What a person does under their own roof, as long as it’s not hurting anyone, is presumably their business.
But what if a child sees something their parent thinks they shouldn’t have? Is that a form of harm? And if it is, what is the homeowner to do about it?
Redditor sisandniecesituation wrote into the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit when his sister wanted him to “fix” a situation with her daughter and he disagreed with her suggestion of how to do that.
The Original Poster (OP) asked the sub:
“AITA for not wanting to have a talk with my niece about waiting until marriage?”
The OP confided from the beginning how strange he thinks this situation is.
“This is a bizarre situation I’ve found myself in and I honestly don’t understand why my sister thinks this is somehow my job as her uncle.”
“My sister (34), her husband and my young niece (9) are staying here with me (27[Male]) for a few days. They’re moving places [at the moment] and they decided to stop here to visit me and my parents.”
After a few days under the same roof, the house is feeling small.
“It’s been great but after 5 days, having them around 24/7 is making me feel cooped up. My place is pretty big, but with 4 people it’s hard not to feel cramped.”
“Haven’t seen my girlfriend since they arrived and I missed her. So last night after everyone went to bed she came over for a bit so we could spend time together.”
“The plan was to watch a movie before she went back to her apartment. We ended up having sex and fell asleep in my room.”
The next morning, the OP had a surprise visitor.
“My niece walked in on us in the morning asking if she can use my iPad and told my sister what she saw.”
“My sister was not happy.”
Their differences in beliefs made the situation more complicated.
“Niece already had ‘the talk’ or whatever from my understanding, what my sister is mad about was that my niece was confused because she was told only ‘married’ couples sleep together and I am obviously not married.”
“My sister and her husband are very religious and their thing has always been to raise my niece with these standards. And that’s their business and I respect that.”
“But what my sister demanded was that I have a talk with my niece about how important marriage is before sex and tell her what I’m doing is wrong. Basically say ‘don’t be like me’ which I found very offensive.”
“She’s in her own way telling me that I’m a sinner (her words) and wants me to tell my niece this instead of being a parent and dealing with it herself.”
The OP didn’t want to get involved, and now the situation at the house is awkward.
“I told her all this and she said it was the least I could do for exposing her daughter to something that’s against their views.”
“She hasn’t changed my mind about not taking to my niece and it’s tense at my house now. Sister says I’m wrong and making things more difficult.”
“But to me, it’s one thing to have different views but I feel like it’s another to drag me into it and try to make it seem like I’m something dirty. I don’t know if I’m making sense but I’m just not comfortable with it.”
Fellow Redditors wrote in anonymously, rating the OP’s stance on the following scale:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some Redditors argued it was the parents’ responsibility to teach the daughter, not the OP.
“NTA. If she wants to indoctrinate her daughter to a certain way of thinking that is her responsibility not yours.” – dricysarcasm
“OP might want to point out that if her view and beliefs are so right then they can withstand a differing opinion. If the only way she can persuade her daughter to share her belief is by making her believe anything else is a sin scaring her into believing she’ll go to hell [my assumption] then your sister’s beliefs and her parenting are weak.”
“She’s not teaching her daughter right from wrong and the skills to navigate this world, she’s teaching her a superficial set of rules that leave her without the knowledge and understanding to withstand ‘sin’ (or more importantly harm).” – ACatGod
Others agreed and looked for ways for the OP to dodge his sister’s demands.
“NTA. It is 100% the parents’ responsibility to teach their child what they want her to know.”
“He’s under no obligation, but if OP wants to halfway appease his sister, he could say something like, ‘Your parents believe X and want you to follow that because they feel like that will help you to be happy. I believe Y, so we don’t really see eye to eye on this, but I want you to be happy, too.’ I don’t think he should say anything he doesn’t believe.” – childproofbirdhouse
“OP should nuke the whole situation and have an age appropriate safe sex talk. Unfortunately as desperately as the little girl is going to need such a talk, it’s not really OPs place” – Aerisaphunk
“honestly, in this situation I’d be the petty one telling niece that her parents way of thinking isn’t universal, and that just because they say something is wrong or immoral doesn’t mean it actually is. that’s just me though” – Gaming_nerd1183
“Tell the sister ‘yeah ok I’ll talk to my niece’ [and] then exclusively discuss the importance of knocking and respecting other people’s privacy.” – RuralJuror1234
A few also pointed out this happened in the OP’s house and was essentially his business.
“It’s ops house. He can have anyone over in his bed whom he wants. Obviously theres exceptions, but like. It’s his girlfriend in his bed in his house. I’d keep my mouth shut if I were sis who’s staying free while in a rough situation.” – Come-on-nowww
“Exactly cause OP can easily kick them out since it’s his place and not theirs plus it’s his sisters responsibility to talk to her daughter about that and not OPs. Plus the niece probably didn’t think anything of it than two people in bed together and that’s it.” – toffee_queen
“She should also teach her daughter not to walk into someone’s bedroom without knocking first and getting permission to enter.” – WeeklyConversation8
There’s probably some way of meeting in the middle here, to talk the niece through what she saw and to use it as a teachable moment.
But at the end of the day, the niece witnessed something in her uncle’s house, in his bedroom that she walked into. Hopefully the sister will consider that before she pushes too much harder for her brother to take on the label of “sinner.”