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'AITA for not letting my parents take away my sister's computer and track her finances?' UPDATED 2X

'AITA for not letting my parents take away my sister's computer and track her finances?' UPDATED 2X


There's nothing quite like sibling solidarity.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a young man asked if he was wrong for not allowing his parents to meddle in his joint computer purchase with his sister. He wrote:

"AITA for not allowing my parents to take away my sister's computer and control her finances?"

Disclaimer: I am not a native English speaker, so I may make mistakes here. All quotes here are translated to English.

Here's the issue. I (19M) am a college student who lives with parents and has a part-time job. I have no need to ask parents for money.

My younger sister recently turned 16, and she really wanted a new computer for her birthday. She was saving up for a new computer for a while now because she wants to do some gaming and her current computer is very old and slow.

When she asked me to help save up money about a year ago (since our parents have "forgotten" a few times when she gave them her money for safekeeping) and since she is still a minor, I opened a separate bank account in my name and gave her authorization to deposit and withdraw money when she needs it.

She had saved up some money, but not enough for the computer, so I proposed an offer for her birthday: I would pitch in 50% of the computer cost as long as she contributed the other 50%. She was very happy with the offer, so we bought the computer and I helped her set it up. When our parents saw the computer, they became furious.

They demanded that I return the computer to the store, and I refused to do so as I believe that my sister needs her own decently fast and private computer. Now, they are threatening to throw the computer out of the house. I told them that I would agree to reasonable parental control restrictions and would in fact help set them up, but if they took it away, I would consider that theft.

They also realized that my sister was using me as her safekeeper so they are now demanding access to the account I opened for her so that they are able to track the money. I immediately refused the request and told them my sister has a right to entrust her own money to anyone else and have money which is not trackable by them.

Here's the moment where I think I might be an AH: I told them "Maybe if you didn't 'forget' about her money and weren't control freaks, then she would trust you more". My parents have told other relatives about the story, and most of them claim that I am the AH for disobeying my parents. So, AITA?

The internet was invested, to say the least.

Murphys-Razor wrote:

I just want to compliment your English. Very few (very minor) mistakes. If you hadn't told us you're not a native speaker, I never would've known. You're also doing the right thing with your sister. It doesn't seem like she's making outlandish financial decisions, so there really is no need for parental involvement.

OP responded:

Thank you for your reply. Actually, English is a third language for me, as my first language is our native language and my second language is Russian. I asked my sister to consult me before making large purchases.

I don't care about what she purchases as long as it won't get her into juvie, I just want her to be sure before committing. The next thing she is saving up for is a camera, I have zero issues with that.

SwimChemical345 wrote:

Totally NTA and what a great brother you are. I love it-she can buy whatever she wants as long as it won't get her into juvie. Great English for someone who English is their third language :)

And OP responded:

It's her cash, so I also have no right to interfere in her purchases. I won't allow her to buy illegal stuff, but anything else is fair game. She also seems to have found a guy she likes in school. I do not intend to meddle in her relationships, but I asked her to let me know if something seems off. Hopefully, she understands I'm here to protect her by any means needed.

friendlily wrote:

NTA. Do your relatives know that your parents were basically stealing your sister's money? Because I would make your side of the story clear. After that, anyone who thinks you're wrong sounds toxic.

Your sister is lucky to have you.

OP responded:

There is a major issue with our relatives. I believe in calling a spade a spade, so I'm not afraid of calling anyone out on their mistakes, even if they are older. However, my parents and other relatives, especially paternal relatives, believe that the elders are always right. They were the ones who called me an AH.

PW1408 wrote:

NTA. Sounds like you have your sister’s best interests at heart. I can’t say as much re your parents. Thank you for being there for her.

OP responded:

Thanks for your reply! Our parents are good people, but frequently misguided. They have tried to control me as well, but now it's much more difficult since I'm in college and have my own income.

Jealous_Radish_2728 wrote:

You are the brother I wish I had been given. So NTA.

OP responded:

Thanks! I'm far from perfect, but still trying my best.

MelodramaticMouse wrote:

They won't "throw out" the computer; they want to sell it and keep the money. Expect it to disappear one day.

OP responded:

There is a single issue I have with your otherwise totally appropriate answer: they have no need for the money. Our family is sufficiently wealthy so that selling the computer won't change anything at all in the financial situation.

MelodramaticMouse responded:

Then why have they been taking money from a 16yo and not paying her back? I seriously doubt they were just going to "throw it out" like in the trash. Why are they still trying to get access to her money? They have you bamboozled.

And OP responded:

They claimed they forgot, and often apologized and returned the money, but not always. They want to throw out the computer because they think I am a gaming addict (I play for about 1 hr/day on average) and "fear" that she will become one as well. They demanded tracking of the money, not full access. I immediately denied them tracking access.

IamMaggieMoo wrote:

NTA. Your sister trusted your parents with some money and they have selective forgot about it! What is the real issue they have with your sister having a new computer? Your parents have told other relatives to rally supporters when it has nothing to do with them.

I'd be pointing that out to those interfering, this has nothing to do with you so why are you involving yourself and why do my parents need supporters when they should be looking at how controlling they are and can't be trusted!

OP responded:

Thank you for your reply. Their main issues are:

They think I am a gaming addict (I game for about an hour per day on average) and they believe that my sister will "become an addict like u/arssup" if she has her own fast computer.

Since this computer is not managed by them (the old one was), they claim she will start hiding stuff from them. I set the new computer up so only her and me have access to it (I retained access in case of technical difficulties).

And compared to me who gave a promise to never snoop in the computer, they are, unfortunately, not strangers to violating digital privacy. Mom is still sometimes mad that my Instagram profile is private (I made it private so that they can't track my life).

According-Western-33 wrote:

I'm so proud of you for sticking up for your sister, she needs someone in her corner. I do want to correct you on some things. Nothing you've written here indicates your parents are "good parents". They stole from your sister. Then, when they found out you had her money, they confronted you and are actively trying to steal from your baby sister AGAIN!! Not good parents, not even good people.

Also, love =/ control. Loving parents teach you to be an adult, then cheer you on as you take your first steps to independence. You had to literally ESCAPE from your parents to get out from under their control. Now they are doing it to your baby sister.

And given the level of douchebaggery your parents have exhibited in just this short post, I'd bet your sister has it even worse than you, since, you know, she has a v*gina, she's clearly a second class citizen /s.

Do they always try to sabotage her education? Is she allowed to have friends? I'd keep a good look out for problems, chances are they are going to step up the intensity of their controlling behaviors now that you've confronted them. Formulate an exit strategy for your sister, in case it all goes to hell. Good luck, and you're a good big brother.

And OP responded:

About the money issue: some of the incidents were honest mistakes due to our mom being lax with money in general. When we told our dad about the issue, he often apologized and refunded the money from his pocket. But sometimes the money was not refunded. Her education isn't being sabotaged and she is allowed to have friends, our parents generally don't interfere in that.

After answering a lot of questions and comments, OP jumped on with a big update twelve days later.

So, two days after the post, me, my sister and our parents sat down to discuss the situation. I did apologize for harsh wording on my side, but I reiterated that I will do everything I can to make sure my sister keeps her computer and her money is safe.

Here's the surprise: my sister actually kept a decent log of all the money she gave to parents for safekeeping. It is not the whole (estimated) sum, as she didn't have the log from the start, but I think she logged 70-80% of all owed money.

Our parents apologized for forgetting about it, and even though they didn't give her the money as cash, they offered to finance any purchases she decides to make up to that amount. We believed it was a decent settlement, so we agreed.

My sister is keeping her new computer, but me and our parents did set up some (pretty mild) parental controls, with an agreement to remove them entirely if her academic performance improves.

They also backed down and said they won't try tracking the money in the account I opened with her; however, they did ask my sister to speak to them before making large purchases. They acknowledged that she has the right to manage her money, but they said they want her to be financially responsible.

They also offered to be her co-signers if she wanted her own bank account, but she said she is happy with the arrangement she has with me, so we left it at that. Overall, it wasn't the best we could do, but it is a decent settlement and we are back on good terms with our parents.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the original post. Your feedback was very valuable, and it helped me pick a right approach. Have a nice day everyone!

The comments came quickly rolling in.

No_Confidence5235 wrote:

They should have just repaid her the money. By financing her purchases instead, they still get to keep track of what she's buying.

OP responded:

I concealed her camera purchase from parents by paying myself then claiming she owed me the money (which she corroborated, so they gave me the cash).

SwimChemical345 wrote:

Awesome update! It's very telling that your sister wants to keep the bank account with you and not your parents.

OP responded:

I have authorized her on my account for three years, the maximum allowed by my bank. Enough time so that she can turn 18, open her own account and transfer the money.

Dana07620 wrote:

"They also offered to be her co-signers if she wanted her own bank account,"

Oh yes. Just let the same people who used the money she gave them to keep safe have legal access to the account where her money is.

Your parents have no conception of how wrong they are, do they? Your sister not putting them on the account is smart. You know the saying, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." Your sister would have been a fool to ever trust your parents with her money again.

OP responded:

My sister doesn't have an account of her own since she is a minor. She is an authorized user on my account, so I am the only one who can provide access to other people. There is no way I'm doing that for our parents. I would have co-signed for her own account if I could, but I am not allowed to do that in our country since I am not her legal guardian.

Five days later, OP posted a bit of a tangential update on his life in general.

I (19M) had my girlfriend break up with me yesterday. She said that it was not because of me, but she and her family are moving away and she doesn't want a long-distance relationship. Even though I was hurt by her words, I thanked her for acting like an adult. We parted amicably and agreed to stay friends and be in contact.

However, inside, I was devastated, so when I came back home, I told my parents that I broke up and I asked them to not disturb me in my room. I asked to call me or knock on my door if they needed something from me, but I requested that they do not enter my room. Later, my mom came down and asked if I wanted a dinner with family.

I agreed, but told her "You know that Dad likes to be nosy, and I do not want him or you questioning me about what happened." She said that she would stop him if he tried that, but I told her that if the questioning happened, I would leave the house for the night. I came and sat down for dinner, and Dad immediately starts asking questions about my break-up.

Twice, I asked him to stop, saying that questions about it weren't appreciated. He kept insisting, so mom told him to cut it out. His response was "OP lives in my house, so there is nothing wrong with the questions." I immediately got up, packed a backpack and went to a hotel, staying there for the night. I paid for the hotel myself. Parents started calling me right after I got to my room.

Dad yelled at me and demanded to come back home, which I refused to do. Mom said that she thought I was bluffing, and even though my dad overstepped, she needed me to come home. I said I will be staying in the hotel for the night, and that I expected an apology from Dad before I came back.

He refused to apologize and threatened to report me to police as missing if I didn't come back within one hour. I decided to call his bluff and told him to do just that, which really pissed him off. AITA?

Redditors, once again had OP's back.

HarveySnake wrote:

Dad: My house, my rules.

You: Goodbye.

Dad: What? I can't control you unless you live in my house!

I think just about everywhere in the world recognizes that you're an adult at 18. Your parents can still report you as missing to the police, but the police won't force you to go home as you're an adult.

You can also go to the police station in person and inform them that you left your home of your own free will and to ignore anyone reporting you as missing. Unless you are able to live life 100% independently from your parents, with a job that pays enough to live on, you shouldn't consider moving out just yet.

I do suggest talking to someone who is capable of listening with judgment because it can be very healing. But you need to feel comfortable talking to that person and that person needs to be willing to listen. Doesn't sound like either parent fits that. NTA, but you need a plan for moving out and it doesn't sound like you have that.

OP responded:

Thanks for your reply! I actually do have a backup plan of moving out which involves staying in the dorms of my college (it is a local college, that is why I am with parents). I also have sufficient income to pay for dorms and my own meals, as I have a part-time tutoring job.

I rely on that income to live and I do not ask my parents for money at all. I stayed with my parents at Mom's request even though I was ready to move out to the dorms.

ExcitingTabletop wrote:

Sounds like a solid plan.

You could lay it out to your dad. Just make sure all your ultra important stuff is out first. Tell him he can treat you like an adult, or you'll respect his wishes and move out. Those are his only two options.

peter095837 wrote:

Honestly, seeing these issues makes me believe the real problem is the parents themselves. Especially the last update. Seriously the parents are nosy and quite full of themselves. I kind of feel bad for the sister and I do moving out for OP is the best choice.

pinkkabuterimon wrote:

“Our parents are good people”

Oh, honey…no they are not…

It seems like both OP and his sister's lives will be a bit simpler once they move out of their parents' house.

Sources: Reddit
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