A mother who moved in with her recently-divorced sister after buying their family home got into a major altercation about disciplining children.
The following account was no ordinary form of sibling rivalry.
The words exchanged here were harsh and Redditors experienced difficulty in assessing who was TA (the a**hole.)
According to Redditor "Murky-Trifle," her sister had been grieving for eight years after she and the former husband lost their infant son to SIDS.
After seeing how her childless sister aggressively reprimanded the Original Poster's (OP) sons, she asked AITA (Am I the A**hole) for demanding that her sister refrain from parenting her kids.
"My sister lived in the family home until recently as she and her husband are divorcing."
"They tried for years to have a baby and ultimately succeeded, but they lost their son to SIDS when he was around 3 weeks old."
"It's been 8 years and she's still grieving, which I completely understand as if I lost either of my sons I'd probably grieve forever, too."
"She's decided to sell the house and she approached us and said if we were the buyers she'd sell for way below market value in order to keep it in the family. I have 2 sons, ages 2 and 9."
"The completion date was the end of February. Due to some complications my sister's flat isn't ready yet, and it's looking like a few months of problems."
"My sister has said she will move out at the end of this month to a different flat that charges rent by the month until her new place is ready. So this means that for the whole of March she has been/will be living with us in the family home."
"I did not begrudge this as it is her home, too, and made the offer for her to stay until her flat is totally ready, but she declined."
The OP's sister often lashed out at her nephews over inconsequential circumstances.
"I like to think my sons are good kids. Not angels by any means but well behaved, the 9 year old cleans up after himself, there's no conflict with the boys, and my husband and I rarely have to reprimand either boy (this is mainly about the 9 year old because the 2 year old is 2 and rarely causes issues)."
"My sister, however, sees things differently. Every time either boy has done anything since we moved in she's had issues."
"My 2 year old was reading one of his books with sound effects and when he hit a button she yelled at him for making too much noise."
"She's also yelled at my 9 year old more than once for normal 9 year old things like not wanting to take a bath. And this isn't a light reprimand, this is actual yelling at him with the occasional insult."
The latest interruption was the last straw for the OP.
"Tonight he was doing his homework at the kitchen counter under my supervision, my sister walked in and began yelling at him about the 'mess' (his exercise book and a couple pens/pencils) and saying the kitchen looked like a pigsty."
"It was at this point I asked to speak to her in another room and tell her that this is not on and she cannot yell at my kids. Things escalated quickly from there and she said that 'if you're not going to parent them properly, someone should' and I responded that 'just because you don't have kids doesn't mean you can parent other peoples'."
"She went upstairs, packed a bag, and is now staying with our parents."
"My sons didn't hear but I relayed it to my husband. He agrees with me in principal because he didn't like how she was speaking to the boys, either, but says the way it happened neither of us came off great."
"My parents called and said that she's with them now, in tears, and that I need to apologise. I do not want to do this because she's not got any intention of apologising to me."
"Who's TA here? Me or her?"
It was a toss-up in the comments, with some Redditors identifying the post as an ESH (Everyone Sucks Here) situation.
"ESH. Yes she shouldn't have yelled at your children or insulted your parenting BUT you should not have brought her child less state into the argument as she has a child but they are not currently living."
"That is an extremely low blow." – gingercandy365
"Yes but sister's constant yelling at kids and saying 'if you're not going to parent them someone should' is going to leave permanent scars on OP & her children. ESH" – Millie_Meth
Taking one's grief out on other children—if that is what is happening here—is not a proper way to handle anything.
"It's not just that the sister was trying to parent someone's kids, she was also insulting OP and her husband and declared in no uncertain terms that they are essentially doing a bad job of parenting their children."
"It may have been a low blow for OP to say what she said, but the sister was clearly also going for the low blow with her comment as well."
"And if were keeping tabs she started with the low blows, OP just finished it. Again not that I think it was the right thing to say for OP, but the sister had to have at least expected a hurtful comment as a reply to her own hurtful comment." – cheffy3369
Determining who was the "a**hole" was a difficult judgement for Redditos to make.
"I'm torn between ESH and NTA because while OP was definitely harsh with that comment, it's been eight years."
"Eight years of time for the sister to have gotten help with coping with her loss. But now she's **insulting** a 9 year old for doing homework or getting angry at a 2 year old for playing with a toy that makes sounds? Lol what? Absolutely unacceptable."
"She needs professional help, stat, because really it seems like she's angry at her sister's kids for being alive. And their parents enabling her behavior isn't healthy either." – Kilamonky
"No, 8 years is not enough. But it really doesn't matter. What does sister's lack of living children have to do with OP not being ok with the sister yelling at OP's children?"
"Would it be ok for the sister to yell if the sister had kids of her own? No. So then the point about being childless is just a state designed to hurt. It carries zero additional content beyond that."
"ESH. Definitely." – terpsichorebook
"ESH BUT leaning towards a soft Y T A"
"I'm wondering about sister's view point."
"Working in a school, the parents have a blind eye to their precious child's 'quirks' which more often than not are problems."
"Maybe the Aunt sees things without rose colored glasses. Maybe those pencils was the breaking point. Maybe seeing kids and knowing hers has died and she will never experience this.... hurt her on a level she wasn't expecting."
"Why I'm leaning towards Y T A is that is an extremely low blow to say to anyone - but especially your SISTER who lost her 3 WEEK OLD BABY." – RavensAreBlack61
She's also going through a divorce, and the apartment she thought she was moving into won't be available for another few months."
"This isn't just about the kids. The sister is going through A TON of sh*t right now. It doesn't excuse her behavior, but she's not the first or the last person to lash out over stress." – centuryblessings
"Sis needs counseling. After 6 years, she should not still be in active grief, and that's likely what this is. She's trying to 'make-up' for her loss by overly parenting her nephews." – VeryVeryTexan
Some considered the sister's behavior bordered on abuse.
Despite her losses, these users viewed the sister as TA.
"There's an update from OP on what kind of things OP sister says to her oldest nephew."
"She insults his intelligence such as calling him stupid until he's on the verge of tears. She also told him that 'no one likes boys who are messy' (not ad verbatim but close enough) in regards to OP's son doing homework."
"You are right. It seems like OP's sister is utterly resentful that OP's children are alive and her son is... not. I definitely get that the sister is in a lot of pain but that does not excuse how she treats the kids."
"According to OP's son she has said other things when parents aren't around as well. So while OP definitely said something hurtful and inexcusable, her sister is an even bigger a**hole for taking out her bitterness and resentment on two children who had nothing to do with her loss." – CelestialRequiem09
"I imagine watching OP and her family in the home that the sister had hoped to grow her own family is probably aggravating the situation too, probably in a way she didn't expect, but the sister has crossed a line with how she's behaving."
"She's out of order talking to the kids that way." – mortstheonlyboyineed