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17 year old stealing sister's clothes...how to stop?!!

(47 Posts)
febel Sun 14-Dec-14 08:58:10

Hi, have had a lot of problems and run ins with my DD 17yr old and one of the most prevalent ones is lying and sneakiness...about anything, particularly is she is in the wrong.

She is really annoying her 22 year old sister at the moment she has a habit of taking EDs clothes, they keep appearing on her or in her room. Just the odd item but nevertheless, they aren't her clothes, they are her sisters, bought by her sister. The 22 year old has a lock on her door which she religiously uses when she is not in the house (I and she have keys..we put a lock on as her stuff kept disapearing into her younger sister's room and it got ridiculous...particuarly as YD denies it, and blames anyone but her and it leads to another row) However, 17yr old must be nipping into her room when sister is downstairs etc as 22 year old does all her own washing so it isn't me who is mixing up clothes (as 17 year old tried to tell me) but her who is taking them. The latest is a red tartan dress, which a few weeks ago 17 yr old told me she had bought/her boyfriend had bought her in town. This morning 22 year old has seen a photo on facebook with sister in dress and says she can't find HER dress and the one on the photo is HERS!

I don't know what to do, beyond quietly putting it back, as 17 year old will deny it strenously, there will be ANOTHER mother of all rows, she will storm off, the dog won't eat for days because he doesn't like all the shouting....you get the picture...she is very volatile.
How can I stop her taking things...she has plenty of clothes of her own and enough money to buy them. Her sister has said before if the 17 yr old would ASK she would prob lend them but beyond having a camera in her room I am at a loss as what to do........

febel Sun 14-Dec-14 09:01:17

Would just add, I tried to fine her at one time for taking stuff but she just saind "Fine" and paid, or denied taking the stuff. Consequences don't seem to work, we can't ground her as she "escapes", and there is always a HUGE row, and I don't know what to do. She is nothing like my other two (eldest has left home now with job) and causes us a lot of concern and trouble...

3littlefrogs Sun 14-Dec-14 09:04:22

I would be doing the following;

Encourage the older one to always use the lock, even when in the house.
Laundry is a problem - can you look for ways to address that?

Apply sanctions to your 17 yr old - every time she takes something, take away something of hers? I am thinking about phone/credit etc.

I wonder why she feels the need to steal? Is she jealous of the older sister?
Is is about money/attention/is the older one the favoured child?

Mumraathenoisylion Sun 14-Dec-14 09:11:46

Hmmm. I used to nick my sister's clothes and wear them on nights out sometimes. It was more because I thought she always looked so sophisticated and I wanted to be more like her. Putting a lock on the door and scolding her is probably making it much worse, particularly if it's her self esteem. Even if she seems confident (I certainly did) she might not be. I think you're ostracising her and negative consequences don't help build positive thoughts, if she was a toddler you would praise her for doing good, I don't think much changes particularly in those hormonal teenage years.

Could you not talk to her and suggest her older sister takes her shopping? Then she could get her opinion on clothes, I would have loved that at the same age.

insancerre Sun 14-Dec-14 09:15:33

Dd 18 does this to me
I am not putting a lock on my door. Its my house and I shouldn't have too
I have had to hide things in the past so she can't find them
Ive just discovered she is wearing my underwear as she is too lazy to do her washing
Its bloody annoying

Delphine31 Sun 14-Dec-14 09:18:06

This situation sounds impossible to solve but I'm sure others will have useful suggestions.

The only thing I can think to suggest is that everyone sits down to discuss this calmly, not when there's just been an incident and your younger DD will be on the defense and you and elder DD will be pissed off. Progress won't be made via an argument. Choose a day/time where this can be discussed without reference to one specific incident so that it can be done less as an accusation but more as an ongoing problem that all the family need to come up with a solution for and try to use the opportunity to get to the bottom of younger DD's thought process.

Could younger DD have confidence issues with appearance? Maybe it's safer to nick her sister's clothes so that it's not her judgement in question if she wears something daft? Has elder DD ever made negative comments about the way younger DD dresses?

Rascalls3 Sun 14-Dec-14 10:42:03

Insancerre, I am incredibly jealous that you are the same size as your 18 year old smile

insancerre Sun 14-Dec-14 10:51:11

Rascalls that's the problem. If I was bigger she wouldn't be able to wear my knickers grin
I didn't wear my mums clothes because she was about 3 times my size. And she had bigger feet

BrowersBlues Sun 14-Dec-14 13:07:54

My DD steals my clothes, takes them to various friends houses and I never see them again. I am a single parent on a tight budget and apart from the annoyance I can't afford to replace them.

I didn't want to put a lock on my bedroom door because I don't want my home to look like Fort Knox so I put a lock on my cupboard. It's a build in cupboard but a lock on a wardrobe would do the same job. This way I can leave my bedroom door open but know my stuff is safe.

This has reduced the arguments between us about this issue and made me a bit more calm because I know I can find my things. My DD does her own washing and I don't get involved. If I am drying my clothes I keep an eye on my stuff so I know if clothes go missing. Mental I know but ...

bloodyteenagers Sun 14-Dec-14 13:23:55

Oh god that you for this thread. I thought I was the only one whose daughter nicked her clothes. I also see I am not the only lazy underwear stealing one either.
Such a relieve.
Santions don't work.
You name it I have tried it. Just makes her more determined.

febel Sun 14-Dec-14 15:04:27

Such a relief to hear we aren't the only family to have this! Thank you all...as regards self esteem....well she has plenty of clothes and she only needs to ASK her sister or me and we will lend our stuff 99 per cent of the time...but its' the fact she doesn't ask...just takes...which applies to everything in the house!!
Still not sure what to do...have tried talking but it doesn't work. Re the lock...well we put it on cos we didn't see why her sister had to have her things taken etc constantly...things she had bought with her hard earned money..and which she would have leant if asked...

DarceyBustle Wed 17-Dec-14 04:18:13

I am 42 now but was instantly transported back to being a 17 year old reading the OP.

It and the replies made my blood boil. I just want to scream "Fuck You, Fuck The Lot Of You"

Like most younger children, I spent my childhood in hand-me-down clothes playing with hand me down stuff. And now when it comes to "sharing" because younger child has grown into them whilst they still fit her sister, your older daughter has some fucking nerve to be chippy about it.

Obviously if you've labelled her thief/liar/lord knows what else, why shouldn't she live up to the label. Your choice to lock away things in a "mine, all mine" way is so excluding. Do you normally use exclusion as a control mechanism in your family.

As a 17 year old my total contribution to any discussion would be "Fuck You". Maybe if you could both be a bit more generous, both materially and generous-spirited, then your home would be less fucking awful for everyone to live in.

Excuse the language, my heart rate is starting to drop back down now.

madwomanbackintheattic Wed 17-Dec-14 04:36:31

'Your older daughter has some fucking nerve to be chippy about it'

Um. A 22 yo buys her own clothes and is supposed to be fine when they are stolen?

You want to get some therapy for those chips on your shoulder, Darcy. Really. You've been carting that stuff round in your head for 25 years?

And you still can't see the pov of the one paying for the clothes? The older dd?

How about 'your younger daughter has some fucking nerve to be nicking stuff that isn't hers'?

I am loving the utopian vision of an everything shared commune, but it's bastarding annoying to go in your wardrobe for the shirt you want to wear to work and find it in a heap under your little sisters bed. After you had washed and ironed it yourself so that you could wear it to work...

See? We can all project. The strength of your irrational feeling on the matter doesn't mean that your feelings are in any way the 'right' ones. They just mean you still have issues to deal with about your family. All this time later.

DarceyBustle Wed 17-Dec-14 05:25:15

Well let me channel my angry 17 year old self again and say "Borrowed not Stolen".

If you read the op's comments. She doesn't say one positive thing about her younger daughter. That is a travesty.

Look at this from the OP ...as regards self esteem....well she has plenty of clothes and she only needs to ASK

The OP thinks she should have good self worth when she has plenty of clothes and that that should overcome knowing the rest of your family think you're: lot's of problems; a liar; a sneak; a thief; annoying; a cause of worry; nothing like the others and the person that nice things are locked away from. How is she going to feel great about herself. And I have to say that the whole "if only she would grovel for our largesse ASK" makes me feel puke.

It is pretty obvious the older daughter is a Golden child and the younger one a scapegoat.

Even the response "such a relief we aren't the only family to have this" strikes me as a way of dumping the blame on The Problem.

Oh btw madwoman nice try at patrinising me, but it didn't work.

nagynolonger Wed 17-Dec-14 05:54:34

No it's not obvious that the older daughter is the golden child and the younger one is the scapegoat.

It's not just girls either my 19 year old son steals his 21 year old brothers stuff. Hopefully it's just a stage which will pass. The 21 year old is working and earning his own money and buying himself nice stuff. The younger brother is still at school and a bit jealous. Understandable I suppose. We have gone down the lock on the door route which is working for us. Shoes are sometimes a problem. All three brothers are in the same size shoes and there is a certain amount of putting the first ones that come to hand with all three.

The younger DC taking things that aren't his wouldn't go down well outside home eg in university halls or at work so why the bloody hell should it be OK at home.

DarceyBustle Wed 17-Dec-14 07:05:36

nagynolonger think the fact you haven't brought the police into the matter of the stealing in your own house demonstrates perfectly well that you know the difference between work and a family.

and we will have to agree to differ on whether the OP has a favored child, but the words and tone she uses to segregate her youngest child out from her family is really quite poisonous. To me anyway.

chipsandpeas Wed 17-Dec-14 07:15:25

id be suggesting to your older daughter to put a lock on her wardrobe and also nicking your younger daughters favourite clothes

Schoolaroundthecorner Wed 17-Dec-14 07:23:55

Darcey that's some major projecting going on there. Nowhere did the OP say that the younger sister has to settle for hand me downs and must depend on the largesse of her mother and older sister in order not to be dressed in rags. Come on! There is nothing wrong with teaching her to respect other people's property and to ask if she wants something.

DoesntLeftoverTurkeySoupDragOn Wed 17-Dec-14 07:29:16

a liar; a sneak; a thief

Maybe if she didn't sneak into her sister's room, steal her clothes and then lie about it she wouldn't be described like that.

DarceyBustle Wed 17-Dec-14 07:45:04

There is nothing wrong with teaching her to respect other people's property and to ask if she wants something. true, but somehow the message has been lost, and any semblance of a normal relationship with her daughter is seen as a fair trade for the Older
sister's red tartan dress.

Maybe if she didn't sneak into her sister's room, steal her clothes and then lie about it she wouldn't be described like that. also true, but only the most mean hearted seek to see others as no better than the worst thing they've done. Do you think of yourself as the total of your shitty moments? Are your children only the worst they've ever done, is that how you want them to think of themselves as they pass through their formative years? Any parent who chooses to view their child through the lens of liar/sneak/thief is awful.

originalusernamefail Wed 17-Dec-14 07:46:41

Wowzers Darcy calm down. My younger sister was actually the "indulged baby", she had a holiday to NY for her 18th I had a meal down the local, that sort of thing. We were never the same size and had completely different tastes / personalities even when small so hand-me-downs was something that never happened.

Sharing was also something that never happend, my DSis had a motto "what's yours is mine what's mine is mine alone" wink. The OPs youngest could be that way out.

Because she didn't fit my clothes she would take make up / CDs and usually damage them in the processangry.

I'm not sure you can sanction someone who is all but an adult though. Maybe continue with the lock and make a big deal of letting her borrow when she asks or maybe offering to lend e.g oh if your going out tonight you would look great in my red dress / sparkly shoes sort of thing.

DoesntLeftoverTurkeySoupDragOn Wed 17-Dec-14 08:02:32

Any parent who chooses to view their child through the lens of liar/sneak/thief is awful.

Where has the OP done this? She says the major problems are lying and sneakiness. If the child is lying and being sneaky then these are the problems.

I think you are projecting your own issues.

The OP wants to solve this problem and this is describing it. There's no need to wax lyrical about any wonderful qualities the Youngest has when the OP wants advice about this specific problem.

DarceyBustle Wed 17-Dec-14 08:56:23

There's no need to wax lyrical about any wonderful qualities the Youngest has when the OP wants advice about this specific problem.
Wax lyrical, maybe not. But give the impression the child has no redeeming features or that you are immune to them is actually unusual.

Most parents writing about their childrens' issues are scrupulous to let us know that (a) the parent loves them and that (b) really they are a great kid. The OP has given a considered view of her child that is 100% negative. That poor child, God forbid she will ever see what her mother has written about her

The mother says she lies and is sneaky about anything. That is a negative lens.

And OP appears oblivious to the fact that there has essentially been a complete breakdown in communication between her and her younger daughter. 17 year olds lie and are underhand because the hassle of their parents finding out the truth has been proven "Not Worth It". eg If younger admitted she stole something there might not be a punishment, but if the parent starts questioning "Why did you lie?" "Why did you steal your sister's things?" that is so much worse because it seeks to humiliate. What has this 17 year old learnt about the consequences of admitting things that make it impossible for her to do so? It takes two to make The Mother of All Rows, she can't argue with herself.

The daughter knows you find her untrustworthy- in and of itself a terrible thing for a child. And all the time you go down the locking up route she has zero opportunity to earn that back. She has no reason to try to think or do better of herself when her mother (your best advocate in life) thinks so little of her.

mrscumberbatch Wed 17-Dec-14 09:07:56

I don't think it is necessary for an OP to have to justify every issue they come on with.
"My daughter said something mean- but I love her."
"My son crashed my car- but I love him."

It goes without saying.

You're allowed to dislike things that your kids do.

I was the eldest and a serial clothes pincher. My little sister was very coordinated and had great accessories. She stuck a lock on her door and I was annoyed- but more so at the point that I had been caught!

It wasn't insecurity or whatnot that made me do it. Part of it was that I am crap at shopping for myself and dislike shops and sales staff so going into my sisters room was like having your own private shop.

The other part was boredom. People's bedrooms are an amazing insight!! Also we were so different personality wise that her choice were totally different to what I had chosen which was fascinating.

We struck a compromise by the time she was 17 because she wanted to raid my wardrobe and come out with me and my friends and whatnot and we ended up having a great relationship.

So there's a light at the end of the tunnel OP... And Darcy- stop seeing 'attacks' where there isn't any. It's bloody annoying when people pinch your things.

DoesntLeftoverTurkeySoupDragOn Wed 17-Dec-14 10:16:57

The mother says she lies and is sneaky about anything. That is a negative lens.

Maybe she lies and is sneaky about everything and it's simply an honest lens as appropriate for the problem.

And all the time you go down the locking up route she has zero opportunity to earn that back.

Children need to learn what is right and what is wrong. Talking to her has not worked, hence the lock. She had the opportunity to earn trust back and didn't.

Sometimes kids just do unpleasant things. Sometimes they grow out of it, sometimes they don't. They need boundaries and they need consequences, they don't need excuses and umpteen chances.

My second born brother managed not to lie, steal and be sneaky despite being the "hand me down" child.
My second born son manages not to lie, steal and be sneaky despite being the "hand me down" son.

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