I have a daughter, Elena (6), and my stepsister Jess has a daughter Hattie (5). Me, my husband, Jess, and her husband Paul are all staying at our parents' house over the Xmas period. For context, Paul arrived a day after the rest of us, very late at night because he does shift work and worked late before driving to our parents'.
The next morning, the girls were playing in Elena's room at about 10am. The adults were all downstairs, except Paul because he was sleeping, and my stepdad was out. Suddenly, we heard Paul shouting. This is not too unusual, if unpleasant, but this episode sounded particularly bad so we got up.
Before we can even get to the stairs my daughter runs down crying, saying Paul had shouted at her for waking him up. My husband was livid and went upstairs to deal with Paul while I calmed my daughter down. I knew it would be absolutely impossible for us to be around Paul after what happened so we would probably be leaving.
Jess said that was ridiculous, Paul probably got annoyed and said he was tired and he'd apologise and everything would be fine. I 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.
When my stepdad came back, we told him what happened and that we would be leaving because we refused to subject Elena to being around Paul after what he did and we don't trust him not to overstep his boundaries like that again. My stepdad agreed, but said that it was unfair we should have to leave after Paul was the problem.
He called Paul and Jess down and said they had to go, weren't welcome on Christmas, or until after we had gone home. Paul tried to defend himself saying the kids should have been quieter but when my husband got annoyed Paul half-heartedly apologised. I didn't believe a word of his apology.
Jess started crying and said it was unfair and that my stepdad was choosing me over her and was a horrible father. She started an expletive rant so I left the room with Elena, and the next I saw was her and Paul going upstairs to pack. They left without a goodbye.
Since they've been gone every few hours I've got a text from Jess saying how I've ruined her Christmas and her relationship with her dad over 30 seconds of bad judgement. I don't think I created this situation because it was my stepdad's decision to throw them out, I offered to leave.
I also think Paul made this bed that Jess is lying in. All he had to do was come downstairs and ask us to quiet the children, or pop his head into the room and ask politely. Nevertheless, I do feel bad that Jess is stuck in the middle and that Hattie won't see her grandparents on Christmas because of this. Did I overreact? Would Paul apologising have been enough?
Re the kids being unsupervised - I was upstairs with them, and we were all going down to do some baking.
The girls asked for 10 more minutes to continue playing before coming down so I went down to get all the stuff ready in the kitchen, they weren't on their own for hours on end. They were playing with a large dollhouse in Elena's room, hence why they were not playing downstairs to start with.
Paul yells at his daughter Hattie quite a lot, in a way I would describe as quite vicious. We have all been made uncomfortable by Paul's outbursts, and more than once I've had to bite my tongue because I just think his conduct in unacceptable, but I do because he and Jess are the parents.
Maybe I did overreact but imagining him shouting at my daughter the way I've seen him shout at his made me sick and angry.
Both girls have their own room at their grandparents. We spend a lot of time there.
Here's how people judged OP:
What kind of person throws away relationships with several members of their family over one sleep deprived momentary lapse of judgement for which the family member apologized
You know what I do when people are aggressive towards me? I remove myself from their company. I've seen how Paul shouts at his own daughter, and I don't care who it is in my daughter's life - teacher, boss, boyfriend - anyone ever speaks to her like that, she must walk the heck away from them.
Maybe I did overreact in the moment, maybe I should have stuck to my guns and been the one to leave, I'll take that on the chin, but if my daughter gets yelled at the way I've seen Paul yell in life, I hope a mumbled apology doesn't fix it for her.
NTA. a five year old and a six year old are going to make noise playing together, it was 10am not 1am so I fail to see why anyone should have gotten angry about it.
I’m stuck on the part where you say Paul shouting is unpleasant but not unusual. That’s an issue. If your BIL is shouting at his kid enough for it to be a normal thing there’s something wrong there. She’s 5, her dad shouting at her shouldn’t be the norm.