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Dad asks if he was wrong to 'intimidate' and 'embarrass' 13 yo who stole from his son.

Dad asks if he was wrong to 'intimidate' and 'embarrass' 13 yo who stole from his son.


'AITA for intimidating/embarrassing a child in front of his peers for stealing from my son?'

My sons school releases some annual merch for the different houses and it's an extra cost that we have to pay cash to pre order. I gave my son $50 to get the hoodie and the change would be his to do whatever. That day my son came back and told us his wallet had disappeared from his bag.

I gave him more money just for the hoodie and we reported the missing wallet to the school but nothing turned up. On Monday I was waiting to pick up my son when this lady came and introduced herself as 'Bob's' mother.

She handed me my son's wallet (it has his name on it) and apologized and said she found it in Bob's room and he confessed that he'd stolen the wallet to pay for his own hoodie since she couldn't afford it and gave the change to her as money he found on the street.

She reimbursed me half and promised to give the rest at a later stage but I told her to just keep it. The money wasn't the problem, it was the disrespect of digging through someone else's s**t with the intention to steal

I was raised to own up to my sh*t and apologise directly myself. Not to hide behind my mother's skirt so I asked where Bob was. She went and brought the kid over and he started apologising. I stopped him and told him that he didn't steal from me so he was apologizing to the wrong person.

We waited a few minutes until my son came out with his friends. He restarted his apology but you could barely hear anything from the softness and stuttering so I told him we couldn't hear and that he should speak up. He raised his voice but all he said was sorry.

My son asked what he was sorry for and Bob went quiet so again I jumped in again to tell him we had to get back home so he should hurry up. Bob started tearing up so his mother explained everything to my son, apologized again, he accepted it and we went our separate ways.

When we got home, I naturally told my wife and she scolded me for intimidating and embarrassing the boy(he's 13) in front of his peers just for wanting to fit in. The merch isn't something that everyone gets so I don't get the whole fitting in narrative that strong as if he'd stand out when that's frankly not the case. I wasn't overly mad or shouting at him. But I see how I could be an a**hole so aita?

From the comments:

kimmie1223 writes:

I'm going to say NTA. Not really. The kids mother should have been saying exactly what you said. My daughter stole ONCE. I brought her back into the store, made her go up to the cashier and return it (a candy bar) and apologize. She definitely learned her lesson and still remembers it even now.

mm172 writes:

YTA, although to be fair, you didn’t cross that line until this bit: 'again I jumped in again to tell him we had to get back home so he should hurry up.'

Bob didn’t jump your kid in the parking lot, and he’s not trying to pretend he didn’t do anything wrong here. It’s fine to still insist on a direct apology, but if you’re more concerned with confirming he’s genuinely sorry and won’t do it again than public humiliation, give him the time he needs to say what you want him to say.

TheDemonHauntedWorld writes:

100% agree... and people saying N T A have no idea how to raise children. The mother came with her son to you to give it back and make it right. She didn't try to hide it or excuse it.

What you did was pure revenge... and not 'justice'. You wanted revenge for you son... which is an huge a**holic move. YTA

jhonotan1 writes:

Omg thank you!!! I'm a very strict parent compared to a lot of others, but I also don't punish my kids in public. From the outside looking in, I probably look very lenient, but that doesn't mean that there aren't consequences at home.

Radix2309 writes:

Data shows that humiliation doesn't work well as a deterrent and can breed resentment and lead to an increase in antisocial behavior.

Particularly in this case. It wasn't a punishment by their parent or a consequence of their action. It was a result of OP doing something which can allow them to deflect onto OP being an a**hole and that it was undeserved.

WholeAd2742 writes:

Hell no, NTA, and your wife was wrong. The kid's 13 and plenty old enough to be confronted with the consequences of STEALING from your own son. I get that the mom has financial issues but that doesn't excuse her son's behavior. And he absolutely owed that apology to your kid.

Sources: Reddit
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