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Am I unreasonable for how I am handling my daughter being accused of stealing?

302 replies

magsel · 06/09/2022 19:09

I share a daughter with my ex wife. She lives with her mum about half the time. My ex also has a stepdaughter through her husband. The stepdaughter and my daughter do not get along.

Around a month ago the stepdaughter lost her Nintendo switch. She has blamed my daughter for stealing it to get back at her for calling her names. My ex has since searched all over her house and through our daughters things for to switch and has been unable to find it. She is now convinced that our daughter has hidden the switch in her bedroom at my house.

I am unconvinced because my daughter is a really bad liar. She has a lot of tells and breaks down very easily when caught lying. When I asked her about the switch she was very insistant that she does not know what happened to it. I did not see or hear any indication she was lying. So unless my 11 old daughter magically became the best actress in the world within the past couple days I sincerely doubt she stole the switch.

Still my ex is insisting that I let her search through our daughters room at my house or search the room myself. I however find that to be a massive invasion of privacy. I tend to think about it from the point of view of when I was a kid. I would have felt violating to have my things searched through. It’s not even like I hid anything suspicious or wrong I just wouldn’t have wanted my stuff rifled through. Based upon how upset my daughter was after her mom did it at her house I imagine she feels the same. I am of the personal opinion that it is only okay to go through my child’s things if I have reason to believe they could be doing something dangerous or if I have proof beyond shadow of a doubt that they did something wrong. Her stepsister simply saying she stole the switch is not enough proof in my opinion.

Things escalated from there and my ex then gave our daughters switch to her stepsister until hers showed back up. A few days later when I went to pick my daughter up she grabbed the switch and quickly got in my car (I didn’t know about this as she had it in her backpack). When I got home my ex called because they found out my daughter had taken her switch. My ex was irate and demanded I bring it back. After thinking about it I refused to because again she had nothing other than her stepdaughter word as “proof”. Therefore I found her punishment unwarranted. Since I was the one who paid for our daughters switch I saw no reason for my ex to demand it be given to her stepdaughter.

After that my ex started taking away our daughters allowance. We normally take turns giving her her allowance every other week. My ex decided that she would be taking away our daughter allowance on her weeks and giving it to her stepdaughter until she had enough to buy a new one. So in return I decided to give my daughter her double her allowance on my weeks.

My ex now says I am undermining her parenting by making decisions without her, but she is also making decisions without me and I think her punishment is unjust. Especially when her stepdaughter did not receive any punishment for teasing our daughter. Obviously things have gotten out of hand, but I’m not sure what else to do because my ex is absolutely convinced our daughter took the switch and is refusing to budge or talk about it. It’s quite odd because normally we coparent very well and rarely have any issue.

OP posts:

CJsGoldfish · 06/09/2022 23:26

You missed the point. If the Dd already had SD's one at Dad's she doesn't need her own one there

If she took it, and I am NOT saying she did, there is no way she could risk playing it so she absolutely would need to take her own to play. IF she took it, it wasn't to play, she has her own for that. It would be simply out of spite.


SummerInSun · 06/09/2022 23:28

magsel · 06/09/2022 23:04

@JustLyra it's just lies about silly things. Like saying she finished her chores when she didn't. That doesn't seem out of the ordinary to me.

Aside from the reasons I gave. I'm more of innocent until proven guilty and searching her room feel much more the opposite. I wouldn't think it okay either for the police to search someones home just on the word of someone else either. To me it just seems so absolutely morally wrong in this case.

Actually if the police have been told by the victim that they believe X stole something, that probably would be enough for them to get authorisation to conduct a search!

While I agree you should presume your daughter innocent until proven guilty, that is not the same thing as refusing to make open-minded checks for any evidence of proof one way way or another. You are confusing evidence gathering with an assumption of guilt.


Saynotothefishtank · 06/09/2022 23:33

Either your dd didn’t take the switch, in which case your ex is behaving appallingly, or your dd did take the switch, and you don’t know her as well as you think you do. A room check might help. However there’s no point doing it unless its very thorough like under mattress etc. If you do check the room, don’t tell your dd.

My best bet is that the stepdaughter broke her switch and decided to bin it and blame your dd to get a new switch and revenge. Which would be really cruel. Or possibly your dd broke it by accident and panicked and binned it - oh so many things could have happened. Has it definitely not be stolen? Like from the stepdaughter’s bag, or by a visitor to the house?

Hm. Thinking about all the different possibilities, I’d be amazed if the switch is at your house. Why keep it, once stolen? Either let it ‘turn up’ at stepdaughter’s home, or bin it so the evidence is gone…

You and your ex need to work together to get to the bottom of this. Your ex assuming its your dd is not ok, it could equally be the stepdaughter lying.

Innocent until proven guilty, so you’re right to double her pocket money and stand by her.


pastypirate · 06/09/2022 23:39

Search her room when she's not there. If you don't find the switch your daughter never needs to know and you go right back to having what sounds like a healthy respect for her privacy. If you do find the switch take and breath and decide how to approach it with your dd.

Children need adults to over ride boundaries to keep them safe now and then


ThePumpkinPatch · 06/09/2022 23:43

Sunnyqueen · 06/09/2022 19:49

Your ex sounds a right piece of work. Why would your daughter steal the step daughters switch if she has her own? Just for getting back at her calling her names nah I don't buy that.
And no way should ex come search your house! You do a search, tell her you've looked and it's not there and that will have to do. As for the pocket money I'd be very tempted to just give her twice the amount when it's your turn and let ex know that's what your doing. Now that is obviously directly undermining her but way I see one it's showing her what undermining actually is and two don't be a nasty cow to your own daughter and there will be no need for it?!

OP has already stated that's he's already giving her twice the allowance. Did you not read the OP fully?


Chilesstanton · 06/09/2022 23:45

You sound like a lovely dad! Well done for taking your dd’s part and assuming the best of her. We all need that.


Isaidnoalready · 06/09/2022 23:45

Talk to your daughter explain that the only way to resolve this is to check her room and then tell him it's not there her reaction will tell you what you need to do


Isaidnoalready · 06/09/2022 23:46

Tell HER sorry 😳


ElvisLeftTheBuilding · 06/09/2022 23:47

It's great that you have your daughter's back but you are being unreasonable to not just search her room and be done with it. It's not an invasion of privacy when they are kids. If you believe she didn't steal anything then search the room to prove her innocence.
You've said yourself she is capable of telling lies. If she did steal the switch, all you are doing now is telling her she can get away with things because you will believe her story and that she has an easy hiding place because you won't invade her private room.
If she didn't steal it, why shouldn't she be happy for you to check her room?


Enko · 06/09/2022 23:47

What is your dd's view on what should happen? She must know her mother wants her room searched at yours? Speak with your dd and see how this can be resolved. DD may say she is ok with you going through her room to prove it wasn't her. Or she may say she would prefer you didn't as she doesn't want her things looked through . both are valid options. At 11 your dd is old enough to have a sensible conversation with.


magsel · 06/09/2022 23:49

@growinggreyer Thanks for the link. Hopefully that might help clear things up.

OP posts:

magsel · 06/09/2022 23:51

@jazzybelle it's all based on the other girls accusation. I asked my ex for any actual proof and she just says she believes her stepdaughter.

OP posts:

Lovetogarden2022 · 06/09/2022 23:51

Your ex is being completely unreasonable! And very immature too - why doesn't she just have a grown up conversation with her children together and try and get to the bottom of it?
Just to add, one of my best friends was accused of stealing a games console by her cousin and it became a whole thing with parents taking sides and a big family fall out etc, even though my friend was adamant she didn't take it. They found it a week later in the cousin's room hidden from sight - she said she'd hidden it and accused my friend as she didn't like how much attention her parents were giving her. Might be worth exploring that option....


magsel · 06/09/2022 23:55

@SummerInSun I'm not saying it's doesn't happen. I know it does. I am saying that it is wrong to do so. It's not okay to violate someone's privacy like that. It might be legal, but legality does not determine morality in my opinion.

OP posts:

Ohnohedident · 06/09/2022 23:57

Sounds like you are using your daughter to disturb your ex, which is very destructive behaviour for your child.
I am assuming the girls mother has some reason for thinking she has the device?
Have you asked your expartner what her reason is for thinking the child is involved in the device going missing?


Leaf86 · 06/09/2022 23:59

It doesn’t make sense that the SD would know that your DD stole the switch. Did she watch it happen and despite being a year older, let her ?!? The accusation is based on a belief, probably underlined with a bit of spite there too.

I would give DD the option of having her room searched in order to vindicate her.


Mariposista · 07/09/2022 00:00

Your ex sounds like a real nasty piece of work - you dodged a bullet there. Thank heck your kid has a good dad to stick up for her!


magsel · 07/09/2022 00:01

@Ohnohedident I have asked my ex. She just said it's because she believes her stepdaughter is telling the truth.

OP posts:

Rachie1973 · 07/09/2022 00:02

I would just do a thorough search when your daughter is at school to be honest. Then the school bag when she’s in bed.

easily sorted without all the drama


magsel · 07/09/2022 00:06

@Leaf86 the stepdaughter didn't even claim to see her take it. She just assumed because my daughter was really upset at her for being called names.

Maybe that is a good compromise. It wouldn't bother me so much if my daughter was okay with me searching her room. I'll ask tomorrow.

OP posts:

Ohnohedident · 07/09/2022 00:10

I am assuming the mum knows both kids very well, so have you entertained the possibility that your kid did take the device?

Could you give more details about the dynamics? otherwise Im afraid it does sound like you are intentially stiring an already difficult situation.
I cant stress enough that if you really want to support your daughter to be a confient adult then you need to support her mum, unless you have real reason to believe she is a bad mum, and I mean real reason, not just that it did not work out between you two.

Why do the girls not get on? It sounds difficult that they are sharing a room. Is it a new relationship for your ex? do you resent it?


samqueens · 07/09/2022 00:12

User135792468 · 06/09/2022 19:59

Have you managed to find out from your ex why she is so convinced your dd took it? If you said you have coparented well until now, this sounds out of character for her. There must be a reason your ex thinks the way she does. Her reaction is now very extreme due to her frustration with your lack of support (which I do understand). Try and pinpoint why she is so convinced- it can’t just be because the stepdaughter said so.

In your shoes, I would have a look round the house when your dd isn’t there. Then, you can calmly talk to your ex and explain that you’ve looked (please don’t lie and say you’ve done it if you haven’t) and that it isn’t there. Giving your dd double pocket money, whilst I understand is tempting, may generate more problems in the future.

it is very good that your dd sees that you have her back, however, the way you are both handling the situation will mean that your daughter will play you off against each other. She will think that you will always be able to rely on you to have her back regardless of whether she is right or wrong and your ex will lose trust in you as a co parent and may not have your back who you need her to. Both things are unhealthy and not the right thing for a teenager (even if she isn’t one yet) who will undoubtably push boundaries.

The three of you need to sit down and resolve this issue together as a family. You both decided to have her so you both need to look at the bigger picture. She needs to see that her parents have her back but also work together to resolve conflict. This environment is toxic for all involved.

This is such great advice


PeekabooAtTheZoo · 07/09/2022 00:12

I love that you trust your daughter and respect her boundaries. As an outsider, we've got five people who could have taken the Switch:
Your daughter: To be "spiteful" (out of character, unlikely to be lying convincingly all of a sudden, these things come on gradually)
Stepdaughter: Could have lost/broken it and be scared to admit it or could have hidden it to be spiteful. Has anyone searched HER room or the room she has at her mother's? No? Maybe that would be a good place to start.
SD's mum: Sold it for cash and swore down to SD that she didn't bring it to her house that week.
SD's dad: Sold it for cash and that's why he's coming down so hard about this?
Your ex: Sold it for cash and that's why she's making such a big deal out of this.

What's more likely here, that your daughter suddenly became the best liar ever overnight or that an adult is misusing their power to get away with selling the Switch to pay their electric/manicure/food shop/spa day? As you can see from the responses on this thread (and many others), adults are FAR too quick to believe other adults even when they don't know them and are told categorically something cannot be possible.

If it's not possible for your daughter to be lying about this, then either one of three adults sold the Switch and lied to the other two about it to save face, throwing your daughter under the bus, or SD broke it and is shit scared of confessing because she's already seeing the horrible consequences your poor daughter is suffering when she didn't do anything wrong.


CJsGoldfish · 07/09/2022 00:13

Sounds like you are using your daughter to disturb your ex, which is very destructive behaviour for your child
I agree there is an aspect of this involved. As well as keeping daughter on side without knowing 100% that she didn't do it. You are not privy to what goes on in their house and the interactions etc. The ex has taken a pretty strong stance and I'd be wondering whether it is due to experience.
Of course, the easiest thing to do is just search the room. Clear the dd and put an end to the punishment at home. Why wouldn't you want that unless you are enjoying the role as the 'good guy' in your dds eyes. Sticking it to the ex is an added bonus.
Of course, there is the chance that she did take it and, if that were the case, you've done your dd NO favours at all. She will always know she can manipulate you 🤷‍♀️


aloris · 07/09/2022 00:14

So in a case where there's no evidence in either direction, your ex believes her stepdaughter over her own daughter? On the basis of what? Wow. That's disloyal. Your poor daughter.

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