In a shocking display of sibling rivalry turned extreme, a boy tossed his younger stepsister’s cherished book collection into the pool, sparking a family crisis. Consequently, this audacious act proved to be the breaking point, leaving his stepfather with no choice but to take drastic measures.
A young girl is pictured writing a diary in her room | Source: Shutterstock
In July 2021, an anonymous male poster turned to Reddit’s “AITA” forum to share his troubling family situation. His biological daughter, 12-year-old Susan, had developed a deep passion for collecting and reading old children’s books. Through her regular reading, Susan had made remarkable progress in her literacy skills, which had previously posed challenges. She also devoted herself to reading bedtime stories to her two-year-old sister.
An angry-looking young boy | Source: Flickr
However, the family dynamic was far from harmonious due to the presence of a 16-year-old stepson named Levi. While their relationship lacked a typical father-son bond, there was a level of mutual respect. Yet, Levi’s behavior often veered into selfish and mean-spirited territory, particularly in his interactions with his stepfather and sisters.
“He’d throw away stuff that belongs to us over small arguments,” explained the stepdad. He added that Levi also tended to tease Susan for her voracious reading habits, labeling her as a “grandma.”
A young girl reads a book sitting near the window with her dog beside her | Source: Shutterstock
The stepfather and his wife had tried to address Levi’s behavior through discussions and agreed-upon consequences, but their efforts were consistently undermined. Levi would escape to his biological father’s home whenever he faced disciplinary measures, leading to contentious interactions with his stepfather. These recurring issues had become a source of frustration.
What Did the Boy Do?
The situation took a dramatic turn when the stepfather received a distressing call at work one day. Susan reported that Levi, in a fit of anger after she refused to lend him her camera for a trip with friends, had thrown her entire collection of beloved books into the pool.
Undeterred by these threats, the stepfather made a decisive choice.
A collection of books neatly arranged on the shelf | Source: Unsplash
While the stepmother had managed to retrieve some of the soaked and damaged books, the incident was devastating, as several of the titles were rare and held sentimental value for Susan.
Infuriated, the stepfather rushed home to discuss a suitable punishment with his wife, but Levi had already fled to his biological father’s residence. Expressing his anger and disappointment to his wife, he questioned her decision to allow Levi to escape the consequences of his actions.
A young girl reads a book in her bedroom | Source: Unsplash
Determined to address the issue, the stepfather visited Levi’s father’s house, seeking a resolution. However, Levi’s father staunchly refused to allow him access to his son. Instead, he blamed the stepfather, accusing him of mistreating Levi and contributing to his behavior.
A young girl cries while sitting alone outside | Source: Shutterstock
In a shocking turn, he threatened to involve Child Protective Services (CPS) if the stepdad attempted any disciplinary action, asserting that he had no right to do so as Levi’s stepfather. Furthermore, he contended that Levi’s actions were merely a reaction to Susan’s supposed mistreatment.
A serious father listens to his pre-teen son while sitting on a sofa at home | Source: Shutterstock
Undeterred by these threats, the stepfather made a decisive choice. He insisted that Levi remain with his biological father until proper punishment was administered. His resolve to hold Levi accountable for his actions remained steadfast, even as his in-laws and wife advocated for a more lenient approach, arguing that the stepfather had overstepped his bounds.
A father hugs his sad, young daughter to comfort her amid her heartache | Source: Shutterstock
The stepdad, however, believed that letting this incident go unpunished would set a worrisome precedent and ultimately lead to more troubling behavior from Levi. As the weeks passed, tensions within the family continued to escalate.
The Stepfather’s Dilemma
Levi’s biological father held the perspective that, due to the stepfather’s non-biological status, he lacked the authority to impose disciplinary measures on Levi. This viewpoint stemmed from previous conflicts that arose when the stepfather attempted to enforce discipline, particularly by confiscating electronic devices that Levi’s biological father had provided.
A young father is pictured disciplining his little son | Source: Shutterstock
Consequently, the stepfather was discouraged from pursuing disciplinary actions, regardless of the nature of Levi’s behavior towards him or his stepsisters. The stepfather took proactive steps to address the family’s underlying issues by arranging family therapy. Regrettably, Levi’s biological father refused to grant permission for Levi’s participation in these therapy sessions.
Additionally, the stepfather’s in-laws suggested that Levi was willing to extend an apology to Susan. They believed that such an apology should suffice to resolve the matter.
A depressed young man is pictured sitting alone, contemplating his problems | Source: Shutterstock
However, the stepfather maintained his stance, rejecting the notion that a mere apology was adequate to address the seriousness of the pool incident. This divergence in opinion had led to him being perceived as at fault within the family dynamic.
The Online Response
The Reddit community overwhelmingly supported the stepfather’s position, with many saying he was “NTA.” They emphasized the need to hold Levi accountable for his actions, as letting it slide could send harmful messages to both Susan and Levi about the consequences of their behavior.
The Reddit community rallied in the stepdad’s support | Source: reddit.com/r/AmItheAsshole
Some commenters expressed concerns about Levi’s future while siding with the stepdad | Source: reddit.com/r/AmItheAsshole
Some commenters expressed concerns about Levi’s future, noting that avoiding accountability now might lead to severe problems when he reached adulthood and faced real-world consequences. Others recommended more drastic actions, like divorce or moving into a separate residence, if the wife continued to avoid addressing Levi’s actions.
Another user emphasized the need to hold Levi accountable for his actions | Source: reddit.com/r/AmItheAsshole
Another netizen stressed the importance of establishing firm boundaries, suggesting that Levi should replace the damaged items and offer a heartfelt apology | Source: reddit.com/r/AmItheAsshole
Lastly, a commenter stressed the importance of establishing firm boundaries, suggesting that Levi should replace the damaged items and offer a heartfelt apology before being allowed back into the family. They also highlighted the broader consequences of not disciplining Levi, emphasizing that it could set him up for failure in the future.
Do you support the stepdad’s stance, or do you feel he’s being unfair toward his stepson? Click here to read another story about a young woman whose stepdad paid for her wedding dress, but she chose her biological father to give her away. Consequently, her stepfather resigned as the host.