Man 'Traumatizes' His Nephew After Sending His Cop Friend To Retrieve His Daughter's Nintendo Switch

It’s safe to say that his nephew will never steal from his daughter again.

playing nintendo switch, police lights Scott Rodgerson and Erik McLean via Unsplash

Family gatherings are always a little chaotic. There are preparations, long days spent cooking, and usually children making a mess of the house. Things can easily go missing by mistake.

This is what a man from Reddit thought when his daughter’s Nintendo Switch went missing after their 4th of July family gathering, only to find out that wasn't the case. Now he's asking for advice on whether he went too far to get his daughter's Switch back.


The main explained how he potentially 'traumatized' his nephew by sending his cop friend to retrieve it.

The man took to Reddit to explain how he found out his nephew had his daughter's Nintendo Switch. The man said after the family gathering, he called his sister-in-law who claimed that her six-year-old son said his daughter gave it to him for his upcoming birthday. When he asked his daughter about this, she explained that she let him use it to play Mario Kart, but didn’t tell him that he could have it.

The sister-in-law refused to give the Nintendo Switch back to the man’s daughter. She declared that it belonged to her son now because his daughter will soon outgrow it and called her an “Indian giver.” The dad saw no other choice but to act with desperate measures. He called his uncle, who is a cop, and they formulated a plan. 


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He asked his uncle, who is a police officer, to send cop friends to the sister-in-law’s house and threaten to arrest her and her son over stolen property.

man traumatized nephew with cops over nintendo switch aita redditPhoto: Reddit

Reluctantly, she returned the Nintendo Switch to the cops. They warned her son that the next time he steals, both he and his mom could be arrested for it, but let them go without incident. 


The sister-in-law told the dad that her son had been crying nonstop and having trouble sleeping because he doesn’t want to go to jail. She believed that her son will be traumatized for life and is furious with him for doing this to his nephew over a “stupid game.”

The father’s thought process was that his nephew will never steal again after this, but wondered if his measures were too heartless and over the top. He turned to the subreddit "r/AmItheA--hole" (AITA) for enlightenment on his actions.

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Users in the comments said the father was 'not the a--hole' in this situation.

“He's six, it was his mom that turned a little kid moment of taking something you like into genuine theft. OP [original poster] didn't traumatize the kid, the sister-in-law did by being a thief who was justifiably visited by the police,” user MonkeyPawWishes wrote. 


Another user explained that the sister-in-law’s behavior was arrestable according to his explanation. They thought that behavior was what actually traumatized her son, not the police showing up.

Someone else explained how, if a friend tried to give their son one of their toys, they would always check with the parents first. “And this was for stuff like toys cars. I would absolutely never assume that a kid or their parents were good with just giving away something like a Switch,” they described, seeing as a Nintendo Switch could cost you more than $300.

A fourth user expressed that this situation could have been a teaching moment for his nephew. They mentioned that the sister-in-law should have sat her son down and had a conversation with him about what it really means to have something gifted to them. When she realized that the Switch was not actually gifted to him, they should have brought it back and apologized. 

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Ultimately the sister-in-law decided not to be a good role model for her son and was held responsible for that by the dad.

According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, it is normal for a young child to take something that excites their interest. However, “parents should actively teach their children about property rights and the consideration of others.” Since the sister-in-law didn’t take these measures, the father wanted to teach them both a lesson. 

Studies show that "police stops can lead to psychological strain and heightened emotional distress in children and youth, and such negative emotional experiences can worsen depending on where the police stop occurred." However, this refers to violent interactions with police that include physical and verbal abuse and the use of force. If the interaction between the cops and the dad's nephew played out as described, none of that occurred, so it is likely that the incident scared him but might not cause long-term trauma. 

The whole situation would have been avoided if the father's sister-in-law returned his daughter's Switch in the first place. It’s safe to say that his nephew won't steal from his daughter again. 


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Tarah Hickel is a Washington-based writer and a frequent contributor to YourTango. She focuses on entertainment and news stories including viral topics and family relationships.