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“My Husband is Upset That I Won’t Allow My 8-Year-old Stepdaughter to Carry My 1 Year Old”

One mum has reached out to the internet for advice after an ongoing dispute with her husband about whether their 8-year-old daughter should be allowed to carry her 1-year-old brother around. Objecting on the grounds of safety and fearing that her stepdaughter may accidentally drop the toddler, the woman has faced criticism from her husband who thinks that she is preventing the siblings from bonding by not allowing it.

Background: I had my first baby (BS) a year ago, the first few months postpartum for me were horrible. I had terrible anxiety and suffered some depression as well. It was so bad that when my husband would bring the baby downstairs in the morning to let me get extra rest I would just lay in bed sobbing because he was so far away from me. My husband has an 8yo daughter (SD), whom he has primary custody of that BS loves.

Ok, my husband and I have been getting into this argument basically since BS was born. He feels I am putting a barrier between BS and SD and hurting their sibling bond because I don’t feel comfortable, and don’t allow SD to carry BS around. I have explained multiple times to him the safety concerns I have regarding this issue and that is just does not make me feel comfortable. As a compromise I do let her hold him, she plays with him whenever she actually wants to and I let her help him walk, holding his hands while he takes adorable wobbly steps. I think these things are more than enough to “maintain their bond” while keeping him safe and not letting her carry him is such an insignificant thing when it comes to them having a relationship and have even cited my own relationships with my siblings, some older some younger and told him he will simply never understand the uniqueness of this kind of relationship because he is an only child. He insists that I am an AH for not letting an 8 year old carry around a wiggly heavy 12 month old baby as well as for “rubbing in” that he is an only child.

So AITAH? I don’t think I am but with how adamant he is I am second guessing myself.

Updated to clarify: I meant that my HUSBAND is an only child. Throughout this post I constantly reference the sibling relationship and bond referring to my son and his sister whom she 100% is even if they only share 50% of their DNA with each other. The fact that she is my stepdaughter has no bearing on my discomfort with her carrying him around. I wouldn’t trust any young child to carry my son.

Most of the respondents wholeheartedly agreed with the mum about it being dangerous for a child as young as eight carrying around a relatively heavy and unpredictable toddler.

NTA. I was raised in the 70s, when there were no seatbelts for kids in the back of the car, and we were turned out of the house every afternoon to terrorize the neighbourhood with no adult supervision. And even THEN nobody would allow me to hold a baby unless I WAS SITTING DOWN, at least until I was 11. (JadieJang)


OP should ask if it was a stranger or a niece/nephew/cousin (same age as SD) if he would be comfortable with them carrying him around. It may be that he’s subconsciously trying really hard to make sure it’s a “perfect blended family” and he sees this as a weird obstacle to their bonding but there’s no need to put the little one in harms way and as the above commenter said if anything did (God forbid) happen she’s old enough to remember and it’ll haunt her forever. There are a MULTITUDE of ways she can interact and bond without needing to pick him a few years she may be tossing him around like a wrestler because he wants her to and the husband will absolutely hate it..all in good time. (z00k33per0304)

Other commenters also pointed out that it was as much for the little girls protection not to allow it, as she would feel awful if she accidentally dropped or injured her baby brother.

NTA it’s a safety hazard for the stepdaughter to carry the baby. Plus think of the guilt is she was carry him and falls and hurts the baby. (Wonderful-Set6647)

Many agreed that it was too much responsibility to put on a child of her age.

NTA. My oldest is 8. My youngest is 1 and a half. I would not trust him to walk around carrying his baby brother. I would not trust any 8 year old to carry a baby around like that. It just isn’t safe. (MrsGruusahm)



Your husband is an idiot. Thank god you put your foot down or your baby would have had a fractured skull by now.

It sounds like he’s projecting his insecurities upon his daughter. She’s not missing out on bonding with him at all, you’ve gone out of your way to make sure of this. (WhereasMajestic3724)

NTA does your husband have a laptop or other fragile valuable? Let her carry that around and see what he says. (cisco55)

Quite a few commenters shared their own personal cautionary stories of being a child and either dropping or being dropped by a sibling.

My 8 yo niece tried carrying my 10 month old nephew & fell & broke his leg & he ended up in a hip cast. Then had to relearn his skills again. He didn’t walk again until 15 months. It was not a good break (not that any of them are) & required not only being put under to set the bone but surgery to pin it & then remove the pins. Followed up by physical therapy.

When she tripped & fell, she fell on him. (R_U_N4me)

However, some commenters sided with the father and thought that the mum was being overly dramatic about it.

Honestly, I think you’re overreacting. My kids are three years apart and my oldest carried around my younger one when they were little. A one year old will absolutely let the older kid know when enough is enough and as long as they’re supervised (which they should be) I think it’s fine, but I don’t think you want to hear that.


YTA for thinking your husband doesn’t get sibling interactions because he was an only child. That was dick thing to say. My dad was an only child and had so much more understanding and insight on mine and my siblings relationships than my mom who is one of four siblings. You should apologize for that. In fact, it seems perhaps yours has given you a negative outlook on it all while he still has an open mind and positive attitude toward it. (To_b_fair)




What do you think? Who is in the right? Mum or dad?

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Jolene enjoys writing, sharing and connecting with other like-minded women online – it also gives her the perfect excuse to ignore Mount-Washmore until it threatens to bury her family in an avalanche of Skylander T-shirts and Frozen Pyjama pants. (No one ever knows where the matching top is!) Likes: Reading, cooking, sketching, dancing (preferably with a Sav Blanc in one hand), social media, and sitting down on a toilet seat that one of her children hasn’t dripped, splashed or sprayed on. Dislikes: Writing pretentious crap about herself in online bio’s and refereeing arguments amongst her offspring.

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