My Sister's 4 year old son (my nephew) stealing from my 2 year old son

(80 Posts)
musicmama18 Sat 24-Oct-20 13:45:18

Hi All,

Not too sure on this one.. Any advice greatly appreciated.

My sister's son is just turning 4. He comes to our house around twice a month and will often stay over with us all, me, my son, my husband, his mum etc.,

He is a lovely boy deep down but very difficult, massive tantrums, extreme attention seeking and at times heavy handed - needs to be kept a very close eye on when with my son.

Anyway, at my son's 2nd birthday a few months back, he took one of the toy cars that his dad (my DH) got him for his birthday. My heart broke. (yes, i'm very sensitive)

I only knew as I had popped to my sisters house for the day (her boy was at school) and she mentioned it. I asked for it back and kept it very lighthearted, but she couldn't find it. She said her son tried to hide it from her but she saw him playing with it in his room. I said not to worry just hand it to me next time.

my sister and her husband do not get on and argue a lot, hence why her son is attention seeking.

how on earth do i deal with this? or is this situation very common?

Also, a very big side note, but whenever they stay over her son wets the bed (of course, as he is only just turning 4) but my sister doesn't seem bothered at all. just takes the sheet off and leaves it by the side of the bed.

surely she should bring an absorbent mat or something? i certainly would no matter where I stayed?

OP’s posts: |
throwaway100000 Sat 24-Oct-20 13:47:02

I think you have handled it well so far.

category12 Sat 24-Oct-20 13:47:25

He's only four fgs.

nimbuscloud Sat 24-Oct-20 13:49:57

I’d put an absorbent mat under the sheet for when he stays over
And I think a lot of young kids take stuff home with them - hopefully your sister will find it soon and give it back
And I think you’re right - the difficulties at home will be very damaging to him. Poor child.

Quartz2208 Sat 24-Oct-20 13:50:59

He is a 4 year old living in what sounds like toxic situation

With the bed wetting why isnt he still in night nappies - to be night trained at 4-5 is the average age so it isnt unusual

I dont think he is the issue - your sister is. She mentioned to you that he took it (and you had not noticed so how could it break your heart) and the arguing. Is she ok I would be worried about her and whether she is ok

TobblyBobbly Sat 24-Oct-20 13:52:00

I think stealing is a strong word to use here. From your title I was expecting you to say he had taken money!

ScrapThatThen Sat 24-Oct-20 13:54:47

These behaviours are signs of trauma. He may be experiencing or witnessing more than you know about. Would your sister reach out for help from local early help social care?


ScrapThatThen Sat 24-Oct-20 13:55:31

I don't mean the behaviours on their own, but as a pattern and in the context of an unhappy home.

PolarBearStrength Sat 24-Oct-20 13:57:23

When I was four I made a gun out of stickle bricks (guns were banned) and then hid it in my knickers and took it home from school. Four year olds see something they want, and take it. They aren’t always able to recognise their actions in the context of other people and their feelings. He may well also have rationalised it as ‘cousin has lots of presents, he won’t miss one’. I really don’t think there is any point in getting unreasonably emotional about this. I doubt DS even realises it’s missing and when SIL does find it, it will be a bonus new toy.

As for the bed wetting, SIL is being a bit unfair not to provide a mattress protector or something if she knows that he’s prone to bed wetting but why don’t you just have a chat about it?

Quartz2208 Sat 24-Oct-20 13:59:30

What is your BIL like - exactly what is the arguing like? Could your sister be trapped in an abusive relationship

Does he stayover as well

StatementKnickers Sat 24-Oct-20 14:02:08

"Steal" implies a moral judgment. He's 4, he didn't steal it, he took it.

As for the bedwetting issue, yes your sister should take more responsibility but it's probably not worth the fight - just buy a couple of waterproof mattress protectors and some extra bedding. You'll need them soon enough when you start trying to get your DS dry at night!

musicmama18 Sat 24-Oct-20 14:03:01

i don't mean to exaggerate, perhaps stealing was the wrong word to use. and being 4, of course i understand it is a thing that kids do..

i guess maybe it's his behaviour that adds to it and may make it seem worse than it is.

And, I only say my 'heart broke' when she had mentioned he took something as I had feeling he would soon enough. He is just that type of kid unfortunately. It didn't surprise me. he is showing signs of strong jealousy toward our son.

Unfortunately my sister only talks to our mother and not me with the problems she goes through with her husband, so we don't connect too deeply, so i don't know what's going on exactly, but i do know her husband and her do not get on well.

she is hard work. I've tried to go there, but she doesn't with me at all. I'm younger and she likes to give a perception that her life is great.

OP’s posts: |
musicmama18 Sat 24-Oct-20 14:05:53

from what i'm aware of it's definitely not domestic abuse.. her husband is not interested in being there or with her - that's the bottom line. so he is absent and avoidant, he has only stayed once. she is hanging on and i think her anger is a massive problem.

OP’s posts: |
Sophoa Sat 24-Oct-20 14:06:08

He’s 4. 4 year olds see things they like and they take them when they think nobody is looking. I’ve lost track of the number of random toys I’ve found appearing in my house because one of my children (aged 5 and under) had swiped them.

Bed wetting also normal but your sister should have him in night nappies or bring her own absorbent sheets

SandyY2K Sat 24-Oct-20 14:13:12

I think you're overeacting based on an isolated incident. I thought you'd say he regularly takes things from your house.

Your Dsis is very lax about it, because I would have taken it off my child immediately and kept it safe for you, as well as telling my child it's wrong to take things that belong to someone else.

I don't suppose you can really do anything else atm.

Panicsettingin Sat 24-Oct-20 14:31:03

If you know he wets the bed then have the bed made up with a mat already on it.
DS went through a stage, at a similar age, of having to be frisked when he left nursery because he would have cars in his pockets. I was mortified, they laughed and said it’s really common. He soon stopped.
I feel sorry for your DN growing up in a house with lots of arguments though.

MMmomDD Sat 24-Oct-20 14:35:00

OP - have you had some lingering issues with your sister from earlier on? In the way you talk about her - it seems that you are either judging her or have some sort of resentments...
And you seem to have transferred those feelings you have about her to her son.

He isn’t ‘that kind of child’ - it wasn’t only a matter of time - as he isn’t some kind of hardened criminal you seem to pigeon-holed him to be.
And he may or may not be jealous of your son, he is just a little kid. And little kids act up in many different ways, and it doesn’t have to be because of any issues at home.

You only have one small child, so you have probably not seen it yet, so maybe you will believe others on here and not assume the worst of the boy.
It’s not your fault you do - I think we are all prone to that. And I can relate.
I have a nephew who to the then childless me seemed as a disaster toddler - Needy, tantrumy, aggressive. Poster child to prevent unwanted pregnancies, i thought.
Well, he grew up to a very nice young man currently studying medicine.

Thesheerrelief Sat 24-Oct-20 14:40:17

He's four. This is all relatively normal behaviour. He's not "that kind of child". I think that's a terrible thing to say.

He's learning to navigate the world and he's probably seeing a lot of arguing and unhappiness at home.

MoonJelly Sat 24-Oct-20 15:08:15

Your heart broke over a toy car? Seriously?

2bazookas Sat 24-Oct-20 15:09:28

Since you've got a baby and child guests, just fit a good waterproof mattress on any bed they are likely to sleep on, then you'll never have to worry about bedwetters. Our guest beds all have a waterproof cover on the mattress, then a quilted mattress cover, then the bottom sheet. No crinkly noises, no sweaty feel; and mattresses stay perfectly clean.

SilverRoe Sat 24-Oct-20 15:48:15

That kind of child? Over a four year old? WTF is wrong with you??

You sound massively resentful of your sister for some reason, and incredibly PFB about your toddler. Did you come here for advice or to insinuate your sister is some kind of shit parent and her young child is some kind of miscreant in the making?
Because that’s how your update looked.


OldWomanSaysThis Sat 24-Oct-20 15:53:28

So, to paraphrase... You don't like your sister.

JSCM Sat 24-Oct-20 16:00:30

I think you'll feel very foolish when your child hits 4 and does the same kind of childish stuff. 4 is tiny. Stop judging and labelling your nephew. You don't sound a loving auntie. This sounds like precious first child syndrome on your part.

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 24-Oct-20 16:01:22

Your nephew is 3 years old. The taking stuff is pretty normal, as is being wet at night (especially away from his own bed). He sounds normal. Perhaps you need to work out what is going on with you OP, instead of over reacting to the normal behaviours of a 3 year old.

converseandjeans Sat 24-Oct-20 16:04:19

I think you're being a bit dramatic. It's a toy car. I think the car taking is the least of the worries about the little boy. He sounds like he's unsettled and unhappy. Let him have the car. A 2 year old won't really notice.

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