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Bride creates ultimatum; 'My 5 year old sister CAN'T come to my wedding UNLESS she sees a child psychologist.' AITA? UPDATED

Bride creates ultimatum; 'My 5 year old sister CAN'T come to my wedding UNLESS she sees a child psychologist.' AITA? UPDATED


When this woman is extremely concerned about her sister, she asks the internet:

"AITA for banning my 5 year old sister from my wedding unless she gets therapy before the wedding?"

I just want to start off by saying I (24f) love my baby sister more than anything in the world. I drive a 3 row car because it was able to fit her and my other siblings (9f, 7m) and some of their friends.

My fiancé and I watch the kids after school every day and they spend the night with us 2-4 days a week. My fiancé is great with the kids and they adore him.

My fiancé proposed 6 months ago and when we told the kids, the older 2 were excited but Evie, the 5 year old, was furious. She started crying and hitting me because she wanted to marry him and if I marry him she can't.

She refused to speak to me for almost a week and now she's mostly ok but she gets mad at me and starts crying and hitting me any time she sees me kiss him.

She was supposed to be our flower girl but I really don't think she'll be able to sit through the wedding without some kind of outburst...

so I called our dad, told him about all of this, and said that she won't be allowed to attend the wedding unless she starts seeing a therapist before the wedding. The wedding is in September so he has a couple months to get her in therapy.

He's saying she doesn't need therapy, she's just a 5 year old with a crush on my fiancé, I'm overreacting, and she won't forgive me if I exclude her from the wedding. AITA for banning her unless he gets her therapy?

Edit: we have tried everything. We’ve talked about her behavior, her feelings, that what she’s doing isn’t acceptable...

that my fiance will still be in her life but nothing helped. She goes to time out right when she starts hitting and kicking, she loses toys, she’s left outings early, and my fiance refuses to play with her after because he doesn’t play with anyone that hits.

This is not normal 5 year old behavior. There is nothing else we can do. We will not hit her. And to everyone saying her parents need to parent, how do you suggest I do that? They’ll neglect the kids whether they have them full or part time.

OP: I know she's not making elaborate plans to steal him [fiance] or anything but for the past 6 months she's thrown violent tantrums every time I kiss him or we get too close on the couch or he sits next to me at a restaurant.

She hits, kicks, punches, bites me hard enough to draw blood, and pulls my hair. + It's not because she was mad when we originally told her. It's the violent tantrums that have happened nearly every time we've seen her since we told her that we're getting married.

My fiancé even suggested that we stop watching her for my safety. + Yes, we talked to her about it.

She gets a time out every time she throws a tantrum and my fiancé stops playing with her for the next few hours and when she asks why, he tells her that he doesn't like playing with people that hit other people. Beyond that there isn't anything we can do besides refusing to keep her. Her parents are not very involved.

Before we give you OP's update, let's take a look at some top responses:

adept writes:

Naturally a father who lets his adult daughter take 50% custody of his adolescent kids is going to dismiss behavioral issues where therapy is absolutely warranted.

NTA, dig your heels in on this one. Obviously there's more at play here than this story, but regardless you should not be enabling anything that might derail your wedding.

In the meantime, educate yourself on "parentification" It's good that your fiancé is all over your siblings and supportive of you, but this dynamic is sooner or later going to screw up your relationship with him if left to fester.

13surg writes:

OP, I think she's hitting because she has so little control over her general situation. Mom and dad aren't really involved, which is hard on her; she gets shuttled between you and her uninvolved parent(s); and she apparently sees your fiancé as a father figure and sees you kissing him as a sign she's going to lose him, too. (She can also have a crush on him. They're not mutually exclusive things to a 5-year-old.)

She DOES need therapy, but clearly her bad dad isn't going to take her. If you can, see if he'd pay for sessions if YOU take her. You're already doing great at giving her time-outs and not playing with her after she hits.

You might try making a chart for her--with pictures, since she probably can't read well yet--of options she can do when she's angry instead of hitting.

Also, I don't think this is in any child care books, but when my kids were angry, they could go into a specific room (in our house, it was a half-bath.), shut the door, and "get the mad out" by stomping their feet, crying, yelling, growling, making faces, etc..

We called it "the growlery," as that was what Dickens called such a room in Bleak House. Then when they were ready to use their words, they came out. But she does need therapy.

feaggh6b writes:

YTA This is not developmentally inappropriate or even pathological for a 5 year old. It isn’t a medical problem needing therapeutic intervention. She deserves a time out for hitting, and clear boundaries, “no hitting or you will sit in a timeout”.

Your fiancé can set a limitation, “one day you should marry someone you love lots, I love your big sister, you will always be my sister in law though”. You are an adult, and your request is histrionic & controlling. When my sister was roughly the same age, she swore for the first time.

She called my cousin a b— and when she asked “why am I a b—!?”, my sister said “because I love John”. She was enamored with him. He was so much fun and he was very handsome. Everyone laughed it off.

She got a lecture on mean words and had to apologize, and she was told that she would not be marrying him because she wasn’t an adult… and he decides who he will married. She cried that week. Wrote him a card.

She was reminded that jealousy is not nice, and one day she will marry someone fun too. Neither cut her out of their life or “punished” her by banishing her from their wedding. Now she has no memory of it. She vaguely remembers thinking he was handsome. She is good friends with our cousin.

sherri42 writes:

NTA but...Therapy won't help before the wedding. That's an unrealistic expectation. She's 5 and in emotional pain that may take quite a while for her to get over - especially if she keeps seeing the two of you kissing.

Five year olds get overwhelmed with their emotions and, as such, can become unpredictable. She already has negative emotions about the wedding. Allowing her to attend would be like planting a bomb.

Outside of all the other things in this specific case, 5 year olds shouldn't attend weddings anyway because of the needs they have at that age and their aforementioned unpredictability.

I agree with the person who posted that your fiance needs to have an age-appropriate conversation with her to enforce that he loves and is going to marry you - that he has made his choice.

tempsry5 writes:

Petit Yta. Sry. She has an, somewhat affectionate fairy tale like thing for your future husband, as she may se him as the family Hero/Prince, just like from a fairy tale, that she herself does not understand, she does not even know what she feels, as she is a child.

Yes, sometimes children can think that some adults are like from a fairy tale, and not strange at all. A little advice, something that can actually help you, is to let your spouse dress up as a slightly evil WITCH/WIZARD like from a fairy tale, and pretend to play it for fun, so she sees a different reality?

Anyway, If she cries or whatever happens during the ceremony, surely her father is there to carry her out during the ceremony, everyone will understand.

Don't ban her from your wedding, because she will ALWAYS remember that, instead let this be a loving day where both laughter and a child's tears complete your love. Wish you all luck.

tswiftdecut writes:

or gods sake she’s a five year old - they can’t be that kind of vindictive, they have no concept of it! And if they do then there is an adult somewhere that needs to be in prison!

No this isn’t normal behavior but the extreme abnormalness of it suggests that something concerning is at the root cause.

She’s a little girl with neglectful parents and possibly abandonment issues who has become attached to the one man in her life that is good to her and for some reason she has conflated the concept of father figure, fatherly love/and romantic love.

Five year olds being triggered by seeing adults kissing thinking it means she is going to lose her substitute father figure is concerning, it’s not developmentally normal for her to have those associations with kissing.

Why does no one find it sus that her dad doesn’t want her to go to therapy? It sucks that this is thrust on OP and OPs fiancé but as the only responsible adults in this tiny child’s life ensuring that this extremely developmentally abnormal behavior isn’t caused by some sort of trauma or abuse may have to fall on them.

As adults we all have a responsibility to protect children in our lives to the best of our ability- even if they aren’t ours- because they are so vulnerable, so easily abused, and so incapable of knowing what is and isn’t abuse and communicating when they are being abused.

There has to be some sort of free counsel or at a school or charity or something out there but someone needs to get to the root of what’s causing a five year old girl to be triggered by adults kissing and thinking she will lose her only stable father figure because he romantically loves someone else.

I’m just aghast at the suggestion that a five year old could create a vindictive fantasy and that the worry here is the fiancé and not the literal child who didn’t exist in this world before 2019

misborne56b writes:

So... she's 5 and this has continued to go on for 6 months? I'll admit, my first reaction was that you were overreacting but I reread your post and apparently had thought it was 6 days ago.

I don't think it would hurt to at least talk to a child psychologist. I don't say thar because I think there is anything WRONG with her or anything, but because I am not a professional in child psychology and neither are most of the folks who get commenting on these.

Maybe instead of framing it to your dad the way you did, you should try to talking to (I assume) both parents and tell them you just think THEY should get in touch with a child counselor and ask them what kind of things THEY can do to best handle this situation.

Frame it instead that you don't know if you are just making it harder for her to let it go by however you have all approached any conversation before and that it is just really important to you to have ALL of your family at your wedding and having a good time, including your sister.

If they will at least discuss seeing a psychologist just for a consultation where they can ask questions and discuss the issue, they mightt be more accepting of appointments for your sister, if that is the psychologist's recommendation.

creasgjh writes:

Bruhhhh Are we just giving the therapist money just because we can???? She' doesn't need a therapist, she's 5. She's literally a child. They tend to grow attached to whomever treats them well, and hate strangers and others who don't treat them as well.

She's in the process of learning and at the start of both physical and mental development. Your fiancé sound like a man of great character and people gravitate towards such people, especially kids....She's a kid.

She doesn't want to marry your fiancé, God knows that's not happening. She's afraid that if you marry him, he won't be around. She's afraid she'll lose someone who she's familiar with and look up too.

She's a child for godsake. She'll throw tantrum when she doesn't get what she wants...naturally. it's for the adults (you, and other family members) to tell her right from wrong, and guide her as best as you can.

You are her sister, don't ostracize her and leave her out of the wedding. Don't teach her hate at the start of her life. At the moment she might say "I hate you" but she doesn't mean it, she doesn't even know what the word means.

She didn't chose to be a child, she doesn't know the feelings she's feeling, and if her actions have consequences. You'll marry your fiancé and hopefully have children, will you send your children to therapy when they throw a tantrum and claim to hate you??? Take a different approach. It's not that deep.

dianachick6 writes:

This is a little kid with big emotions. There are many adults that can’t handle their emotions, but we expect kids to do better. She’s five.

Putting her on timeout and stopping playing with her is turning this into a much bigger thing than what it actually is. Kids are often seeking attention and when you reward that behaviour whether it’s good or bad.

They are getting what they want. A lot of commenters have called her violent. She has feelings and she doesn’t know where to go with them.

I know you’ve spoken to her, but have you said this…” I know you love (insert fiancé’s name). I love him too, and that’s why I’m going to marry him. And you know we both love you and your brothers and sisters.

What you don’t know is that one day you’re going to grow up and you’re going to meet someone that you are very much in love with and you’re going to want to marry them.

Grown men did not marry children and children do not marry grown men. And here’s the thing because we love you so much, we want you to be part of our wedding. We’ve given you the most important job and we wouldn’t want anyone else doing it, but you.

Would you like to be part of our wedding because it wouldn’t be the same without you there, but if you’re going to be doing things like hitting, then we wouldn’t be able to have you there. So I’d like you to think about it for a little while and let me know if you think that you would like to do that.”

And that’s it. She’ll either come around or she won’t. As far as the hitting part goes, in the meantime, when she starts hitting you tell her to stop and that when she’s calmed down, you can start playing again.

Don’t keep the punishment going, it will help her regulate herself when she wants to get back to spending time and playing together. It puts the choice with her.

Parents always think they have to be judge, jury and executioner, but that is usually not the case, if ever. Let the natural consequences take their place.

Update 1:

My dad dropped the kids off last night and while I was giving the youngest a bath I started to get dizzy and nauseous so I called my fiance to get her out of the bath and in bed.

He got her out of the bath and gave her a towel then focused on me. That set her off so she started her hitting/kicking/pushing and when my fiance let go of me to grab her, she was able to push me over and I cracked my head on the edge of the bathtub. It was a mess.

My fiance called 911 on his phone while using mine to call my dad to get the kids. I hurt my head and neck and will be in the hospital for the next few days. My when my dad picked the kids up my fiance told him we won’t be watching them anymore unless we become their guardians.

OP responds to if her dad and his wife take care of their kids besides herself

OP: They don’t take care of their kids. My fiance and I did when they stayed with us and the 9 year old does it when they’re at my dads house

OOP on her younger siblings’ living situation at their home

OOP: The kids are pretty much neglected at home.

OOP on her budget and if she is able to take care of her siblings

OOP: My fiance and I can afford to take care of them. Right now the kids and I are all on my dad’s health insurance but my work offers great health insurance if we need it. Therapy is included in both health plans.

We were able to purchase a house by ourselves, but we were looking at 2-3 bedroom houses or condos and his mom thought something like 4-5 rooms in a good school district would be better in the long run so we won’t have to move when it’s time to start growing our family.

Those houses were out of our budget so as our wedding present, she’s helping us get the bigger house.

OOP clarifies the relationships between herself and her younger siblings and why she was taking care of them

OOP: Because they’re not my kids. They’re my half siblings that I’ve been taking care of

We have different moms. Their mom doesn't seem to want anything to do with the kids if she can't get cute pictures for her insta. Dad has never been very involved.

Sources: Reddit
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