Fury as Man Sends Adopted Child Away Over Tantrum: 'Pack a Bag'

A man who sent his teenage niece away over "typical teenage behavior" is being blasted online.

Sharing his story with Reddit's Am I the A******? (AITA) forum, user u/AdhesivenessNeat5584 said he adopted his niece after her parents passed away.

"My [sister-in-law] passed away 12 years [ago] and my brother passed away 4 years ago. They had a daughter who is 13 years old now," he wrote. "After my brother passed away, both me and my [sister-in-law's] brother tried to adopt my niece but, as my niece didn't have much of a relationship with her mom's family, I was obviously the better option so I ended up adopting her."

However, the niece has recently "developed the very annoying habit" of saying she'd rather go live with her other uncle to win arguments.

Upset teenage girl sitting on bedroom floor
A stock photo of an upset teenage girl sitting on her bedroom floor crying. The teenager said she didn't really want to go and live with her other uncle, but the user decided to send her anyway. iStock/Getty Images Plus/KatarzynaBialasiewicz

"I know she doesn't mean it because 1. she barely knows her other uncle 2. I have a high-paying job and I'm able to provide things that most people aren't able to provide so she is too spoiled to be able to live with anyone else," he continued.

The last time they argued, the niece once again said she wanted to go live with her other uncle. Calling her bluff, the poster told her to go.

"This time I told her to go pack a bag," he wrote. "An hour later I went to her room and asked her if she is ready. She said she didn't mean what she said and doesn't really want to go."

AdhesivenessNeat5584 decided to send her away for a week anyway. He told her after seven days, she can return home if she wants to.

"She insisted that she already knows where she wants to stay but I told her to get in the car and drove her there," he said.

A week later, he called his niece and asked if she wanted to stay with her other uncle or return home. She chose to come back but has been ignoring the user since.

"My family heard what happened and now everyone is mad at me and thinks I'm an a******," he said.

Redditors agreed, with the post receiving 9,500 upvotes and over 3,000 comments from users slamming AdhesivenessNeat5584's behavior.

What Is Compounded Trauma and Does It Make Teenagers Act Out?

Angela Karanja, psychologist and founder of the parental support service Raising Remarkable Teenagers, said repeated traumatic experiences can influence a child's development in the form of "compounded trauma."

"Children who have experienced Adverse Childhood Trauma (ACE), for example, the death of parents or indeed any other trauma, are more prone to additional challenges in teenage years," Karanja told Newsweek.

"If it has not been processed, one trauma piles on top of another one."

Father yelling at sulking teenage girl
A stock photo of a sulking teenager with her head in her hands while her father yells at her. Compounded childhood trauma can make puberty more difficult for some teens. iStock/Getty Images Plus/TatyanaGl

Unresolved trauma combined with the hormonal changes of puberty can make adolescence especially difficult for some teenagers and their guardians, manifesting as an "attitude problem."

"[These struggles] can lead to anxiety, even depression," Karanja said.

"Overall, to deal with a child who is entering their teenage years with unresolved trauma requires parents and other caregivers to champion and empower agency, open communication, confidence and ability to set firm and fair boundaries."

To do this, Karanja recommends acknowledging the child's feelings—even when they seem unreasonable—such as listening and asking questions.

"Thank them for trusting you enough to be real, open [and] authentic with you. Offer positive reinforcement and praise and encourage them to keep sharing," she said.

"Make it clear what you are able and willing to support with and make it clear to them that choices have consequences.

"[You can also] make a plan comprising of activities that help them to stay focused and productive."

'He Failed the Test'

Reddit users were horrified by the poster's decision to send his niece away, with user Mannings4heard writing: "This kid has been through hell."

"She lost both of her parents at a young age and is now living with an uncle who showed her that his love is conditional," he commented.

"13-year-olds say the dumbest s*** ALL THE TIME, you don't take them seriously, and you sure as hell don't send them away," said royalanguinius.

"I was 'adopted' by relatives who would pull this 'I don't have to keep you' shit any time I was a normal bratty adolescent. Now I have abandonment issues," wrote evhanne.

Angry father and daughter sitting back-to-back
A stock photo of a father and daughter sitting back-to-back with angry expressions on their faces. Since returning home, his niece has refused to speak to the poster. Jupiterimages/iStock/Getty Images Plus

"Normal childhood is hard enough, I can't imagine hearing s*** like that," said Golfnpickle.

While annang commented: "She was testing him to see if he's a safe person, if she could count on him. "It's literally a part of adolescent development. Most kids do it. And he failed the test."

However, AdhesivenessNeat5584 seems to have taken the comments to heart. In an update, he said he'd apologized to his niece and was taking steps to make things right.

"We decided to have a conversation about it, I asked her how they treated her and she told me while her uncle was nice, her aunt made her feel unwelcome and she didn't feel good about being there," he added.

"She doesn't want to live with them and she thinks I was a jerk for sending her even after she apologized.

"She has some conditions for forgiving me. For example, she continues to torture me by forcing me to binge-watch Riverdale with her. And she wants a daddy-daughter day.

"I'm guessing that I'm not going to like any of her plans based on the evil grin on her face, but I'll do whatever makes her happy."

Newsweek reached out to u/AdhesivenessNeat5584 for comment. We could not verify the details of the case.

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