26 answers

Step Daughter Stealing

My 12-year old step daughter stole all my jewelry, make-up and clothing over a 3-month time period. Stupid me, I didn't discover it right away because she "smuggled" a little at a time out of the house on weekends she was with us. Her mother saw all the expensive items (obviously not appropriate for a girl her age) that she brought home and never questioned where they came from. Once she was "outed", she has shown no remorse and not apologized. VERY slowly the items were returned, but only under duress. When asked why she stole, her response was that she doesn't have nice things and it's not fair. She is jealous of the relationship I have with my 17-year old daughter (mine from another relationship) and feels completely justified in her behavior. My husband says he blames himself and that she needs more attention from us. We took her to counseling and the counselor said she has very low self esteem and very inappropriate ideas of what is normal dress, accessories, behavior for a girl her age. He said she identifies with how the girls behave in movies such as "Mean Girls", "Gossip Girls", and other reality shows that she watches with her Mom. This was not and has not been a single instance of stealing. She stole hundreds of dollars of make-up from a dept. store when she was 8, and has also stolen toys from friends. Her mother is no help and says it's not her problem because she is not stealing from her! Her mother does not want her embarrassed or punished. We punished her by taking away TV and having her do extra chores, but when it's every other weekend, it's not that effective. After the long story, here's the questions: (1) How do I teach her that stealing is morally wrong, criminal behavior that will get her into BIG trouble if it doesn't stop; and (2) How do I get past this and learn to forgive her? I'm worried about her and my relationship with her. As a side note, we are quite close and I think she looks up to me and my daughter as role models and friends.

2 moms found this helpful

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So What Happened?™

Thanks so much for all the great responses... I feel so loved!! Here's the latest on the step-daughter situation: Despite the fact that the stealing incident has never been brought up again and discussed, my step-daughter continues to behave really well and we are getting closer every day! Even my 17-year old daughter WANTS to spend time with her and seeks her out for fun outings, etc. My step-daughter even asked me to chaperone her upcoming trip to Cedar Point... we will have a great time together! A few weeks ago she even brought up moving in with us. We are receptive to the idea, but also discussed with her how successful she is in her school now with her friends, grades, activities, etc. It's funny, but last year I could have NEVER imagined having an open, loving relationship with her, but now I feel really lucky to have all of my daughters in my life. Thanks everyone for the great love and advice. I'm forever in your debt!

Featured Answers

Had to send you a quickie email to let you know that I, too had raised all of my children. My youngest on is 23, and my oldest i2 35 THEN----I married a gentleman with triplets!! Age 8!!!!!!!!! I, like you, have had jealousy issues, and their birthmother is a real piece of work!! She is a real piece of wotk!!!!!!!!! I've encountered many "problems" along theway.. The Step-child concept can be very difficult, antbut very excitinb K.

1 mom found this helpful

Parenting Teens with Love and Logic (Updated Book)

http://www.loveandlogic.com/ecom/p-145-parenting-teens-wi...

This link is for the Love & Logic web site. I have 4 teenagers who this teaching has been invaluable for!!

Good luck,
B.

1 mom found this helpful

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T., I am speaking to you Step mom to step mom here. I have a 13 year old step son who does not live with us full time. My first bit of advice is to forgive her. It sounds to me that the root of the problem lies in the mother's way of dicipline (or lack there of). She should have nipped this in the bud when she got caught stealing from a dept. store. Therefore, it is not healthy to continue to be irritated with her for something that sounds much deeper than naughty behavior. Second, when she is at your home, it is a completely different life, along with that comes completely different parenting skills. Therefore, you cna have you rvery own rules and consequences for bad behavior. It may take a bit of time to get used to, but she will eventually come to realize that at dad's house the rules are different and she will respect them. Regardless of how her mother raises her she will have respect for you and your family. I am sure she respects the rules set forth at school. She knows them and accepts that when she walks in those dorrs it is a whole new world. Third, I truly believe that she needs to know the severity of theft. Let her know in the most loving way that if she is ever caught stealing while in your care you will call the police, and DO IT! Nothing will scare her more than a cop at the front door! Fourth, You say that you feel she is jealous of your relationship with your daughter, well dont give her a chance to be! Make special time for just the two of you. Take her on girls nites go to girly movies that are about good role models, take her to concerts, buy her her own nice jewelry, show her that you love her and that you are so happy to have her in your life. You say you married the man of your dreams, and along with that has to come the family of your dreams or you will never make it as a whole. I hope this helps you, Good luck and God Bless.

3 moms found this helpful

Good morning, T.,

Fathers are very important to a child's identity. Fathers were created to show boys how to become men and daughters how to be treated as a woman by the way they treat their mothers. The stealing is indeed a cry for help.

So make sure that your husband takes all his daughters out on a regular basis, including yours. Their should be a "date night," as in do something that both want to do, be it movies, dinner, whatever . . . just time between "Daddy and me." And while you are at it, incorporate a family game night, or something, where no one else interferes with family time.

Treat her like you would treat "your child," meaning that "your child" and "his children" are no longer your children individually. They are your children together. That means that you care for her in the same fashion. So you and hubby need to set down some rules together concerning all your children. Just because you did not birth yourself does not make her any less than your child. So don't treat her any different. The best thing you and your hubbby can do is to give her a stable and loving environment that she can come home to, where there are clear rules.

The situation with her biological mother will not change and until she deal with her own issues. And she will not get the moral training she needs from her until Mom comes to grips with her own moral issues. So don't expect it until the Lord brings her to the place of healing and wholeness.

Now, I don't know if you have a relationship with the Lord, but you will need the Lord to help you navigate through this. Only HE can help you ultimately. All we can do is give you advise on how to proceed. So as with any and everything, cover in prayer. Only God can speak to man's hearts. Only God can reach to the interiors of a person soul.

In all your getting advice, you will need God's direction on what will work for each of your three children.

May the Lord help you through this time.

One last thing, if you and your husband have not sat down and talked through the issues of how to handle the children, then now is a good time to do it. Remind him that all the children are yours and that together each issue must be dealt with.

There indeed alot of unique issues in a "blended family." But by the grace of God, you will make it through.

Be encouraged.

3 moms found this helpful

I think the real issue here is getting down to what your step-daughter really wants, which is to feel taken care of and special. It sounds like spending some extra time with her and going on a shopping spree would be a very appropopraite thing to do to help her see that she can get her needs for nurturance met in a positive way by you. remember how you felt at age 12? It's an age when girls are beginning to explore what they will be like as they mature, and they want to change some of their little girl clothes and things into more mature clothes, begin some makeup and have more teenage firl "things" like jewelry, a purse, more mature shoes, makeup, etc. I think it sounds like your step daughter may be embarrassed by needing to steal to feel closer to you or to get those needs met secretively. Remember, you are the adult and it's up to the adults to anticipate needs of kids, so I wouldn't focus too much on the stealing behaviors that brought about her needs too much. I think if you nail her needs on the head, she will learn she can get those needs met by you and that will bring you two closer again!

2 moms found this helpful

I,ve been thru this. When my step daughter was a teen she did the same sort of thing. I didn't call the police either and I've regreted it since. By not making her realise how wrong the things she did were, she became more and more difficult. Drugs and sex came by fifteen. She is now 23 and has had 3 children. My husband and I are raising her oldest, she lost her middle one to the state and may lose her third to another state. Your daughter needs counseling and fast, before she acts out even more.

1 mom found this helpful

YOU MUST GET BETTER HELP RIGHT NOW! Trust me, I know what I'm talking about. There is a phenononal therapist named Steve Friedman in Woodland Hills, near Corbin that know's how to deal with this. You and your husband should get parenting help, and there is an oustanding therapist named Briar Grossman in Woodland Hills for that. Punishing her will not matter, in fact, to a degree it's just what she wants. She needs to know NOW the impact of her actions on those around her. Act fast, you have a very limited amount of time to effect any change in her world. The fact that she's been doing this for so long should tell you something. Good thing she has a step mom who cares, it sounds like her mom is out to lunch. Good luck

1 mom found this helpful

HER MOM is the problem. HER mom is trying to be her friend and not her mom. It sounds like you are doing everything you can to help. Maybe just ask her if there is anything that she is not getting from you, her dad or her mom. She is obviously crying out for help. Keep doing what you are doing. GOOD LUCK!!!!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi T.. I've had similar issues with my step-daughter. We tried everything from tough love to much love and counseling,too, and much prayer. She was a sweet heart everywhere else except at home, stealing stuff from me and him. Dad had the ultimate say in everything and she knew I had to follow his instructions toward her, but any discipline was all on him. When she got mad and had her hissy fits is when we would find out about stuff, but ultimately, her real issues were 1. she blamed herself for the relationship problems with her Mom, her Dad and me 2. she wanted it to be her, her Mom and Dad to be her family. Her Mom was never married to her Dad, but I am (almost 13 YEARS)and I've been a part of her life since she was 2, but that did not stop her from dreaming that she could some how get them together to be a happily ever after family. We had to have heart - to - heart talks about this once a week or so just to keep her thinking straight about that issue. We also found that having dinner together at the table with no TV helped us all communicate better, and that gave her a sense of belonging to this family. She also dealt with self esteem issues and being a bi-racial young lady, she was picked on at school sometimes. She wouldn't tell us that stuff until she'd get mad, but then it all came out. We bought a puppy and believe it or not that helped her a lot. She had responsibility to take care of him, brush him take him for walks,etc. and this helped her so much. I might suggest a pet of some sort if you can - even a turtle or hampster, something she has that's alive that she has to take care of. Being the youngest sometimes made her feel inferior to every one else, so the pet became the "baby" and we called him that too and since she wasn't the baby any more she felt she belonged. Daddy time is very important, but also, how Dad treats you and her Mom are important. My husband ( & I) didn't like the Mom much, but have never spoken badly about her or with her in our dealings or our conversations about her when my stepdaughter was around. Her age has so much a role in all this. If she gets involved in sports or youth activities, too, that will help to give her a sense of belonging to a group. She just doesn't know where she fits in sometimes going from house to house. Remember, this is the "all about me" age and she doesn't know much about her body changing or why she's having certain feelings. Let her know it's OK to feel what she's feeling, and give her suggestions of how to deal with it. Share with her issues you had at her age and she'll identify with them and also see that you survieved it and turned out pretty good - so she can too. Be patient and loving, but stick to the rules - which - Dad and you and she need to sit down and discuss together. Ask her what she thinks is appropriate for rewards and punishments for what's going on including good and bad grades. An allowance is good if she's done what's expected - like keeping her room clean, doing dishes on her night,etc. with extra for extra stuff like dusting or washing the mirrors, helping with the laundry. It's good training for when she gets out on her own too. If Dad likes to clean the car on Saturday's maybe she could help out and earn a bit extra. Monitor what she's watching on TV and the computer. Eliminate the negative and accentuate the positive. Tell her she's beautiful, strong, smart and a young lady who will be somebody when she grows up! I pray things work out for the best for all of you. :)

1 mom found this helpful

Parenting Teens with Love and Logic (Updated Book)

http://www.loveandlogic.com/ecom/p-145-parenting-teens-wi...

This link is for the Love & Logic web site. I have 4 teenagers who this teaching has been invaluable for!!

Good luck,
B.

1 mom found this helpful

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