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Redditor Called Out For Refusing To Let 9-Year-Old Niece In Their House Until She Stops Stealing


Redditor AITAStickyFingers has a nine-year-old niece who has a habit of stealing every time she visits.

The Redditor added that the young girl is spoiled and tends to lie whenever she is caught in the act.

After running out of patience, the Redditor resorted to making a spontaneous decision that did not end well when the brother-in-law unexpectedly brought his young klepto daughter over for a visit.

When accused of crossing a line, the Redditor visited the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit and asked:

“AITA for Saying My 9 Year Old Niece is Not Welcome?”

They explained:

“As the title says, my niece is 9. She has a problem with stealing. She steals from everyone, everywhere she goes.”

“She is spoiled and gets everything she wants and never faces consequences for these thefts.”

“A few months ago, she stole a bracelet from my step daughter – just a few months older than her. This bracelet is very special to my SD. It was the final gift she received from her late grandmother.”

“When caught and confronted, she tried to claim that it belonged to her but that she didn’t like it so she would give it to my SD.”

“Every time she is at my home, I have to search her bag before she leaves. She will take toys, clothes, jewelry – anything. She robbed my kids’ piggy banks!”

“I have told my brother-in-law that I do not want her in my home because of her behavior. He brings her over with no warning and she steals.”

“He tried to bring her over today. I finally turned her away. I said, ‘I’m sorry, but until niece can follow the rules of my home and respect others’ belongings, she is not welcome in my home’ and I closed the door.”

“My brother-in-law is livid. He said it was cruel to say that, especially in front of her. My husband said that he wishes I hadn’t felt like I needed to say it, but that he understands why I did. He’s currently dealing with the fall out.”

“Several relatives have texted him, asking for our side of the story. He has been telling them exactly what I said and why.”

“Some of them think I crossed a line and was too mean to a child. Others are on my side. So, reddit, what do impartial strangers think? AITA?”

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 here, and it inspired a debate as to what constitutes an act of a kleptomaniac vs. an act of compulsion.

“NTA. At least one adult needs to teach this child consequences before it’s too late.”

“And I have a f’kin 9yo.” – beebsaleebs

“NTA. Sounds like niece needs some kind of treatment. I’m not sure if that’s kleptomania (isn’t that just for shiny objects), but this sounds a bit like a compulsion.”

“You’ve put down the rules and you’ve set a boundary, so BIL needs to respect that. Good luck!” – aerin2309

“From what limited information we have she doesn’t seem like she is a kleptomaniac though, they are usually very remorseful and ashamed. Her lie about the bracelet is more indicative of her trying to save face after being caught in theft.”

“Toys, clothes and a bracelet are all items she coveted. Like I gave a neighbour who I suspect is a kleptomaniac, here is what she has stolen recently: 1 single shoe, kleenex and the tag for my cat which is Ingraved with my phone number and the name of the cat. These are the type of absolutely ridiculous things a kleptomaniac takes.”

“This sounds like some sort of other behaviour issue, but not kleptomania specifically.” – Midi58076

“No, kleptos usually steal small items, it’s a compulsion so they’ll just grab whatever. It’s not about shiny stuff or even expensive stuff, they’ll take stuff like bobby pins, small cheap knickknacks, even crap like someone’s toothbrush, etc.”

“Stealing stuff specifically bc it has value, or just because it’s something you want, is not kleptomania. That’s just being an a**hole.” – GovernorScrappy

“At any regardless of why she steals, this is something that needs to be dealt with. It won’t be long before she is completely friendless and will have very difficult finding new ones once wore gets around she steals.”

“Later on it is of course a risk of criminal prosecution, but I think the social consequences are the most important as of right now.”

“Whether it is a case of really bad parenting or something else I don’t want to speculate in, but whatever the reason, her parents need to deal with it and they need to deal right now.”

“Once word gets around at her school she will be persona non grata which will lead to a lot bigger problems.” – GovernorScrappy

“Tbh. it doesn’t sound like compulsion. The niece takes what she wants: Toys, money, jewelry. Robbing other kids piggy bank is not compulsion.”

“It’s knowing: There is money and I want that money. Compulsion like a kleptomaniac feels would result in her taking some random item that most likely doesn’t have any kind of use to her.” – DocSternau

“I’m not a psychologist, but as I understand it kleptomania is pretty rare, stealing in young children is more likely to be a way to express stress or anger.”

“She might benefit from treatment anyway if she needs help processing something (e.g. trauma) but if she is never given any kind of discipline I would start there. Boundaries make kids feel safe, she may just be acting out for attention, and escalating because her parents aren’t responding to what is basically a cry for help.” – MediumSympathy

“Agree. She’s very young.”

“More likely anger. She could be ‘punishing’ people or family and it’s a way that doesn’t breach her own boundaries. Physically lashing out may not be an option because that is not acceptable to her. This way she ‘hurts’ people acceptably because she’s not doing what hurt her. It can be a sign she has empathic responses. Not the opposite.”

“This family would do well to find out why she’s acting out. Punishing her will reinforce whatever injustice she feels she has already experienced but can’t express. And there’s no one option on what it could be.”

“Odd that it’s not obvious she’s struggling with something. She’s nine???”

“That speaks volumes on how something could have gone unnoticed. Lot of adults in this scenario and it’s not even been considered apparently. Telling.”

“Being spoiled or lacking discipline would look very different. And i think OP would have included them. It’s very specific.” – GlassGuava886

“I agree that it could be kleptomania or it could just be that she wants things but either way OP isn’t required to welcome the child into their home.”

“BIL needs to deal with the issue- at this point, it hasn’t resulted in criminal charges but eventually she’s going to steal something someplace or sometime when BIL can’t smooth over the issue.”

“He isn’t making it better- he’s making it worse.”

“OP, honestly- I think you are doing the right thing for your kid(s).” – rak1882

“NTA. She’s got to learn that shit is wrong. Before she gets older and is thrown in jail or worse steals from the wrong person, and gets hurt or worse.”

“Also, neither you, your husband, and your kids need that kind of stress in your life right now.” – tango421

“NTA. Someone needs to teach this child right from wrong and her parents obviously aren’t doing it. You didn’t say ‘she’s a horrible human being and I never want to see her again,’ you said ‘this bad behavior is not tolerated in my house and there will be consequences until she learns better.’ That’s… parenting. Hopefully it sticks.” – Maleficent_Tart2923

“NTA. Instead of relatives sending text after text, why isn’t anyone but you thinking there is a major problem and get this kid into treatment? IMHO, seems like your BIL doesn’t respect boundaries either. If he’s a ‘she’ll be fine’ parent, I can’t imagine what her future holds.”

“Good job OP for bringing this to light. Sorry you were the one who had to stand up to your BIL not your SO.” – Fleeting2045

“It’s all about the BIL’s parenting.”

“OP has a right to refuse entry to her home to an habitual thief. She doesn’t exist to serve their need for her stuff, and has a right to her stuff and boundaries.”

“What the family is really asking is for OP to submit to her BIL’s right to decide what her boundaries should be. If OP’s husband said no, if his niece was sealing his gaming stuff, I bet the family would respect that more because of male tendency to assert territorial boundaries with other males. But because OP is female, the focus is all about how she should prioritize nurturing BlL’s child.”

“OP needs to make it clear that she’s pissed at her BIL not respecting her rules and boundaries in how he parents his daughter’s behavior at her house, and make it clear that she doesn’t blame her niece.” – rhetorical_twix

Overall, Redditors backed the OP for refusing to let their niece into the house.

In an edit, the OP clarified some points.

“My niece has both parents. They are still married and together. I am not aware of any trauma concerning my niece, though it is always possible.”

“She is very spoiled. She gets whatever she wants and I’m not sure either of her parents has ever told her no.'”

“I have suggested that my brother-in-law get her some therapy or counseling, but he says there’s nothing wrong with her, that she’s only a child and children aren’t perfect.”

Yeah, good luck with that, brother-in-law.

Written by Koh Mochizuki

Koh Mochizuki is a Los Angeles based actor whose work has been spotted anywhere from Broadway stages to Saturday Night Live.
He received his B.A. in English literature and is fluent in Japanese.
In addition to being a neophyte photographer, he is a huge Disney aficionado and is determined to conquer all Disney parks in the world to publish a photographic chronicle one day. Mickey goals.
Instagram: kohster Twitter: @kohster1 Flickr: nyckmo