Teen Girls Borrowing from Mom....yikes!

Updated on November 05, 2010
B.W. asks from Tarboro, NC
27 answers

I have kids that are in their teens now and two of them are girls. Here's my dilemma....seems that as of late, my teen girls love to come into my room, closet, and bathroom to "borrow" my things. It is kind of random as to what they borrow...make-up, clothes, perfume, body wash or lotion, jewelry. Most of the time, they ask to borrow and I will either say yes or no but one particular item keeps going missing without my permission...my flat-iron. Three months ago I got a $223.00 flat-iron which was a gift to me from a client that I did work for in the beauty supply industry. It is a Croc Coppola Keratin Factor Flat iron and it is big bucks. I love that thing and it really is quite different from other hair tools. It was quite the gift and I’m lucky to have one. I would never buy such a thing on my own because of the expense. Well, my daughters saw this and of course, asked to try it. There's the mistake on my part. Being a nice and giving Mom, I said yes, and then poof...the flat-iron went upstairs to their bathroom and never came back down. I have spoken to them about returning it back to its rightful place in my bathroom yet each time I go to use it....it is upstairs in THEIR bathroom once again. Now I’m getting mad and also wondering how many Moms out there have “borrowing” issues with their teens and if so, what are your rules? Am I making a big deal out of the flat-iron or should these two teens show more respect for my belongings and my areas of space…. my room, closet, bathroom, and their contents. They have two other flat-irons up in their bathroom and they are not “el cheapos” but they are not Croc flat-irons. I know there is a big difference between the irons and the performance factors but do you feel I’m overreacting about my “borrowed” and “missing” flat-iron or do I have a legitimate beef? My kids think I’m acting crazy about it and told me that I need to cool it and stop acting nuts about stuff. Well, pardon the heck out of me, right? I want to know what other Moms think about this situation.

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So What Happened?

Thank you for all of your help, Mom! I did put the foot down and marched upstairs and took back my flat-iron. It is now back in my bathroom where it belongs and no one is allowed to use it unless they ask. It is also not allowed to be removed from my bathroom....EVER! They got the hint right quick. I am looking into buying them a less expensive version for Christmas and that will be given as a gift for both of them to share. Thanks again for all of your advice and for supporting me in regards to my personal things. You empowered me to set better guidelines and lay the law!

Featured Answers



answers from Chicago on

I had the same issue with my daughter (now 20), so I locked my bedroom door....solved all problems

now i have a 3 & 5 yr old girls, I will need a dead bolt for them

More Answers


answers from Albany on

Psssh, if my teenager girl 'told me I need to cool it and stop acting nuts', I'm not sure she'd ever see the light of day again!

Your stuff is YOUR stuff, you are generous even to let them use it. You are RIGHT to make the 'return it to it's spot' rule.

Personally I would find a new spot for it or lock the door to my room.

Only other thing I can suggest is maybe you could give them a chance to earn the money to buy one of their own.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Kalamazoo on

Bottom line is that this is YOUR stuff we're talking about here and they need to show RESPECT for other people's things - even mom's. EVERY time they want to borrow something, they need to ask and return it to exactly where and how they found it.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Woo hoo!.. you will need to make some strict rules.
When you asked them to "return it" and they did not, they lost the privilege of borrowing it again.

Beginning this afternoon, have a discussion about the "RULES of borrowing from mom". Place a lock on your bedroom door if you need to.

I know about this because I used to borrow my moms things, but I HAD to ask at the moment I was taking it and get her permission. Otherwise I had to wait till I could speak with her about it..

It was fine.. There were very few times she said no.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

I'm sure if the situation were reversed and you told them to "cool it and stop acting nuts" regarding THEIR stuff -they would completely flip out! Take your flat iron and explain to them that because it's very expensive AND it was a gift, that it stays in your bathroom. If they want one just like it, they're welcome to get jobs or do house and yard work until they earn the money for it. If they want to use yours, then they can come to your bathroom and use it there!

Make sure you remind them that borrowing an item without permission is called stealing! Yes, you're their mom and it's their house too, but they can't go around borrowing in the future from roommates and the like or it's going to cause lots of trouble. Make it a firm rule that will result in them NEVER getting to use the item again if they don't ask first and return later -no matter what it is. The next thing they'll do is decide your diamond earrings or that special ring your mother gave you look great with a certain outfit and then they'll lose something really important and valuable.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My teenage son was just as bad as any girl! Off course your kids think you are crazy. They are teenagers! But you should take care of yourself.

I'd say use the flat iron in my bathroom or don't use it at all. If they take it out of the bathroom then I'd hide it and make it unavailable for next time.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Ok so you are the mom and said no they need to follow that. You could comprise and say that particular iron has to stay in your bathroom and they can only use on special occasions or fridays or whatever you come up with. I too have two teenish aged girls who borrow things and so I have taken to borrowing their items and not returning them and let the freak out fest begin they have gotten the idea that it is better to ask and put the stuff back now. I just had to do to them without any warning they got the picture pretty quickly. Hope this helps Good Luck!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Sherman on

First of all no I don't think your over reacting at all! My girls have done that to me so many times, there is nothing more aggrevating when you go to use something and its not where it is supposed to be and then you have to go and hunt it down. That really makes me MAD! If they are going to borrow something then they should put it back, we shouldn't have to hunt it down. And then the other thing for them to tell you your acting crazy would make me a little mad to! Maybe if you go to their room and start taking things that they use on a regular basis and putting it somewhere that they have to hunt it down maybe they will understand where you are coming from. And then I would also tell them the next time that your flat iron came up missing that both of theirs would go away and they wouldn't have one to use at all. If you don't do something it will just get worse and then eventually your flat iron will disappear forever or get broke. Teens tend to handle things a little differently, they don't think about the cost because usually mom or dad will replace it so its no skin off their back. Anyway I hope this helps, I know what your going thru!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Huntington on

Set rules!
1. "borrowing" w/o permission is stealing. if it isn't where you left it, and you didn't give anyone permission to borrow it, it is stolen.
2. It is your property, you deserve to have it at your disposal whenever you need it. Teach them moral responsibility. Demand respect!
3. You expect it to stay where you put it, for your convenience.
4. if they want to borrow it on a regular basis when your'e not around, (like they want to use it to get ready for school, when you've already left for work, you must give them blanket permission.
5. You expect it to be used in your bathroom, (without messing up your bathroom!), or returned immediately after use.
6. if they can't abide by these rules, the priviledge of using your things will be taked away. they are free however to get jobs, and buy their own .
7. you may need to put a lock on your bedroom/bathroom door, if they don't show you more respect. Warn them that is an option, but you'd rather trust them to treat you & your property more respect.
8. don't make idle threats. Once you have said something, enforce it!
9. Last resort is reporting them to childrens court as an unruly minor. I did that to one of dd when she was 16. It worked like a charm! but it doesn't sound like your situation is nearly that bad.

After reading the other posts, I'd like to add a few more words.
Yes, it's about respect, not the Croc!
Several people mentioned taking their things to show 'em how it feels. While this may drive the point home that you don't like it, it doesn't give the example of respect! And locking the room, as several suggested, including myself, well, that is only after you have tried unsuccessfully to teach respect. But I wouldn't try that as a primary solution. It is much better if they learn respect and you can trust them, rather than locking things up as if you lived in a "bad" neighborhood, where you couldn't trust anyone!
BTW, I have 7 grown kids, 4 of them dd's & 12 grandkids. So know what worked & what didn't.
When my kids were growing up we all shared one bathroom. Anything left in the bathroom was indeed, considered community property, with the exception of toothbrushes. Anything privatly owned, that someone wanted to keep to themselves, was kept in their rooms. Their rooms were considered sacrosanct! I didn't go in, even to clean, the girls were responsible for keeping their own room clean, as were the boys. I respected their privacy and so they respected mine. This taught them responsibility, as well as trust and respect. Ocessionally, I had to warn them that if I couldn't find something of mine, I might have to search rooms. or call the police & report it stolen, but that rarely happened.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

We have implented that the girls are not allowed in our bedroom without permission, they must knock on the door when it is closed and when it is open they know not to go in there without asking. Maybe this will stop the borrowing without permission behavior.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Well I did borrow my mom's stuff as a teen, but she was single so I just went to her room/bathroom if I wanted, so I don't know how that would work for a married mom. But I do think it is fine if they want to use it but they should ask and return it. Because I had such a free for all with my mom, which I loved, I was not really prepared for the shock of roomates in college. Living in a small two bedroom dorm with 5 girls after growing up not having to worry about just using whatever I wanted was a shock!! I had the idea that whatever was around was fair game because I didn't mind if people used my stuff. This cause me a lot of trouble until I learned to respect people's boundaries and ask to use things and return them after use. So I think if you make them learn this now, you are saving them trouble later. Good luck!!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

There are things people are willing to share, and there are things people are not willing to share. And some things are on an incident by incident basis.
(They can always ask. Sometimes the answer is yes, other times it's no.)
It's perfectly fine for you to be able to draw where that line is.
And boundaries are something your girls need to learn about and respect.
Plug locks can cure a multitude of ills concerning all things electrical.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boise on

I used to borrow from my mom too. I would teach them about respect. They didn't ask to borrow the item, and they didn't return it. I would punish accordingly. I don't think that you are over-reacting, you need to establish your boundaries. If you don't mind them using it, set a rule that they must use it in your bathroom. If they don't return other items, they are banned from your closet for X amount of time, etc.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My almost 16 yr old does borrow things from me on occasion. Most of the time, it is no issue AS LONG AS IT IS RETURNED TO IT'S PROPER SPOT.

If I have to go get something, she loses the priviledge of borrowing it. This has happened once.

I don't use a flat iron and she has her Chi so that one is not an issue. She uses my belts, body lotions, etc. We use the same brand of shampoo/conditioner and shave gel. So far, after the one time when I followed through on her losing the priviledge, she is really good about asking and returning things.

I keep a stash of favorite products so when her shampoo/conditioner is low, she can refill her bottles in my room.

A lot of it is "teen" years and I try to take that into consideration before I am too tough on her.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Biloxi on

It is a respect and boundary issue. Put a lock on your bedroom and bathroom door so they cannot access your things. Don't tell them - just do it. Yeah, its a pain to have carry a key to your own room around with you - but they will get the point. Then you can have a dialogue with them about respect and boundaries.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

my step daughter used to do that (i did it as a child). What my mom did for that...bought a front door knob with a key lock and locked her room up ENTIRLEY. if i wanted something SHE went and got it, did what i wanted done her self IF she wanted to-clothes were not a problem, what i did to my step daughter...i quit giving her permission, if she borrowed without permission, i would take away what she took (shoes for ex, she LOVES to wear my shoes, we have stickers in our yard, if she takes my shoes without permission then i make her take them off and give them back REGARDLESS where she is, only took once for that sounds mean but it worked.

this is yours, you are not over reacting if they want to borrow, they need to return it...do they get allowance? if so try this, they can borrow it, but there will be a "fee" and for every day that it's not returned, there is intrest added on that will come out of their allowance, if they don't get allowance, then it'll come out of their christmas fund, they need to learn they cannot borrow with out returning without suffering penalities...will be a good life lesson

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fayetteville on

I do not have girls nor do I have teenagers yet....however, I was a teenage girl and my mom would let me borrow her things, BUT I had to ASK! I knew my boundaries. Sounds like your girls need a dose of boundary training....maybe you should start taking their things randomly:) Seriously, they do need to understand boundaries and that they are crossing your personal space. Set a time to speak to them that is NOT attached to a particular incident. I would also put them on notice that unless your flat iron is returned in the same condition that it was the last time you saw it, they are going to have to come up with a way to replace it.
I do have 3 boys all under the age of 12....obviously they don't borrow many of my things, but they DO understand and respect my boundaries. For instance, if my door is closed, they do NOT come in the room, they do NOT go through my purse to see if I have gum, they do NOT walk in and change the channel on the TV if I have left the room and was watching something.

I don't think you have selfish or bad children, I think they just need some gentle (or not so gentle depending on severity) training and reminders on respect of others and their belongings.

Good Luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I don't think you're overreacting at all. It sounds like they need some consequences for not respecting your personal space and boundaries. If they don't ask to borrow or don't return an item right away, maybe they lose the privilege of borrowing it for a while, or maybe they have to pay a "rental fee/fine" just like you would if you returned something late. Then you can put it in a special account to pay for a new flat iron if they wreck yours! Or if they do well with positive reinforcement, maybe there's a way for them to "earn" a flat iron like yours -- they put in some of the money, and if they're respectful with your things you match their contributions, or something like that.
PS If there's a positive spin to this, at least they think you're stylish enough to want to borrow your things -- I wouldn't have been caught dead with any of my mom's stuff when I was a teen! LOL

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I am also experiencing similar problems with my 14 yr old daughter who uses my jewelry, make-up, hairdryer, shoes, etc. And when I'm trying to get ready for work in the AM, or whatever, it's missing - and always located in her room. When she began using our bathroom we expereinced the same thing with our big bathsheets, shampoo, mess on the vanity, etc.

It is infuriating to have to take time out of my day to chase down stuff she's misappropriated. I think the thing that is most frustrating is that it shows a completel disregard for us as the parents. It's as if they are stating in bold letters "The only thing that matters to me is my, my needs & desires - youdon't matter at all". I don't think that is how they feel - but they are still wearing their social skills training wheels and trying it all out on family - and we moms tend to get the brunt of it all. Like verything else I don't take it personally - but it does have to be addressed.

Teens are VERY self-centered. I remember reading this is adolescent psych years ago in college and I couldn't relate to it becuase I was still so close to being one. Now I completely understand.

I too am at a loss as to the best way to respond to these situations but have been thinking about "borrowing" some of her treasured things leaving them in my room, etc - and see if she "gets it". Of course, the other option is to hide your stuff - but who has time for that?

Meanwhile, I'm curious about the flat iron. My daughter straightens her hair most days - and wants to spend big bucks getting it "permanently" straightened in salon. She doesn't have coarse curly hair, it's mildly wavy and fine - so it does straighten well. What is so different and better about this Croc straightener? I'd rather see her spend her babysitting and Christmas money on something she can use over & over than to spend it on a one time thing that will only last a couple of months.

Anyway - I am eager to see the various responses here to see if I can add them to my arsenal. ;o) We moms have to stick otgether!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lexington on

You are totally allowed to have boundaries. In fact, if you don't they may very well grow up with an entitlement attitude expecting everyone to give them what they want and believing its ok to be angry when others have boundaries and say,"no". Personally, I would totally nip it in the bud, explaining that my things are my things, taking my things without my permission or after I've said no is stealing, and as such from now on the consequences of doing so would be X. Past that, I'd lock my stuff up if it came to it, and start taking THEIR things away systematically until the behavior changed and not only where they respectful of me as an individual, their mother, and an authority figure, but also grateful for what they DO have instead of demanding more.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do! Be strong, mom!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on



answers from Washington DC on

this isn't a flat-iron issue, this is about boundaries and respect. you don't have enough of either. it's easier of course if this is a lifelong attitude that the entire family encompasses, but it's never too late to start.
you absolutely have a legitimate beef. your stuff is your stuff, and the girls must learn to respect your space, to ask, and to take care of what's been borrowed. this is how adults behave. if they don't learn this, they will have many unpleasant awakenings ahead of them.
but you need to have a ground-up restructuring of the family's concept of courtesy and privacy. it sounds like you have an uphill battle.
good luck.



answers from Pittsburgh on

I don't have teen girls but I think the real issue is that mothers give SO much of themselves that it feels like a real betrayal when O. off-limits thing can't be "yours" and "yours alone". We are so used to giving that when we don't--they're stunned and think you're playing. So little of a mom's stuff is really "hers."

If I were you, I'd march up there, get it and CHAIN it to your own bathroom wall and if they insist on using it, at least it will still be in it's rightful place.



answers from Fayetteville on

I have not read any of your responses so sorry if this is a repeat. I would go and buy them the stuff they are borrowing, except the expensive flat iron! Buy them a cheaper 1 for them! Before you go shopping with them have a meeting with them and tell them why you are taking them shopping and from this day forward they are no longer allowed to use any of your stuff in your room, nor are they allowed in your room without permission! It may sound "rude" or "mean" but if you don't put your foot down they will ruin your stuff and that is all there is too it! Good Luck



answers from Nashville on

I wouldn't have ever let them take it upstairs to begin with. IF I let them use it, it would have been ME using it on their hair but honestly I might not have even done that b/c then, as you know, they would want to use it again. Personally I would tell them that they are to return your items immediately and until they do they can consider themselves grounded. You have to put your foot down. It is one thing to be a cool mom but another to be taken advantage of.



answers from New York on

You are fortunate to only have two girls. I have had three girls, a mother, a sister and an aunt all under one roof at the same time. Growing up we were not allowed to "borrow" without asking because that is stealing not borrowing. My mother demanded respect from us in every way and got it. In my house I expect the same thing. There is no taking my things without asking and the household personal preference is to have your own things.

Create a new standard of RESPECT in your home. No longer permit them to use the expensive gift item. I find it really rude of them to make such assumptions regarding the use of your things. If they intend on going to college they will have a roommate and this behavior will not be tolerated. Prepared them for the future and dish out huge penalties for "borrowing without asking and not returning your things in a timely fashion". This will go a long way to nipping this in the bud.

My girls hate when I have to go off on them with my mouth. So I do what works and this eliminates any of the borrowing of my things.



answers from Chicago on

I agree with Suz, this isn't really about a flat iron, but about respect and doing what you have said as their mother. What they are doing does show a lack of respect and even them telling you that you are acting crazy...to cool it...stop acting nuts is out of line. There should be boundaries set and kept.

I have a teen daughter and sometimes it helps put things in perspective when they experience what you are experiencing. Personally, I wouldn't talk to them about it anymore. It is your house...all the bathrooms in that house are your bathrooms. I would go get my flat iron myself and lock it somewhere. Then, I would take one thing at a time that was valuable to each of them...let them search for it for a while...until you feel they can understand how their actions made you feel. Then, I would sit down and discuss that with them along with clarifying boundaries and your expectation of them to respect those boundaries and any future consequences. Like I said, sometimes they don't really get it until they are in your shoes, when it can reasonably be done. This isn't anything that will scar them for life, but a good life lesson and hopefully help them appreciate all that you have made available to them...evoke some appreciation.

Wish you the best!

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