AITA for letting my son open one gift before his birthday?

My son turned 6 on Thursday last week. We were going to have a small family celebration the Sunday before because his step siblings wouldn’t be home with us and his sister would be at camp for a week. Due to some unfortunate behaviors, (nothing super crazy just not following basic daily routines and having a harder time staying focused at home but doing great in school), we decided not to give gifts early but I still let them sing to him and have the dessert that I made. The sitter that helps me get them to school came over on Wednesday after school to drop off cupcakes and a small gift as she was going out of town for the rest of the week. I let him open the gift. with her but made him wait until Thursday, his actual birthday, to have a cupcake with the rest of his gifts. my husband, his step dad, is now adamant that I rewarded negative behavior with rewards. In my opinion, I simply allowed a developing human to celebrate his special day without any extra frills. Am I wrong???


Not wrong! He is still learning how to be human. Nothing wrong with him enjoying one gift before his birthday. They are only this small once.


Was was probably excited for his birthday. The dad will be ok.

We expect perfection from our kids and we as adults are far from perfect. He’s only little for such a short time… Let him have his gifts.

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No your not wrong! I would of let him have a cupcake too, It was his Birthday he should be able to celebrate on his special day!


Gosh, this all feels a little on the harsh side to me. Six is still so young, and the behaviors you’re describing may well have been related to excitement about his upcoming special celebrations.


No your not, but dad on the other hand is … he had a beautiful moment with his sitter I’m absolutely sure she loved and wanted to see his reaction to the gift :gift:. I know I’d appreciate it, he needs to relax and chill out because there’s bigger fish to fry! Children are only children once!


And it was polite to have him open the gift the babysitter brought over while she was there!!!

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Nta. Idk any 6 yr old that doesn’t struggle with staying focused and daily routines. They’re still young and learning. He’s not acting out in school so when he comes home that’s his safe place to let it out after being on his best behavior for 8 hrs straight. No kid is perfect. I personally wouldn’t of punished him like you did for what you described but we all parent different and you did stick with it with one small exception and there’s nothing wrong with that.


Good Lord, what a circus over a little boy not being perfect…as I’m sure his step dad is and his kids :woozy_face:
Your son should have had a normal birthday at his birthday, gifts, cake and all, and the other 2 days a small celebration for the people that can’t make it and the sweet sitter.


Does he have a pattern of having a hard time when things are coming up like holidays/birthday/something big or exciting? You were right in letting him open his gift in front of the sitter. I would have given him a cupcake too :woman_shrugging: he’s 6. Have you tried making a check list to help keep him focused? Holding off on his birthday isn’t going to nec help those problems. Sounds like between school and excitement he got off track. Try re evaluating what’s going on and seeing what can be done. But no. You did nothing wrong. I would have done the same

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Nope, it was good manners for him to open the gift while she was there and he should have been able to have a cupcake with her also. I don’t think punishment should involve special events and holidays. He will only turn 6 one time. I would find other ways to instill punishment.


At 6 years old I wouldn’t be taking gifts away for behavior like that. Pretty harsh imo. :sweat_smile:


He’s wound up over his birthday. The same thing will happen at Christmas . I’d have let him open the gifts at the party. As long as they’re sitting there, he’s going to be wound up about it. Find some way to redirect energy. He’s 6. It’s probably his first year of school. And he’s getting used to having to sit still all day. So there is going to be extra energy and acting out at home m

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You do realise that children need to “chill”. And by that children often do well at school and then need to unwind (often seen as more disruptive behaviours) at home. Why? Because by following rules at school… being made to sit still for periods of time, listen, concentrate … that by the time they get home, children are usually over whelmed … unregulated …. At home - which should be their safe space … he NEEDS to “let off steam” so to speak… if he is doing great in school… I wouldn’t punish him … especially at 6 … for sounding like he needs this out let at home… and I most definitely would NEVER punish a child - on their birthday/parties… the time when they should be celebrated.

Nothing wrong to enjoy a gift early and to open it with the giver.

I firmly believe in natural or related consequences. I never feel holding a birthday over someone’s head to behave is the way to go. he’s 6 not 16… let the kid be a kid I think. letting him open 1 gift didn’t ruin him he’s fine. they’re making a big deal out of nothing.

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What’s AITA?
And who cares if you give your son a gift a day early? He’s your son. You can give him whatever you want whenever you want. And hopefully you know what I mean.

You’re not wrong! You’re momma, what you say goes!!!

No your not wrong. The sitter deserved to see him open the gift.

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Not wrong mama! Hes a child AND it’s his birthday his special day and we only create ONE childhood for them, let it be a good one. He wont remember why he was in trouble but he will remember not getting to open that present.


You parent how u see fit. U know your child best and what works and doesn’t by now. People will always have stuff to say regardless. I stopped caring what people think ages ago

Don’t feel it’s okay be with holding or shaming a young child for being a kid! Sounds like step dad is expecting teenage things out of 6yr old… reading this I truly feel sad for your son :frowning: Please protect yourself and kids. Idk all but get strange vibe off this post. Sounds like possible emotional abuse and pray not getting worse physical punishment or withholding basic needs :cry: Home is supposed be supportive safe place with some downtime I feel especially for young children. Birthday are to celebrate :partying_face:


I feel like this question shouldn’t have even been asked :woman_shrugging::woman_shrugging: he’s 6!!! I mean… he isn’t going to be a perfect human at 6. They make mistakes that’s how they learn… and if he isn’t acting out in school then I don’t see the issue. His safe space is at home so he probably needs to let out some sort of pent up energy that he held in all day at school…because sitting for 8 hours, learning and doing assignments can be tiring when you are on your best behavior. :woman_shrugging::woman_shrugging: I think you are fine letting him open the gift from your nanny…that’s proper manners so she can see his little face light up from what ever it was. Your husband needs a chill pill. :woman_shrugging::woman_shrugging: your son will only be little for a bit…so enjoy it while it lasts. Don’t push too hard on your boy! Let him be a kid! :heart_hands:

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Sd is being too harsh,your not wrong,as she was leaving it was proper to let him open her gift while she was there,just good manners


YTA completely. Who withholds celebrating a child’s birthday? I mean ever think that all of his siblings had something else to do but him? Then he’s punished instead of celebrated. Why couldn’t he have a cupcake that was specifically made for him with the person who brought it to him? (I’d be offended if I was the sitter) I hope this child gets the attention he’s looking for. :disappointed:

I wouldn’t have taken presents away due to something like that. He’s still young, and still learning. Taking presents away for several days, as a punishment to me is just insane. My son has his good days and his bad. But I don’t let one bad day take everything away. Especially if it’s just a mood issue or not listening. If he actually was bad, then maybe. Step Dad can let go a little bit. He’s 6. He’s not going to go oh look! I still get presents and they didn’t keep their side! He won’t see it as the step dad says. He will see it as yay I got to open a gift. Good grief…


You were not wrong. It is proper etiquette for someone to open a gift in front of the gift giver.


He’s 6, he’s not there with regulation yet or impulse control. What you did was perfect. Celebrate him on his day. That’s not rewarding bad behavior, that’s allowing him to mess up and be a kid sometimes. They aren’t adults. Can’t expect a 6 yr old to act like a 16 yr old.


His SD sounds like an A as you explained him. It will only get worse where your kids are involved.

He should have gotten all gifts at his party to be honest.


He wasnt allowed to open his gifts from the people at his party that won’t be there for his actual birthday but was allowed to open gifts from.the sitter because she won’t be there for his actual birthday ? If that’s the case then yes youre wrong. You can’t tell him oh you can’t have these gifts (even tho these.people won’t be here) but you can have this one (bcuz this person won’t be there). Even as an adult that would send mixed messages. He should’ve either been allowed all gifts or none.


Tell his stepdad to stay out of it I am sure you and your husband can come to an agreement about what to decide about your child

NTA he is 6 he is going to have good days and bad days. With holding gifts on birthday is just down right mean. The most I have done is tell my kids that the party only be with family and no friends

I don’t think you are, I have never believed a child should be punished using their birthday or holidays, it just doesn’t seem right to me, I would discipline another way, but not take anything that has to do with the child’s birthday

Maybe you both should read up on what a 6 yr old is capable of. You’re molding him.

If he straight out was disrespectful or something more. I could see not allowing him to open gifts early.

I don’t think birthdays are a time to punish a young child. Look up focus and what level of focus you can expect.

What a sad memory that the child will have. Birthdays are such a big deal.

I don’t know. I see it that it’s an event in the child’s life, that both of you won’t be able to get back.


You don’t withhold birthdays or birthday presents or holidays in their gifts because of poor behavior, and he doesn’t sound like he’s really behaving poorly. He’s behaving like a six year old little boy. You don’t punish them for being six-year-old, are they supposed to be at attention 24/7? No he’s doing well at school but he’s letting go at home. This is what they do because home is there a safe place? I just gave my six almost 7 year old his birthday present from his father and I a month early because we’ve been going through things at home not anything caused by him and I decided there was no point in it sitting in my bedroom for the next month when he could use it and enjoy it, and it’s some thing That will help his fine motor skills. Your husband sounds like he needs to learn what children actually act like because saying you’re rewarding bad behavior for simply giving him a gift sounds like he wants to control when and how everything works. Your kid is six, he’s not 18 he’s not 25. He’s six I do not care how bad my kids are acting, when it is their birthday or a holiday. I do not withhold their gifts or their celebration because that is how they learn, your birthday is supposed to be a day you’re made to feel special, not punished for things you’ve done other days 


My mind is blown at how complex people make simple things :exploding_head:

Not for letting him open 1 gift, but yes you ATA for taking the gifts away to begin with. He is 6, try explaining your expectations

No, tell step dad to loosen up!

Is this an actual problem? There are parents visiting their child’s gravesite on their birthday ffs, and then we’ve got some arguing over whether or not they are properly punished. Just let him open all the presents and worry about more important stuff.

It’s called having manners …

:woman_shrugging: my kids never got presents on their actual birthday, they got a meal of their choice. All presents were at the party, whenever it took place. Your child your decision

Not a reward at all. He’s still very young and his birthday needs to be special so nothing wrong with him opening just one gift from someone who won’t be there for the party.

SD needs to get it together. It’s the kids day. A time where they have good memories. Do you really want this to be a time your kid remembers when SD was being an *** and made his day horrible? One thing I remember from growing up his how horrible my mom’s boyfriend made holidays and special occasions. Don’t do that to your kid.


Pick your punishments wisely…it’s going to be his birthday whether he’s been good or bad. I don’t agree with using his birthday as a time for punishment.

Oh no girl, he sent your daughter to camp too. There’s no way! Save your kids now, it’ll only get worse.

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So you did not allow him his gifts during his birthday party with the family 4 days before, but allowed him a gift from the sitter 1 day before but not a cupcake she made for him. I highly doubt your partner said those words, and more the words you are choosing to make yourself feel better and right. Why would one want to drag it out over 3 days? His siblings were there, why would they not be present when opening the gifts. Sounds silly to hold them till his birthday when having a party already. Then his sitter brings him 2 gifts, a gift and cupcake. So you now took her joy of seeing his excitement with her cupcake gift.

Honestly, I think you are wrong.
Celebrate at his party for all to share the joy and excitement in the gifts. Hold a couple gifts back for the actual day from you if you wish.

The sitter should have had the same respect given.

You really had 362 other days to punish him for wrong doing instead of the way you handled it over 3 days


I personally think you didn’t do anything wrong.

I still haven’t figured out why parents punish kids with their birthday. There are several other methods. The kid is six- you will ask them to go to the bathroom and it’s going to take them about 10 minutes to get there with their kick flips, hand stands, “mom look what I can do” so when you say “unfocused” how bad could it really be, outside of being 6 years old? Step-Dad needs to hop down to his pay grade because letting them celebrate the day they were brought into the world isn’t rewarding bad behavior.

It seems to me the whole birthday was manipulated by the parents. Yall should be ashamed. These children are being mentally/emotionally abused. I pray for their future and safety.

Honestly at 6 your totallly hurting him by yanking gifts from him over every day normal behavior. That’s like if you had an attitude with a boss cause your stressed about planning upcoming vacation and your boss going “ ya know I think that attitude while I understand your stress and limitations was too annoying so I’m cutting your vacation in half but you can still leave when you planned to “ if you punish a child who BIOLOGICALLY doesn’t have the ability to implement impulse control yet (happenes around 8-9ish) your punishing him for being normal and irritating instead of seeing the situation for what it is and understanding your child is growing and learning needing you to show them repeatedly not only how to behave but also how to understand and use empathy. What happened for this child’s birthday shows no empathy only manipulation and confusion. Poor babe ! Hopefully next year planning can be done in a more understandable and less stressful way.


No you’re not wrong. Damn he’s 6 not 16

No your not wrong his dad’s an ass punishing him for being a kid he’s 6 not 10 or 11 he’s only starting out in life and punishment by taking presents for his birthday is a big toxic control thing to me

Hes six and it his birthday. Your husband needs to back the f off.

No, you’re not wrong. He is a six year old child….

Dear God if giving your kid a cupcake causes this much a drama you need to rethink this situation.

Step daddy sounds like a douche. He should of got everything else on Sunday too. He’s 6.

What the fuck? He’s 6. No child-regardless of age-should have their birthday celebration/gifts used as a punishment. I personally would have given him his gifts the day of the party and I definitely wouldn’t have not let him have his cupcake until a later day. :woozy_face: Step dad sounds like a drill sergeant and I think you guys are expecting way too much out of a 6 year old.

She wasn’t technically yanking gifts away she just wasn’t giving the presents they bought him before his party and the SD is upset cuz the mom let him open up a present early from the babysitter and no you are not an asshole. The babysitter wasn’t going to be at the party so you let him open up the present with her.

That’s not negative behaviour
 I wouldn’t expect him to focus if he’s doing schoolwork at home for six hours. My daughter couldn’t even sit in front of the computer for an hour when she was that age.
And plus if I attend a birthday party, I expect them to open a present while I’m there. If not, we won’t be there again.

Step Dad is extreme. Nothing wrong with enjoy presents & eating a cupcake from someone celebrating you on a day that isn’t your birthday. Sounds like the kid needs to be celebrated!!!

Sounds like step dad needs to go pound sand… that’s YOUR child you do you YOU see fit

He’s 6 if he’s doing well in school and expected to act perfectly at home when is he allowed to just be a kid? I think it’s kind of unfair to punish such a little kid in that way for having trouble focusing at home after he’s expected to sit in a classroom and focus on school work and the teacher all day

Why are we using a basic right like being able to celebrate a birthday as punishment? You’re reinforcing the idea the child will only be celebrated if he exhibits good behavior and not the importance of what that day actually means. This is a toxic red flag to me. Those two things have nothing to do with each other and you could have found other ways to punish him.

He’s 6, I doubt he even knows what day of the week it is unless you tell him, lol

He’s only 6 years old and what he was struggling with sounds normal. Basically he’s perfect or he doesn’t get a birthday? :broken_heart:

He should have had his normal birthday.

Step dad is controlling and will only get worse .

NTA. You have rules and he didn’t obey them. I raised my sons the same way. They are both doing great living productive lives in society. The problem with parents now is they all want to be their kid’s friend. My kids are my friends when they are graduated and out of my house.

Wait, in 2023 we still take away holidays and birthdays as punishment? Wild

No your husband is the AH!

I starting to think people are going overboard about every little thing these children do. He’s six for god sake. Why are you listening to this crap that is none of their business.