Internet Backs Poster for Barring Stealing Niece From Their Home

A person revealed to Reddit that they turned away their niece, who steals, from coming over to their home, garnering wide support online for standing up for their family.

The viral post, which has 8,700 upvotes, was recounted in the subreddit "Am I The A**hole" by u/AITAStickyFingers on February 14. It's titled, "AITA for saying my 9-year-old niece is not welcome?"

The original poster (OP) revealed their niece has an issue with stealing, and "she steals from everyone, everywhere she goes." The poster said she is spoiled and gets everything she wants, never facing consequences for her thievery.

A few months ago, the OP's niece even stole a bracelet from the poster's stepdaughter, who is a few months older than the girl. The girl was confronted and caught, although she tried to say the bracelet belonged to her, saying she didn't like it, giving it back to the OP's stepdaughter.

When the OP's niece comes over, they said they have to search her bag before leaving. "She will take toys, clothes, jewelry—anything," they said. "She robbed my kids' piggy banks!"

The OP continued: "I have told my brother-in-law that I do not want her in my home because of her behavior. He brings her over with no warning, and she steals. He tried to bring her over today. I finally turned her away. I said, 'I'm sorry, but until niece can follow the rules of my home and respect others' belongings, she is not welcome in my home,' and I closed the door."

Woman making stop gesture
The internet is backing a poster for barring their stealing niece from their home. Here, a woman gesturing to stop with her hand. ETERNALCREATIVE/GETTY

Apparently, the man was "livid," saying it was "cruel" to say it, especially right in front of her. The OP's husband, who said he wished the poster hadn't "felt like" they needed to say it but understands why they did, is dealing with the "fall out."

Several relatives have reached out, and some think the OP "crossed a line and was too mean to a child." However, others are on the poster's side. In an update, the OP said the niece has both parents in her life, and they are still married.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, lying and stealing are actually quite common in school-aged children. Some "severe forms" can mean a serious psychological problem, but most will outgrow the behavior. Lying and stealing are more common in boys than in girls. It occurs most often in kids between 5 and 8 years of age.

Almost 900 comments came rolling in for the OP, and the majority believe they're not the a**hole in the situation. Some thought the poster did the child a favor. "NTA," a Redditor said. "At least one adult needs to teach this child consequences before it's too late."

Another user thought the OP's niece needs to learn the behavior is wrong "before she gets older and is thrown in jail or worse, steals from the wrong person and gets hurt or worse."

More than one person mentioned the brother-in-law specifically when it came to the situation. "It's all about the BIL's [brother-in-law] parenting," they said. "OP has a right to refuse entry to her home to a habitual thief."

While others would agree parenting style could be the issue in the situation. One Redditor thought the OP was "discreet" by telling the brother-in-law they didn't want her over, "and he kept pushing it. What else are you supposed to do? Also, she's 9, not 2. She knows actions have consequences. Or at least she should. Your BIL is doing a poor job parenting."

Some brought up theories about what could happen in the future if this type of behavior continued. "Is your BIL going to yell at the cops for being cruel when his daughter is arrested for shoplifting when she's older?" a Redditor asked. "NTA."

A user thought no one is "correcting the behavior," and that it sounds like the OP is the first to "set boundaries with the little terror." They also added: "She's in for a reality check when daddy can't get her out of trouble when she's older. She needs to learn consequences now when they're minor and not criminal charges."

One Redditor put it simply: "Theft is theft." They also added that if no one disciplines the girl for her actions, "then she's gonna keep doing it. Tbh your BIL is setting her up for failure by allowing this."

Newsweek reached out to u/AITAStickyFingers for comment.