You are here

How to convict sneaky behavior you didn't see

Step2278's picture


Hello everyone,

I have a question- how do you convict/handle sneaky behavior that you don't actually witness? Example... we have a salt dish and a sugar dish... SOMEHOW the salt ended up in the sugar dish... sugar ended up in the salt dish. Innocent prank- not a big deal- but we would like to get to the bottom of this... Now DH wouldn't do that... I didn't do it...and DD(21months) didn't do it. That leaves one person- SS13. We asked him about it and he denied it to the point of tears. It turned into a 1 hour discussion becuase the kid just wouldn't fess up to it. Unless we have a ghost- this kid switched the salt and sugar and SS still hasn't owned it. 

Another example- the egg. DD has a play structure in our back yard. *Someone* burried a chicken egg beneath the mulch at the end of the slide so that when DD came down the slide- she would land on the egg. I didn't do it. DH didn't do it. In my mind- that leaves one person. DH was like, "well, it could have been the neighbor, or an animal... we can't say it was SS for sure becuase we didn't see it." Bullshit. Our neighbors never go in our yard and an animal wouldn't strategially bury a chickens egg right at the bottom of DD's slide. DH plans to talk to SS about this- but he doesn't feel comfortable saying it was him because he didn't witness it. I am livid. 

Now I know people will say nanny cams... DH and I just got a small one for our bedroom that we will turn on when we know SS will be home alone for an hour or so after school. Today is the first day of it- so I will learn if SS is sneaking into our bedroom. The problem is DH doesn't feel comfortable putting cameras all over our house. I'm paranoid that he's trying to mess with my or DD's tooth brushes, etc. I don't want to put a nanny cam in the bathroom- that doesn't feel right.

Bottom line- I don't trust this kid. He is a sneak, he lies, and he has ZERO accountability. DH doesn't feel comfortable convicting him because he didn't actually witness SS's in the act. What do I do?! 

weightedworld's picture

This kind of made me chuckle. Like the lid on the salt shaker being lose enough it falls off to the next person who pours it. 

Does he have some twisted sense of humor that he is trying to make everyone laugh? This may be the case and if so than steer it in a positive direction. There isn't anything wrong with being a jokster as long as it's causing no harm. 


PetSpoiler's picture

If it was a joke, he wouldn't have denied it to the point of tears.  He would've laughed and admitted it.  On the surface it's harmless but what else is he doing?

weightedworld's picture

As it wasn't taken in a funny manor and there was trouble to come of it. 

I was just throwing an out of the box idea. Some times we get soo focused on the bad that we fail to see when the kids actually reach out to us to engage. 

Step2278's picture

Thank you! If he wants to be a jokster- that's cool! I agree that little pranks can be harmless and we could actually have some fun with this. The problem is that he can dish it- he can't take it. Also he refuses to own up to anythig he does.

With the sugar and salf- we told him we thought it was funny- we laughed- we didn't care about it- we just wanted him to fess up... and he didn't. Had he said "yeah I got you guys!" that's cool... we would have all had a laugh together... instead it turned into a big deal over nothing. The issue isn't the sugar/salt- its that he wouldn't own it- even after we gave him ample 'outs'.

To me the egg incident is a different story. It seems a bit bullyish- he's 13 and she's not even 2. What joy do you get out of a 2 year old landing on an egg and it making a mess to the point it disrupts her play? That did bother me... 

weightedworld's picture

I could see the egg being an issue due to her age. 

You and DH come up with one and throw it back at him and when it happens throw up your hands in IDKs 

Turn it into a game and if he doesn't like it, it more than likely will stop once it's being sent back in his direction. 

We commented at the same time and you had clarified that you guys took it as a joke instead of being in trouble. My guess is something tripped in him that made him fearful of being honest. 

I would recommend the above to break the ice a bit. 

tog redux's picture

Your DH is a fool. How does he think criminals get convicted? 

You know very well that he switched the salt and sugar. Might be funny except that he has a long record of passive-aggressive stuff, and he didn't laugh and act like it was a joke, so he should get consequences. Same with the egg. Do tell what kind of animal would bury an egg? The neighbor? Why would they bury an egg in your yard? 

He's empowering the kid every time he lets him get away it. Maybe you should do a few of these type of things to DH himself and see if he still thinks it's no big deal. 

Step2278's picture

Thank you for your response. I agree- I don't always like the way DH handles these things. Its like he calls attention to something *just enough* but this kid never fully gets the message. Its like he doesn't want to make him feel uncomfortable. Feels much more passive to me. 

My solution was to ask SS to go down the slide... if he refuses... its a dead giveaway.

DH wants to talk about it with SS. Problem is if SS doesn't own it/have to address the uncomfortable feelings- he will never learn.  

Step2278's picture

Thank you for your words!

The only problem is that he would need to access it to get his toothbrush, too. I just hate feeling like I live on pins and needles in this way...

Merry's picture

Why tiptoe around an obvious truth? DH can't SEE gravity either, but by golly it's there. No one other than SS could have done these things, so seeing him do it is not important.

DH just doesn't want to deal with SS's drama and lies. If DH would shut down the drama instantly, then he wouldn't HAVE to deal with that either.

"SS, no one else could possibly have done these things. Burying that egg was particularly mean and because of that (insert consequence). End of discussion. If you're going to cry and pout, you can do that in your room away from the rest of the family."

Step2278's picture

I couldn't have said that better. I've disengaged to the point that SS and I really don't have much of a relationship... which is sad, but honest. I told my DH that the only time I would ever get involved with discipling SS is if he did something to me- or especially DD. 

The problem is that the way I want to address this is very different than the way DH wants to address it. I agree, DH just doesn't want to deal with SS's drama and lies. I think he's being very short sighted and I agree that if he handled it now- he wouldn't have to pay for it time and time again later. I think the problem is that DH doesn' want every time he sees SS to be about discipline... to your point- if he just handled it the first time- it wouldn't have to be that way. Its like he keeps kicking the can... 

This incident is going to be discussed tonight during dinner. I will be there- I just don't know what to say (if I should say anything at all) because DH doesn't want to accuse SS- meanwhile I want to raise hell. IDK what to do... do I excuse myself and just leave the discussion?  

Merry's picture

Pffft. There should BE no discussion. A matter-of-fact statement at the time of discovery is appropriate. SS does something stupid, it is discovered, consequences are immediate. A discussion a day later just isn't effective and induces drama, and SS loves the attention. Nothing good will come of it.

I don't think I'd participate in the discussion. Your DH knows how you feel. Leave him to his wishy washy, ineffective parenting.

Gimlet's picture

I am generally a pretty patient person, but if someone messed with my salt, I would have been livid.  I cook almost every meal this family eats and that's disrespectful as hell.  Messing with someone's food is not at all funny.

Egg thing isn't funny either.  Someone has to clean that up, and if you're bored and want to be clever, there is plenty out there to learn.

I also don't think "pranks" are funny.  I think they are passive-aggressive and spiteful and I hate that people post doing mean or crappy things to other people as "pranks" so they can laugh at the other person's expense on YouTube and other places and it gets normalized. 

Your husband should be addressing this aspect of his son's character.  I know I sound like a "get off my lawn" old person right now, but this is not something I would tolerate out of my child.

tog redux's picture

I feel the same way, and always have. Pranks are mean. Unless you know the other person loves them, don't do it. 

Step2278's picture

Agreed! The sugar/salt thing I can live with... that's fine. But DD? She's not even 2 years old IDK what kind of sick indivivdual gets joy out of pranking a toddler. 

Cover1W's picture

It will get worse if not addressed immediately.  SDs used to do that stuff which would be OK if it wasn't vengeful and if they admitted it. The problem is neither of my SDs EVER admit to doing ANYTHING wrong.  No ramifications no rules = don't care.

One of them, I firmly believe it was YSD and her former troublesome friend, used a lower kitchen drawer as a step stool. Broke it. Then carefully put it back together so the next person who used it discovered the damage. Which was me. DH didn't think it was a big deal, but if I couldn't fix it the entire cabinet would have to be replaced....niether SD would admit to it. Both were crying. DH gave up. Just gave up.  I'm like, WTH?! He said if they don't admit it what does he do? ME:  If one or both won't admit it then BOTH of them go to the hardware store with you and BOTH of them spend the time to fix it with you. FFS.  Nothing happened and I ended up fixing it.

THEN the door to the pantry was broken off. Of course, placed 'just so' so that it wasn't immediately noticable. Of course, I found it. DH refused to do anything. I removed the door and threw it down the stairs. DH had to remove it and I have never replaced the door.  It's in our storage area now.

YSD broke her closet door which had just months before been fixed (was slightly off when we moved in but we had all the closet doors re-set). She was messing around as usual and we heard a huge crash, went to investigate and the door was off and the mounting bent. DH didn't give a cr*p. I said, ok then I'm removing the door and when we sell this house YOU pay for it to be fixed. So that's in storage now.  YSD said she "just leaned against it" - I called BS on that direclty, showed her the damage let her know we heard it and that wasn't a 'lean.' 

So far the last two years, so good.  At least of what I know about.

Step2278's picture

That's maddening!

The problem is neither of my SDs EVER admit to doing ANYTHING wrong.  No ramifications no rules = don't care.

I'm in a similar spot. DH did his thing last night by mentioning the incident and asking SS if he did it... to which SS became defensitve and came up with all sorts of BS excuses as to why it couldn't have been him. Fine. I let it go last night becasue I was to angry to think clearly... but this morning over breakfast I brought up the whole situation... "I can't believe some A**hole would do that to a toddler"... I went on and on and on AND ON all morning long... I thought DH was going to kill me with his look. SS didn't say a peep. 

I later told DH that if SS truly didn't do it- then my remarks wouldn't mean anythig to him. If he DID do it- then he gets to sit with the shame of knowing he A. lied and B. attempted to pull a prank (was a bully) to a 2 year old. 

DH can parent SS the way he wants but the moment my DD is impacted I will get involved every single time. If they think they can just get away with these kinds of behaviors they will continue to act with no regard...