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Redditor Tells SIL That Thieving Kids Like Hers Are The Reason They Decided To Be Childfree

Smiling girl opening backpack on table at home.

Having kids isn’t for everybody.

It’s certainly not for the faint of heart.

Some people prefer just having pets and plants.

And there is a myriad of reasons for this decision.

Sometimes it’s because of the kids themself.

Redditor WorthPickle5161 wanted to discuss their experience and get some feedback. So naturally, they came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

They asked:

“AITA for telling my SIL that kids like hers are the reason I’m childfree (because they stole my keepsakes)?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I can’t decide if I should feel guilty about this or just be angry.”

“Tending toward angry right now but I need a reality check, especially because I’m not a parent.”

“My husband and I are in our late 30s.”

“My family doesn’t care about me being childfree, but my husband’s family has asked pointedly about ‘time running out’ a few times.”

“My husband is a really sweet man who actually loves kids, and even I find them endearing most of the time.”

“But we don’t think parenting is worth it for us.”

“We have cats.”

“My S[ister]-I[n]-L[aw] has 2 kids, they’re 7 and 9.”

“They are staying with us for a week because they wanted to visit our city for vacation.”

“We have a bookcase of keepsakes in the living room.”

“We have flowers from our wedding in resin, I have my granddad’s coin collection, we have trinkets from trips we’ve been on and other things like theirs.”

“2 shelves worth of stuff.”

“None of it is worth any money, just very sentimental.”

“Well, today I noticed 2 things missing – our wedding flower and a bracelet from my middle school friend.”

“Obviously I kind of freaked out and I asked my SIL if she had any idea.”

“Her kids were also there and they looked a little odd so I asked them if they knew anything.”

“They said no but they looked upset.”

“SIL got mad and said I can’t accuse her kids of anything.”

“I insisted on looking in their room and I found the things.”

“I asked the kids why they took them and they said they looked cool.”

“I was really mad but my SIL told them to go down.”

“She told me not to make such a big deal and the kids were scared.”

“I said kids like this are why we’re child-free.”

“She said I crossed a line.”

“I think the kids heard too because they were probably hanging around upstairs and trying to listen in.”

“But I truly didn’t mean for them to hear.”

“My husband says I’m right but since we got the stuff back I could have let it go.”

“And not drag him into it.”

The OP was left to wonder:

“So AITA?”

Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Many Redditors declared OP was NOT the A**hole.

“They were staying at your house for a week, as guests, because they wanted to visit your city for a vacation.”

“Your SIL does not get to get mad at you, her host, and she does not get to tell you not to make a big deal out of her children stealing your stuff because ‘it looked cool.'”

“WITAF? If she is displeased with your hospitality for any reason, there are hotels and Airbnbs.”

“Your really sweet husband, btw, does not get to b*tch at you for ‘dragging him into it’ — it’s his family, that’s why they were staying in your home.”

“Saying that you are childfree because there are children like your SILs out there doesn’t even rise to the level of an awful thing to say.”

“If ever there was something not to make such a big deal about, this quip is it.”

“You are NTA, and maybe they won’t impose on your hospitality again, although I’d be surprised.” ~ Content-Plenty-268

“Kids don’t have fully developed frontal lobes, the part of the brain that holds the conscience.”

“It is absolutely normal for young kids to steal and lie.”

“They may ‘know better’ but the part of the brain that thinks about consequences just isn’t all the way grown yet.”

“It is much more important how the parent deals with it.”

“A lack of discipline or consequences for the kids will instill in them that they can get away with this behavior.”

“The SIL’s reaction is the concerning part.”

“Edit: some people are not reading the ‘they may know better’ part of what I just said.”

“Yes the child may know that stealing is wrong, but at the moment, their impulses win out because their brain isn’t fully developed.”

“Not every kid does it, but it happens a lot, including a significant percentage of kids.”

“I don’t need to hear about the kids you know of that never ever stole, geez Louise.” ~ Fancy-Garden-3892

“Nobody is giving the kids a pass.”

“However it is SILs responsibility to discipline her children and teach them right from wrong and level meaningful consequences to ensure they grow up to be responsible and ethical adults.”

“That’s why responders are putting the actual responsibility on SIL and not the kids.” ~ leeanforward

“Yep. My grandmother had knickknacks and breakable things All Over her house.”

“We were taught before age two not to mess with other people’s things.”

“As in, carried around before we were walking reliably and practicing ‘look don’t touch’ at her house, in stores, and at friend’s houses.”

“We could touch/play with things in anybody else’s house or in a store Only if an adult pointed them out or handed them to us.”

“My parents also had three or four households they would rotate us through trading favors for babysitting. Same rules.”

“Parents would point out the play area and say we could use those toys, and we would leave everything else in the house alone.”

“And certainly not drag it off to hide it!”

“Were we perfect? No.”

“But it was far from Normal for us to steal things, especially by third grade!!” ~ Meghanshadow

“Nope on the not understanding consequences part.”

“Kids this age know that they don’t want their stuff stolen.”

“And they know enough to know that people ‘get in trouble’ for doing things they shouldn’t.”

“This is a parent problem, not a kid problem.”

“Their parents have obviously shown them that there are no consequences for bad actions, and the rules don’t apply to them.”

“I’d ask them all to leave.”

“They clearly don’t respect boundaries, and they clearly don’t respect the OP.” ~ shockingRn

“Yup. One of my most vivid childhood memories is stealing a case full paper clips from a family member’s house at the age of like 5 or something.”

“It was the colored paper clips.”

“When my mom was getting me ready to leave, she found it and gave me a good talking to about why it was wrong.”

“She then made me give it back to the family member and apologize in front of everyone who was there.”

“The family member gave me the paper clips, but that was such a pivotal moment for me.” ~ Fun_Minimum4150

“The idea that the SIL made excuses is a big issue.”

“No reprimanding them for theft and lying.”

“SIL should have been apologizing for embarrassment.”

“Had them apologize and grounded them.”

“Makes me wonder how often they’ve done this. NTA.” ~ anaisaknits

“Well, you included everything I wanted to say.”

“The kids lying and stealing IS a big deal.”

“SIL’s attitude should get her kicked out.”

“And, the ‘really sweet’ husband is not so really sweet after all… this is HIS family.”

“He needs to utilize his backbone and not try to vilify his wife.”

“OP, NTA. Husband is an AH.”

“SIL is an enormous AH.” ~ Chloe_Phyll

“OP, I don’t know the details of your conversation with your SIL.”

“The facts are that her children took your mementos without your permission.”

“Your SIL was offended apparently by your reprimand of her children and your comment about remaining child-free.”

“It sounds like you were being truthful.”

“Apparently, your SIL does not want to accept your truth. I suppose as a parent she needs to justify her choices; realistically her choices only need to be correct for her.”

“Ideally, she should respect your choices.”

“Not all choices require peer affirmation. NTA.” ~ stephnetkin

“Hey OP. The most important question?”

“Have you kicked your SIL and her pet thieves out of your house?”

“Generally, I say that parents have to deal with their own kids and should be allowed to do that but the mother’s response here was that you weren’t allowed to accuse her kids.”

“99% of the blame is on your SIL rather than the children here.”

“This means she should be kicked out. NTA.” ~ naraic-

“NTA. SIL is doing her kids a disservice.”

“They are not being taught right from wrong or boundaries.”

“I’m a mom and a grandmother and neither I when my kids were growing up, nor my Son and DIL would do anything less than correct this behavior and make them apologize.”

“Kids make mistakes, parents have to learn not to take it so personally, correct, and move forward.” ~ BoyzMom13

“My older brother, now late 40s, was a little s**t when we were growing up.”

“He was always nicking my stuff, or even just taking shared gifts (a computer was a big deal in the early/mid-80s) and appropriating them, and got away with it.”

“He’s older, girls don’t like computers/don’t know how to use them (no sh*t, I got about half an hour in ten+ years of ‘shared’ computers that he eventually took to pieces, couldn’t reassemble, got a replacement ‘shared’ one etc etc).”

“I was always basically told to suck it up…”

“I have always been child-free, was worried when he had kids that he would continue like this, and have terribly behaved kids.”

“Nope, he’s apologized for being a little sh*t and has taught his kids better.”

“They are teenagers now, but even as little kids, they knew to keep their hands off other people’s stuff.”

“Always ask before touching something, and do not throw a fit if they aren’t allowed.”

“They also learned to share, lol.”

“And when they were little and visited me, they were absolutely fine.”

“I intensely dislike my ex-SIL, but I cannot criticize her for how she has brought up my nephews. Gentle correction, and, as you say, not taking it personally.”

“NTA, kids aren’t either.”

“SIL is, though, and needs to do better, or her kids will be AHs too.” ~ FrauZebedee

Well, OP, Reddit is with you.

You’re allowed to feel angry about this.

And your reasons for not having kids are yours and yours alone.

Good luck.