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12-Year-Old Daughter Stealing From a Friend

By May 1, 2009

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A mom on the forum looking for support: I just got a call from my 12-year-old daughter's friend's mom. It seems that she stole her friends older sister's iPod when she slept over 2 weeks ago. Then it came out that last week she stole the same friend's hair straightener! When I confronted her about it she said that her friend said she could borrow it and that she only took the iPod to download some music off of it. Both have been returned. But through much ado I got what I think is the truth and that is that she's a thief. You have to understand that I have a 21-year-old son and a 17-year-old daughter. The 21-year-old is a perpetual liar and has given us nothing but grief for many years. My 17-year-old has seen the way my son has treated us and has sworn to not lie, no matter the consequences. She realized the hurt it was causing. I'm afraid that my 12-year-old has seen his behavior as an example to follow. She didn't seem to feel any regret at all for embarrassing me and trashing her own reputation. She really didn't respond until I took away her privileges, including her own hair straightener. Then she got verbally abusive and nasty. She doesn't seem to care that she has ruined a good friendship. At least one. Nobody will trust or believe her anymore. She's actually angry at her friend's mom who felt horrible about calling me. I have the name of a teen counselor and have left a message to set up an appointment. This is breaking my heart. I don't know how I can go through this again with another child. My oldest and I barely speak, I've been seeing a counselor because of my issues with him and now boom here it comes again!

Denise's thoughts: I think you are doing what you can by getting her some help. I do feel you'll need to step up teaching her some more respect for authority and to not be verbally abusive. Hang in there.

Thoughts from our parenting community: Have you had this experience? Can you offer support and advice to this mom? Share your thoughts, opinions and advice in our comments area.

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May 1, 2009 at 10:18 am
(1) JCS says:

This has occurred with my two oldest daughters and looked like it was beginning with my third daughter who learned from them. I think I caught her in time but with my 2 oldest, I have taken everything away, we all attend cousenling, they have no priviledges and they stop lying and stealing for a while and even still, the behavior returns. It is a constant viscious cycle but I keep at it. The episodes are getting less frequent so i am even more determined to punish them for each and every instance and when they are good I reward them. DO NOT GIVE UP!!!!!

May 1, 2009 at 10:18 am
(2) Paula says:

I am so sorry that your 12 yr old is acting out. Its the instant gratification thing. You know that their brains aren’t fully developed until they are at least 25. I think that you are doing the right thing getting counseling, and if it is possible please try not to judge her by her older brother. This is her issue, not his issue. Good luck! Remember you can only control your own behavior not someone else’s.

May 1, 2009 at 11:53 am
(3) Lisa says:

I just visited a WONDERFUL teen counselor with my 13 yr old daughter who has been stealing for over a year, maybe more. It started with her sisters, then me, then eventually with her friends. She too felt no emotion when confronted about the many, many things she stole. She does not even know why she does it. She steals things she doesn’t really want or need. It not only angered me but scared me. The therapist explained that the stealing is an outward reaction to an inside need for additional support and attention right now. I have some work to do and much more learning to do on the subject overall. I sensed this could be the reason because we lead such busy lives and she does often fall thru the cracks when it comes to down time with both mom and dad. This may not be the case for you, but I hope it helps. I recommend finding a counselor who specializes in this type of problem.
Hang in there, it was very painful to think my child could do such a thing to her family and friends. I wish you well.

May 1, 2009 at 1:52 pm
(4) Joe Klemmer says:

I hate to sound like a massive cliche but a lot of this can be traced to the media. There are shows and movies that depict selfishness as the proper thing to do.

May 1, 2009 at 1:59 pm
(5) Joe Klemmer says:

I hate to sound like a massive cliche but a lot of this can be traced to the media. There are shows and movies that depict selfishness as the right thing to do. They used to sat that the 70′s were the “Me Generation” but we had nothing on what our kids are being exposed to now.

Lack of empathy is one of the signs of a sociopath. True sociopaths have biological brain problems so the odds of a kid being one are very slim. But I honestly believe that teens can learn this lack of empathy during the frontal lobe brain shutdown. If it isn’t addressed right away it could take hold and affect them throughout their lives.

May 2, 2009 at 3:37 am
(6) michael says:

I want you to know that every impossiblity is made posible before God. show your children love. confess positive things about them, and make them confess positive things about themselves. have a targeted prayer period for them. show them the difference between their real person and the other life which is not of them. help them to discover their weak points and how to over come it. God is still interested in delivering them from such life and give them a life that will glorify His name and make you parents happy.

May 2, 2009 at 1:12 pm
(7) Lydia D, says:

My heart goes out to parents with rebellious teens having parented one myself; I believe that God gives us a special compassion for those who are going through things you can relate to. There can be any number of reasons why this behavior has exhibited itself, diagnosis is for the specialists. My concern is that you as a parent know you’re not alone. There are two things Iíd like to share: this past week I was counseling with another parent whose son had the same pattern as your child (ren). Her son stole her debit card and took all her money out of her account. Little did I know that I’d face a similar situation? My own son went to work in my car last night, which is normal and but as Iím writing to you now he hasn’t been heard from or returned home as I write to you now. My encouragement is that I know that God has given me peace in this situation and he’s let me know I don’t have to do anything because he’s already taken care of this for me. My encouragement to you is counseling is good and probably necessary but include godly people on your team praying and working with you. Remember what came upon Job was what her feared the most and this may be why you’re facing this again. Take courage, and believe God. Do what you know is right for you and her. You can enjoy the journey and the victory through Christ. Maybe he wants to help you see this situation from a whole nother perspective.

May 4, 2009 at 8:43 am
(8) nana says:

I think many kids go through the “stealing” experience some time or another. I remember my brother when he was 15 yrs old, with the help of his friend, shoplifted some tapes from a music store! it’s not that they couldnt afford it, but I think it’s the pleasure they got from the adventure! My brother now is a very hardworking man with a wife, 2 boys, and 2 jobs!life carries on..the issue is not only stealing but who they steal from..stealing from a friend is more of an issue ofcourse! I think your daughter has some self confidence problems, seeking more attention..I think you should not deal with such a problem with severe punishment..first, talk to her about stealing as a SIN..next from a friendship point of view..My little boy saw some of his friends stuffing his pockets with chocolates, and simply walking out of the shop without paying for them! Having taught my kid to be open and honest with me, he came to me with that story without any econd thought..he even told me he was tempted to do the same, but he had remembered my words about God watching us! So take a deep breath, and try to connect with your daughter before it is too late..Talk to her calmly, show her how much your are disappointed with such behvior..i believe guilt can work miracles! good luck!

May 6, 2009 at 10:45 am
(9) Laurel says:

I sugjest that you sit down with your daughter & explain to her that you get what you put-out! The Karmic rule goes that you get what you put-out x3, so if you put-out negative/bad energy you get that back x3, if you put-out positive/good energy then you get that back x3. There is No way around this! Karma is every-where, reguardles of your beleifs it still finds you! Therfor if you don’t wan’t something to happen/be done to you then you don’t do it to anyone else! I have explained to my daughter that if you stop & consider if (only for a moment) what it is that you are getting ready to do/say ” Is this going to Harm anyone(mind, body, or spirit?) If the answer is yes then you Don’t do it!” It’s that simple. If you want to have privladges & be able to hang out with friends, than you have to earn those privladges! And if you want any-one to want to hang out with you then they need to be able to Trust you. No-one want’s to be friends with some one that they can’t trust!
Explain (like I did) that you gave birth to her because you wanted her Not because you had too. If you are honest with her about how you feel & how she makes you feel & how say her friend felt when all this happened, even if it seem’s that she’s not listning, trust me she is hearing what you are saying to her! It may take a little time for her to adjust but you will see an improvement in your relationship. Best of wishes to you! If you would like you may respond to this or if you found the advice helpful & would like to talk more!?
Blessed Be!

June 19, 2009 at 10:29 am
(10) Child Stealing says:

Stealing is wrong, and the best way to understand it is to examine your childís thinking. Kids who steal often feel entitled to what theyíre stealing, even though they or their parents canít afford it. There is a fierce sense of competitiveness amongst teens and pre-teens these days regarding having the cool stuff, wearing the hip clothes, and sporting hot make-up or accessories. Many kids will resort to stealing as a response to this phenomenon. Sometimes kids even steal for the sense of excitement it gives them, or do it under peer pressure.

July 2, 2009 at 3:49 pm
(11) G says:

My son is fifteen and today he was caught stealing! He has been fingerprinted had a mug shot taken and is banned from the store for five years! As a single mother, I have to say that if you have instilled choices, vaules and respect into the child(ren) life(ives) they are held responsible for there actions! Yes, the issue of trust is a big factor! I too, have had my son to counselors until my eyes bled and my son told them what they wanted to hear and half the time they did not show up I even want as far as to get a Big Brother, that turned out to be a joke! The Big Brother was a pilot for a national air line, spent two weeks with my son and without so much as a word, he vanished! I believe that maybe your child feels hurt and has used this as a cry for help! I called on everyone that will pray for my son and to cast out the works of the enemy. Jesus will help you and make certain to provide strength to you and the rest of the family!

The book of Proverbs is an excellent way to show of what happens when you do not follow the word of God and continue to make bad choices!

I will pray for you!

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