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7 Year Old Nephew Stole $400.00 From Us: What To DO? - Page 4

post #61 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by diamond lil View Post
How exactly was I overreacting? DH and I handled the situation very calmly, without raised voices. DH had to intervene when BIL threatened to pop nephew in the mouth.

Please don't forget one important factor: this happened in our home. BIL and nephew do not live there. We did not cancel the birthday party or even suggest it.
So because you didn't raise your voices, you didn't overreact? :

Oh God, this gets worse and worse. Your BIL was going to pop that poor kid in the mouth? Seriously?

I can feel your anger, but this kid needs help, he needs a friend. There is so much going on here and it's so very sad. Don't you feel any compassion for that poor little boy?!
post #62 of 151
I think it sounds like you've got a lot on your plate
post #63 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by diamond lil View Post
How exactly was I overreacting?.
Well, someone overreacted. His party was cancelled, and he was nearly hit in the mouth. Maybe you could send his dad on over to this thread, and we could have a few words with him?

Poor kid
post #64 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by diamond lil View Post
How exactly was I overreacting? DH and I handled the situation very calmly, without raised voices. DH had to intervene when BIL threatened to pop nephew in the mouth.

Please don't forget one important factor: this happened in our home. BIL and nephew do not live there. We did not cancel the birthday party or even suggest it.
I know from experience that as an aunt you can't really intervene directly. But I think you can influence (if you want to) and talk to your BIL about how his son's behaviour doesn't mean he's a bad kid and you could suggest mildly that celebrating his birth shouldn't be contingent on his mistakes.

Although you may not want to, and it is between them.

It does sound like a very frustrating and heart breaking situation all the way around. I have been there in many ways. I guess what I hope is that the focus can stay a little bit on bringing positive and loving people and experiences into your nephew's (and your new baby's!) life in a way that doesn't overburden your own family.
post #65 of 151
Would you be averse to saying something like this?

Nephew, I've been thinking about that money thing that happened. You know how usually, when something is really valuable or important to us, we try to put it in a special or a safe place? Well, obviously, I forgot to do that. Leaving it on the counter was something that I wish I hadn't done. That probably made it seem like it wasn't super important or special to me. Since now you know that it was important and valuable, maybe you could use this experience to remember that it's a good idea to ask before you decide to take something that's not yours. I hope that we both learned something from this, I know I did!
post #66 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnmama View Post
Well, someone overreacted. His party was cancelled, and he was nearly hit in the mouth. Maybe you could send his dad on over to this thread, and we could have a few words with him?

Poor kid
You are also assuming he knew the value of the money and intended to steal. You are talking about dire lifetime consequences and some big negative statement about his character, that he must be inherently dishonest and headed for a life of crime. Etc etc. And you are blaming him for his father's crappy parenting.

That and what sunnmama detailed is how you overreacted. Yelling has nothing to do with it.
post #67 of 151
I feel so bad for the little guy
I do think it's your responsibility as a family member to provide a place for him where he is welcome, loved, and allowed to be himself. Does he even have this? If you can't do this then please for his sake let his parents know that you will no longer be having him over in your home. That would be the only other responsible thing to do. I would be really pissed if I found out someone had this attitude towards my kids when they were at their place. I really cannot imagine telling any kid that they're not allowed to touch any of MY stuff when they're in MY house. That just seems pretty cruel. Obviously boundaries (with BIL and with the child) are in order here.
post #68 of 151
My oldest is 7. He knows the value of money (would recognize the difference between a hundred dollar bill and a one dollar bill, would know that 100 is "a lot" and 1 is "not so much), and I still could see him doing something like this without any sort of ill intent. I don't think a child that age would have a concept of what a missing 100 or 400 would mean to a family. For instance, if my son gave away $100, he wouldn't understand that that might mean I wouldn't be able to put gas in the van to drive him to school or that the electricity might get turned off because it was gone. Would I be upset if I found that my son had taken that kind of money from me? Of course - but it wouldn't be the act of taking the money that upset me - it would be the fear that the missing money would mean that I couldn't provide for my family. I think ds would also lie about whether he had anymore if people were already upset with him over the first bill - why confess if you know your dad might hit you over it?

OP, you haven't answered the question about how big a deal it would have been if it was 4 cents or $4 - would it be as big a deal? Or would you just say "Hey DN - I know it's fun to play with money sometimes, but that was mine. Please ask next time if you can look at it/play with it/have it." ?

If I were in your situation, this is what I would do at this point:
1) Intervene on his behalf with BIL re: the party. I think canceling the party could be very damaging to this little boy, and BIL might only have done it because he thought it would show you guys that he was taking it seriously. I would point out all that has been said here about how no party could lead to even more jealousy about the new baby. Obviously, you can't make BIL change his mind, but you expressing your opinions might give BIL a way to back down on this without feeling like he's being walked over. I would even go so far as to suggest that if BIL still cancels the party, you ask if you can do something fun and celebratory yourself with DN on a date to be determined.
2) Tell your BIL that you will no longer be a free babysitting service for him on the weekends. Tell him exactly what you're comfortable with (whether that's "I'll never watch him again" or "I'd love to visit with him between 10am and 12pm on Saturday mornings" or "I can take him one weekend day a month," etc) - and clarify that if BIL is over to see your DH whether your nephew is welcome, and if he is state clearly what you expect from BIL with regards to entertaining/supervising his son.
3) Have a talk with DN about what happened. If you can't imagine an apology from you, just say something like."DN - we had a rough time last weekend when you took the money. I was angry then and scared because I really needed that money. I want you to know that I'm not angry anymore and that I still love you."
post #69 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamajama View Post
I feel so bad for the little guy
I do think it's your responsibility as a family member to provide a place for him where he is welcome, loved, and allowed to be himself. Does he even have this? If you can't do this then please for his sake let his parents know that you will no longer be having him over in your home. That would be the only other responsible thing to do. I would be really pissed if I found out someone had this attitude towards my kids when they were at their place.
There are 2 distinct problems. One's the taking of the money, and the other's being taken advantage of by the parents. My first responsibility (as the OP's) is to my immediate family. In her case, that's her, her growing little one, and her husband. When taking in someone else's child interferes with that (which really seems to be what's happening here), then that obligation to care for any other children in the family goes out the window. I know because I've been there. It starts as "can you get Joe a sandwich?" and before you know it, you're taking care of Joe all the time because his parents are using you. Then you're left feeling that you shouldn't punish the child for his parents' crappy behavior, but at the same time that if you continue to take care of Joe, then what you're doing is detrimental to your own family. And eventually if you don't stop - even if that means Joe has to stay with his crappy parents every weekend - then you're going to add to the harm being done to this child and to yourself.

And, really I've been putting this 7 YO thing in perspective. In thinking of the 7 YOs I know, only one comes to mind who I think would take something off my kitchen counter. One. The others wouldn't, and they certainly wouldn't go around giving something they took from my house to other people.

Now, does that mean the OP's nephew is going to be a hardened criminal? Of course not, but I think too many people are shifting the blame to the OP for leaving the money out (which shouldn't have been done) and putting absolutely no responsibility on the nephew for taking the money. It was wrong, and yes, he should know better. At 7, he should know not to just take things and pocket them.

The issue of BIL overreacting about the party and hitting the child are separate from the fact that the OP has the right to be upset that someone took money from off her counter. I'm not sure why the OP should in any way apologize for leaving the money out, and it seems at any rate that would only serve to confuse the nephew.
post #70 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by diamond lil View Post
*I* am not the problem. The problem is his father who comes to my house to get away from his 7 week old infant and crab-ass wife, stepmother to my nephew. Pretty soon I'm going to have an infant, so maybe he'll find someplace else to hang out. She has zero patience for him. DH and I are planning on telling her she needs to start being a better stepmother to nephew and spending more time with him. She stays at home with their infant, so there is no reason she can't at least try to be a little more engaging.
I think your loosing perspective.

Note: telling ANYONE they should be a better parent is really presumptuous and will be taken worth a grain of salt from someone with strong opinions BEFORE motherhood. Just so you know - that 'aint going to go well at all.
post #71 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandiRhoades View Post

And, really I've been putting this 7 YO thing in perspective. In thinking of the 7 YOs I know, only one comes to mind who I think would take something off my kitchen counter. One. The others wouldn't, and they certainly wouldn't go around giving something they took from my house to other people.

Now, does that mean the OP's nephew is going to be a hardened criminal? Of course not, but I think too many people are shifting the blame to the OP for leaving the money out (which shouldn't have been done) and putting absolutely no responsibility on the nephew for taking the money. It was wrong, and yes, he should know better. At 7, he should know not to just take things and pocket them.
I just want to respond to this quickly. Sorry if it comes out short; I'm running out the door.

I agree that a lot of 7 year olds don't swipe things. But some do, especially money. There is a fascination around money around that age, probably because kids are realizing how much power it gives them.

How do I know this? At this age both my nephews individual swiped small amount of money from my purse. They were also in situations where they were very powerless and where their home life was chaotic and not ideal. In both cases they did know in their heads that it was wrong, but in impulse and in their hearts they craved the power and the kind of "can I get away with this" attention.

And one, at least, is now 12 and one of the most honest kids out there.

So ok, you know 7 year olds who wouldn't and I know 7 year olds that would. On this site in particular I kind of assume that many of us take the view that a child's misbehaviour has some REASON behind it. I think the reason here is pretty clear and I hope this kid gets the attention and compassion he needs.
post #72 of 151
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eclipse View Post
OP, you haven't answered the question about how big a deal it would have been if it was 4 cents or $4 - would it be as big a deal? Or would you just say "Hey DN - I know it's fun to play with money sometimes, but that was mine. Please ask next time if you can look at it/play with it/have it." ?

If I were in your situation, this is what I would do at this point:
1) Intervene on his behalf with BIL re: the party. I think canceling the party could be very damaging to this little boy, and BIL might only have done it because he thought it would show you guys that he was taking it seriously. I would point out all that has been said here about how no party could lead to even more jealousy about the new baby. Obviously, you can't make BIL change his mind, but you expressing your opinions might give BIL a way to back down on this without feeling like he's being walked over. I would even go so far as to suggest that if BIL still cancels the party, you ask if you can do something fun and celebratory yourself with DN on a date to be determined.
2) Tell your BIL that you will no longer be a free babysitting service for him on the weekends. Tell him exactly what you're comfortable with (whether that's "I'll never watch him again" or "I'd love to visit with him between 10am and 12pm on Saturday mornings" or "I can take him one weekend day a month," etc) - and clarify that if BIL is over to see your DH whether your nephew is welcome, and if he is state clearly what you expect from BIL with regards to entertaining/supervising his son.
3) Have a talk with DN about what happened. If you can't imagine an apology from you, just say something like."DN - we had a rough time last weekend when you took the money. I was angry then and scared because I really needed that money. I want you to know that I'm not angry anymore and that I still love you."
You have not read this thread, or at least you haven't read my replies.

1: I will not undermine my BIL's parenting decisions. I will not plead on nephew's behalf about the b-day party. You wouldn't want your parenting decisions usurped by another family member, would you? I already stated that we (myself and DH) will buy him a card and a gift like we normally do. I don't think anything "special" is necessary.

2: I have been around and around with BIL about being a free babysitting service. Now that he has a new baby, it is worse. DH and I plan to talk to him again.

3. We talked to nephew about this TWICE. On the day it happened, and again last night. We were both calm about it. I was NEVER angry at him. His father was the one who was angry and nearly out of control over the situation.

So, I suggest you actually *read* the posts before you decide to make wholesale, blanket statements. It looks bad on your part and it clutters the thread.
post #73 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
So ok, you know 7 year olds who wouldn't and I know 7 year olds that would. On this site in particular I kind of assume that many of us take the view that a child's misbehaviour has some REASON behind it. I think the reason here is pretty clear and I hope this kid gets the attention and compassion he needs.


As I've said before, I don't think that anyone here is blaming the OP for the 7 year old stealing the money. What I hear, and feel myself, is that the situation is being blown out of proportion because of unrealistic expectations that a 7 year old never do anything that he knows he shouldn't in someone else's house (don't tell me that you don't know ANY 7 year olds who NEVER break ANY rules), and that the OP has a serious beef with her BIL and his wife. The nephew really is caught in the crossfire. He doesn't have a choice as to whose house he's in at any given point, he doesn't have anyone to play with while in the house, and most of the adults seem to prefer that he be seen and not heard the vast majority of the time.

What I'm hearing is that the aunt would prefer not to have to deal with the responsibility of a 7 year old in her house, at least as often as she does now -- that is totally her call. However, rather than get unduly worked up about the character of her nephew (and his emotional response to his "crime"), I think that she should deal directly with her BIL. And NOT by telling him and his wife to be better parents, but by setting boundaries about what goes on in her own home. Many posters have expressed sympathy to the OP for being stuck in such a situation, but she has come across as harshly unsympathetic to her dn's situation when I think that her real problem is with the adults in his life.
post #74 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by diamond lil View Post
You have not read this thread, or at least you haven't read my replies.

1: I will not undermine my BIL's parenting decisions. I will not plead on nephew's behalf about the b-day party. You wouldn't want your parenting decisions usurped by another family member, would you? I already stated that we (myself and DH) will buy him a card and a gift like we normally do. I don't think anything "special" is necessary.

2: I have been around and around with BIL about being a free babysitting service. Now that he has a new baby, it is worse. DH and I plan to talk to him again.

3. We talked to nephew about this TWICE. On the day it happened, and again last night. We were both calm about it. I was NEVER angry at him. His father was the one who was angry and nearly out of control over the situation.

So, I suggest you actually *read* the posts before you decide to make wholesale, blanket statements. It looks bad on your part and it clutters the thread.
I read the thread. I think we're just disagreeing about what is appropriate.
post #75 of 151
I don't understand how approaching BIL an asking him to reconsider (not in front of your nephew, of course) is "undermining" his parenting decision. Especially since I'm guessing his reaction in removing the party was somewhat in proportion to your reaction. I would hope he isn't so insecure or volitile that there's absolutely no room for him to reconsider. I reconsider and change things up all the time. It's an excellent opportunity for my kids to experience grace and me to experience humility.
post #76 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post
I don't understand how approaching BIL an asking him to reconsider (not in front of your nephew, of course) is "undermining" his parenting decision. Especially since I'm guessing his reaction in removing the party was somewhat in proportion to your reaction. I would hope he isn't so insecure or volitile that there's absolutely no room for him to reconsider. I reconsider and change things up all the time. It's an excellent opportunity for my kids to experience grace and me to experience humility.
Yup!!
post #77 of 151
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post
I don't understand how approaching BIL an asking him to reconsider (not in front of your nephew, of course) is "undermining" his parenting decision. Especially since I'm guessing his reaction was somewhat in proportion to your reaction.
If his reaction was in proporation to my reaction, there would still be a b-day party, there would have been no threat of hitting and everyone would be happy.

I think you are assuming I had an immediate negative reaction. My DH and I had a calm discussion with nephew about it. His father is the one who overreacted, not me. There was nothing I could do about that, although I did tell him to calm down when he threatened to hit nephew.

I've read some really helpful things on this thread from many posters, but boy, some suggestions are just real doozies!
post #78 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by annettemarie View Post
I don't understand how approaching BIL an asking him to reconsider (not in front of your nephew, of course) is "undermining" his parenting decision. Especially since I'm guessing his reaction was somewhat in proportion to your reaction. I would hope he isn't so insecure or volitile that there's absolutely no room for him to reconsider. I reconsider and change things up all the time. It's an excellent opportunity for my kids to experience grace and me to experience humility.

I was just comng back to say this. I think you might have inteperted "intervene on his behalf" to mean "beg him to give the kid his party back while the kid stands there and looks sad." I just meant that you talk to him (privately)about whether you think it's an appropriate punishment for something that you were the "victim" of. You were already planning on telling him he should be a better parent, so I'm not sure why this would be more undermining.

as for what you say here
Quote:
3. We talked to nephew about this TWICE. On the day it happened, and again last night. We were both calm about it. I was NEVER angry at him. His father was the one who was angry and nearly out of control over the situation.
It sounds to me like you're angry about the situation. You migh not have yelled at him, but your anger and resentment about having to deal with you BIL is bleeding all over this thread, and I suspect it bleeds over into your relationship with DN.

Can I ask you a question? What were you hoping to gain from this thread? I went back and reread the OP - and you aren't asking for advice. . .but I can't see any other reason to post it. You don't seem to want to hear what people have to say about it.
post #79 of 151
What a tangled web!

From my reading, the OP handled the situation the best she could given that she doesn't want to step on her brother's parenting toes in front of his child. There is a lot to commend her for that, although I think everyone here, OP included, wants the brother to check out these posts and get himself some respectful parenting 101.

But I think the folks here are reacting to the words you are using here, because even though your interactions with him are wonderful, your belief that he made a malicious mistake is coming through. Anyway, when I read your responses to the posts it makes me cringe a bit because I fear someone will treat my "not-always-perfect-but-he-is-learning" 7 yo in this way.

After seeing how harmful shame and punishment are to him and how absolutely counterproductive it is, I know reacting with anger to him would be bad. Perhaps not an immediate impact, but another link in the chain toward him disengaging and becoming more angry and covert. From the OP posts, she cares too much about him to have this happen, so folks here are trying to get you to see that light.

Anyway, it is wonderful to hear that you reacted blandly and peacefully and continue to accept him in your world.
post #80 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by diamond lil View Post
2: I have been around and around with BIL about being a free babysitting service. Now that he has a new baby, it is worse. DH and I plan to talk to him again.
I think I remember you saying that BIL comes over with DN and then BIL and your DH go off together, leaving you to watch DN -- am I remembering correctly? In your above quote it sounds like your DH is backing you up, but in practice it seems like he's just as much to blame as BIL when it comes to leaving you on your own to care for DN.

Rather than going around and around with BIL, and making plans to talk to him again, how about your DH just stops going off with BIL when he visits, or invites DN to go with them? It seems that that part of the problem, at least, would be solved if your DH wasn't complicit in giving your BIL "time off" from parenting while at your house.

Other than that, I don't think I have anything to say that hasn't already been said, except that in your OP you seemed to have so much compassion for your DN, and that's become less and less evident as the thread has gone on. I'm sorry that you're feeling attacked, but I think your first instincts of feeling concern for your DN and understanding that he was acting out because of his home life were good instincts -- hold on to those if you can.
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