In a quiet suburban home, a devoted mother grappled with a heartbreaking dilemma as her boyfriend’s 12-year-old son continued to terrify their three-month-old daughter deliberately. Despite heartfelt pleas and warnings, the unsettling behavior persisted, pushing the mother to a breaking point.
On January 11, 2024, an anonymous female contributor turned to the “AITAH” subreddit to share her troubling experience. Having been diagnosed with postpartum depression (PPD), she questioned its impact on her actions.
The Original Poster (OP) had been in a relationship with her boyfriend for six years. He also had a 12-year-old son, Jake, and together, they had been living with OP for the past two years. OP, who had owned her residence for nearly a decade, faced a distressing issue concerning Jake’s behavior toward their three-month-old daughter.
Despite Jake’s apparent affection for his sister, an alarming pattern emerged when he deliberately scared the infant. Jake would approach the baby, loudly exclaiming, “RA!” and finding amusement in her startled reflexes. His laughter would follow, accompanied by disingenuous apologies, claiming he didn’t mean to scare her.
This disturbing routine repeated at least four times daily, prompting OP to seek advice from the online community, torn between her concerns, the potential influence of PPD, and her desire for a resolution.
Despite OP’s persistent efforts to curb Jake’s unsettling behavior, cautioning him about the potential harm to the infant’s ears and emphasizing the lack of humor in his actions, the alarming conduct persisted.
The breaking point occurred just three days prior when OP, overwhelmed with frustration, confronted her boyfriend and Jake. She delivered a stark ultimatum, asserting that any further intentional scares would lead to eviction, effectively erasing them from her life.
The decision to take such drastic measures stemmed from the boyfriend’s inconsistent response. While he occasionally intervened, he also dismissed OP’s concerns as mere overreactions. In an attempt to justify Jake’s actions, he insisted that finding amusement in a baby’s startle reflex was a common sentiment among children.
OP, grappling with the weight of her ultimatum, vividly recalled the moment in these words, “If he purposely scared my kid again, then [Jake and OP’s boyfriend] would be evicted.” Despite the stern warning, a pang of remorse struck her as Jake, wearing a despondent expression, retreated to his room.
A night before OP shared her narrative, she stepped out of the room for a moment, leaving her three-month-old daughter peacefully swaying in her swing. During her brief absence, Jake seized the opportunity to engage in another disturbing episode.
OP, from a distance, overheard Jake employing a baby voice, urgently asking, “What are you doing?” The aftermath was immediate–her daughter’s screams pierced the air. Rushing back, she heard her boyfriend intervening, attempting to address the situation.
Approximately an hour later, another unsettling incident unfolded. This time, as OP entered the bathroom, she heard the dreaded “RA,” followed by her daughter’s cries once more, echoing through the house.
Fueled by a mix of frustration and concern for her baby’s well-being, she wasted no time in delivering an ultimatum. Without waiting for a response, she instructed her boyfriend and Jake to pack their belongings and leave immediately, her primary focus now on comforting her distressed child.
Jake, sensing the severity of the situation, attempted to apologize, attributing his actions to a habit. The boyfriend, on the other hand, protested, downplaying the significance of the events. Unyielding, OP rejected their excuses and insisted they depart. However, her boyfriend defiantly claimed his stake in the house, refusing to leave.
Faced with this impasse, OP threatened to leave herself and have the authorities serve an eviction notice. Despite the boyfriend’s pleas and insistence that Jake is just a 12-year-old who can’t be perfect, she left and took decisive action the following day, filing for their eviction.
Amidst the escalating tensions, OP had previously attempted to understand Jake’s motives behind scaring her daughter, directly asking him why he engaged in such behavior. “[He] thinks it’s funny when kids cry,” recollected OP after their conversation.
Still, a part of her wondered if she had done the right thing. “AITA for kicking my BF and his kid out because his son was constantly scaring my baby on purpose?” questioned OP.
OP’s story resonated across the internet, receiving widespread attention and sympathy from the online community. The prevailing sentiment among the majority is one of support, with many affirming that she took the appropriate course of action.
“NTA. Yes. He’s 12. Old enough to know better and to not do it. Old enough to listen to instructions. Would he like it if you startled him every morning? No. He’s 12 but he’s being an AH and it sounds almost sadistic,” opined one user.
“As the mother of a 12 year old, I 100% agree that this is not normal for that age. Maybe if he was 5 or 6, but certainly not 12. They learn after being correct once or twice. The fact that he says he likes making babies cry is alarming. I’m wondering what other behavioral issues he has,” added a second person.
“As the mother of a 4 year old, this [behavior] would only be understandable if Jake was 2 or 3 years old,” quipped a third netizen. “Let your boyfriend get to sleep and then clang a couple of pans together to wake him up. Do this 4x a night or so and see if it changes his mind. His kid is 12. He is old enough to follow rules. This is not just a kid being a kid,” expressed yet another commenter.
Do you support OP’s stance, or do you feel she should have handled the situation differently? What approach would you take if you were in her place?