My cousin, Annette's, FIL has a bad habit of provoking Annette's nearly four-year-old daughter, Taylor, into a tantrum, and then expecting Annette, or her husband, Todd, to calm Taylor down. For example, MIL and FIL were visiting for the weekend, and as they were leaving, FIL says, "Hey, Taylor, where's your suitcase? Don't you want to come to stay at Grandma and Grandpa's house for the week?" Taylor runs off to get her suitcase. When she finds out that she can't go to Grandma and Grandpa's house for the week, she pitches a tantrum. (I don't blame her. In the course of five minutes, a trusted adult offers her a trip to her grandparents' house and then yanks it out from under her. I'd cry, too.)
This has happened several times (with different fun things FIL has "taken back") and every time Taylor reacts negatively to having that fun thing taken away, FIL is "shocked" that she's upset. He hands Taylor off to Annette or Todd and says, "Get her to calm down, will you?" MIL has told him to stop it. Todd has told him to stop it, but FIL says he's only kidding, so there's no harm in it.
Last weekend, FIL and MIL were visiting and FIL says, "Hey Taylor, guess what? Grandma and Grandpa are going to Super-Fun Kid Friendly Destination that Taylor Loves next week!" Annette, Todd and MIL all told him to stop, because they knew what was coming next. FIL ignored them and said, "Sure would be fun if Taylor could come." Of course, Taylor says, "Please, please can I go?" And she couldn't, because of various logistics, so Taylor had a meltdown. Where Annette and Todd and MIL normally would have stepped in and diffused the situation, they all walked out of the room and left FIL to deal with a crying, upset toddler.
It took a while for Taylor to calm down. Afterwards, FIL couldn't BELIEVE they'd just walked off and left him like that. He told Annette and Todd that Taylor has to learn not to have tantrums.
So my questions are:
1) Yes, it's important for Taylor to learn not to have a tantrum, but doesn't FIL bear some responsibility for provoking her?
2) Is it rude to walk away and let someone deal with a child's tantrum when that person caused the tantrum?
3) Is there a better way to handle this?*
*I suggested limiting FIL's time with Taylor until he can be trusted to behave like an adult, but Annette and Todd are unwilling to limit MIL's time with Taylor. It's unlikely that MIL would be able to visit without FIL.