How far can you go to protect the feelings of your child?
Does having vindictive motives against another child cancel out your actions?
And what about the big secret we keep around our favorite jolly, red, holiday mascot?
It's time we return again to our favorite board on Reddit, AITA. For those not in the know, AITA is short for "Am I the A$hole?"
Responses can vary, but are usually one of these three.
NTA – Not The A$hole
YTA – You're The A$hole.
ESH – Everyone Sucks Here.
Our hero starts his story with a strong sense of self-awareness.
"So obviously the title is bad, and taken out of context clearly it's an a$hole move, and I agree on principal with that. I believe I'm justified for what I said. I'm tired of being called an a$hole by my family though, and I'd like some unbiased opinions."
It's always a weird sign when the storyteller knows there's something wrong with their story.
Sure, they claim they have context for the story, but why not present that in the title?
We're probably overthinking it. It can be difficult to provide context in the headline.
“My family has struggled a little bit the last couple of years financially. We've had bills paid, thank god, but not a ton of extra money to do things I wish I was able to do with my kids."
“My wife and I have a 6 year old daughter and 3 year old son together."
“Holidays have been rough the past couple of years, I can't even lie. Money isn't what's most important, but there's a real pain of looking at your daughter see others who get more and are better off."
Ooh, that's rough.
It's always difficult to try to handle the holidays with little money. Everywhere you turn, from movies to advertisements, you're being told to spend on things and stuff.
We can sympathize with the situation.
“The other day all 3 of the kids are at our house. I'm in the kitchen cooking. My daughter and Sid are at the table in the dining room. The conversation is Christmas and what they are expecting and would like to get."
“Sid won't stop bragging about the presents she got last year. I didn't catch all of it or know what they all were but obviously expensive and glamorous enough to make my daughter envious."
“My daughter questioned out loud, 'I wonder why Santa brings you more than me.' To which Sid replied basically with her being better than my daughter."
“She wasn't good enough to get the gifts Sid gets. I could see my daughter processing this and believing something about how she is/wasn't good enough compared to this spoiled brat."
And there is it.
There's the thing that makes our storyteller go a little crazy.
And again, it's understandable. His daughter is being good and sweet, and his niece is being horrible and conceited.
On top of it all, this likely making his lack of money to buy things for his daughter feel really prevalent.
It's hard to ignore what you can't do when a child if throwing it right in your face.
“So I couldn't take it. I told Sid in front of my daughter Santa wasn't real. “It was her parents that supply the gifts. She definitely should never think getting material things makes her better than anybody."
“This was news to Sid and my little girl. Neither knew how to react, tho once explaining everything to my daughter I'm proud of the lesson that came out thru all this."
“My wife's sister is pissed at me for telling her daughter this. Said they were talking like normal kids and I ruined something for her."
“I say she was getting the wrong message anyways and I wasn't going to stand by her relaying her point of view on my daughter. AITA?"
Let's answer his question.
Over on the post's source, Reddit, the comments were very against the poster.
The majority of responses gave the rating of "YTA".
"YTA. Niece might be a spoiled brat but it's not your place to do that. "
"A better approach would have been to tell your daughter when she was alone. Maybe make it a "secret" between the two of you and explain why Santa doesn't love her any more than her cousin."
"It could have been a special teachable moment between the two of you and also you could have brought it up to your niece's parents, even if you think they wouldn't do anything, you did your part."
"But you're an adult and you acted just like your entitled little niece, and that's why you're the asshole." - chaptertoo
"YTA. It's one thing if you tell your own kid (which is questionable t age 6), but you don't tell someone else's. There's a million other things you could've said, like, 'Sid, you're being rude and mean to your cousin. That's not nice. Be kind, or we'll have to send you home'." - Crisis_Redditor
"YTA. There's no justification for telling another person's kid that Santa isn't real. That's pretty cruel. You couldn't have taught this lesson without ruining their Christmas?" - handingoutsmiles
There were some who understood what the poster was going through.
They didn't think the niece should be allowed to flaunt her family's relative wealth and make the little girl feel bad.
And they made sure to let the poster know he's NTA.
"NTA. Stories like yours are among the reasons why the Santa lie is terribly toxic and bad to tell kids. Good for you for setting them straight." - panic_bread
"NTA - Your niece claimed she was better than your daughter, and you were right to shut down that line of thinking for both of them."
"Screw all the Y-T-A voters who would have you allow your niece to believe that she's morally superior to maintain some tradition" - Sadistic_Justice
"NTA. I think it's really important that children know that gifts come from their parents/whoever and the money to buy them is from working."
"Your sis should be more mad she's raising a spoiled brat." - hanflo89
Surprisingly, Twitter had the exact opposite thought.
Most of the tweets about the story were on the side of the storyteller.
That's not to say everyone agreed. While some called out the poster as "the a$hole", there were plenty of people calling ESH.
It's pretty varied and surprising how different the two websites are in their response to this story.
@AITA_reddit That said, NTA, your kid deserves to know she's not a bad person for getting fewer gifts.— Sushi (@Sushi)1573738401.0
NTA. The niece is, though. Or at least her parents. https://t.co/13exsUbo6j— 🏴Greg | Applied Eschatology 🏴 (@🏴Greg | Applied Eschatology 🏴)1573737622.0
@skyrok @AITA_reddit I dunno, I think letting your kid ruminate on "God's gift giving surrogate thinks I'm a bad pe… https://t.co/AidANtvEfs— MamalehChaverta (@MamalehChaverta)1573741209.0
@Naniwhat3 @AITA_reddit Seriously. I mean, I'm generally a fan of letting kids enjoy little myths like Santa. But w… https://t.co/kyC551N1Ga— Jarred, Provider of Immoral Support (@Jarred, Provider of Immoral Support)1573737447.0
@AITA_reddit That being said, the real MVPs of this story are every non-Christmas celebrating kid these girls know… https://t.co/aSGdpRiblD— 🦇🖤 Dr. Mrs. the Mothman 🖤🦇 (@🦇🖤 Dr. Mrs. the Mothman 🖤🦇)1573740171.0
@AITA_reddit Sorry, YTA here. When a 7-year-old is behaving badly, your issue is with the parents. Casual cruelty t… https://t.co/GULygD88bP— The Reptile Brain (@The Reptile Brain)1573746733.0
@AITA_reddit I'm gon' say ESH. Youre well within your right to explain Santa doesn't exist to your daughter, especi… https://t.co/JePYKkpCSW— (j•ee) 🔊 (@(j•ee) 🔊)1573737328.0
@AITA_reddit I'm gonna say ESH but it's the parents that suck. The child is SIX. OP could have handled it better.… https://t.co/vY5g8cuurE— Bubbe Shot The Jukebox (@Bubbe Shot The Jukebox)1573738781.0
If this guy weren't doing this vindictively to a child he describes as "awful" I wouldn't have a problem with it. T… https://t.co/BN58RXKHv6— Righteous Fury (@Righteous Fury)1573737417.0
At time of this writing, there's been no update to the story, so we're unsure if he took any of the internet's advice to heart.
And the internet is divided amongst itself—unsure if this man is a jerk or not. It's a true conundrum.
Would any of us have done the same in his situation?