This distraught mom asks for some advice from the Reddit community to know whether she overreacted to her brother-in-law verbally attacking her six-year-old daughter.

Christmas Get-Togethers

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OP has a six-year-old daughter named Elena. She, her husband, Elena, her stepsister named Jess, her husband named Paul, and their five-year-old daughter named Hattie are all coming to OP’s stepdad’s house for the holidays.

Late Arrival

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Everyone arrived on the same day except Paul. OP mentioned that he arrived late at night the day after everyone else because his shift ended late the day prior.

A Not-So-Merry Morning

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Everyone except for Paul was up and about the day after his arrival. All the adults were downstairs, the girls were playing with a large dollhouse in Elena’s room, and OP’s stepdad was out. 

Out of nowhere, they all heard some shouting from Paul. OP said it wasn’t unusual for him to do so, but today’s episode was particularly awful; everyone rushed to the stairs to see what was happening.

Pitiful Little Girl

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Before everyone could make their way up, OP saw her daughter crying and running down the stairs. Elena told them that Paul yelled at her because she woke him up.

Upon hearing this, OP’s husband immediately rushed up the stairs to confront Paul. Meanwhile, OP tried calming Elena down.

I Will Not Stand For It!

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OP knew their Christmas would be ruined if they stayed in the same house as Paul. She mentioned it would be impossible for them to be in the same room—or home—as Paul after what transpired, so she said they’d be leaving.

Is She Being Ridiculous?

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Jess, OP’s stepsister, immediately tried to defend her husband. She said OP’s decision was ridiculous and everything would be fine after Paul apologized.

However, OP was adamant they leave. She said, “No, it would not be fine—nobody shouts at my child and remains on speaking terms with me or around my daughter; Paul should know better than to be acting like that with other people’s children.”

Telling Her Stepdad

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The moment her stepdad came home, OP told him about her decision. She told him that she and her family would be leaving after what happened with Paul, and she said they were uncomfortable being around him.

OP also said she did not trust Paul not to overstep his boundaries like what happened earlier.

Stepdad’s Decision

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Thankfully, OP’s stepdad understood OP’s decision. However, he mentioned it was unfair for her and her family to be the ones to leave when they were not the ones at fault.

So, he called up Jess and Paul and told them that they would have to be the ones to leave. He told them they weren’t welcome on Christmas or until OP’s family left.

Leaving Without a Goodbye

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Upon hearing his father-in-law’s decision, Paul tried giving excuses but stopped and gave a half-hearted apology when he saw OP’s husband getting worked up again. OP also didn’t believe Paul’s apology.

OP’s stepdad said Jess and Hattie were welcome to stay without Paul; however, it would not work for Jess. She started crying and stated that OP’s stepdad was horrible for choosing OP over his own daughter; soon, they left without even saying goodbye.

You Ruined My Christmas!

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OP shared that since Jess and her family left, she’s been receiving texts from Jess constantly saying she’s at fault for ruining her Christmas. Jess also says OP destroyed her relationship with her father in a few seconds of bad judgment.

Not at Fault

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Even with her stepsister’s messages, OP thinks she didn’t do anything wrong. After all, she wasn’t the one who asked her stepdad to kick them out of the house; she was the one who offered to leave.

OP also believes this is solely on Paul. Instead of screaming at the kids, he could have easily come down the stairs and asked them to quiet the children down politely.

Did I Overreact?

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OP fears that she overreacted in this situation. She thinks it’s sad that Jess and Hattie are caught in the middle of their issue with Paul and that it is unfair for them, especially Hattie, not to see their family during the holidays.

Were the Kids Unsupervised?

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Upon OP’s initial posting of the story, it seemed like the children were playing unsupervised in the room. However, OP added an edit and mentioned that she was accompanying them.

She just went down and left them for around 10 minutes so she could prepare for their next activity.

Paul’s History

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OP mentioned some of the issues Paul had, too. As per her edit, Paul has a history of yelling at her daughter, Hattie, a lot—she would even say it was very cruel.

She said she was uncomfortable with how he treated his daughter but held her tongue because she wasn’t one of Hattie’s parents. However, Paul’s episode with Elena was the last straw for OP; she couldn’t stand down while imagining Paul yelling at her little girl the same way he yelled at Hattie.

What Redditors Have to Say

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There are some mixed reviews for this particular story. While many say that Paul is the only a**hole in the story, some think everyone did something wrong, and the solution is communication.

One said, “You all need to learn to communicate more effectively.” He explains Paul was wrong for screaming instead of using his words like an adult, OP was wrong for blowing up and wanting to leave without discussing anything, and OP’s stepdad was wrong for not even trying to mediate between his daughter and stepdaughter.

Good for You!

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Even though some people think that everyone committed some wrong in this scenario, the majority of Redditors still believe that Paul was the one who did the most wrong, especially since he was yelling at an innocent child.

A Redditor commented, “Except he didn’t yell at adults; he yelled at kids—including a kid that wasn’t his. I wouldn’t allow that around my kid, and good on OP for protecting her child.” A top comment even explains that the kids were playing at 10 in the morning and not an ungodly hour, and therefore, it shouldn’t have been an issue in the first place.

What Do You Think?

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Do you think OP was overreacting? What would you say to Paul if you were Elena’s mom or dad?

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