Boundaries are important.
“I prefer this, I do not like that.”
Boundaries make everyone safe and comfortable.
What happens, when a family member pushes those boundaries to a breaking point?
This was the problem that brought Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Russell2012567 to the “Am I the A**hole”(AITA) subreddit.
“AITA for banning my niece from the house for throwing away all of my son’s school supplies?”
First, the backstory.
“I Male-43 have a 15-year-old son Kevin who started working a summer job for a while now.”
“He managed to save up for a new laptop that he uses for his youtube channel or gaming channel I’m not quite sure.”
“anyways..so my niece (my wife’s sister’s daughter) Chloe who’s 19 visits us a lot to hang out with my older daughter who’s 18.”
Everybody got that?
“Kevin spends his time in his room when he’s not working or studying.”
“He doesn’t like when Chloe teases him all the time. It annoys him and I brought this with my Wife but she said that’s normal cousins teasing nothing strange.”
Teens will be teens?
“Chloe saw Kevin’s new laptop and wanted to borrow it for her project but Kevin said no.”
Perhaps because of the teasing.
“His reason is that Chloe has a habit of ruining stuff and his laptop is relatively new so it’s normal that he feels overprotective of it.”
New and shiny.
“Chloe asked me if I could talk Kevin into giving her the laptop for few days ago and I told her no means no and she should just let it go.”
Standing by his son.
“Well, yesterday Chloe visited while I was out.”
“I came home and found Kevin crying saying Chloe took all his school supplies from his room and left with them after he refused to let her go home with his laptop.”
That escalated quickly.
“I was infuriated.”
Anger is understandable.
“My wife said she didn’t know Chloe took all Kevin’s school supplies with her she must’ve hid them. I called my sister-in-law and told her to ask Chloe to bring everything she took back.”
An easy resolution.
“She denied any of this happening so I drove to my in-laws to get this settled.”
Time for an in-person conversation.
“I confronted Chloe and she admitted taking the supplies but said Kevin denied to let her take the laptop even after she offered him money which made him a jerk in her eyes.”
Two sides to every theft?
“I demanded she give the supplies back since they were all Kevin had but she said she dumped them somewhere on the way home when her boyfriend gave her a ride.”
The supplies were gone.
“I flipped out and shamed her for this attitude and said that she’s banned from my house til she could change her attitude and is willing to make it up for her cousin.”
“My sister-in-law criticized my decision and called my wife who said Chloe is a teenager acting out but shouldn’t be banned from her aunt’s house.”
Not everyone was in agreement.
“I said no more discussing this and my wife got upset saying I went too far with the ban.”
“She said she’ll talk to Kevin and if he agreed to forgive Chloe and let her continue to visit then there’s nothing I can do then since my daughter also wants her cousin in the house.”
Apparently outnumbered, OP brought the case for judgment to Reddit.
He did have a closing argument, though:
“Additional Info -“
“A. My wife is the type who say we can’t call family thieves or bullies.”
“B. They told me (sister-in-law) that Chloe didn’t still but more like was mad at Kevin for how he treated her and was wring too get back at him but what’s done is done.”
“C. My older daughter also disagrees with me because she wants Chloe to be able to visit like always.”
“D. When I talked to Chloe about what She did she had no problem nor shame explaining what she did and why she did it. In other words she was unapologetic about her actions.”
After closing arguments, OP had only to wait for the verdict.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Chloe received little sympathy.
“NTA. She’s 19, she’s an adult throwing a tantrum because she didn’t get her way.”
“It’s obvious why Kevin didn’t want to lend her his laptop.”
“Tell them that if Chloe pays for the things she destroyed and apologizes to Kevin, she can come back – and still won’t be allowed to use the laptop.”~cmlobue
Some pointed to legal concerns.
“NTA. Chloe is 19 – legally an adult – and so these things are literal crimes. She stole and then essentially destroyed property as part of some sort of attempted extortion.”
“Also, I’m unclear – was she even permitted to be in the house at the time this all happened?
“Wow. Chloe is completely out of line, her parents sound like idiots, and honestly, your wife’s response is pretty disappointing too.”~Jon_Jraper
“I want the sequel where OP calls the police because the cousin is an adult and what she did is theft.”~XenosTrashBrigade
OP’s wife did not escape scrutiny.
“I think the wife is the biggest asshole in this situation.”
“She* allowed her own child to be constantly bullied and let her relatives walk all over her family. This is a symptom of a much bigger issue if the wife thinks this is normal behavior.”~hello_friendss
There was even a theory for why OP’s wife seemed okay with it all.
“The wife was the previous scapegoat in her family. The family has picked a new scapegoat, and she’s secretly happy they don’t treat her like sh*t anymore.”
“In fact, she’s able to bond with them by allowing and participating in his bullying.”
“Signed-a scapegoat whose mother gladly fed her to the wolves to be accepted.”~nekabue
Some even wanted JUSTICE.
“I think there needs to be retribution since the cousin won’t get punished from anyone and she’s still allowed to bully the son in his own house and nothing is safe from her destruction.
“So take something of hers and give it back when she apologizes”~Cold-Consideration23
Hopefully, Chloe will learn boundaries are important and bullying doesn’t make it any better.
Good for Kevin sticking to his ground and his answer.
We should all be so firm in defending not just our own boundaries, but in the boundaries of those we care about.