When teenagers break the rules, they need to have consequences for their actions.
But their punishment should be an appropriate one, something which might teach them to make better decisions going forward.
No one will learn anything from a punishment which is too severe or cruel, and as such any poor decision making and bad behavior might only get worse.
Redditor throwawayhhhj felt that their niece was in need of a punishment after she borrowed and damaged something which didn’t belong to her.
And what they felt was an appropriate punishment seemed like a fate worse than death to their niece.
Wondering if they were being too severe, the original poster (OP) took to the subReddit “Would I Be The A**hole” (AITA), where they asked fellow Redditors:
“WIBTA if I sell my niece’s electronics?”
The OP shared how after their niece took their car without permission, and ended up damaging it, they felt the only appropriate punishment would involve some highly sentimental items of their nieces.
“My niece,16, lives with me since her parents passed away about a year ago.”
“She knows how to drive but her driving is not very good.”
“she is only allowed to drive my car when I’m with her to help her learn more.”
“The past few nights she has been asking me to let her drive but I was too busy.”
“Last night she went out of home with my car and slightly hit the wall.”
“I was and still am very angry because my car is new and very expensive.”
“I grabbed all of her electronics and told her I’m going to sell them and use the money to fix my car.”
“She cried and begged me not to because her dad bought them for her.”
“She promised to pay for it if I don’t sell them but I don’t see that happening because she doesn’t have a job.”
“I might be an AH because I don’t need the money and can pay for it myself but I want to do this to teach her a lesson.”
“My wife says I’m an AH though so I don’t know.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
The Reddit community unanimously agreed that the OP would indeed be the a**hole if they sold their late nieces electronics as a punishment.
Everyone agreed that not only would doing so be cruel, their niece would also learn nothing from such a punishment, which would likely only strain their relationship further.
“What she did was reckless and dumb, and she should be punished.”
“Make her get a job and pay you back over time.”
“Ground her for a period of time where she doesn’t have access to them.”
“Revoke driving privileges.”
“A number of reasonable, appropriate reactions to the issue.”
“You’re acting out of anger and overreacting.”
“The only thing she will learn from you selling them is that you value your car more than her and her connection to her deceased dad.”- PandaPandamonium
“Finding some chores or something for her to work off the damage would be the appropriate consequence, getting rid of the possessions her dead parents gave her is not.”
“Not sure how you find this appropriate.”- Animalime
“This sounds more like revenge or tit-for-tat.”
“Make the punishment fit the crime.”
“No more driving till she pays for the damage, plus a one-page essay on the financial and legal ramifications involved in driving without a license or insurance and/or she pays for an online driving safety awareness course.”- Now_Villager
“YTA for saying that you’re going to sell her electronics when her dead parents gave them to her!”
“You probably don’t know how important those are to her!”- heathertidwell7
“It would be more appropriate to revoke her driving privileges.”
“I am curious, would you behave the same for your own biological child?”- IFeelLikeBlueSky
“YWBTA if you sold her electronics.”
“Make her get a job, or work it off with chores, whatever.”
“But DO NOT sell things that remind her of her dead parents, FFS.”- aabbccbb
“A lot of memories of her parents are in those electronics, pictures, texts, etc.”
“Make her get a job!”
“Or that she has to repay you over a certain time.”
“Besides, every child needs electronics for school (laptop), socializing (keeping in touch with the rest of her family and friends to ease the mourning) and, I can’t stress this part enough, safety!”
“You can come up with a different consequence that doesn’t involve selling gifts from her parents.”-amayabiqueen
“The way you wrote this, it comes across that you reacted out of anger.”
“I would be angry also, but please take time to cool down before engaging with a child like this.”
“I’m not excusing her taking the car without permission.”
“She needs consequences for her actions, but taking her devices is not likely to be the most effective discipline.”
“A kid who has lost her parents in the last year (suddenly? accident?), would benefit from stability and predictability in her life.”
“You are assuming a parenting role at one of the hardest stages to be a parent.”
‘I’m sure this is hard on both of you.”- Jaded-Moose983
“You definitely need to teach her about accountability and have her work off paying the car.”
“However, selling her electronics that her parents bought would be extreme.”- CategoryAble7175
“YWBTA if you sell them.”
“She needs to get a job, or you can ground her, or other punishments.”- MEDICARE_FOR_ALL
“YTA Getting gifts involved she got from her parents is way out of line here.”- ratrat500
“You’re gonna sell the last few items her deceased parents bought her and you’re sincerely asking if this is a bellend move?”
“YTA for even asking you don’t need the money she’s offering to pay for it so make a payment plan and let her clear her debt instead of stealing from a 16 year old.”
“She knows she messed up and is willing to fix it you just wanna wanna rub salt in the wounds because it’s your new car.”- Inevitable-Tour-1561
“Her parents are dead, allow her to keep anything her dead parents gave her.”
“Instead of taking what remains of her parents from her, you should find another way for her to pay you back.”
“She is old enough to get a part-time job or do errands like babysitting or yard work for friends and neighbors.”
“Simply let her know she cannot drive your car again until she pays you back the money, and let her be the one to figure out how she earns it.”
“Do not take what little she has left of her parents.”- IntrospectiveOwlbear
“YTA, you could punish her by making her get a job to pay you back or do extra work around the house.”
“Selling items bought for her by her deceased parents is cruel.”- Weary_Molasses_4050
“Threatening to take sentimental items is a good way for her to lose all trust in you, find another punishment but never threaten those things, YTA, just find something else man.”- Spadez_Of_Cardz
“If you’re going to sell her electronics that her deceased parents gave her.”
“Maybe she should get a part time job to pay for the damage to your car.”
“That way she’ll learn to be more responsible.”- bloubulangel1987
“That is a gross overreaction.”
“What was the damage exactly?”
“Car still works, wall still works, and you said that money is not a problem for you.”
“And you are willing to take away items with sentimental value to your niece who, as you said, does not have a job and is a minor who is under your care.”
“And who was recently orphaned.”
“If you want to teach her something, teach her how to drive better.”- Dorkhette
“What your niece did was wrong, and she definitely has to learn not to take someone’s things without permission.”
“If you think essentially doing the same thing to her, especially with things that were gifts from her late father, is the way to go, then you are sorely mistaken.”- Jiang_Rui
The OP later gave an update, where they clarified that their anger stemmed entirely from fear for their nieces safety, not damage to their car, and after some consideration, opted for a different punishment.
“When I saw her and the car were both gone I knew what happened, and all I could think about was what if something happens to her.”
“I was so worried and angry I couldn’t think straight.”
“I told her I won’t sell them but I’ll keep them until she pays for the damage which she’ll do by babysitting our child (2 F[emale]).”
“I didn’t ask her to do this because she has made it clear that she hates babysitting but she suggested she could do this so if she wants to do this it’s fine by me.”
It seems like the OP’s niece certainly learned a valuable lesson about using things which aren’t hers without permission.
But it seems like the OP learned an important lesson about appropriate punishments as well.
Something one only hopes might help their relationship grow.