19 answers

13 Yr Old Stealing from Family, but What Do You Do If You Have No Proof

We have had a lot of money go missing from the house and recently it is believed that my daughter stole money out of her grand mothers purse....we do believe she did it and my mother is convinced that she did as there is no other explanation as to where it went. What do i do, how do i confront this situation. A bit of back ground, she was actually born to a different father but has never met him. My husband has been her father since she was 3 mths old and we are a very happy family although I do believe she holds resentment for my other two children as they are what she calls "his blood". Is this a cry for attention or is she just so spoilt...do i over compensate because she is not my husbands blood??? She is a wonderful child, sure she gives me attitude and a hard time but she helps me out so very much as I also have a 5 and 6 year old, i work full time from home as a hairdresser and I try and run a house and be a wife.....My heart hurts to think that she has done this and I dont know where to turn.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I think you need to sit her down and talk to her honestly. You want honesty from her - give it to her. don't be accusatory since you really have no proof but let her know that you suspect she's doing this.

2 moms found this helpful

I know I'm no help but I wish she could understand that "blood" is not hat big of an issue! OMG she is so blessed with a dad who does not care that she is not his blood but he loves her just the same!!!!! She is so blessed and she doesn't know it! (Im a stepmom so I know a thing about loving someone who is not "blood") I wish you luck and big kudos to Daddy!

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If there is no other explanation for the disappearing money, assume that she took it. But, I can think of a couple of other possibilities. The 5 or 6 yo may have taken it. My grandkids took money out of my wallet when I left it laying on the table. They didn't try to hide it. It was just fun to play with. Look in their bedroom, toy box, anywhere they play. Another possibility is that her grandmother spent the money and forgot. I've done that from time to time my whole adult life. Another possibility is that a friend of your daughter's took the money either with or without your daughter's knowledge. I've seen that happen more than once.

I suggest that you start out low key with a conversation with your daughter. Tell her the situation, ask her what she knows about it. Reassure her that she won't be in trouble if she tells the truth. Give her a chance to tell you what she knows. You could even tell her that if she needs more money you'll help her find a way to earn money. Calmly explain the importance of telling the truth and of admitting the theft now before there is more trouble. Be warm, express concern.

In regards to her birth circumstances. Whether or not she took the money her feelings about this need to be dealt with. Why is she so aware that the other two children have "his blood?" Why is it important to her? What is really bothering her deep down?

Does your husband treat her differently, perhaps without intending to do so? It might help for the two of them to have a talk about how he feels about her in spite of the "blood" difference. You might want to get involved in some family counseling to deal with this issue.

I adopted my daughter. She came to live with me when she was 7. My significant other became her psychological father. His sons became her brothers. She still sees most of her birth family. She counts her psychological father, brothers, aunts, uncles along with the same in her birth family. It was quite a shock when she was in school and said that she had 12 siblings. If I were with her someone would look at me and ask how I managed that. It became a fun thing to do; shocking people with the number of relatives she has.

We emphasized that a family is not determined by blood but by commitment. I found books that talked about families and the various ways in which they can be made. We emphasized love and didn't spend much time talking about why she was in this family instead of the other. She does have difficulties, even now as an adult, comprehending the complexity of her situation but she knows she is my daughter and Malcolm her father, even tho Malcolm and I are no longer together. He called her and still calls her, "my daughter" often. We emphasize the family connections.

Does her father give he lots of compliments, hugs, happy conversations. If not perhaps you could encourage that or if him increasing his warmth is not a possibility explain why he doesn't do this. My father wasn't very demonstrative and my mother would tell me that he grew up in a family that didn't express their feelings but she knew that he loved me. She would point out ways in which he showed his love. This helped me alot during the years I felt insecure and unloveable, which are common feelings during the teen years.

Since you ask if you over compensate I'm guess that you probably do. In what way do you over compensate. Can you get a grasp on that and work on changing it? Be honest. Talk with your daughter about your concerns for her and express your uncertainty about whether or not you have been treating her OK. Give her a chance to express her feelings without the need to protect you. Let her know that you're willing to talk about anything and that the two of you can work anything out. You are the parent and so don't promise to do anything that abdicates that responsibility. It's just that teens usually respond the best when they can be a part of planning the solution.

There are some understandable reasons for her to resent the younger children that are unrelated to birth. They are younger, they may get to do things differently than she did at that age. You're an older more experienced parent. They have different personalities. And the world is different. Let her express her feelings. Tell her she has a right to feel that way. It's OK to have negative feelings. What is important is what you do with those feelings.

I'm a strong believer in counseling and so if I were in this situation I would start family counseling. Stealing the money, if she stole the money, as you suggested, is just a symptom. The money is not important. Finding out how to deal with the entire picture is most important.

5 moms found this helpful

I think you need to sit her down and talk to her honestly. You want honesty from her - give it to her. don't be accusatory since you really have no proof but let her know that you suspect she's doing this.

2 moms found this helpful

Recommend setting up a nanny cam and confront her with the evidence and some understanding. If you don't nip the dishonesty now, and explain the consequences are minimal now...it could manifest to a greater degree as she grows older and result in a criminal rap sheet and record later. start cutting out newspaper clippings of juvenile arrests releated to shoplifting, theft of money and property, leave the news articles throughout the house and casually call them to her attention. Always relate to her and all of your children how difficult and heart breaking it would be if any of your family members were involved such incidents.

2 moms found this helpful

If she is stealing... this is only a symptom of what is going on inside of her... and THAT needs to be addressed.
Does she have anyone to talk to? Someone that can really listen, understand, validate her, make her feel accepted and a part of her family, and that she is equally loved and respected etc.
She is a teenager.. they have tons of emotional things going on inside. Justified or not, as an adult may view it.

Even if she is wanting attention, so be it. That is what she needs. I would not label her spoiled. That will only undermine her and justify any wrong-doing she is doing. It will undermine her self-worth and just convince her that no one understands her.

A teen girl's self-worth and self-respect is really paramount. And that comes from their family... that is where they find or lose their sense of being valid.

I would, if she is doing these things.. make sure that she is getting the kind of help she needs. See what is really going on inside of her... and her heart. Because if anything is making her do wrong things... it is just a symptom of what she needs and what she is lacking.
Does she get positive feedback? Does she know she is a wonderful child? That she is appreciated for all the help she does? That is a lot for a child... and it shows that somewhere in her she cares very much... by the good things she does do.

All the best,
Susan

2 moms found this helpful

How much does she know about her bio dad? My oldest is not my husband's bio either, and we never talked with him about his bio father. During his teen years he was acting out in several ways, including taking money from the family. I discovered that a big part of his need was just to know about who his bio father was and something about his background. Telling him those things didn't immediately stop his behavior problems, but it was a start and helped him to eventually turn around and accept my husband as his "real" father.

2 moms found this helpful

I have a friend who has 4 boys. Whenever she knows one of them is lying, she tells them that they have 1 hour to tell the truth without any punishment. If they don't tell her within that hour, then she makes them sit on the couch and tells them that they will sit there all day until one confesses and that means no food or drinks and that that will be very sad for them. They usually confess within minutes.

1 mom found this helpful

First, be VERY sure that money has really gone missing. Grandma might have forgotten a purchase she made or may have put it somewhere else. I've done that more than once --- have been convinced I'd had two 20's in my wallet (which is stored in a very public place in our house) only to remember later that I made a cash purchase. Only AFTER you're convinced that she took it, talk with her privately (she's not likely to confess during a family meeting). Start out by saying there WILL be a punishment, but it will be less than if you find out later she lied about it. Let her know how your heart hurts even thinking that it's a possibility that she took it. Ask her why she felt she had to take money instead of asking for funds. Does she need to earn an allowance so she doesn't have to go to mom every time she wants something? Most kids experiment with taking money at some time or another, even if they're good kids who normally help out at home and engage with their family. This may turn out to be a one-time thing. And, it's also a possibility Grandma is mistaken OR a customer lifted the cash, especially since you have people in and out of your home constantly with the business. Good luck and let us know what happens.

1 mom found this helpful

I agree with the idea of a family meeting with ALL the family members, including your mom (if she can keep silent regarding her doubts).
Explain the situation to everybody, that money is missing and if they have noticed anything about it, you need to know.
Don't make any accusations. Just state the case neutrally, ask for information and observe.
Then (if nobody has info/confesses), tell that if something comes back to their minds, they can come and tell you later.
Then, you can inform them of any measure you plan to take to avoid this (no purse next to the visiting customers, purses hiding in a closet and only family members have the key) Ask them for idea/solutions.

It may or may not be your daughter. If it's her, she may or may not confess. But, in any case:
- don't make accusations without proof.
- show trust
- show you know money has been missing and you will control it more tightly in future.

In case she did it, all put on the open may stop her to try again. Or she might confess and explain why she did it (to grab attention, to buy the new teenagers' gadget, to have the same purse as the cool girls at school, to give it to a bully...?) To be able to confess, she needs to trust that she will be listened to.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

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