This 34-year-old mother has a 6-year-old son, a 3-year-old daughter, and a 3-year-old son with her 32-year-old husband, Luke. Every year, Luke’s family gets together and rents a large house for a fun summer vacation.
Usually, it’s the five of them, Luke’s three brothers and their families, but not his 29-year-old sister Anna. Anna never wanted to attend these family vacations because she didn’t have any children or any significant other and felt like she would be uninterested in all of the activities.
But more recently, Anna has been seeing a 33-year-old man named Dave, who has a 12-year-old son named Sam. She has met Anna’s new boyfriend at a few other family functions, and while he seems like a decent guy, Sam has proven to be a bit of a handful.
“At our last family dinner at my house, Sam threw a tantrum over not liking the food and tried pulling the tablecloth off the table, spilling food and pushing plates on the floor, and broke some of my tableware,” she explained.
Additionally, Sam kicked her eldest son and tried to teach some of the younger children how to say swear words. Both Dave and Anna were very apologetic about Sam’s behavior and helped tidy his messes.
But there was no discipline involved, and Sam just watched videos on his phone while everyone else cleaned up after him. She has been able to meet and interact with Sam eight different times so far, and all of them have ended up being negative.
Her sister-in-law explained to her that Dave is actually pretty afraid of his ex-wife and doesn’t dare to change how she parents Sam, even though he agrees that his behavior is out of control. Every time Anna tries to discipline Sam herself, Dave just reminds her that she is not Sam’s real mother and doesn’t have the right to parent him.
Luke’s family had collectively invited Anna and Dave to the annual summer trip this year, but after meeting Sam, they decided that it would be best to uninvite them if they wanted to bring him along.
After witnessing his other interactions, the whole family knew that Sam, being in a beach house with eleven children and other family members, would end up being a disaster. They also knew from experience that neither Anna nor Dave would do anything to stop his bad behavior.