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'AITA for demanding my 11-year-old niece apologize for stealing from me?'

'AITA for demanding my 11-year-old niece apologize for stealing from me?'


Everyone has a different idea of how children should behave at different ages. And a clashing of those ideas can create some serious conflict.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a man asked if he was wrong for demanding an apology from his niece. He wrote:

"AITA for demanding an 11-year-old apologize for stealing from me?"

My husband and I (gay couple) have a memorial shrine in our home, the urns and photos of both of our fathers and dog are displayed. I kept a large paw-shaped locket wrapped around my dog's urn, it was filled with a bit of his fur. My brother, his wife, and two kids came over for burgers and hot dogs, soon after I found the locket to be missing. We searched everywhere, it was gone.

A few days later my brother calls at 9pm and I mentioned that the locket was missing. He casually mentions that he knows, his 11-year-old had "borrowed" it. I demanded it back, that he gets off his butt and return it immediately. He said no, he's tired. I'm angry, go to his house and bang on the door until he opens it and TOSSED the locket at me. It had been opened, my boy's fur was missing from it.

I go home and get a call, apparently, a neighbor saw me yelling at him and called the cops. So my brother is mad at me, yet still wants to get together for another BBQ. I told him that he and his daughter will need to apologize to me and my husband, my brother refused. Saying she's too young to understand that stealing is wrong and it would just traumatize and embarrass her.

My husband is super nonconfrontational and says I'm being an AH for demanding an apology from a kid, that it won't change anything. The fur is gone and nothing will bring it back. My brother thinks I'm an AH and 11-year-olds don't understand that theft is wrong. I believe an apology is 100% needed, as she stole and damaged something precious to me.

So that's where we are. I feel sh#$ty about this and don't know why. Yet I feel that I deserve a sincere apology. So Redditors, who sucks here?

The internet had a lot to say about this.

antique_add wrote:

11-year-olds know that stealing is wrong. Your brother saying that is complete BS. Having her not apologize is teaching her that she can do whatever she wants and get away with it. Your brother's being a complete idiot over this, and you should stick to your guns.

I wouldn't want that child in my house or your brother because she steals and he lets her. And what she stole wasn't valuable. It was sentimentally valuable.

I'm petty enough the next time you have a present giving situation, get her something she wants and then let her unwrap it. As soon as she does grab it and says oh I'm taking this. I want it and walk away. Don't you start screaming? Tell her see stealing hurts. NTA, your brother and his daughter are definitely.

Crazy_Past6259 wrote:

NTA. Child is 11 yo not 11 months old. Not sure how an 11 yo cannot understand how stealing is wrong.

She needs to be held responsible for her actions. I’m not sure what your brother is doing but apparently in their household stealing is not wrong.

Wombat_Sprinkle wrote:

NTA. Any 11-year-old who was raised properly knows what stealing is and knows that it’s wrong. She probably thought the locket was beautiful and didn’t fully understand that her impulse to take it for herself would be so hurtful. However, she needs to learn that now, and she absolutely owes you and your husband an apology.

That said, I know she took away something precious and meaningful that you cannot get back, and I am so sorry for that. I know that you are upset, angry, hurt, and that is absolutely valid — I would be a wreck too.

If she comes to apologize, it is obviously okay to tell her how upset you are and why. But keep your words and actions in check. She is still a child, and as an adult man, you cannot rage at her like you did to your brother.

elysianfielder wrote:

Your brother is TA, not you. In what universe does an 11-year-old not understand the concept that stealing is wrong? If she really doesn't understand that stealing is wrong, he's TA for not teaching her. And if anything, this would be an opportunity for the lesson. At worst, I sense that you may have been belligerent if you were enough for the neighbors to call the cops.

But I understand that you were very emotional at the time for how violated you felt, and you did not harm anyone. I'm willing to let this one slide, given the inherent emotional situation over losing something precious and irreplaceable, but perhaps you should re-evaluate your temper and how you could have handled the situation better.

And if your brother had just returned the locket immediately upon request, you wouldn't have shown up at his house in the first place. It's so sad that the fur that meant so much to you is gone, and your brother is dismissive of what it meant to you and the damage his daughter caused.

OP is NTA here, but his brother and niece are.

Sources: Reddit
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