to threaten to tell her friends and her school?

(153 Posts)
Mimishimi Wed 20-Feb-13 01:38:49

We've had three incidents of petty theft with our twelve year old daughter recently - two suspected and one confirmed. She has only been openly caught in one - the first. My DH found her with money that she admitted, after lying about at first, that she took from her grandmother (!!!). It was the equivalent of ten pounds. She has come back to Australia to attend a selective high school here and some of her school friends are those from her selective primary class that she attended for 1.5 years.

Just over a week ago, I had twenty dollars go missing from my wallet. She had seen me withdraw sixty the day before. That morning she had woken up earlier than me and asked for lunch money, which I refused because she had time to make lunch. When I fully woke up, I asked her by text what she had taken for lunch and she said a sandwich - however, there was no evidence of her having made a sandwich left on the bench and she always leaves evidence. So I checked my wallet and discovered the twenty missing.I went over all my spending from the previous day to account for everything and was fairly certain that she either took it or that it fell out of my wallet, it was not spent. She denied taking it when I texted her and when she came home from school. Since it had been gusty the night before, there was a slight chance that it had blown out of my wallet (never had the problem before) so we decided to give her the benefit of the doubt after questioning her most of that day.

This morning was almost the same situation. She woke up at 6:15, I woke up at seven. When I woke up, she complained that there was no bread to make a sandwich so she had to make a salad. I went to the freezer and pulled out a loaf of bread (she knows to look there if there is none in the fridge). All there was on the bench were a container of lettuce leaves and no evidence of cut tomatoes, carrots etc. Two minutes later, at 7:05, she said "Ok, I'm going to go to school now" which is at least ten to fifteen minutes earlier than she usually does. I told her to wait and I went and checked my wallet. It was cleared out and eight dollars was missing. I still had the receipt from Monday evening for the twenty I gave the cashier in cash for $12.00 worth of groceries and I am certain it was in there still last night as I didn't buy anything with cash yesterday (it's Wednesday morning here). I asked her and again she denied taking it (in a very flat monotone 'bored' sort of voice which is the tone of voice with which she denied it last time). I told her to go but in retrospect, I probably should have done a bag and pocket search immediately. She has not answered my texts and has refused to take phonecalls from either myself or my husband all morning.This time I don't have much doubt that she took it and she probably did the last time also. There has been no hint of contrition from her, not even the first time, but more of a snarliness that she has been caught out. She genuinely seems to think she is entitled to the money.

I have already confiscated her Mac and she will have no access to the iPad, both of which she needs to complete a school project that she's been doing with her friend (who has been coming over in the afternoons) and which is due tomorrow (a video assignment which she's been recording with the iPad so the files are on there and she wants to edit it on the Mac tonight). I texted her that she will not be getting them back until she confesses and apologises. I also texted that if she refuses to do so by the end of the day, I will be calling the school and telling them that we are experiencing some petty theft from her. I really am genuinely concerned that if she can do it to her own grandmother, let alone us, she might do it to classmates. I then texted that if a confession and apology is not forthcoming by the end of the week, I will be emailing all the friends whose email addresses I have and telling them the same.

So this comes to my AIBU question. My DH is concerned that the last two threats might be going overboard and might permanently ruin her reputation for what is apparently a common problem with pre-teens and teenagers ( I can genuinely say that I never stole money off my parents although I did raid the lolly jar once and tried to lie about it - DH says he never stole money but his brother did). His suggestion was that I go to the school and threaten to pull her out of school for three days if she does not confess but I don't see how that would be effective? There is no shame involved in that for her and I could potentially get her into trouble for not sending her to school without an adequate explanation. Do you think the threats to tell the school and her friends are unreasonable?

More importantly, what on earth do I do about the stealing and the denial of it? She was a very truthful little girl, could be relied upon for it, and it's absolutely breaking my heart.. She does get pocket money and lunch money once a week although I've been a bit lax about it the past couple of weeks because we've only just come back from Hong Kong (where she attended school for six months to try it out).

dickiedavisthunderthighs Wed 20-Feb-13 01:46:27

At this stage I'd be less worried about making threats and more worried about why she's taking the money. She sounds like the new girl at school; is she being bullied ?
Can you help her make her lunch the night before? She's only twelve, I'm pretty sure I wasn't rooting around in freezers for bread at 6.30am so
I could have some lunch.

dickiedavisthunderthighs Wed 20-Feb-13 01:46:59

At her age I mean.

squeakytoy Wed 20-Feb-13 01:50:11

Whilst threatening to tell her classmates and teachers may scare the living daylights out of her, I really would not go ahead and do it. Children can be nasty and cruel, and would never let her forget it, making the rest of her schooldays a misery. Do you really want that for her?

Lots of kids push boundaries by taking money at that age.. it isnt good, but it certainly isnt unusual or the end of the world.

Make sure your purse is kept somewhere safe, dont leave loose change lying around that could be a temptation.

Can you give her money for her lunch on a daily basis? Maybe she wants to be with her friends at lunchtime rather than on her own as the case may be.. talk to her and find out what the problem is and WHY she needs the money, rather than interrogating her and making her clam up.

deleted203 Wed 20-Feb-13 01:50:44

Oh gosh. Really feel for you. I don't know what to advice, TBH. I don't think you can pull her out of school for three days. What would be the point? She probably wouldn't care - it would presumably be better than you phoning the school to tell them about the theft.

It's unhelpful now, but yes - you should have done a bag and pocket search. For now I would be sleeping with my wallet under my pillow so that she can't raid it for money whilst I'm asleep. I think you and DH need to sit down with her this evening and have a long talk with her. There may be reasons she is taking the money - good or bad. Perhaps she's being bullied or threatened. Or perhaps she's buying alcohol/cigarettes/something else she knows you won't approve of. Perhaps she's 'buying' friends or trying to look cool if she's just back in a different school.

I think I would sit down (the three of you) and simply say that you know she is stealing - and that you want to know why. What is the money for? It might be a first step in finding out the entire story of what's going on.

Good luck.

deleted203 Wed 20-Feb-13 01:52:14

x posted with everyone else - but we all have the same thoughts. Why does she need so much money every day?

Mimishimi Wed 20-Feb-13 01:54:05

Ahh,wel,l the lunchmaking was her choice really, she complained that she didn't like to take leftovers from dinners (what I would usually pack for her lunch the next day) and that she preferred sandwiches (which I don't really like making). She knows that if she sticks the bread in the microwave for 30 seconds, it's completely defrosted so that she can make a sandwich. We have tried to encourage her to make her lunch the night before.

We did think that the first incident, in Hong Kong, might have been due to her being a new girl at the school and my dad (a teacher) also thought this might be the case. So we didn't come down very harshly on her after the first day. Yet here, she's got a good group of at least seven girlfriends whom she knew before at her primary school here so fairly sure that it is not peer pressure. Is twelve really considered young to make your own lunch? - I was definitely making mine by age eight (and that of my youngest brother) but that's because my mum had a chronic illness. By twelve, I was making dinner for all of us too about three nights of the week ...

a 12 year old shouldn't be able to make a sandwich!? that's ridiculous dickie I was cooking family dinner so at that are, you were very lucky. Op i would not tell school just yet, it might make everyone treat her badly will make everything worse

Greensleeves Wed 20-Feb-13 01:56:42

Is she feeling a bit mixed up and discombobulated with the moving and changing schools? Often when children steal they are showing off and trying to impress a new peer group. Is she confident socially? Is she under pressure academically and struggling because of the disruption? I don't wish to be rude, but I notice you point out that two of her schools have been "selective" - is her performance at school especially important to you?

Not enough information to really understand what is happening for her. But definitely don't tell her friends, that would make everything worse. I would talk to her and try to find out what the problem is and make sure she knows she can come to you with anything. That truthful little girl is still in there, this is behaviour which is happening for a reason.

also I think your dh is wrong, I don't think stealing is normal at all

deleted203 Wed 20-Feb-13 01:57:40

I'm not worried by making your own lunch. Mine could all do so at this age. I think you need to find out what the money is going on, though.

Greensleeves Wed 20-Feb-13 01:58:14

agree there is nothing wrong with her making her own lunch, "rooting in the freezer" sound like scavenging in the bins! A 12yo needs some responsibilities. Making own packed lunch is entirely appropriate IMO

Mimishimi Wed 20-Feb-13 02:12:14

Her performance at school has largely been self-driven ... we didn't even know about the test for the selective primary school until she came home and said it was something she wanted to try out for. In other ways, she's great when it comes to doing homework, extra studies etc. I just mentioned it to show that she's in with a good group of children (they are) and that she definitely does have quite a few friends at her new school. Fairly sure she must be taking the money for food from the canteen as this was also the case when she took it from DH's mum. What is upsetting me is that she is denying it without even trying to sound offended or indignant (which she normally would if I wrongfully accused her of something) and that she is not just coming across the money on top of a bookshelf or something... she is opening up my handbag, opening my wallet, unzipping the zipped section and taking it without asking. I do realise that I shouldn't leave her open to temptation by leaving money around but a bit hard if she's actively searching for it. I usually wake up at six so it's definitely an opportunist thing for her which is also quite disturbing....

SashaSashays Wed 20-Feb-13 02:17:25

Stealing at this sort of age is very very common, it's pushing boundaries and a sort of form of rebellion in lots of cases (but does usually have a root cause). Some children take to lots of answering back or staying out late, you may not have stolen but may have rebelled in alternative way.

I don't think there is anything wrong with the sandwich making, although getting it made the night before might be a better route. However, the dislike of taking leftovers, the not seeming to want to make or take a sandwich, sounds as if she is trying to avoid taking lunch from home.

Obviously the stealing is wrong but I think it's important to really try and establish what she is spending the money on as I would say there in lies a lot of answers. Is it that her friends are all buying lunch or something after school and she wants to as well (I know packed and bought lunches sit separately at my kids school)? This extra money isn't being tipped down the drain so you need to find out where. I not stall saying that is a justifiable reason for theft but to a 12 year old girl issues like that can be blown out of all proportion.

I also think you are coming down a little hard and not in the right way. Focus on punishments within the home and that you can control. Humiliating her to her friends or the school will have repercussions beyond your control and knowledge. You can't predict if it will mean she loses friends or carries this around with her for years. Also think you should give supervised usage of the iPad for her school work, that shouldn't suffer. I would remove privileges at home and do things like grounding, paying back the aunt with her pocket money. Writing an apology to you and her grandmother. I'd also attempt to have a heart to heart with her, ideally without being angry and interrogating her, to find out what the actual issue is, where is the money going, then I would explain sanctions and express that reoccurrence will result in more severity.

ripsishere Wed 20-Feb-13 02:26:57

I wouldn't jeopardize her school project by taking the computer away.
I would be sitting down and asking her why she's been pinching your cash.
I was not a thief, but if I ever found the odd 10p laying around our house. It was mine.

IneedAsockamnesty Wed 20-Feb-13 02:40:42

Simple things you can do like don't leave temptation around. Talk to her about the age of criminal responsibility in the country your in, remind her that after that age she can and will be arrested even if its family she's stealing from.

Every time she steals make it directly impact on her stuff like "can I have bus fare/lunch money/pocket money/ money to go shoppping with friend mum" "no,I have no money as it was stolen from my purse"

If you have prepay meters for electric and she steals then she can't use electrical stuff above and beyond what's absolutely needed because now your broke and can't put any electric on.

Anything that drums into her that what she takes deprives the whole family and herself but obviously make sure its cost tied I.e she takes 8 then something else that costs 8 dollars can't be brought she takes 20 then a thing costing 20 dollars or less cant be brought and so on.
She wants a new skirt look in purse if money's been stolen then its "oh shit I can't buy that for you,my money's been stolen again.

When its stealing of other people outside your house like grandmother then do the face to face shame make her apologise and return.

But for Christ sakes wtf are you doing hounding her with calls and if you don't do this threats whilst she's at school?. Why would you pull her out of school and stop her going until she fesses up or ban her doing homework??? Equally as such why would you involve her school in the matter unless she has stolen from school or you were intending to get her a school councillor,because doing those things makes no sense at all. Why would you think it will achieve anything?

Mimishimi Wed 20-Feb-13 02:57:31

She leaves at 7:20 normally. The texting had finished by 9am which is when she started school. I guess I am hoping that the pressure of not handing in a joint assignment will lead to her confession/apology after which she will definitely get the computer back. Not fair on her friend who is lovely though, I know.

Gingerodgers Wed 20-Feb-13 03:09:22

Ok, I did this when I was her age. My parents sat us all down for a serious discussion about how money was going missing, and they wanted to check whether or not it was us before they called the police to investigate the thefts, as it was extemely serious. Of course we fessed up, were punished, and never did it again. Of course kids nowadays may not be quite so afraid about the cops coming round, but it is one of the few times in my childhood, that I felt really awful. Incidentally, there was no reason to take the money, other than to buy sweets! Good luck.

mathanxiety Wed 20-Feb-13 04:37:01

You can't stop her from doing her project -- on top of the fact that it is her homework there is no way the friend should have to turn up in school with no work to show because of your DD's behaviour. You should give her back what she needs for the homework for as long as she needs it. You could take it away afterwards maybe?

You shouldn't have threatened to call the school or email the friends either. Next time you should think a bit before you inflict punishments that are going to be very hard to enforce.

Have you taken a look at what she does on the computer btw?

6 months is a lifetime for a girl of 12. The sands of friendship can shift dramatically in under a week -- 6 months away and she might as well be returning to a completely new set of girls.

Sunnysummer Wed 20-Feb-13 05:02:12

A slightly different view - do you know what she is spending it on? Because the stealing could certainly be a 'cry for help' type thing, but also could be:

1. like a certain awful 13 year old who once took cash from her mum's purse because she felt like her pocket money wasn't enough to cut it with her new friends who bought lunch every day and new clothes every weekend, and felt like she 'deserved' it (still full of shame when I think of my hard-working and underpaid mum, who instead of getting angry, cried and apologised that we were so poor, which was the most awful guilt trip ever, and a very good incentive to get a weekend job)

2. If it's food focused, stealing money for food was one of the first signs of my cousin's bulimia at the same age - although no-one spotted it at the time, as they thought the real problem was the theft.

As a totally clueless ftm i don't have any suggestions for how to deal with it (although if she is just being bratty, the guilt trip is certainly effective!) but without being too alarming, did want to share my cousin's story in particular hmm Good luck and hope it all works out

sashh Wed 20-Feb-13 05:59:18

Mimishimi

Your child is in pain. Not physical, but psychological.

She left Australia 1.5 years ago, you don't say where she went, or if you and dh were with her, then she has been in Singapore for 6 months. Now she comes back 'home' and you are lax with giving her pocket money.

And you wonder why she is stealing? Be thankful it is money and not alcohol/drugs.

As for taking the mac so she can't do a school project - wtf? Who punished their child by stopping them from handing in work?

Mimishimi Wed 20-Feb-13 06:15:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HecateWhoopass Wed 20-Feb-13 07:30:32

I think it is unacceptable that she is taking money and it has to stop, obviously.

But I think you need to try to understand why she is doing it.

She's new. Does having sandwiches mark her out in any way? Does she want to befriend a group of people who have school dinners? Do the other children have cash and she's feeling 'poor'? Is she finding it hard to cope with all the changes? Is there something she needs money for that she's not able to tell you about? etc etc.

At 12, she may not be able to approach you and tell you what's wrong and have a mature discussion about her grievances. It's down to you to find out what they are.

Don't just punish her, get to the bottom of her behaviour. When you understand WHY she's doing it - you will know the best course of action to take.

SminkoPinko Wed 20-Feb-13 07:42:45

why can't she just have lunch money? are you strapped for cash?

ll31 Wed 20-Feb-13 07:44:26

i think while its wrong to take money you need to focus on why and stop coming up ways to humiliate her tbh. also using blackmail to get her to admit to something is just wrong... immoral even. what would it mean, if you come up with an even nastier threat to make her admit it, she does- what have you gained? talk to her to find out why, stop the threats

ll31 Wed 20-Feb-13 07:45:46

also stop texting her all the time

GreatUncleEddie Wed 20-Feb-13 07:52:54

Do you want to get her name deleted from that last post?

Mimishimi Wed 20-Feb-13 07:57:17

No, not strapped for cash, more a health choice. Kids who eat exclusively from the tuckshops here are usually quite overweight. We'd much rather she take a sandwich, some salad, some fruit than eat a pie, chips and a packet of crisps. She has been allowed lunch money once a week up to now but I haven't given it the past couple of weeks.

She's home now. We had a shouting session for about two minutes during which she continued to deny and then she stormed upstairs.

diddl Wed 20-Feb-13 07:58:03

Blimey all this angst!

I agree with asking why.

But, hey she might just be doing it because she can!

If she´s being bullied because she doesn´t have money-that´s awful-but why should OP give her money just so that she "fits in"?

diddl Wed 20-Feb-13 08:00:55

Well I think that you have to let it go now & start afresh.

Don´t leave your purse where she can get it.

Give her whatever amount you feel comfortable with per week.

And she makes her own lunches accordingly.

fieldfare Wed 20-Feb-13 08:01:55

I don't think you ought to stop her doing her project, that's completely unfair to her and her friend. Stealing is a separate thing entirely to school and I think you should stop thinking in terms of humiliating her too. All it will achieve is alienating her and shutting down any communication you might have.

Ask her why she's stealing as you know it's her. Ignore any denials and discuss appropriate punishments and chores she can do to "pay it back". Also talk about any chores she can do to earn the money that she feels she needs.

TheFallenNinja Wed 20-Feb-13 08:12:12

You might try moving from being investigator / inquisitor / judge and jury and move the perspective.

The more you do this the more she will feel compelled to lie.

I'm not playing down the seriousness but the punishment of telling friends and teachers seems excessive.

You need as a matter of urgency find out where the money is going, confrontation won't get this info so you may need to tread lightly. I'm sure she understands that it is wrong and sure she feels ashamed but now may be the time to take the upper hand, get on side and help her deal with this.

Rehabilitation is the key.

I stole money from my mother once and she went down this road but after a good pasting with a dog lead she told my friends and school which gave me years of problems and I can say without a moments hesitation that because of this, she is the only person in this world that I truly hate, as soon as I was old enough I was gone and didn't go back. That was 30 years ago.

HollaAtMeBaby Wed 20-Feb-13 08:17:21

I wouldn't give her any punishments that could impact on her school grades . Think you should focus on waiting until she does it again (tempt her to do it if necessary) and next time don't let her leave home without a full bag/shoe/pocket search. Once you've actually caught her red-handed, you can deal with it.

Can't believe people saying that she is stealing because she is in "pain" and that she shouldn't have to make her own packed lunch! At her age this could be really serious if she gets caught doing it outside the home.

RedHelenB Wed 20-Feb-13 08:20:54

Can't you just give her lunch money instead of sandwiches ?

Mawgatron Wed 20-Feb-13 08:26:00

I was AWFUL at that age - mum calls it my black phase. Used to steal, fight with parents all the time, sneak out to meet older boys etc. I grew out of it, and have a brilliant relationship with my family now, but I used to nick things all the time. Oh, and I would deny it till I was blue in the face, and make up ridiculous lies if I got found out.
It sounds stupid, but the thing that stopped me would be when I couldn't get at mums bag. Could you take your purse to bed with you? I know you shouldn't have to, but it would work?
I know people are saying 'I never did that', but a lot of people did, and I do think it is a form of rebellion in some way. Don't despair, it will get better.

If its about lunches, maybe she feels silly taking in leftovers or manky bread? Can you ask her what she would eat in a pack lunch and buy it in each week?
Ds started taking odd bits of money and for us it was a wake up call that he needed an allowance. No more problems. And yes, he did get told off too.

I stole money from my mum too. I am ashamed of it now, but back then it felt like a little thing I could do to stand up to her as I had no control over any other part of my life. (Moving around, changing schools, clothes being bought for me etc).

There is such a desire to fit in at that age and if she is the only one taking sandwiches it makes sense to me that she would want money for dinners.

frogspoon Wed 20-Feb-13 08:42:29

She has been allowed lunch money once a week up to now but I haven't given it the past couple of weeks.

So a couple of weeks ago you stopped giving her money. And around the same time she started stealing money. Coincidence?

Poor kid. You made her move to a school thousands of miles away, moved her back as she was miserable, and took away her lunch money for no reason. She is now rebelling and you are threatening to tell her friends, alienating her from the people who are currently most important to her.

I think you need to get her to 'fess up, apologise, do her punishment etc, but after that is completed the lunch money also needs to be reinstated as a separate thing. Also, if you have taught her about good nutrition/ health she should not have a problem choosing a lunch that is both moderately healthy and cool. If she is having a healthy breakfast and dinner at home with you, a few unbalanced meals won't do too much harm.

diddl Wed 20-Feb-13 08:42:55

I would check that she is still wanting to take sandwiches & give a little money to supplement.

Here the "tuck shop" sells filled cobs, fruit & drinks.

Mine always took their own mid morning snack (home for lunch) or pocket money if they wanted to buy from the tuck shop or crap from the shops on the way home.

Amazing how keen they were to keep making their own snack/grab fruit to take rather than dip into their own money!

weegiemum Wed 20-Feb-13 08:51:42

My dd1 is 13, just! In first year of High School (in Scotland).

We came up with a school-meals plan that's worked really well (as it relies on bribery!).

School dinners are £2.50 a day for her. She can leave the school for the local area twice a week. So on Monday she gets £12.50 - enough for a school dinner every day. If she chooses to make a packed lunch, we're not asking for money back. She probably takes sandwiches 2x/week, eats out 2x/week and has a school dinner 1x/week. The money left over gets spent on a cup of tea from a nice wee cafe on the way to school, or a bag of crisps after school, or (more often than not) goes into her savings!

I didn't steal money from my parents but at 12 I was stealing food, my mum had recently run off and I was struggling. I don't think you should humiliate her, but I do think you need to find out what's happening. We've chosen to give our dd1 flexibility and accountability - would that work for your dd? And my 2 younger dc (ds is 11, dd2 is 9) are both still at primary (hooray, ds has a year and a half before High School) and both make their own lunch every evening. 12 is definitely not too young to be making a sandwich (in face ds makes an awesome bolognaise!).

VivaLeBeaver Wed 20-Feb-13 08:57:09

I stole some money from my mums purse at the same age. It was wrong and mum went ballistic but I didn't turn out to be a bad person. Mum did get a locking, metal box that she kept money in after that. And told me it was because she couldn't trust me. I think the shame I felt was worse than any punishment.

When I was at school though it was only the uncool kids who took in packed lunches. It was social death to do this. She may feel the same. Maybe she'd prefer dinner money, I know you've concerns about the health aspect of it but maybe consider the social side of things as well? You can talk to her about healthy choices, there must be some healthy stuff. You can't control what she eats all the time.

NopeStillNothing Wed 20-Feb-13 09:02:17

Doesn't sound too complicated to me. She wants to buy school dinners instead of making her own packed lunch. She either doesn't like packed lunch or doesn't like the fact that she has to make it. I used to be exactly the same.
From her perspective, she seems completely out of control with everything. She is being expected to 'grow-up' by moving place to place, suddenly making lunch etc. But at the same time doesn't seem to be given much choice.

Obviously she stole the money, obviously she shouldn't have. But the way she sees it, you have got money and you've suddenly stopped giving it to her. She is essentially being 'punished' for no reason. It's best to make these transitions slowly pre-teens are very delicate creatures.

diddl Wed 20-Feb-13 09:04:17

But if she wants to start buying stuff at school-why not just say?

TBH, if it´s because she cba to make her own, but would happily have it if someone else made it, I wouldn´t be too thrilled about that!

Floggingmolly Wed 20-Feb-13 09:06:37

Why are you so sure she's not being bullied? Her school being selective meaning they're "good" kids is a fairly ridiculous notion hmm

She wants school dinners.

I think you need to decide how big an issue it is to you because it clearly is to her. You sound as if you are telling her you don't trust her to eat sensibly - I'm sure she won't suddenly become obese from being given some choice in what she eats.

I like weegiemum's approach

whois Wed 20-Feb-13 09:14:17

You need to find out WHY she wants the lunch money.

Also, slight U of you to expect her to get up before you and make lunch alone when she is already going thru a lot of new stuff.

Make it together the night before or something.

The forcing a confession stuff is likely to backfire. And agree with others who say preventing homework or humiliating her at school are bonkers ideas.

diddl Wed 20-Feb-13 09:17:16

That said, she is only 12-I´d make lunch for her still if it would help.

ConferencePear Wed 20-Feb-13 09:18:30

I think you should just sit down with her and have a quiet and calm talk about what she would prefer to eat at lunch times. I think that you and she are looking at it from different perspectives. You are seeing the food; she is more likely to be seeing it as part of her social life.
Perhaps the answer is that stealing from you doesn't seem as bad to her as being 'uncool' would.
I think it would be kind to let her choose at least the majority of lunchtimes. If she's taking more than she needs for any given day I would wonder if she is buying things for other kids.
Many children find the transition to secondary school difficult and she has had to cope with a change of country too. She needs your help your help rather than threats which she probably thinks you won't carry out.

Coconutty Wed 20-Feb-13 09:19:17

A shouting match as soon as she got in won't help at all. You need to have a proper conversation along the lines of, I know you took the money, but what for? It sounds like you have moved around a lot, she may be having trouble fitting in. Also disagree with her having to make her own lunch. She's obviously very unhappy about something, can't you make her lunch for her or give her money instead.

Do all her friends buy lunch and she's the only one with a sandwich? I'm not excusing her behaviour at all but you need to find out why without threatening her with emailing her friends etc.

NopeStillNothing Wed 20-Feb-13 09:23:43

diddl The OP has said herself that the last few weeks she hasn't been giving any money to DD. From the post it seems to be either because she has been too frazzled from the move or because she doesn't agree with the food they serve so I'm guessing it may have been a conscious decision that has already been discussed.

As for dd being too lazy to make her own lunch, I agree with you this is unnacceptable but if it is not something she is used to doing it may feel like a punishment and a reason ( not an excuse though) to rebel

fromparistoberlin Wed 20-Feb-13 09:29:13

I agree with your DH

teenagers ARE lightfingered, and she is young still

punish her by all means, but dont humiliate her

Softlysoftly Wed 20-Feb-13 09:31:25

Erm talk to your child rather than raging and texting like one of her petulant teenage friends.

Text is not the way to parent and tbh I think you should still make her lunch at 12. I understand that she asked to do it and a bit of responsibility is fine but she's only just gone and settling at another new school.

You actually sound quite lazy in that you don't like making sandwiches and you haven't arsed giving her her lunch money for 2 weeks.

Sorry that sounds harsh and I disagree with dh that she shouldn't be stealing but the 2 friends that I had who stole from me both had problems at home. The is a reason and if that reason is she wants to buy lunch then I think you should compromise on some school lunches as long as she had a healthy diet at other times.

landofsoapandglory Wed 20-Feb-13 09:34:51

I agree with Floggingmolly. You cannot be so sure she isn't being bullied. My DC go to a nice school, they had to introduce a cashless system for lunches because of bullying.

magimedi Wed 20-Feb-13 09:37:14

I agree with softly - she shouldn't steal but I feel you are not handling this properly. And to tell her friends would be appalling & you will never have her trust again if you go down this line. Why not find out what she would like in her lunchbox & help her make it? Making sandwiches isn't that bad.

NopeStillNothing Wed 20-Feb-13 09:39:25

Yes also agree with * softlysoftly*

Hopeforever Wed 20-Feb-13 09:55:54

I think communication is the problem here, more than the theft.

You believe she is lying, she is unable to tell you that she wants/needs the money (or it could be her brother)

Does she have a parent awake and out of bed in the morning? This is a key time to need your parent about

I say this because

I stole 2p regularly from my dads spare change dish to buy sweets when I was ten. Partly because my mum was so ill and even though she was in the house she was unable to parent. My dad was so tired he found it hard to cope. It was wrong for me to steal, but it was a cry for attention. Sweets gave me attention at school.

My dad then left (not his choice) and my mum never got out of bed before I left the house to go to school. I hated making my breakfast and lunch on my own.

Your relationship with your DH may be fantastic, but if he is in another country, you have spent six months abroad, your DD didn't get on in her last school, you have moved recently, she has started a new school.........

Alarm bells ringing. Stealing is a sign of her stress, instead she could be self harming, using drugs etc, so stealing is the lesser of the problems she could have presented you with

LISTEN TO HER

steppemum Wed 20-Feb-13 10:04:03

Am I the only one who is wondering what happened to the rest of the money? She stole $20, and didn't make lunch that day. I am assuming one lunch doesn't cost $20, so where is the rest of that money? Because she then stole $8 on the next day that she didn't make lunch.

I am wondering what she needs the money for?

I stole form my dad when I was about 8 or 9. I sneaked into his room and stole 5p from the change on his bedside table. I did it to buy a packet of crisps on the way to school (yes, crisps did only cost 5p, I am that old)
It wasn't much, but I did it because I was the only one who didn't bring in a snack for break time. My mum would have let me take fruit, but everyone else had sweets or crisps, and I wanted the same.

If I had been caught, I would have been mortified. But if I had been 12 and done the same, I would have been like your dd. Yelling about how 'you don't trust me, and you are such mean parents anyway, and No-one understands me, and How come you assume its ME and not brother etc etc.' Because that is the way stroppy 12 year olds try to get away with it!

I think the key is to be the adult here. Be calm and be low key. Don't get into a slanging match. You and dh give her a united front. (even if he isn't there, tell her you have talked to him, and talk as if it is both of you.) Very calmly, we know you have taken it, we are disappointed. The consequence is xx (don't use homework). We recognise they may be an issue over lunches here. We will talk about that on Sat, until then, we would like you to think about they way you are treating the family, and the effect on our ability to trust you.
I would stop try to get her to confess, there lies constant confrontation. Just apply consequence.

coraltoes Wed 20-Feb-13 10:17:42

A 12 yr old could do with a mum being up before she goes to school.
A 12 yr old could do witha mum who cares about the why and not the what.
A 12 yr old could do with a mum who doesn't act like a kid herself.

mollymole Wed 20-Feb-13 10:21:06

OK so the stealing is wrong and you need to speak calmly about this BUT I do feel that you need to take a long look at your parenting here.
This child has been shunted around the world, changing schools and countries, living with both parents ? and then back to 1 parent ?

You stay in bed and she gets herself up and ready for school - you say that you used to give her leftovers from the previous days meals for her pack ups and she did not really like this - well why do you think she deserves leftovers.
She likes sandwiches but you can't be arsed to make them. She does not have access to fresh bread to make her own sandwiches. She used to have a bit of money to buy a luch if she wanted to but you withdrew this money.

IMO a major part of this problem may well by you - odoyou actually give this child any attention ? Have you asked her what her friends do at lunchtime so that she can join in with them?

TALK to the girl, don't rant and shout and text.

Emsmaman Wed 20-Feb-13 10:23:30

To the posters referencing school dinners/sitting separately from peers with packed lunch, can I please point out this is an English thing NOT an Australian thing. The canteen will most likely be a "hole in the wall" selling pies and other cr*p not a plate of proper food, and all kids will eat with their friends somewhere in the playground, on the grass or whatever. There is not this school dining approach sitting at tables and chairs like there is in the UK and there is absolutely no segregation between bought lunches and lunches from home.

True emsmaman, but there is still significant pressure on dc from other dc to buy the crap.

been there paid the dollars for slushies

aderynlas Wed 20-Feb-13 10:44:44

Maybe it would be a good idea to sit down and have a chat with your daughter op. The texting, threats of punishment and demands for truth dont seem to be working. I agree with you that stealing is wrong but maybe you will be more likely to find out why your dd is doing this if you take the time to ask her whats wrong.

steppemum Wed 20-Feb-13 10:45:57

but emsaman, if all her friends are eating pies from the tuck shop and she has a lunch bag, that may be a issue of being uncool.

Op - I work with kids who have been overseas and are returning home. Although those children have been living overseas for a number of years, some of the principles will still hold true for your dd - we offered the whole family debrief sessions, we help the family to help the children with loss and change, differing expectations, adjusting back to home culture. They find that having lived away from home country their world view has shifted, maybe for example they have seen poverty and riches in a way they don't at home. They find that no-one at home wants to hear about their life overseas, so they have this huge experience sitting inside that they do not have any space to share, or anyone who understands.

You have said that her time in Hong Kong was mixed, with some bullying in school. Has she had any opportunities to process any of that? She put effort into making friends and now those friends are gone, and her friends here have changed while she was away and she has to do all the running to re-connect, because she is the one who was away.

Living overseas is a great experience, but kids often need help in processing it, and one thing they do (which my son did) is to throw them selves into being 100% british (in my ds case) and fitting in. But some of those issues are still there, underneath.

Please step back, take a deep breath and think about how you can work together as a family.

Pagwatch Wed 20-Feb-13 10:48:26

I do agree with many others on here.

Some kids steal because they are trying it on/experimenting/pushing boundaries.
Others do it or more complicated reasons.

Having a 'shouting match' with a 12 year old is a terrible abdication.
Sit her down and talk to her.
You may be worried and frustrated but you are getting no where and you almost ound like you are just retaliating rather than anything else.

VenusRising Wed 20-Feb-13 10:50:19

So she's the new girl in school. After a six months stint in another new school in HK.
She now in oz in yet another new school. Sounds like she's all over the place. Did any other of her friends come back from HK with her? Has she any friends at all.

Perhaps she's being bullied and having the money buys them off.

I think you need to ask why you are feeling so vindictive about her.

Why would you stop her doing her school work?
Why would you ruin her reputation in her new school?

What's wrong with you? And get up and help her in the mornings with a little more grace than I told you where the stuff is attitude - sit down and have breakfast with her- you're her mother FFS, not her supervisor.

Emsmaman Wed 20-Feb-13 10:50:24

I was just trying to clarify that there wouldn't be a physical segregation from friends, for the English posters. Yes there was peer pressure when I was at school to buy pies etc. Glad I didn't give in or I would have been the size of a house. FWIW mum used to make such lovely sandwiches some of my friends would swap with me smile

LadyBeagleEyes Wed 20-Feb-13 10:54:42

She's twelve.
You should drag yourself out of bed in the morning, even just to keep her company.
And your idea of punishment is just vindictive.

CheeseStrawWars Wed 20-Feb-13 11:20:06

OP - deep breath.

Imagine ten years in the future. Your daughter is 22. What sort of relationship do you want to have with her?

You are laying the foundations of that relationship now. You say she reacts with "snarliness" to you. What I see above is a lot of "snarliness" coming from your direction towards her.

It may just be part of the nature of your written word, but I see no concern her voiced from you about your child, only her behaviour. Behaviour is a symptom of stuff going on inside.

I know what you think you are trying to say to your child, but that isn't what she's going to hear. What she is going to hear is:

"I don't care enough to make you a lunch that's the same as your friends. I don't care that leftovers make you different. I don't care enough to make you a proper lunch. I don't care enough about your school work, and I don't think your success is important, so I will penalise your homework and punish your friend. I don't care that your friend will be angry at you. I want to humiliate you, because I can - I don't care how that makes you feel. I don't care enough to find out what the problem is or why you are stealing. I don't care enough to ask questions before I start shouting. I don't care that you've had a lot of disruption moving schools and that you don't know anyone, and that this is a difficult time for you. I don't care that I am hounding you with texts that you can't escape. I don't care that you are carrying around a constant level of anxiety wondering when the next text or 'showdown' is going to occur."

And behind this constant drip-feed of "I don't care..." is the message "...because you're not worth caring about."

You are feeding a massive insecurity monster entirely of your own creation.

For what it is worth, I suspect she's trying to "buy" friends, probably because she is so insecure she doesn't feel that people will like her for herself.

jessalwithlove Wed 20-Feb-13 11:34:00

This is actually a very very sad post to me, While I agree stealing is very wrong but like alot of posters I done this myself on my mum, You seem like a very intelligent woman and I cant understand why ur using this to find whys to hurt her more and humiliate her in School. I was sexually abused that is why I stole also because I had very little compared to my friends when it came to nice lunches etc and I didnt want to be different, Obiviously I sincerely hope this is not the case with ur daughter, I suspect its more she does not have what her friends have going from left over dinner to a sanchwiche was the hint, she felt different I know money can be tight but does she receive enough can she do more around the house to earn some, From what you say of her school work big changes shes been through she sounds like a fantastoic young lady just missing something. (I think her mum is probably alittle vindictive too with all the texting threatening, Can't you scrap the surface and protect her.. She'll get you back when shes a teenager and that will be a very negative relationship between you both.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 20-Feb-13 11:42:08

I have to say that staying in bed while your 12yo gets up on her own to get ready for school imho is not good. I'm not having a go, just saying.

I have a dd who is 12 in a few weeks, I get up every morning to get her ready for school.

fromparistoberlin Wed 20-Feb-13 11:42:18

I then texted that if a confession and apology is not forthcoming by the end of the week, I will be emailing all the friends whose email addresses I have and telling them the same.

fuccccckkkkk! just re-read, please DONT do that

children pereceive theft (and how bad it is) very differently to adults

Pendipidy Wed 20-Feb-13 11:48:44

As above, very good post. You need to step back and admit that your parenting has been wrong , say sorry to her and change. No doubt she Will change too.

Pendipidy Wed 20-Feb-13 11:50:43

As above- i meant the post from cheesestrawwars

Astelia Wed 20-Feb-13 11:53:05

Excellent post CheeseStraw.

VenusRising Wed 20-Feb-13 11:56:03

Well said cheeseStrawWars.

OP think of this as an opportunity to really get to know your DD.
Maybe you as a family need counselling?

Please don't be vindictive and write yourself out of her future.

Crinkle77 Wed 20-Feb-13 11:57:40

Firstly you need to hide your purse. Secondly could you suggest that if she wants money to buy things that she can do jobs round the house in return for payment?

FergusSingsTheBlues Wed 20-Feb-13 12:00:08

Sit down and talk to her.
She has had a hell of a lot of isruption.
She is probably feeling pretty insecure snd just needs to fit in. I woukdnt be too bothered about the odd pie and chips if irs what the orher kids are doing. How much damage can it o if you eat sensibly at home? Besides..frozen bread? Id rather be taking lunch money if that was all that was on offer. Yuk.

EverybodysSootyEyed Wed 20-Feb-13 12:00:40

As an aside, I left a school for a year at the same age. Web I came back my old friends didn't want to know. I had to build a whole new friendship group and it was really hard. I never really fitted in after that. It was as if something really major had happened whilst I was away an I would never be part of it.

Please dot rule out that she may be having difficulty fitting in. 12 is a hard age, especially when she has had that break. And my Mumbthought the school bully was lovely until she showed her true colours one day and my mum witnessed it. As a paret it can actually be quite hard to see the dynamics.

I think you need to sit down and have an adult conversation with her - and I really don't think you should be jeopardising her homework.

Astelia Wed 20-Feb-13 12:03:46

Good point Viva. I can't imagine anyone lying in bed while their DCs are getting ready for school.

I like to check no one has fallen back to sleep plus I am often needed for hunting stray bits of PE kit, installing a new printer cartridge or solving the debt crisis. Why would I lie in bed and miss all the fun grin.

seeker Wed 20-Feb-13 12:15:03

Such a sad OP. of course she shouldn't steal.

But her mother shouldn't forget to give her any money either. And her mother oughtn't, unless she's ill or working night shifts or something, to be in bed and asleep while her 12 year old gets herself ready to go to a new school. And a 12 year old should have a say in what they have for lunch.

Sit down and talk about it. And whatever you do, don't email all her friends. That's just awful.

kirstys23 Wed 20-Feb-13 12:29:36

Of course you shouldn't email all her friends and tell them she stole. She is the new girl and already will be a target for bullies, and you think emailing them with this bit of information is going to lead to anything other than taunts and nastiness from them?

I think you'll find that if you sit and have a conversation with her and remove the threat of 'outing' her to her friends, you'll find she will open up to you and give you the reason for the stealing.

I also agree with what others have said about the texting. Having a text argument with your daughter just before she starts school for the day is not conducive to a productive working day.

MrsPennyapple Wed 20-Feb-13 12:52:23

I don't think you can really sabotage her school project as punishment. You're planning to make sure that her and her friend get into trouble for something that they have worked hard on, that younwon't allow them to finish? Just out of interest, what would you do if she refused to do homework? Do you normally make sure she does her homework? If so, she's going to see this (rightly) as a massive contradiction. It also comes across as a little bit spiteful as well. Telling her friends is also out of order, unless of course she has been stealing from them too. So far it is a family matter, and should remain so, IMHO.

Just to add, my mother rarely got out of bed before we left for school. She would shriek orders from her bed, mostly revolving around me taking her a cup of tea. I took it to mean she didn't want the bother of helping us get sorted out for school, which actually, is a lot like how your comment about making sandwiches comes across. I felt like my mother thought of me as an irritation, and would rather not get out of bed until I'd gone. I wonder how your daughter feels?

MrsPennyapple Wed 20-Feb-13 12:53:17

I'v ejust re-read and seen that her performance at school is "largely self-driven" - so do you not take much interest there either?

steppemum Wed 20-Feb-13 13:35:14

OP

you have been given a hammering on here, and if I were you I would now be feeling pretty low.

Just wanted to say that if you come back on, people have lots of good ideas about how to move forward and make changes, and suggestions about communicating with teens etc.

fromparistoberlin Wed 20-Feb-13 13:40:51

yes steppe

people are a tad harsh on AIBU OP!

come back thanks

deleted203 Wed 20-Feb-13 13:43:23

It's the middle of the night in Oz, folks. OP may well return once she's up.

MechanicalTheatre Wed 20-Feb-13 13:45:07

There was a post on here a week or so ago about a woman whose mum had caught her stealing when she was 7 and then told her best friend. The best friend then no longer played with her.

This woman STILL remembered this as an adult and worried about it.

Please do not turn your daughter into that woman.

Whoknowswhocares Wed 20-Feb-13 13:57:54

I would hazard a guess that her friends have lunch at school and she is desperate to fit in and will risk stealing in order to do so. It seems that she is using the money for lunches and as she has been away from the group for a while, and will be very keen to go along with what they are doing. Why did you stop giving her money?
Given her globe trotting life recently, I would be inclined to cut her a bit of slack. The absolute last thing you should do is involve her friends. Poor girl has had enough to deal with chopping and changing countries/schools all over the place without you doing that to her! Punish her for the stealing at home privately by all means, but don't be cruel and sabotage her friendships. I understand you want her to eat healthily, but feel it more important right now to let her settle back into school life. If that means lunches at school, then so be it.

steppemum Wed 20-Feb-13 14:10:22

Oh yes Paris - forgot about the time difference!

here OP brew good morning!

We are not all as angry as we sound!

maddening Wed 20-Feb-13 14:52:41

Can you set a video trap? Get past the denial and have a good in depth talk about the stealing, her perceived reasons for stealing, consequences etc and how to move forward together.

kirstys23 Wed 20-Feb-13 15:04:10

The OP seems pretty sure that the daughter has stolen so not sure why a 'video trap' is necessary. Employing undercover surveillance on a young girl is hardly likely to get her to trust and open up is it?

RedwingOnFire Wed 20-Feb-13 15:12:14

In what strange world does a parent attempt to sabotage their child's education as a punishment?!?

maddening Wed 20-Feb-13 15:13:44

Maybe not but it sounds like there is a lot of arguments about whether she has stolen or not - and if you can get past the "did you steal" "no I didn't" argument then they might be able to move forward.

It's only an idea.....

kirstys23 Wed 20-Feb-13 15:25:34

Since OP was happy enough to say she was going to email DD's friends and tell them that she was a thief, she must be pretty certain that she has stolen. A video trap is the last thing the girl needs.

Faireenuff Wed 20-Feb-13 15:55:49

Gosh your daughter is completely wrong to steal. It's a big issue you will have to deal with and you have every right to be angry and upset, but, what on earth is to be gained in sabotaging her studies. Seriously, your post comes across as seeking revenge, threatening her studies, her friends? I'm sure you didn't mean to and you're probably in shock and upset, but, it's worth pointing out that most adults who read this, teach at your dds school or parent her friends will judge you harshly for humiliating your own daughter. I'm not sure I could stay in bed of a morning and not see my child off to school either, could you start making breakfast together a routine to give her a chance to talk about her day or general chat? I hope you've cooled down a little and can maybe take some advice from here or the teens board.

freeandhappy Wed 20-Feb-13 16:59:16

I would not like you for a mum. You sound very cruel and punitive. You should be on her side. Are you a policewoman by any chance 'on the spot bag and pocket search'. Fun mornings at your housesad

Pancakeflipper Wed 20-Feb-13 17:12:19

Bit harsh FreeandHappy.

I think OP, you need to calm down, talk it through when both calmer. Keep money away from the children for now.

And can she not buy lunch twice a week?

Softlysoftly Wed 20-Feb-13 18:25:23

Oh just came back to check on this and see the op didn't come back.

I truly truly hope she had a rethink sad

mrsbunnylove Wed 20-Feb-13 18:28:57

don't tell anyone - what would you gain? the satisfaction of shaming your daughter?

ask her why she has to take money. explain that you need to know how much money you have at any given time - it causes problems if money isn't there when you thought it was. give her a reasonable allowance so she can buy lunches if she wants to, or she could save her money by taking sandwiches and spend the money on something else. and keep your money in a safe place - if you leave it lying around you are just tempting her to do wrong.

Ruprekt Wed 20-Feb-13 18:37:08

Do come back OP.

Hopeforever Wed 20-Feb-13 18:37:46

OP may well be asleep still, what's the time difference in Oz?

Please take the positive advice and connect with your DD. she needs you!

squeakytoy Wed 20-Feb-13 18:55:18

around half five in the morning so I imagine OP has been asleep..

thegreylady Wed 20-Feb-13 19:05:33

Please never ever brand your child a thief to others.You could do damage which could last her whole life.Make any punishments at home and do a lot of talking about why she has done this.

Time zone depends on which coast of Australia op is on. Anyway, between 8 and 10 hours ahead of the uk.

Mimishimi Wed 20-Feb-13 19:24:59

Awake now.

Yes, I probably should have clarified that our school canteens are not at all like the sit-down school dinners provided in UK/US schools (which don't seem that healthy anyway). They are just small shops which do have some healthier options - which are mainly ....sandwiches. Albeit with a far more generous serving of mayonnaise etc. The rest of the food is pies, chips, pizza slices etc. I'm not giving DD days old bread and leftovers - after dinner, I used to set some aside for her lunch the next day and she was fine with that up until last year when he insisted that she preferred to make her own. The bread has never been in the freezer for more than a week because the kids go through it quite fast. In the Australian heat, if we don't put it in the freezer, it will definitely go completely mouldy in a day. Most children in Australian schools take lunch from home which they then take outside to sit on benches under the trees etc.

FWIW, I do usually get up earlier than DD. I think I mentioned in another post that I usually get up at six o'clock but for a variety of reasons, not least of which is late night skyping with DH who is three hours behind us, that does not always happen. I don't think expecting her to get ready for school by herself at age 12 is unreasonable but I'd not expect that for DS who is half her age. So I'm never in later than seven. I'm not exactly having a lie-in barking orders. And yes, her studies are largely self-driven but I do care enough to buy all the books, go through her maths/English with her whilst DH does the science stuff etc [smiley] In Hong Kong, she expressed in no uncertain terms that she wished to come back to Australia.

magimedi Wed 20-Feb-13 19:29:23

You know, I was starting to feel a bit sorry for you, OP, for the replies you got here. But now I'm not.

The whole of your latest post is 'me' & 'I' - how about thinking about & dealing with your daughter's problems?

LadyBeagleEyes Wed 20-Feb-13 19:29:55

Er, but you haven't mentioned the most important question Op.
You know, about telling all her friends she's a thief, and making her unable to do her project/homework for school work as a punishment.
Do you actually engage with her at all?

Mimishimi Wed 20-Feb-13 19:31:39

Bit of self-defense since it seemed to turn from the issue of her stealing to how late I lie in and won't make her lunch but would rather send her off with crusty old bread and manky leftovers?

Mimishimi Wed 20-Feb-13 19:40:28

Re everyone's suggestions though. We do like the idea of giving her a set amount each week which she can spend as she chooses and the lockable security box . DH likes the hidden video camera idea but I think that is an overreaction and possibly too complicated too. I do recognise that telling her friends is probably not going to be very helpful (was hoping the idea of it might pressure her to fess up before actually doing that) but if it continues I might still tell the school but not in terms of 'my daughter is a liar and a thief' but just that we're having this problem, which is a common one, and they might have some good suggestions.

delilahlilah Wed 20-Feb-13 19:42:03

I would say she is unhappy and insecure. Don't threaten her, talk to her. Threatening to prevent her doing homework is spiteful and petty. You need to teach her to approach things in an adult and mature manner. You don't need to barrage her with texts, you need to talk to her. This could well be a cry for attention, especially with her Dad abroad and the changes she has dealt with recently.
A previous poster had a great suggestion - you give her X amount for the week and she can choose to make sandwiches or use it for lunches.
In the mean time, prevent temptation and put your bag away, and be really honest with yourself about changes you can make to help change your relationship with her.

delilahlilah Wed 20-Feb-13 19:43:42

X-post! Also, if she is having healthy food at home, don't worry too much in the short term what she has at school. The more pressure she has to eat healthily all the time, the more likely she is to do the opposite. It's human nature to want what you shouldn't eat.

JeanBodel Wed 20-Feb-13 19:51:25

You are not listening to the responses, OP.

You are not listening to your daughter either, OP.

But for those of us who have said we did it, most of us have said that we felt unhappy and with little in our control. Take the lessons from our childhood op.

bevelino Wed 20-Feb-13 20:12:04

I don't think it would be wise to humiliate your dd by involving the school and if I were in your shoes I would strive to contain the matter within the family. You have no idea how the school and other pupils may react if you report the problem and it could have consequences for your daughter (and ultimately you) that last long after the behavior you describe has passed.

TheFallenNinja Wed 20-Feb-13 20:13:35

I really was beginning to think that's his was perhaps getting a little harsh but to be frank I guess if you were to write a book on how to totally alienate your children and create a police state in your home. This thread would have to be worth a chapter.

Utterly ridiculous. An adult having all the textbook cries for help put into her lap and the only thought is forcing this, that or the other, surveillance, lock boxes, calories in mayonnaise. I shudder as to the environment.

I'm sure you will one day wonder why she never confides in you.

But the fact remains op that she needs a little more responsibility and freedom. And yes Aussie tuck shops (yup, that's what they still call them) don't sell wonderful food, it it probably wouldn't take long for her to get bored of it.

We have just moved back from Australia and it is impossible to underestimate the effect it has on the dc. It is so easy to tell ourselves that the dc are adaptable but we aren't in that school environment with them, we need to listen when they tell us things, even when it isn't what we want to hear.

Idocrazythings Wed 20-Feb-13 20:40:06

Please stop sending your DD negative texts before school, can't it wait till she gets home? How must she feel all day having that weight on her shoulders?

Can you make a load of sandwiches together on a Sunday and freeze them? So she can lift one out in the morning? Maybe you could also make some muffins to freeze and freeze a yoghurt tub- would be defrosted by lunch. Or buy some of those snack abouts? That way she's not making anything, just assembling it. Which won't take long and probably more similar to the other kids.

There must be a reason she's taking the money I think your solutions are a bit harsh, but not having a 12 year old I have no suggestions. Can the school psychologist/counsellor help you gently unpick what is going on?

NopeStillNothing Wed 20-Feb-13 20:45:01

Are you kidding me?! All these responces and all this advice and your absent DH ' likes the video camera idea'
I'm going to have to hide this thread now, wilful ignorance is near-on impossible to break through and this whole situation is making me quite sad. Your poor DD! sad

Faireenuff Wed 20-Feb-13 20:45:14

Ok, re school. I can't believe you're still contemplating talking to them. How many parents do you think brand their children thieves in public, because that is what school is. The next time something goes missing in school, who do you think the teachers will suspect.....the person branded a thief by their mother. I too thought you were getting a hard time, but seriously, you're poor poor daughter, you've had plenty of advice here, and there is much more available which doesn't involve branding her a thief. for what it's worth I'm in the cry for help camp. Poor kid.

steppemum Wed 20-Feb-13 20:49:04

I can understand you feeling defensive OP, you have taken a lot of flack on here. But in your recent posts you seem to still be missing the most important thing that everyone has been saying - your daughter needs you to talk to her and look at the underlying reasons for this.

You are still coming from the perspective of how to punish, stop her doing it again, but that kind of sidesteps the underlying issues.

Hope you have a chance to talk to her later today.

Whocansay Wed 20-Feb-13 20:51:17

Please don't publically brand your daughter a thief. That will stay with her forever and it will permanently damage your relationship with her.

Give her lunch money, or make her lunch for her in the short term. And don't leave any cash lying around. She will feel uncomfortable knowing she is not trusted. She clearly has some sort of issues at the moment, which need sorting. But you should talk to her first. And not by text.

EverybodysSootyEyed Wed 20-Feb-13 20:51:39

Sorry op - but instead of trying rigid ways to humiliate her into stopping I really think you should focus on finding out why she is doing it.

The cash is incidental - it is a signal that she is not happy. If you can get to the root of that you won't need to worry about catching her/getting her to admit it/humiliate her/punish her

12 is such a hard age - if she is struggling at school socially it can have a long lasting impact

Softlysoftly Wed 20-Feb-13 21:14:57

You have totally missed the point.

Don't unilaterally decide anything for your daughter. Don't decide x money will help. Don't put in fucking spy cameras, don't invest in lock boxes, don't in fact do anything that might as well be a bullet proof brick in the wall between daughter and parents.

You are painting a massive sign that says "we don't and never will trust you, you dirty thief".

Pretty much all the previous posts that made sense said the same thing.

Talk to her

Ask her why.

Tell her how it made you feel.

Tell her how shocked you were that she did it and you know she knows better so what could have driven her to it?

Tell her you love her and she can trust you to tell you anything.

Tell her you'll discuss her needs, you'll compromise if she presents reasons.

<<breathe>>

freeandhappy Wed 20-Feb-13 21:19:46

Surveillance!! Jesus Christ. My daughter can take anything she wants from my bag, pockets, wherever. She makes up her own mind about lunches and bus fares, few quid off me for the weekend. We have an atmosphere of trust because I love her and I'd do anything for her because I'm her MUM not her fucking warden. She is 14 and never abuses this. If I'm short she is fine with me borrowing a tenner out of her babysitting money jar. Your way of thinking is utterly alien to me. I feel so so sorry for your daughter. Wise up for fucks sake. You are the most important person in her world an you are so mean! Get some therapy for yourself and try to learn not to be so insanely uptight. Cameras/intimidation/determination to get an apology/humiliation wtf??

freeandhappy Wed 20-Feb-13 21:20:49

Yes sorry and <breathe>

currentbuns Wed 20-Feb-13 21:22:21

I think she is stealing from you because she resents you. You are dictating what she can and cannot have for lunch without any apparent discussion or compromise. She is probably particularly resentful of the hard line you've taken regarding the ''tuck shop" - which is clearly important to her and her friends. You could afford to give her the money - but are choosing not to on principle - and because you do not trust her to make appropriate choices.
I would suggest giving her a budget to have three lunches a week at school, and take her with you shopping each week, so that she can choose things to put in her packed lunch on the other two days.
I certainly wouldn't be confiscating things she needs to complete her homework, or humiliating her in front of her peers and teachers - this will only create further resentment and mistrust.

Hopeforever Wed 20-Feb-13 21:33:48

Just had a horrendous flash back sad

I ran away from home when I was 12, I ran to my mums friends house as I felt safe there.

The next day after I went to school my mum went in to talk to the head of year. Mum thought my behaviour was compromising my sister exam chances.

I now acknowledge I have never forgiven my mum for the humiliation that followed at school the rest of that day.

Please, please, please talk and LISTEN to your DD and do not involve school

I am now going to pray that I can start to forgive mum, 30 years on. Boy do I feel bad

Yfronts Wed 20-Feb-13 21:45:40

Is unhappy about other things and behaving badly as a result?

In your shoes I would not email friends/school. I would make her earn back every penny through household jobs. Give her a list of things she has to do. Or even ground her?

Ask her what you can do together to change things and move forward?

fromparistoberlin Wed 20-Feb-13 21:45:45

think this thread is stirring up alot of bad 12 year old memories for some people clearly....

lets not leap to the worst as some fairly harsh comments on here, and it could be her DD is a nice, not bullied, very naughty girl?

OP I hope you can not come down too harsh, but also think some people maybe upset here as they had shit times when 12?? some lataral projection....

Yfronts Wed 20-Feb-13 21:47:09

If you email all her friends you could be damaging your relationship with your DD long term.

ALMOSTMRSG Wed 20-Feb-13 21:48:20

OP, please don't put your Dd under surveillance. She will only learn to hide things from you.
I find your thread very sad. Your Dd has put up with a lot of change in the last year and the way you communicate with her is to send her threatening texts on her way to school. You should have waited until she was home and spoken to her face to face and given her the opportunity to open up to you. You might then have found out why she took the money.
Your punishments are totally ridiculous. No letting her do her homework. Really. You're sending out a message that bad behaviour means getting off doing school work. If that was my Dd's punishment she would be delighted. Let her know stealing is unacceptable, make her pay back the money, stop after school activities for a few weeks, give her extra household chores to do or ground her but please do not humiliate her in front of her friends.
You need to think about why she felt she couldn't ask you for the money.
I also think you should be up every day to see her off to school.
I suggest you get get a copy of How To Talk Your Teen So They Will Listen and Listen So They Will Talk.

LadyBeagleEyes Wed 20-Feb-13 21:50:35

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Mimishimi Wed 20-Feb-13 22:27:35

It's very reall, not a troll post. And I really don't see how I am being so awful particularly since the school and friends have not been contacted as yet. Last week when the money went missing, I did wait until she got back home from school to talk about it. And we did talk about it "please tell me if you need to take it and please tell the truth if I ask. ^ It's hard to talk about her feelings if everytime I ask her (calmly) why she felt she had to take it, she flatly denies doing so. She has said a number of times that she is so happy at this school and is glad we came back. They have a very strict uniform policy so there would no pressure in terms of clothes, jewellery or hair style. I wasn't up for the video surveillance, DH thought it was a good suggestion and something we should consider if it continues.. I'm not controlling with what she puts on her sandwiches ( and she has a variety of sandwich meats and fillings to choose from) or anything else she puts in her lunchbox. Given the obesity problem throughout our countries, if anything we do this because we care about her a lot and her health in the long-term, not because we are draconian dictators who question her every food choice. We do make muffins and biscuits about once a week. DD does not have a weight problem, a fair few of her school friends do and they do moan about it to her. She often tells me of her own accord that if she ate the things they did, she probably would too.

Yes, a security box does scream that I don't trust her and, frankly, the the moment I don't. I'm not laissez-faire with the wallet, I do expect her to ask me.If that makes me controlling and rigid, so be it. sad.

magimedi Wed 20-Feb-13 22:43:31

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FarBetterNow Wed 20-Feb-13 22:51:15

I used to lie quite a lot when I was a child to try to avoid getting into trouble.
There were parks, fields and woods were my mum told me never to go, but of course I did.
If asked, I always, always denied going to those places.
If my Mum said 'but I know you are lying', I still would not admit it, because then I would have been in trouble for lying and in trouble for going to the forbidden places.
I swore on the bible once that I had been to Church, but I hadn't. I'd gone for a walk and bought sweets with the money.
Kids have funny logic!

loubielou31 Wed 20-Feb-13 23:01:46

I have no real advice about the stealing thing other than a proper chat with her, a chat, not a shout, and keep talking.
For the lunches, sandwiches freeze really well so you or she could make up a batch and stick them in the freezer so no one has to make them up in the morning. We have a stack of lunch box things kept in one cupboard so along with the sandwich It's more a case of pulling things out of the cupboard/fridge rather than having to chop anything other than maybe a piece of cheese but that's because I refuse to pay for prepacked cheese.

searching4serenity Wed 20-Feb-13 23:03:03

OP - I see from your post that you are still really angry.

So is she...

Your approach definitely isn't working... !

Unless you can put the self righteousness to one side then she will not respond; the wedge between you will grow.

Some gentle honesty now could save a lot of heartache in the coming years...

Teenagers (ok almost a teenager) get overly dramatic about things... She's probably in a bit of a mess & just really needs you... But unless you prepare the way she will probably find it easier to live on a war footing than to cross this chasm...

Mimishimi Wed 20-Feb-13 23:04:02

Farbetternow: Actually I did the same with the forbidden woods/fields too. There was one in particular that was an ex-commune that I was told to stay away from but never did because it had toadstools and trees just like in The Enchanted Wood. [laugh]. I think they were concerned about left over syringes in the long grass and funnelweb spiders under the pine needles ( legitmate concern- the spiders are deadly). Ran away from home at DD's age too after a fight with Mum blush and rode my bike four hours away into a nearby valley from our mountain range home. Luckily a farmer who knew my parents recognised me and picked me up, let me ride his horses and clear out the sheds fort he rest of the day before ringing mum/dad to get them to pick me up.

BlatantLies Wed 20-Feb-13 23:04:20

I don't understand the aggression on this thread. I think OP's idea to tell her DD friends about her stealing was off mark and sending the texts wasn't a good plan either but I don't read it that the OP is a bad/mean etc Mum sad

She has said she has been asking her DD what is wrong and I am sure she knows that communication is really important.

Could your DD earn some extra money?

Hope you get some more useful advice and hope you can work something out with your DD. Good luck.

Mimishimi Wed 20-Feb-13 23:05:26

Freezing the sandwiches is a good idea, I hadn't thought of that - thanks

steppemum Wed 20-Feb-13 23:14:04

mmmm I hate frozen sandwiches. I always shudder when people suggest it. Sounds like soggy corners. But then I like tomatoes and things on mine, so only fresh will do.

freeandhappy Wed 20-Feb-13 23:33:24

Frozen sandwiches!!! shock will fit in nicely with the frigid regime I suppose]. Hello dr Freud confused. Girls this age need lots of love and support. It's a v delicate time. All the advice you're given and you pick up on frozen sandwiches!

sadeyedladyofthelowlandsase Wed 20-Feb-13 23:52:59

This thread has made me feel very sad, so OP, I'll share something with you. Aged 14/15 I had massive upheaval in my life, that I won't bother going into now. I blamed my mum for a lot of it, was bloodcurdingly furious with her, wouldn't speak to her, ignored her, was rude to her. I was vile. I have reread my diaries from the time and cry to think how awful I must have been.

My mum, to her eternal credit, left me to it. She cared for me, she did stuff for me, but she never pushed me. The only thing she did was write me a letter when she was away which said in essence 'sadeyed, I'm worried about you. There's something going on in your life that I don't know about and it's making you unhappy. I love you, I want to help you. You don't have to tell me about it if you don't want to, but remember I love you and I'm always here.'

I'd love to say everything was fine after that. It wasn't. But just hearing from her that she loved me and worried about me made a huge difference to our relationship, and I did gradually let her back in. Now she's closer to me than almost anyone.

We had a chat about that time a few months ago and she said simply 'You were angry. No one thinks rationally when they're angry. But I knew you, and I trusted that you would find your way through. If I'd pushed you to talk, it would only have made you worse.' And she was right.

You really really need to support your DD through this. Don't push her. Don't punish her. Take the necessary steps to prevent further theft. Just support her. That doesn't mean unquestioningly supporting every decision she makes, just be there. It's a tough age for girls. It's important they get the right messages from other women around them.

aderynlas Wed 20-Feb-13 23:56:43

Try and remember that your daughter is only 12 op, and has faced alot of upheaval in her life. Have you tried just giving her a cuddle and telling her how proud you are of how she has coped with everything. Maybe shes just afraid to back down and admit she took the money, the more you threaten the more resolute will be her denial. She obviously shouldnt be taking money without asking, but all this secret camera, telling school etc is not the way to deal with your own child.

StuntGirl Thu 21-Feb-13 00:35:39

I think the OP has been treated uneccessarily harsh.

I would stop with the texting though, its not a great way to communicate anyway, and especially not about this.

I would perhaps sit down with both children (since you don't know for definite it was your daughter) and explain that money has been going missing from your purse so you're going to have to take some action. Explain why you're keeping all money locked away out of sight for now, and that you won't be angry if the culprit is honest and owns up. Then leave it at that and carry on as normal. And let them come to you if they want to talk.

I suspect that, despite being a self sufficient learner in a good school she is simply struggling due to so many school moves, the pressures of having to make new friends, her parents living apart, missing her dad, just general being a teenager issues. Don't under estimate how much these things will have affected her.

ll31 Thu 21-Feb-13 01:10:59

op, can you say why you treat your daughter the way you do-it appears you cant be bothered to get up with her before school, harass her with texts, think of ways to humiliate her... i have son similar age,and i cant imagine behaving like you... So please, explain why your approach is a good one

LineRunner Thu 21-Feb-13 01:19:06

I used to lie to my mother when I was 12 and older, because she is crackers.

mathanxiety Thu 21-Feb-13 05:51:02

You have a nice bit of drama to share with your DH when you skype, and telling the school about what you suspect your DD has done would be more drama.

Astelia Thu 21-Feb-13 06:03:49

OP you don't seem to be showing any empathy at all. You say your daughter wanted to leave HK and move back to Oz, however a move is very stressful. Making new friends and trying to fit in, plus her father working away in HK will mean she will not know if she is coming or going. Even if she did want to move (ie was finding HK tough) that doesn't mean she isn't under a huge amount of stress.

Please be more gentle and kind. You sound so black and white and hard, and this casual insensitivity will be no help to DD.

I have two teens who are at international schools and have been dragged around the world. I am very aware that what DH and I say to them and how we treat them, in their last few years at home, will be remembered by them for the rest of their lives.

MercedesKing Thu 21-Feb-13 07:24:12

Totally agree with ll31, try to find out why and then solve the problem that might lead to the stuff, threats are not the good performance for any of us. smile

sadeyedladyofthelowlandsase Thu 21-Feb-13 23:41:09

How'd you get on Mimi?

mumzy Fri 22-Feb-13 08:38:19

YABVU I suggest you try putting yourself in your dds position and just try to see it from her POV. As you say the stealing is totally out of character so you need to ask yourself why is she doing it. Did she attend a local school in HK or an international school? If the former I can understand why she wanted to return to Oz as the system and demands are very different. She is 12 years old and going through some dramatic changes both physically and psychologically and your suggestion of camera surveillance is so OTT. Sit your dd down and have an open conversation with her. You may not like what you hear but you may also find out the cause of her behaviour

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