Wedding Woes

Yes, you alert your friends.

Dear Prudence,

My husband and I installed hidden cameras in the public areas of our house after personal items went missing. To our shock, we caught my husband’s 15-year-old niece stealing from us and from our son’s piggy bank. She was also sneaking alcohol. We have been paying her to watch our children for several months now. Her parents refused to punish her and tried to play her theft up as a youthful mistake. We told them that she was no longer welcome in our home and that we wanted her to pay back all the money we gave her. I told her she was lucky we didn’t go to the police, and my sister-in-law snapped at me not to “make threats.” This has led to a serious rift in our family.

I found out my niece is now babysitting for several other families we know. I feel it is our duty to warn our neighbors about leaving their children with our niece. Several of them have very small children, and a drunk babysitter could lead to serious consequences. My husband is worried about making things worse with his sister. I feel that there is nothing we can do on that front, short of my sister-in-law becoming a better mother. What should we do here?

—Caught on Camera

Re: Yes, you alert your friends.

  • Yes, you tell the neighbors. 

    If the parents want to stick their heads in the sand, let them. But don't let your neighbors be taken advantage of because the parents refuse to do anything about her behavior. 
    ahoyweddingmrsconn23short+sassyPrettyGirlLost
  • mrsconn23mrsconn23
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    LW needs to tell YESTERDAY because friends could be on the hook if their niece was imbibing at their house and there's an accident or something.  

    The SIL's response is abhorrent, but not surprising in a way....sadly. 
    ahoyweddingshort+sassyMesmrEwesparklepants41
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair
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    Yes, I think she should tell friends. I do think she was over the line in demanding that the girl give all the money they ever paid her back. That's absurd. They should have asked her to give back what she stole, and then when she refused, either decided to go to the police or just quit using her and tell others or whatever. 
    Meh the items she stole, plus the money she stole, plus the booze that she stole probably added up, and anything extra could be considered restitution, lol.

    Yes, definitely tell the other families that their babysitter is a thief.

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


    charlotte989875
  • banana468banana468
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    Yes, I think she should tell friends. I do think she was over the line in demanding that the girl give all the money they ever paid her back. That's absurd. They should have asked her to give back what she stole, and then when she refused, either decided to go to the police or just quit using her and tell others or whatever. 
    Totally agree about the paying back.   She should pay back what she took or its value.   She shouldn't pay back what she earned.  


    ILoveBeachMusic
  • They absolutely need to tell any families they know who also has the niece as a babysitter.  That's just too bad if it causes a bigger rift with the sister.  I don't care how I'm related to someone.  When there is no doubt that person is a thief, I'm not going to let anyone I know be taken advantage of by them.

    To be fair, I wasn't sure if they meant she was stealing liquor or drinking liquor while in charge of their children.  But if it is the latter, then all the more reason to alert their friends.

    That SIL is doing her daughter NO favors with the "kids will be kids" attitude.  That girl stole from her little cousin's piggy bank, FFS.  She is on the fast track to becoming an irresponsible, horrible human being that might not be able to function in life without scams and crime.  The window is closing fast to turn that around.

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  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair
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    They absolutely need to tell any families they know who also has the niece as a babysitter.  That's just too bad if it causes a bigger rift with the sister.  I don't care how I'm related to someone.  When there is no doubt that person is a thief, I'm not going to let anyone I know be taken advantage of by them.

    To be fair, I wasn't sure if they meant she was stealing liquor or drinking liquor while in charge of their children.  But if it is the latter, then all the more reason to alert their friends.

    That SIL is doing her daughter NO favors with the "kids will be kids" attitude.  That girl stole from her little cousin's piggy bank, FFS.  She is on the fast track to becoming an irresponsible, horrible human being that might not be able to function in life without scams and crime.  The window is closing fast to turn that around.

    She's underage so I assume she's drinking their liquor while in their house, which is theft.

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


    MesmrEweahoywedding
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair
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    They absolutely need to tell any families they know who also has the niece as a babysitter.  That's just too bad if it causes a bigger rift with the sister.  I don't care how I'm related to someone.  When there is no doubt that person is a thief, I'm not going to let anyone I know be taken advantage of by them.

    To be fair, I wasn't sure if they meant she was stealing liquor or drinking liquor while in charge of their children.  But if it is the latter, then all the more reason to alert their friends.

    That SIL is doing her daughter NO favors with the "kids will be kids" attitude.  That girl stole from her little cousin's piggy bank, FFS.  She is on the fast track to becoming an irresponsible, horrible human being that might not be able to function in life without scams and crime.  The window is closing fast to turn that around.

    Yup. All of this. I still remember the time when I was 7 or 8, and I took a piece of candy from those bulk bins. My mom saw me eating it and asked where I got it. She marched me back inside, asked to see the store manager, and made me apologize. I don't think he asked my mom to pay for it, but I think I remember her making me do a couple extra chores around the house to pay for it. 

    Kids need discipline and consequences, and she is being a terrible parent by not providing that. 
    We did this once as kids too.  My grandmother just explained that you had to pay for the candy, same as anything else in the store, and not to do it again.

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


    charlotte989875ahoywedding
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California
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    They absolutely need to tell any families they know who also has the niece as a babysitter.  That's just too bad if it causes a bigger rift with the sister.  I don't care how I'm related to someone.  When there is no doubt that person is a thief, I'm not going to let anyone I know be taken advantage of by them.

    To be fair, I wasn't sure if they meant she was stealing liquor or drinking liquor while in charge of their children.  But if it is the latter, then all the more reason to alert their friends.

    That SIL is doing her daughter NO favors with the "kids will be kids" attitude.  That girl stole from her little cousin's piggy bank, FFS.  She is on the fast track to becoming an irresponsible, horrible human being that might not be able to function in life without scams and crime.  The window is closing fast to turn that around.

    Yup. All of this. I still remember the time when I was 7 or 8, and I took a piece of candy from those bulk bins. My mom saw me eating it and asked where I got it. She marched me back inside, asked to see the store manager, and made me apologize. I don't think he asked my mom to pay for it, but I think I remember her making me do a couple extra chores around the house to pay for it. 

    Kids need discipline and consequences, and she is being a terrible parent by not providing that. 
    We did this once as kids too.  My grandmother just explained that you had to pay for the candy, same as anything else in the store, and not to do it again.
    Add me to this list as a kid who stole something. Mom marched me back to the store and made me give it back AND pay for it. 

    Honestly, I could maybe be a little more lax if she had just taken alcohol. That’s something a dumb teen would do. Awhile back my parents offered me some tequila they’d had forever but didn’t use. I said no thanks, but mostly because I knew that between my brother and I in high school/early college, the tequila was now mostly water. Lol. So talk to her about that.  But stealing? No. Not okay. And stealing money plus stealing alcohol sends up a lot of red flags. 


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    charlotte989875short+sassyahoywedding
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair
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    You guys had much tougher parents! My grandmother thought it was kinda funny. . .and we were like 4.

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


    ahoywedding
  • MesmrEweMesmrEwe
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    Yea - the sister is enabling if there's no words to the daugheter/niece...  

    And OH HE** yes on the "Yea, we had been using my niece for babysitting then we caught her underage drinking, stealing from son's piggybank, and taking other items from the house... and fired her." and yes, out of line on asking for the money she was given to babysit back, not out of line to ask for all items and money stolen back immediately!  

    Some rifts are worth having...
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    short+sassyahoywedding
  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK
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    I am a massive believer in second chances. Especially for kids. But you have to ask for a second chance. 

    The intensity of the OP makes me wonder if the truth of what happened is somewhere in the middle between the two views. 

    Did OP demand back all the money ever paid to the girl and the mum stepped in and say “Look, I’m handling this but please remember she is still only 15” which would be a fair statement. 

    I need more information. 
    MesmrEwe
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
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    Yup. Tell the neighbors. 
  • GBCKGBCK
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    edited May 20

     I still remember the time when I was 7 or 8, and I took a piece of candy from those bulk bins. My mom saw me eating it and asked where I got it. She marched me back inside, asked to see the store manager, and made me apologize. I don't think he asked my mom to pay for it, but I think I remember her making me do a couple extra chores around the house to pay for it. 

    /quote

    STUCK IN THE DAMN BOX.  DAMNIT>

    ---------
    Do you know how manytimes at work I have now had to be this 'manager'? at least a half dozen.

    I will say, being a kid-centric place and a kid-centric store, it's handled at least as well as than most places.  and know what's usually been stolen?  a polished stone.  that we sell at a fabulous markup of 50c.  or marbles for .10 or .25
    But there are usually tears.  and usually a hard to understand hiccuped apology.
    And I hand out tissues.  and I don't ever laugh (although sometimes it is hard not to).  and I don't say 'that's OK' (because that's not the point), I say "thank you for being honest enough to bring it back.  THank you for apologizing.  I know that was hard.  and I know you'll do better in the future. "
    And sometimes I give a hug (if it's a kid I know or if the kid initiates).
    And then I tell them that I know it can be super hard.  but they eventually did the right thing, And we know hard that was.

    And I tell the parent thanks, and have any conversation the parent wants to have, and we move on.
    And I never mention it again to the kid again, even when I see them twice a week, because, second chances.  and third.  and 4th sometimes :)

    on rant, 
    I probably wouldn't disseminate the nieces issues far and wide...but at least as far as I disseminated recommendations.  because undoing those is important--I've said 'yes, this person is great, according to me', I need to be able to say 'whoops, nope, not according to me' at least

    short+sassy
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