My Daughter's Friend Has Tried to "Steal" Things from Us.

Updated on July 29, 2011
E.H. asks from Orlando, FL
13 answers

My daughter's friend has been to our home on a few different occasions and I find myself very uneasy about the visits. She puts little toys in her pockets and my daughter has caught her, on a few different occasions, and asked her to take them out of her pocket and return them.. But the other day she was here and I was looking for her and found her upstairs, alone, while the birthday party was going on outside. Her mother didn't even say come down once we found her but the daughter had opened my "closed" door. I simply asked her to come down and join us outside.

But she may get the idea it is okay to take things because one time she was here and she took a little tiny wooden angel doll. It was just pennies really but my daughter played with it on occasion. So I asked her to give it back and she flew into a tantrum. Because the mom seemed confused at me asking for my daughter's angel back and seemed exasperated at her child's behavior, I told the mom to just return it to me later after the child had calmed down. Mom never did return it to me. I never asked.

It wasn't the item and obviously not the worth of it. I simply felt that when her mom did nothing, it was setting a precedent that it is okay to take things from other people, no matter how small.

But I am uneasy now and almost feel like I need to watch the child. The mother seems not to watch her when she is here. Would you encourage this friendship or what would you do? Thanks.

Update: The child was 4 when this was happening and both my daughter and her just turned 5. My daughter does not like it when it happens but she does not hold a grudge either since she lives in the moment for the most part. When I knew she was coming over, I felt compelled to hide a lot of the 'small' toys that fit into her pockets. Sad... And no, the mother is very passive when it comes to her child as in "My child does no wrong." kind of attitude.

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So What Happened?

I won't have the child back in my home. Although my child lives in the moment, doesn't hold a grudge and simply asks the child to "give back what she put in her pockets", the problem has continued. Further, when the child went upstairs, without permission, and my bedroom door was opened, it's just a bit weird. But I feel like I have to both keep an eye on the girl because the mother "literally" does not and put small "more expensive" toys away.

Should any future playdates be planned, they will be at a neutral location.


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answers from Houston on

I wouldn't invite "sticky fingers" over anymore nor her mom. Again, here is another example of lazy parenting.

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answers from San Francisco on

Find another playmate for your child. The mother of the other child seems like she is setting a bad example. I also think you should have asked for the toy that was taken, since it's still bothering you.


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answers from Kansas City on

i'd not invite the girl back. i'm sure that she is a very sweet loving good child, but the fact that the mother is not teaching her to not take things that dont belong to her is not good. having her over may make your daughter pick up the habit. while i think it is normal for kids who are very young, maybe 6 or younger to not realize they are stealing they just see something they like and want and may not know not to take it. it is up to us as the parents to teach our own children not to take things from others. poor little girl needs to be taught. i'd just lessen her time at your house.

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answers from Charlotte on

The mother seemed confused when you asked her to give back something that she took that didn't belong to her? There's the problem - the mother allows her daughter to do this stuff.

There is no way that this girl will stop stealing while she has a parent who condones it.

You should not let the girl come to your house anymore. When the mother asks why, tell her that her daughter takes things from you and your daughter. Today it may be inexpensive items, but in the future she will be taking important things, expensive things, and it will balloon into shoplifting. Tell her that if she doesn't start working on this with her daughter, that she could end up with a juvie record and worse.

Someone needs to say this to this woman. I hope you have the courage to do it. I know it's hard, but you would possibly be helping this child's future.


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answers from San Antonio on

This is not good and needs to stop---yesterday.

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answers from Chicago on

I have discovered that there are some moms who just won't come to terms with what their children are doing. I've seen moms deny that their child did something...when they just did it in front of everyone and we all saw it!

If your daughter likes playing with this girl then you need to change the way they interact. Meet at a park or a public place where your daughter's toys aren't lying around. If she comes over, usher them outside to play.

We've not had any issues with kids stealing toys, but we have had issues with kids breaking toys. For that reason when my daughter was young, her bedroom was off-limits. We had a tub of toys we brought out that she didn't care if they got broken. We had to lock her bedroom door to keep kids out because when they were young, they'd just go wherever they wanted.

At some of her friends' houses the parents would make the kids play either outside or in the basement. It's your house, you make the rules. If your daughter wants to be friends, then just control the situation.

Also, nothing wrong with making the kids turn out their pockets or looking in their bags before they leave. Often my daughter has put things in her pocket when playing--not to steal but just because she had it in her hand and it was convenient. Then she forgets. I know one time she was playing house with a friend and she stuffed a bunch of Monopoly money in her own purse to play. She forgot about it and when we got home I found her purse full of the money so I had to call the mom and we returned it later. It seems like she's always leaving stuff at her friends' houses (now that she's 10) and I always find something left here after her friends leave!

Good luck!

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answers from Houston on

I wouldn't invite "sticky fingers" over anymore nor her mom. Again, here is another example of lazy parenting.

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answers from Miami on

No, I would NOT encourage this friendship. Personally, I like to allign myself as much as possible with people who are like-minded and have similar values as me. This morther's passive attitude and apparent lack of teaching her child right from wrong and respect would not fly with me at all - I could not be friends with someone like that. That's just me.

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answers from San Francisco on

I would either make it clear to the parent and the child that she is pocketing your items and if you ever find her to do that again, she will not be welcome in your home. OR, I would cut off contact and encourage your daughter to make more wholesome, healthy friends. If the mom is going to be a weenie about it and not stand up to her daughter, you can't do much--she won't back you up. GL


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answers from Nashville on

This is real easy.
Don't invite the child to your home anymore.

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answers from Washington DC on

It would help a lot to know this child's age and how long she's been your daughter's friend, and how close your daughter really feels to her (or not). It's also not clear if the mother is a friend to you or just a "play date mom" whom you know only because your daughers get together occasionally.

If this girl is not in school yet, this can be put down as something she might outgrow, and something you can call her on easily ("Hey, I don't see Sally's doll here -- did you maybe pick it up by accident?" etc.) I have heard here on Mamapedia about moms who end up having kids turn out their pockets at the end of play dates, sadly.

But if she's older (maybe over 6?) this calls for a decision on your part -- Do you let your child continue to play with her? Well, you have only one firm example that the girl stole but also the other cases where she put things into her pockets. Not acceptable, of course, but it sounds like the mom may not back you up. If your daughter does like her otherwise, and there are no other issues with the girl besides her light fingers (in other words, if she's fine other than this one thing), I would have play dates with her but would always limit them to a neutral place -- the park; the bowling alley; the mini-golf course; outside in your yard only; etc.

I'm afraid you missed the boat when you didn't press the mother at least one time about getting back that wooden figure; the mother clearly needs to be pushed to take control of this problem. But that point is past now, and so I'd either direct my daughter to playing with other kids you trust more, and/or limiting play dates to somewhere not inside your house.

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answers from Philadelphia on

This would not be the type of child I would want to have any contact with. Why do want to have this other child near yours? It makes no sense. You are teaching your child proper way to act. Your child witnessing this type of behavior from the other child. Is this the type of negative behavior you want your daughter to repeat??
The other mom for whatever reason is not doing anything. Which is a shame. Don't let her lack of discipline effect your child. At 2 yrs old kids know better not to steal. I would cease all conact with this mom and other child..there is nothing positive about this relationship.

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answers from Phoenix on

You have a few choices here -

1) Continue being passive & let the kid get away with it. You are pretty much choosing to accept the behavior & lack of parenting if you proceed this way.

2) Say something to the mom about the behavior, and the lack of any correction on her part. "Hey, my DD really loves to play with yours, however, she doesn't like when she hides & takes her toys. Can you please talk to your DD & make sure it doesn't happen again?" Or something like that.

3) Just end the relationship. In my experience, people will not change their parenting because someone said something to them. Personally, I had a friend who refused to admit her kids were awful & that would never discipline or parent her kids. Her kids would physically hurt other kids, steal, make fun of them, etc. My friend had the personality that she was always right & everyone else was always wrong. She had a very bad temper, so everyone walked on eggshells around her. It really got to the point of feeling like an abusive relationship. I ended up sending her a very nice email ending the friendship.

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answers from New York on

This would be normal in a very young child. Maybe this girl is delayed for some reason, (this is also normal for a child whose gone through trauma?) Could be a developmental delay or simply a delay because mom treats her like a two yr old??? For now I would treat it the way I would treat a two yr old. "OOOPs did something fall into your pocket?? Let's leave that here so you can play with it next time." (check her pockets when Mom not around.) No blame, no anger, no punishment, just let her know its not OK and she cant take it. If it doesnt get better in six months or other problems arise, or Mom continues to allow inappropropriate behaviors, then look for new playmates. Again it sounds like a developmental delay so have patience for a little longer.

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