A loving mother in a peaceful suburban house struggled with an agonizing situation as her boyfriend’s 12-year-old son persisted in purposefully frightening their three-month-old daughter. The mother was driven to breaking point by the strange behavior, which continued despite sincere pleas and warnings.
An anonymous female member shared her distressing experience on the “AITAH” subreddit on January 11, 2024. She questioned the influence of her postpartum depression (PPD) diagnosis on her behavior.
For six years, the Original Poster (OP) and her boyfriend were together. For the last two years, he and his 12-year-old son Jake had been residing with OP. After over ten years of owning her home, OP was presented with an upsetting situation involving Jake’s actions toward their three-month-old kid.
Even while Jake seemed to love his sister, there was a concerning trend when he scared the baby on purpose. Jake used to come up to the baby and yell, “RA!” loudly, laughing at her terrified reactions. He would then pretend to be sorry and chuckle, saying he didn’t mean to frighten her.
Torn between her worries, the possible impact of PPD, and her need for a solution, OP turned to the online community for guidance after experiencing this unsettling routine at least four times a day.
Jake continued to behave in an uncomfortable manner despite OP’s repeated attempts to stop him, including warning him about the possibility of harm to the baby’s hearing and highlighting the lack of fun in his activities.
The tipping point was only three days earlier when OP confronted Jake and her partner out of sheer frustration. She gave a severe warning, threatening to have them removed from her life if they made any more deliberate scares.
The boyfriend’s erratic behavior led to the decision to take such extreme measures. He did step in from time to time, but he also wrote off OP’s worries as being exaggerated. He claimed that youngsters often find humor in a baby’s startle reflex, which served as justification for Jake’s conduct.
With her ultimatum weighing heavily on her, OP remembered the incident well and said, “If he purposely scared my kid again, then [Jake and OP’s boyfriend] would be evicted.” She felt a twinge of regret even after Jake, with a defeated look on his face, went back to his room.
The evening before OP told her story, she briefly left the room and her three-month-old daughter was left swinging calmly. Jake took advantage of her short absence to have another unsettling encounter.
OP heard Jake ask a desperate “What are you doing?” in a baby voice from a distance. Her daughter’s screaming could be heard through the whole scene. She heard her boyfriend stepping in and trying to diffuse the situation, so she rushed back.
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?