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'AITA for taking back the birthday gift I gave my sister after she threw a tantrum?'

'AITA for taking back the birthday gift I gave my sister after she threw a tantrum?'


"AITA for taking back the birthday gift I gave my sister?"

He writes:

So, i’m 24M. My little sister is 14 and has always been interested in art. I moved an hour and a half away when I was 18 and we don’t see eachother often, but I make a point to call/text

It was her birthday yesterday and I thought I’d splurge since she’s been going through a rough time. She’s changed schools twice due to bullying and our mom always tells me that she won’t talk to anyone, is having intense mood swings, etc. I’ve made multiple attempts to help her, but she shuts me down and gets snippy.

Anyway, I got her a set of 150$ artist grade markers called Copics. I’m no art connoisseur, but apparently every artist who’s anybody has them and our parents don’t wanna spend that kind of money for her hobby (they’re about 5$ PER MARKER) and tend to give practical gifts like clothes. Whenever we’ve texted recently it’s been her ranting about them not getting them for her.

even on her birthday she was like a bomb about to go off. She barely acknowledged me and only said hello when she was asked. I was excited to give her the gift but the second I opened it she grabbed them and turned to our mom, saying “See! Even he knows you should’ve got them for me!” Which I awkwardly brushed off.

Everytime she opened a gift from our parents it was very snotty like “Oh, yayyyy, cheap sneakers, my favorite.” “A plaid skirt. WOW. I’m blessed.”

I was prepared for an angsty teen, but I soon reached my limit. Our dad showed her a journal they bought and she suddenly yelled “I told you both exactly what I wanted but you spent the same amount of money on s&#t I don’t need! Eff this!” she threw it against the wall and ran up to her room.

Our parents were a lot less well-off when I was her age, and they could barely afford a birthday for me. Everytime it was a dodgy cake and a handful of clothes without holes in them, I accepted them like I was the luckiest kid ever. I would’ve never swore and yelled but she’s been very spoiled.

I talked with them for awhile and apparently shes done worse before which shocks me. They think even if they can afford it now, she should learn the value of a dollar. I agree helped shape me to not have my every whim be attended to. Besides, she got what she wanted in the end, why is she still mad in the first place?

Sister came back to get the markers, but I took them back. I said that she was ungrateful and I wouldn’t tolerate it. She started screaming at me but I just left the “party” prematurely with the gift in tow.

My whole family is blowing up my phone because I “ruined her birthday”. In my eyes, I spent 150$ to get no thank-you and yelled at. This will teach her a valuable lesson and maybe spark a change in her teen angst phase. But my family doesn’t want to hear from me until I give it back. Considering I’ve got my entire family sh!tting on me, I have to wonder if I did make the wrong choice. So, AITA?

Was he an a-hole for this?! This is what top commenters had to say:

Isoldael said:

ESH. You were an AH, but a completely justified one in my eyes. Sometimes, to make people grow, you need to be an asshole. "My whole family is blowing up my phone because I 'ruined her birthday'"

I wonder why she's so terrible when they're so afraid to punish sh!tty behavior, and instead feel like they should reward it.

oblomold said:

ESH - Sounds like she was being an absolute 'mare but she is a teenager who has moved school twice cause of bullying. Her self esteem is gonna be through the floor and she's bound to a bundle of rage on top of all the teenage hormones.

I'd say cut her some slack and send her back the pens, maybe with a letter explaining how upset you were with how she was treating your parents who have her best interest at heart. She probably on some level knows she's been a douche but family is a safe space for her to lash out because her parents are unlikely to reject her the way her peer group has, repeatedly.

If you show her some compassion and discuss all the emotions involved calmly and generously it might help her learn to find her way out of her rage and begin treating her family better. The kid sounds like she needs help tbh

JDburn08 said:

ESH. In order of most to least sucky: your sister, your family and, in a distant last place, you.

I don’t think that you should have taken back the gift once it had been given. Not only is it no longer your property, you also gave it with no strings attached. To suddenly add conditions after the fact is... not great. However, the severity of your sister’s assholishness excuses a lot of that, imo.

I find it interesting that your family clearly knows what your sister is like but suddenly the bad outcome is all on you. To me, at least, gatherings and parties should be about everyone having a good time; being the guest of honour is not a license to abuse people and ruin the day for everyone. By that measure, your sister had already ruined the party long before you behaved in a less than ideal way.

Schattentochter said:

So, she is 14, has been bullied (or maybe still is?), is probably already scarred by that and then you show up with the one thing she wanted - and take it back.

I get that you and appearently all people in the comment section perceive her as ungrateful. But I can't help but wonder - if what she says is true (the part about having made wishes that would have cost the same amount of money), this comes down to not being listened to.

Kids don't randomly wake up one day and decide to go "Oh, yeah, I'll be a s%$thead now." I don't like spoilt brats either, noone does, but there's a great chance she's already facing a ton of obstacles in terms of acting normal. Bullying changes people - and to make those changes good ones, one needs to grow up and heal first. She's 14, she's not an adult.

Taking the gift back instead of taking her to the side and asking her what's upsetting her so much to make sure that there's no valid reasons behind her anger is the typical behavior of adults who forgot what it's like to be young.

I'm not saying she's acting okay, I'm not saying she shouldn't be grateful - but I am appalled by the fact that neither you nor your parents seem to question why she's behaving the way she is. I had a phase when I found it hard to apologize and the simple reason was that I (due to bullying) was so convinced that I was a bad person deep down, that I felt like an apology was me scamming people into forgiving me.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to just claim something about your sister - I don't know her. But I really want to offer a kinder perspective to you here, because right now there's at least a chance YTA.

And in any case: Gifts are gifts, not payment. Don't treat them as such if you don't want her to be unable to do the same as an adult. That's how people who attach strings to everything are made.

And SingleMaltLife said:

YTA. It was a gift. For her birthday. Something she really wanted. You gave it then took it away. That’s a really crappy thing to do. You aren’t her parent. You don’t get to discipline her. You are her brother. Do you even see her? You were surprised at her behaviour, but it’s been going on for a while. Sounds like you need to spend more time with your family.

If your parents want to teach a spoiled teenager the value of money they need to do it themselves. They let her get that spoilt. They let her behaviour slide so that she thought talking like that was acceptable. They clearly over compensated with her if you didn’t have much as a kid.

Is your little sister a sh^t head? Sure, she’s a bratty spoilt teenager. Did she spoil herself? No. Love your sister and give her damn present back.

It seems commenters are divided on whether or not he's the a-hole for taking back his sister's gift. What do you think?!

Sources: Reddit
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