Most parents have at least one story of their child being upset at a store when they didn’t get something that they wanted.
But parents can’t always give in if they want to teach their children about entitlement and gratitude, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Superb_Entertainer82 was shocked when her niece became so demanding about getting her an expensive laptop for her birthday.
When she started cussing her out, the Original Poster (OP) felt the need to teach her a lesson.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for making my thirteen-year-old niece return the birthday presents I bought for her because she was giving me attitude?”
The OP had a good relationship with her niece, Scarlett.
“I (43 Female) have been very involved in my niece, (13 Female) Scarlett’s, life.”
“I frequently visit my sister and brother-in-law and often have Aunty days with Scarlett, her sister, and my own kids.”
“Scarlett is a beautiful, creative, and clever girl, but she, unfortunately, can have an entitled attitude.”
The family had some trouble teaching Scarlett about entitlement.
“Her parents are middle class, my sister works part-time while my brother-in-law is a magnet school principal.”
“We explained to Scarlett that she is not going to get everything she wants in life, but we will always make sure she has whatever she needs.”
“Scarlett isn’t the only one who gets told ‘no’ as this applies to every child in our family.”
“Scarlett still believes that because certain kids at her school have more money than her, she should always get expensive things too.”
“She also has an attitude that because my partner and I make more money, we should buy pricey things for her.”
“My sister and brother-in-law just continue to enforce boundaries and say they are waiting for ‘when Scarlett matures.'”
Scarlett wanted a big gift for her birthday.
“Scarlett’s birthday is in a week. We will be on vacation on the actual day.”
“So two days ago I treated Scarlett to a mall trip. We had a spa day, got lunch, and then we were about to head home when Scarlett said she wanted to go to the Apple store.”
“Scarlett showed me one of the Macbook Air laptops and told me she wanted it.”
“I asked if the Chromebook I got her for school was broken.”
“She said it worked, but a girl in her class had a Macbook Air, so she wanted one too.”
“I explained to Scarlett that if she were willing to wait until Christmas, I could try to find one on sale, but I couldn’t afford it at the current price.”
A tantrum ensued.
“Scarlett began to throw a tantrum because my son ‘has a laptop that’s over $2000!’ (a laptop I got second-hand and which my son has used for over eight years).”
“I explained this to her, but Scarlett continued her tantrum and called me a ‘greedy b***h.'”
“I firmly told her, ‘Scarlett, if you do not stop this behavior right now, I will return your other gifts and you will get nothing from me.'”
“Scarlett continued to use profanity towards me, so I told her, ‘That’s it.’ We walked back to all the stores and returned everything: glittery phone case, jewelry, stuffed animals, everything.”
“The only thing I did not return was a book, but I kept it and told Scarlett I will hold onto it until I feel she has learned to be grateful.”
“Scarlett whined in the car about not getting the things, and I told her, ‘Scarlett, if you had been grateful, you would have gotten all those things. But you weren’t and now you have nothing from me. Many kids’ families can’t even afford food. I want you to really think about all the things you have and learn to be grateful.'”
The family’s reaction to what happened was mixed.
“My sister and brother-in-law agreed with my actions.”
“But my brother-in-law’s parents say I was ‘cruel’ to take her birthday presents from a child and they would be re-buying Scarlett the gifts I returned.”
“I don’t believe in rewarding bad behavior, and Scarlett will never be content until she learns to be grateful.”
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 felt the 13-year-old needed to learn about consequences.
“NTA. You told her what would happen if she continued. You followed through with a consequence. It’s actually important for kids to see that authority figures are willing to follow through on the rules and consequences they enforce.”
“It can make the adults seem more secure, and kids usually end up having a lot more respect for them.”
“It could be that Scarlett hasn’t been seeing enough firm boundaries being kept, which is why she believes she can get away with throwing a tantrum to get an expensive item (which, given the BIL’s parents, it seems like she could be used to being rewarded for bad behavior, or having consequences “undone”).” – CrimsonKnight_004
“NTA. She’s a teen, not a child who can’t understand the consequences of her actions. You told her very plainly if she kept up going off on you in public what you would do, and she decided to continue. Hopefully, she learned something from this.” – uninitiatedastronaut
“I can’t believe Scarlett was comparing the gifts OP bought for her own son which were bought secondhand and he has used for over 8 years.”
“Does she think just because OP buys ‘expensive’ things for her own son, she should pay the same for her 13-year-old niece? Because OP earns more money than her parents?” – Multi-fabulous120
“Grounded? Before I could even get the B sound out of my mouth, I was getting hit with a two-piece and a biscuit! I notice this age group these days really pushes the envelope, she will learn the hard way!” – Big-Society5436
“No joke, if my kid got taken out for their birthday, and they pulled a stunt like this kid did, they wouldn’t get a birthday celebration, period. It would be a hard, tough lesson to learn, but respect and gratitude is an extremely important thing to learn.”
“It’s honestly nuts that a 13-year-old is acting that way.”
2I mean, that’s likely how it would go down. Nothing crazy, and with an overlying theme of ‘You really messed up, and we love you and need to work on helping you to understand and value respect and gratitude.'”
“But like, I would definitely be the one who said, ‘BIRTHDAY IS CANCELLED,’ before coming to this, obviously, more practical and helpful solution.” – Rice-Correct
“She called you a greedy b*ch! If I had ever spoken to any adult like that at her age I would have probably been grounded for a year.”
“Not sure if she has always used profanity with adults when she is angry but her behavior needs to be checked before she does it to someone that does not care for her the way you do, i.e., a school teacher or classmate, and gets suspended.”
“You were right to return her birthday gifts because bad behavior should NEVER be rewarded. Returning them was the consequence of her actions.” – Stinstin555
Others thought the grandparents needed to take a break for a while.
“You have Ninja Aunt skills! Respect!”
“And your bro can explain to his inlaws that Scarlett can have their ‘replacement’ gifts when she had handwritten a proper apology and not before.”
“This WILL NOT be a ‘who can score points w Scarlett’ game.”
“If they enacted a reasonable punishment for something she did with them, they would want other adults to back them up and not undermine their portion of authority.”
“Also, 13-year-old Scarlett is NOT A CHILD.”
“She’s becoming a teenager. This is exactly the proper lesson and consequences for her actions.”
“She can’t be ‘grown’ when she wants to be ungrateful and unkind and a CHILD who deserves gifts for everything.”
“Spoken by 3rd generation Aunty, now known as Granty, because I’m a Great Aunt and I am Great!” – No_Appointment_7232
“I want to know what kind of influence OP’s brother-in-law’s parents have over her that their opinion matters so much.” – Cautious-Damage7575
“If my parents or in-laws pulled crap like that, my kid still wouldn’t get to keep the stuff.”
“OP was teaching her a valuable lesson; her parents need to enforce it. In-laws can’t overstep if you don’t let them. (Not saying it’s always easy or won’t get unpleasant, but parents ultimately get to make the rules.)” – awgeezwhatnow
“The biggest and most important step is for the father’s parents to be sit down and told they’re not going to be as involved for the time being because they are the ones most making the monster right now.” – tarpy
“I’ve seen this first hand. Kids will usually just side with the behavior that better fits them even if it doesn’t occur all the time.”
“Her parents need to take a step back on grandparents’ time or their kid is gonna grow up to be an entitled brat.” – calliopegrey
The subReddit was so frustrated by how the OP’s niece treated her, and they also thought she did the right thing to teach her niece the consequences of her action. It’s never fun to take gifts or incentives away, but sometimes it’s necessary to teach someone how to behave.