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Woman makes nephews cry when she finds them playing with her dead son's guitar. AITA?

Woman makes nephews cry when she finds them playing with her dead son's guitar. AITA?


'AITA for yelling at my nephews until they cried and had to leave?'


My son recently died. I have not moved his stuff other than keeping it clean. I usually leave the door to his room closed.

I pick up and babysit my two nephews for around an hour on weekdays, since their mom (my sister-in-law) gets off work too late to pick them up. They are 11 and 13. Usually they are well behaved and do their own thing or even sometimes help me with chores.

On Friday I was cooking a very pungent soup so I aired the whole house out by opening all the windows and doors. I should have left my son's room closed in hindsight, but I think I opened it out of habit.

When their mom went to pick up her kids, I went to get them and saw them messing around with my son's guitar. The older one was messing with the string screws while the younger one was plucking at the strings. I admittedly freaked out a lot and I raised my voice at them, which I have never done.

I said, 'What are you doing? Drop that right now! What are you even doing in his room? Get out! Never come in this room again!' At that point they started crying, I pulled the guitar away, and their mother came in. She tried to mediate the situation and console them, but I told them all to get out of my house and they left. The guitar was thankfully okay and not scratched.

Their mom called me later to talk and apologized on their behalf, but told me that she thinks that we should all have a sit down and apologize to each other. She told me that I really scared her boys, and that although she thinks what I did was understandable, I overreacted in front of them.

She told me that at the end of the day, they didn't really do anything harmful and that they deserve an apology from me too. I told her I do think that I overreacted but that I wasn't sorry because they could've broke my son's guitar. She told me that it's extremely cruel to ever raise your voice at children and that I should be the bigger person. Was I the a**hole for doing that?

Here were the top rated comments from readers:


Nobody is the AH here. You're all grieving. You lost your son (my condolences) and they lost their cousin. They're just kids.

SIL is keeping a level head here. She gave you an olive branch. Being a kid is difficult and they didn't intend to hurt you. She expects her sons to apologize to you, and it would be courteous if you apologized too and explain why you reacted the way you did.


Apologizing to kids over something like this also shows that adults can be wrong and make mistakes too, which is huge for kids to see. Especially when a loved one scared them. Otherwise, they'll always carry a weird, seemingly inexplicable, fear in the back of their minds towards their aunt.


Also OP doesn’t need to apologise for being upset that the boys went in the room and were playing with the guitar - fair enough to be upset about that.

But OP you could apologise for scaring them, explain that their actions really upset you, that in that moment you were very scared yourself that they would break the guitar, and that guitar is so important to you because it is a link to your son. So you acted in that way because you were scared and upset yourself. You’re sorry that you scared them, and hopefully they understand that they scared you too.


NAH. Your response was understandable to an adult, not a kid. It sounds like your SIL is really trying to mediate this and support you. I think you kind of would be TA if you refused to just sit down and explain to the boys why you yelled and why you'd rather they didn't go in your son's room.


NTA for reacting as you did in the heat of the moment. But it doesn't sound like your nephews meant any harm or had had it properly explained to them why your son's room was off limits.

Your SIL's advice seems good to me. Sit down with your nephews and explain why you reacted as you did, and you're sorry you shouted at them, and in future - even if the door of that room is open - they are not ever to go in without explicit and specific permission from you.


YTA if you don’t follow your SIL’s advice and sit down to talk it out with the kids. They sound like good kids who overstepped because they didn’t understand the way you feel about your son’s possessions. Your SIL is being very kind about this, and I think her idea of a mutual apology is a good one.

So, do you think the OP owes her nephews an apology or do you think her grief should be taken into consideration?

Sources: Reddit
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