If you see something, say something is a familiar mantra that can be applied towards suspicious activity.
Redditor TipAgreeable9659 did just that, when they noticed their eight-year-old niece had a habit that could lead to bigger problems in the future.
But when they addressed the situation, it was met with backlash.
The Redditor visited the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit and asked:
“AITA for trying to stop my niece from taking stuff home in her pockets that doesn’t belong to her?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“So far, the general consensus from my family (mostly my mom and sister, the kid’s mom and grandma) is that I AM the a**hole and that I’m accusing the kid of stealing. I mean…I’m not trying to accuse her of stealing, but I was wondering if there was something that I could be doing differently to ease this tension.”
“My niece is 8. She has 3 siblings, but they don’t seem to have this problem. She likes to put things in her pockets and then she forgets about them and takes them home…and then I never see them again.”
“My playroom is really organized, and a lot of the toys in there are part of displays or sets that they can play with when they come visit. For example, we have a life size paw patrol tower with all of the puppies.”
“The puppies are a really important part of the set. And we also have a table with a wooden forest scene made out of stacker blocks. Wild animals, mountains, hills, and trees make up the set and don’t mesh together if a piece is missing.”
“When the kids go home, I put everything back in its place for next time. The puppies sit waiting on their respective cars on the Paw Patrol lookout tower. The wooden sheep sit on the hills and mountains, with a rainbow stacker making up the rear of the scene.”
“Lately, pieces have been disappearing. I noticed that she had put one of the animals from our stacker set in her pocket and I told her to make sure that she didn’t accidentally take it home.”
“This upset her grandma, who was listening to the conversation. In the end, the fox was still lost and was never seen again.”
“I have since taken my niece to different craft fairs and stores and she has a habit of getting excited and putting on jewelry and things like that, getting distracted, and then walking away with the unpaid for jewelry around her neck or wrists.”
“I have grabbed her a few times now and taken the jewelry off of her. So has her grandma, so she KNOWS that this is an ‘issue’ with her.”
“Well, since little pieces have been going missing, I’ve mentioned it a few times, just telling her mom or grandma that she might have accidentally (emphasis on accidentally) taken toys home with her in her pockets.”
“But it’s gotten to the point now that they have directly accused me of saying that she’s stealing, and even told me to drop it and forget about the lost toys, because they were small and not worth the insults in the long run.”
“This happened after she came home from a friend’s house with something that clearly belonged to them, and I said that we needed to get it back to them and maybe have a talk with her.”
“Grandpa actually sided with me on this and said that even if it’s an accident, she needs to become self aware before she gets in trouble in a store or something. Grandma became upset at the both of us and said that it wasn’t worth pressing.”
TL;DR: Am I the asshole for trying to prevent my niece from accidentally taking my things (and stuff in stores) home in her pockets?
Strangers online were asked to declare one of the following:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
Many Redditors thought the OP was not the a**hole in the situation.
“She’s 8, this is not an accident. You are NTA, this behavior will cause her serious problems in the future, she’s lucky to have one person in her life who actually caring” – Deo14
“This. It’s not an accident. She’s getting away with it, so she’s continuing to do it.”
“She’s not a bad kid but she needs to learn consequences now before this becomes a major problem for her which could last for the rest of her life. NTA.” – PetrogradSwe
“The worst part is their refusal to do anything is what causes the problem. Either she does have issues with focus and forgets she has the item or is stealing, that’s something to deal with.”
“But by keeping said items they’re either rewarding the theft or taking an innocent habit and making it theft. People will not want her around once they realise it’s her where as if it’s innocent and your always dropping the stuff back/taking it off her before leaving they’re more likely to be forgiving and possibly remind her themselves.”
“Plus if they’re writing it off because she’s young, they’ll likely not actually teach her not to and just expect her to magically know not to one day and cause major issues.” – PompeyLulu
“Yeah, people need to understand that one day, this little girl will be at a store with stuff from the store in her pockets, and people may actually call the cops over it.”
“Or, you know, this girl is going to grow up and if she continues to do this, consciously or not, she will eventually be called out by people who will want to involve cops and lawyers and such, because, you know. Kid doing something not good and not being corrected? Yeah, that has potential for some very real consequences.” – OffKira
‘Grandpa actually sided with me on this and said that even if it’s an accident, she needs to become self aware before she gets in trouble in a store or something.’
“NTA and this drives it home. You’re not saying that your niece is a master thief, a captain of yoinkage, Robin Hood in child form. You’re just pointing out a thing that she tends to pocket stuff and not think about it. Not an abnormal behaviour but a little chat wouldn’t go amiss.”
“It sounds like the family are blowing this all out of proportion as if ‘lawyers are going to be called’ any second. Remind them that it’s real life and not reddit responses to ambient things.”
“To be honest, with kids, things disappear. They are to small bits of big toys as washing machines are to socks. You’ll never keep the full set.” – Mr_Ham_Man80
“This infuriates me to no end because she is stealing. I had a friend’s kid who did this at mine all the time and it just grated on me. I had to watch her every time she came over.”
“Absolutely NTA.” – Spare-Article-396
Overall, Redditors thought it was a good idea to nip this in the bud before the problem potentially worsens as the niece grows older.