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To be upset by my neices's behaviour.

(13 Posts)
pinkdolly Sun 01-Nov-09 10:36:06

First some background info. Dn is my dh's brother's girl from a previous relationship. She comes from a soemwhat brokenand dysfunctional home. There are too many things to go into now. She is 13 next week and we have been having her over here requarly for a while now. To try and bring some normality and structure into her life.

We try and help her out as much as we can. Her relationship with her mum is often fraught and rocky. Both mum and dn have anger issues. Dn went to several primary schools and is currently on her 2nd secondary school claiming she has been the victim of bullying (I am not disputing this, I just dont think she handles situations very well with her temper). She now doesn't want to go back to this secondary school for the same reason.

Anyway that again, is another story.

Both dh and myself have put ourselves out for her- we love her and worry about her so why wouldn't we.

She stayed with us all half term week and on thursday we let her have a sleepover (at her request) with other kids from our church (she gets on really well with them).

Dh gave them a £5 to go get some junk food from the shops in the evenng (they were the last to leave the house). On friday morning as we went to get our own kids in the car ages (7,6,3 7 months) we found an un-used condem stuck to the car window (pretty gross). We naturally presumed that it was kids off the estate messing about.

After dn had gone home, however, I found an empty condom wrapper in the room she had slept in. It was one of mine and dh from a drawer in my room. So she must have gone in snooping through my stuff and found them and stole one.

Dh spoke to one of the other girls from the sleepover about it and she confirmed that it was my niece (now we know all this other girls very well, and they would never go through my stuff and pinch things).

I do know that in dn house, her mum and herself are always pinching each others things, whether it be clothes or hair straigtners. etc, etc.

But I feel that this is an invasion of my privacy. I feel raelly upset by this as I thought we were getting through to her and trying to teach her to respect people a bit more.

Further more, on the friday morning I had a £20 in my purse and after she went I found it gone. Now I dont know if she took it and I doubt she would tell me. But I just feel really used and upset.

Am I taking it to heart too much? I mean she has issues and isnt being brought up in the best environment at home. But she has always been lovely to us.

Dh and I are going to have a face to face talk to her when we see her next. But I dont want to scare her off either. She really needs some positive input right now.
What would you do?

Tryharder Sun 01-Nov-09 10:39:33

YANBU. You should have it out with her and quickly and get your brother and his ex involved. You are doing her no favours by tolerating this.

thisisyesterday Sun 01-Nov-09 10:40:19

i think i would put it down to silly 13 year old behaviour tbh/

I can remember at similar age (maybe a little younger) going into my mum and dads room and snooping around. simply because i was not really supposed to be in there and was really curious and they had all kinds of interesting stuff in their cupboards!

i am guessing maybe it's a similar thing? and she got carried away and thought it would b e funny/impress the other girls?

i think iw ould just say to her look, this is how it is. i found the condom on the car, i found the wrapper in your room. there is also £20 missing from my purse.
then explain again that you don't expect her to take things without asking and you don't want her just going into your room without asking either.

see what she says.

thisisyesterday Sun 01-Nov-09 10:42:09

actually, another thought...
when i was younger i used to do naughty things to kind of test my parents. if they forgave me and were nice to me it meant they loved me. if they were really cross it proved they didn't

stupid i know, but it made sense in my mind at the time. I wonder if she is doing things like this because she doesn't get enough positivity and a feeling of being loved by her mother? (projecting wildly here but you said relationship with mum wasn't fabulous)

VinegarTits Sun 01-Nov-09 10:42:43

I think you should be talking to your BIL, who should then be talking to his DD about respecting other peoples property, you are not the ones who should be disciplining or having face to face talks with her, your BIL should be doing this and he should make her apologise

pjmama Sun 01-Nov-09 10:42:51

Probably just what you're planning to do - sit her down and talk to her. Sounds like the poor kid has had a pretty troubled upbringing. I guess all you can do is love and support her, but make your boundaries and rules clear and be patient with her? If no-one else in her life is consistent, then maybe she can get that stability from you? Just tell her that you love her, but her behaviour isn't acceptable and explain why.

Biobytes Sun 01-Nov-09 10:44:31

YANBU. But to be honest, this is a situation when you need to tell her off/ disciplining for stealing from you. It is no time for "positive input" I'm afraid.

BoneYard Sun 01-Nov-09 10:48:03

Yes to what thisisyesterday says - talk to her as much like a grown up as possible.

Oh and get rid of the remaining packet in case she also had a little play with a needle!!!

Danthe4th Sun 01-Nov-09 10:49:50

Oh this takes me back 30 years, sounds like the things I used to do, and I agree with thisisyesterday it could be a bit of a test but she probably wouldn't think thats what she is doing.
Go easy on her but do ask her otherwise she'll just carry on. Be prepared for a screaming session of denial though.
Sounds like she needs you and 13 is a difficult age, I remember it well!!!

Longtalljosie Sun 01-Nov-09 10:50:41

You can't prove anything about the £20 note unfortunately, so any accusation will just be met with histrionics.

But you do know about the condom... She will be mortified even hearing the word come out of your mouth, but tough. You'll have to sit her down and tell her how disappointed you are, and tell her what you expect with regards to privacy. It doesn't sound like she has many boundaries set for her, so set some.

If I were you I would then round it off by saying that taking other people's property is theft, leaving a bit of a pause and asking her if there's anything else she wants to tell you. Say honesty is the best policy and you'd like to think she was honest.

Allow a couple of uncomfortable pauses - when she says "no" (as she will} just be quiet for a bit. She'll know what you're talking about but won't be able to accuse you of anything without landing herself in it. She could at this stage dig herself into a hole. If not, just leave it - and be a bit quieter than normal around her so she knows you're disappointed with her.

pinkdolly Sun 01-Nov-09 11:15:42

Thanx for ur input everyone.

Longtalljosie- ur words are exactly how dh and I believe we should deal with the situation.

At home, everything between her and her mum is a screaming, shouting match. And that is how I believe she feels she should treat people. We do not want to re-inforce this type of behaviour.
I honestly feel that if we confront her in an entirely different approach with love and sensitivity yet expressing our upset and dissapontment then (hopefully) it may have an impact. I think it would shock her actually as she is not used to being spoken to like that.

And you are rght I cannot prove anything regarding the £20 but I can give her the opportunity to be truthful. I dont actually expect her to tell me as I think she will feel to ashamed by this point, but I would hope it might make her stop and think about her actions.

Thank u all for your advice, u have been very helpful.

MadameDuBain Sun 01-Nov-09 11:23:52

I think she may be playing up because you are the most stable and loving influence in her life and she needs to test it.

So the response should be calm, making very firm boundaries clear but still also caring and as others have said appeal to her adult side. I think it needs to be different from the screaming/anger she would expect from her mum and then you may see a different response IYSWIM.

If you can establish that she did definitely do x or y, then I'd impose a consequence but something positive, eg helping you do some job etc where she can show her maturity.

Doesn't sound easy though!

totallyawesome Sun 01-Nov-09 11:40:37

could this be the classic "cry for help"-type behaviour? I know of a similar situation to yours where the child doing the naughty things (I'm referring here to the money) was/is just screaming out to be noticed and not made to feel bad. Not very logical, I know. A close family member died and no-one took any notice of the pain that she was in. Could your niece be looking for someone to talk to her like she is important and noticable?

The snooping is probably just the usual curiosity for other peoples' lives; the taking the condom could be back to the cry for help thing - it is still stealing your property; the sticking it to the car is a bit idiotic. A girl I was at school with, I remember, thought it was the height of hilarity to stick a used sanitary towel to the bumper of the school caretaker's car. It was her way of being noticed, I think.

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