Post # 1
This has nothing to do with wedding planning, but I need some objective oppinions on a situation. I have a niece who is in her early twenties, unmarried and living with her unemployed boyfriend and expecting her third baby(she has a 2 1/2 year old, and a 1 1/2 year old, now) in just over a month. Recently, we were out shopping at a childrens store, and out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw her pull a kids outfit off a shelf and put it in the diaper bag she had hanging off the back of the stroller she was pushing. I wasn’t certain, as she had her back to me and I couldn’t see exactly what was going on with her hands. I thought, maybe she was refolding it and putting it back on the shelf. Later, when we got to her home, I looked in the diaper bag, on the pretense of getting a toy out, and there is the baby outfit, and I knew she shoplifted it. I didn’t say anything, and now I am wondering if I should have. To my knowledge, she’s never been in trouble for anything like this. And I know that times are really, really tough for her. The thing is, I would have offered to buy the little outfit if she had asked. I buy clothes and toys for her kids all the time. She is a very touchy person, and tends to avoid situations she doesn’t want to deal with. I am afraid if I confront her about the shoplifting, she will then avoid all contact with me. I said something negative about her boyfriend last summer and she didn’t talk to me for 4 months. She is estranged from her mother, and very rarely talks to her Dad (my brother) and I am pretty much the only family she has any contact with. I also think that her boyfriend may be violent towards her, but I am not completely certain about that either. By mid-June, she is going to have 3 babies under 3. She is going to need family, and I don’t want her pushing me away. So-do I go ahead and confront her about the shoplifting, or do I just zip it and say nothing? She has made so many bad choices over the last 5 years, and I know that most everyone has written her off, but I truly care about her and her kids and I want to do what I can to help her get her act together, if she will let me.
What would you do, in my shoes?
Post # 3
I wouldn’t confront her about it, but I’d make sure to keep the lines of communication open and let her know you’re there if she ever needs help.
Post # 4
You have to say something.
I recently posted about how a misdemeanor traffic conviction – which seems small – may keep me from my dream job. You can Google the ramifications of a misdemeanor if you want. They’re not great. This woman needs to keep herself clean and honest for her children’s sake; she is going to need to support them for a long time, and it will forever be on her record getting her rejected from jobs and housing – yes, it’s true, even housing – if she gets caught stealing. No baby outfit it worth the damage a misdemeanor can do.
If I were you, I would put it like that. In this way, it won’t be judgement coming from you, but you caring about her long-term prospects for a good life. As my mom always said to me, “I will always forgive you, no matter what you do, but there are ways you can mess up where I just won’t be able to help you at all even if I want to,” and I thought that was really wise and a good way to present it to someone who is potentially in trouble but doesn’t like to be judged.
Post # 5
I think ElizabethAnne said it very well – let her know in a calm, non-confrontational way that you saw her take the outfit and ask her if everything is ok – ask if there is anything you can do to help (give her a small loan, watch the kids during Dr. appts/job interview, etc., offer to take her grocery shopping). Ask if everything is going well with the bf – but be careful, because if he is abusive as you say, she’ll probably be defensive of him and may shut you out. Mostly just keep the lines of communication open with her, let her know you care and want to help, and stress to her the ramifications of her actions. Short-term that outfit may be nice for her child and saved her >$10, but long-term it could mean serious consequences for her and her children.
Post # 6
I’m on the fence because PP gave some really solid advice, but my first reaction is she’s the kind of person that needs to learn the hard way.
Post # 7
I agree with PP that you should talk to her about it (but not confront). Let her know you are not judging her and you understand how hard things are but thats not the way to get what she needs. Let her know you are here for her and to let you know if the kids need something.
Post # 8
I would mention something to her along the lines of, “I have a friend that saw her ‘sister’ shop lift something. She knows times are tough and that her boyfriend has a temper, so she worries about her. But she would do anything for her. The reason she is so worried is bacause I told her about this person I read about in the Wed bee forum that lost a job/housing because of a misdemeanor. She is so worried that this could happen to her sister. What do you think she should do? Should she say something to her sister?”
How she answers that will tell you how to proceed.
Post # 9
@KoiKove: i think that might be a great way to go about it, that way she doesn’t feel like she is talking directly about her
Post # 10
I appreciate all of the responses. I was worrying myself sick over her, even before this incident. I am going to see her this coming weekend for mothers day and see if I can bring this up without freaking her out, that is if I can talk to her alone without her boyfriend present. That’s another issue. He doesn’t like to leave us alone for any length of time. It’s been very difficult watching this girl, who has so much potential, just screw up again and again. I’ll let you all know what happens.