parent asking to use a strangers iPad just because a kid has seen that they have one. Like… wtf?”
“‘She has an iPad. I want hers’ if they are any older than 4 that shouldn’t be happening and at 4 and less you should be shutting that sh*t down.”—DeviousCheesecake
“Even if you were willing to let the kid look over your shoulder, they’d be in the same predicament 5 minutes later when you went back to your doctor with your iPad.”
“It’s not like you’d leave it with them to use, so another fit would’ve been thrown at that point, too. Definitely NTA.”
“Mother should’ve brought a charger. Or, you know, raised her kids to not be entitled brats.”—Roguefaelyn
“NTA! She’s totally entitled to assume you’d hand over an expensive iPad (or any device for that matter) over to a screaming kid.”
“On top of that, if it was accidentally dropped or had juice spilled and it was ruined, I seriously doubt she’d be paying to repair/replace it. She’d probably cite some lame excuse of ‘kids being kids’, ‘you should have watched it better/known better’.”
“On top of all that, we are still in a worldwide pandemic. She doesn’t know you, where you’ve been, who you’ve associated with…just as you know nothing about them.”
“Would be pretty sucky to end up sick because some booger kid and his entitled mom demanded use of YOUR device.”—thegreatestmeow
But there were some who felt for the overwhelmed mom and her predicament.
“I feel bad for the lady, I really do.”
“It’s bad enough to have to take kids to a therapy appointment that’s supposed to be something that helps you, not makes your life harder and then you have to edit what you say in front of your kids to your therapist, etc.”
“I’d feel worse coming back from that appointment. Chances are the lady probably HAD to go in to her meds or something like OP.”
“BUT. There’s no way I’d hand someone my thousand dollar product.”
“What if something happened to it? Like the kid tossed it against a wall, or it ‘somehow’ stopped working right after I got it back?”
“They wouldn’t buy me a new one. Or what if they try to keep it? What if I had sensitive information on that device, or got messaged a nude or something while kid was watching?”
“What if I had been watching something inappropriate for kids—would the mom want me to find some Paw Patrol or something instead?”
“Sorry, but I’d have said no too. I would probably put the device away to not trigger the kid more, but they wouldn’t have been using it either way. NTA.”—mrskontz14
“Thank you. Finally someone in the comments who also feels bad for the lady. She is seeing a therapist so she probably has some issues that are a factor in her trouble with kids.”
“Imagine being depressed, having major anxiety etc. and still raising 2 kids. Must be hard.”
“You shouldn’t give in to your kids’ tantrums and set up rules, but I understand that it is super hard to follow through, especially with mental health issues. So yes, I also feel bad for the lady.”
“That being said, I also wouldn’t give her my device. I don’t even let my nephew use my phone.”
“Kids are sticky and they lick their fingers and I don’t want that on my device. And I love that kid to bits. So no way, I would give my phone or iPad to a stranger.”—Zombie-Giraffe
While it sounds like the OP was in the right for not wanting to give her iPad to a total stranger, not everyone agrees that the mom and her kids should be demonized over the situation.
After all, there could be other factors at play we don’t know about.
Hopefully the mom is able to get the help she needs.