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Is there any point in confronting stepdaughter when my husband won’t back me?

zhangqian's picture

Hi everyone,

My stepdaughter is 17 years old. I have been with her dad for eight years. We have been married since she was 11. I have experienced sneaky behaviour from her ever since she was a little girl, but it seems to have gotten more consistent recently. 

She is cordial and nice to me and on the whole seemingly quite good company. However, I am on the verge of going mad in my home ever since I have uncovered a slew of steady sneaky behaviour which makes me question her friendliness and apparent genial facade. I have discovered she has been helping herself to my toiletries and uses only my expensive products, but can you imagine she does it stealthily, products I use sparingly she finishes in a week without even saying a word to me. I pick up the bottle to find it empty. I have told my husband about it, he says he would buy me a new one but he never does.

 I keep my mini size travel toiletries those one-use sample size giveaways stacked in a pile, When I needed them for a recent trip, I found many of them cut, opened, used and placed back exactly how I have left them! I have told my husband about it but he says I have no proof it is her, we do have two other children,  but I know it isn’t our two boys.

On quite a few occasions, I have woken up to her in my trousers which she has taken without asking. I didn’t really mind her borrowing my things,  but it means she would have been rifling through my things while I sleep. However, after realising she is going to without fail soil them, lose them, or even outright deny taking them. I am starting to find it rather invasive she helps herself to my scarves and sunglasses.

You have many pairs of trousers, does it matter if she borrows a pair or two is what my husband tells me. I have explained it is the concept of asking first to borrow something which doesn’t belong to you, but he says I am being overly critical. I am grateful she is too big for most of my clothes except my trousers with elastic waistbands.

What she does do openly which incur the wrath of her dad is touch and use anything expensive we leave out. If I leave a luxury bag out which interests her, I would come back to it and it would be either scratched, stained, dented, or simply placed in another spot. I understand her dad is also on the receiving end of this type of treatment as we have spoken about it many times before. The issue I realise now is my husband who lets her get away with it.

I feel cornered in my own home and are questioning my sanity as I hide creams and cleansers rolled up in underwear, lock anything of value to me up. I leave nothing of mine about but the stress is killing me. I have been bad at confronting her myself and have left major disciplining to her dad who never backs me. Is there anything apart from speaking to my husband can I do to get this type of behaviour to stop?

MrsStepMom's picture

In my experience it won’t get you anywhere. It’s complete crap to have to hide things in your own home. I have to as well. I’ve tried to confront SS and DH does nothing or denies it now resulting in our marriage ending. 

Letti.R's picture

Speak to her directly and tell her in no uncertain terms to stop her thievery and pilfering.
Your husband doesn't care because it doesn't affect him and it is not his stuff.
He doesn't need to back you up because he is spineless, but you should stand up for yourself or the behaviour wont stop.

I know it is spiteful but put hair remover in your shampoo bottle or itching powder in your cleanser and then tell your husband there is no proof you did it when someone uses it.

notasm3's picture

Why don't you "doctor" up some make-up.  Nothing harmful - but something that might glow in the dark, etc.

beebeel's picture

Yes, I would confront her and tell her to stop stealing your things. She's nearly an adult. She needs to be confronted now before her thievery lands her criminal charges.

ybarra357's picture

Yep, stand up to her, and your DH, and let them know the stealing stops.  NOW!! How I wish I would have stood up for myself sooner than I did.  It took me 3 years, I couldn’t imagine taking this for as long as you have. 

ndc's picture

I would say something to her whether he backs you up or not.  And I would also put a lock on the bedroom door as well as get a locking box for my toiletries and other items I don't want her to use or take.  If your DH doesn't like that, too bad.  If he stopped the "borrowing" (i.e., theft) it wouldn't be necessary.  You shouldn't have to live like that, but better to live with the inconvenience of everything being locked up than having the SD stealing your stuff.

Ispofacto's picture

Put a lock on your bedroom door, and put all your things in a shower caddy to keep inside your bedroom.

My SD15 is a thief as well but it seems to be a compulsion she has and she cannot seem to stop herself.  I am her only target so I believe it is an outlet for her hostility.  She will be out when she is 18.

If she didn't know it was wrong, she would be doing it right in front of you, not all sneaky like.


shamds's picture

you know the darkest most fake orangest you have

when she wakes up or mins later is dark fake orange you have your proof. Hair remover in hair shampoo and conditioner if you’re feeling generous, but remember once you go down this line everything of yours is under lock and key for fear of tampering and also rememeber what stuff you “accidentally” changed the contents.

you can always claim yeah thats my bottle of hair cream remover in the conditioner bottle because its easier to squeeze out, sd shouldn’t have been rudely stealing my things without my knowledge, if she would have asked i could have told her

Then when she chucks a hissy fit to her dad she has to admit stealing your stuff and using it and never again will she.

i think you need to have locks on your door and everytime you leave lock it and only you keep the key with you at all times

the issue here is respect to your privacy. I’d feel weird any of my sd wearing and using my things and very angry. I’m only in a sharing mood with my own bio kids

2nd wives club's picture

A code lock and a nanny cam should do the trick. And remind your DH to restock your stolen supplies. If your DH is going to sit back and do nothing, that's your queue to take action.

24 years as a SM's picture

I have no idea what color your Sd's hair is, but henna is a great theif detector. I did this to SD38, Leech, when she was a teenager, not only did Leech have redish orange hair, but so did her bitch mother. Leech was stealing my highend hair products and taken them to BM's house.Pay backs a bitch.

Rags's picture

Borrowing must be accomplished with prior approval.  Otherwise it is theft.

So, press charges.  See how the 17yo and daddy like that.

Or, embarrass the shit out of both of them by turning your home into a locked fortress so that your belongings are always under lock and key.

Locks on your bedroom, closet, bathroom, etc.... All of your makeup in a locked cabinet, etc.....


simifan's picture

DH is your problem here. I would not live like a prisoner in my own home.  I have issues pranking a child - even at 17, but I'd have no issue telling DH some of the products are doctored and he better keep SD away from them or she might be blue, hairless etc. I'd smile sweetly and tell him, "If she's not stealing my stuff its not an issue." The alternative I would offfer is him footing the bill for both of your products, especially since sharing is unhygienic and can cause infections depending on what she is stealing. 


I would not be above "borrowing" DH's razor to shave my legs to make my point loud and maybe a bit bloody. :-)  

Curious Georgetta's picture

17 year old. Why do you need to be backed up to ask a 17 year old not to use your personal items or search through your belongings?

She is old enough to understand, and you are old enough to articulate your feelings. This is not a situation that requires your husband's intervention or his approval.

It need not be a confrontation; it can be a simple conversation much like you would have with anyone else doing something inappropriate in your home.

You can point out that you would never think of wearing.her clothing without asking , not would you rummage through her belongings without her permission.



zhangqian's picture

I am new to this website and your answers made me feel I am not alone. It also seems to be a common theme: the weak indulgent dad. I woke up to a missing expensive jar of facial cream which I found in her bathroom. I immediately galvanised into action, picked up the jar of night cream and locked everything as in everything away. I wonder what to say when quizzed by husband later... I think I would use it as the opportunity to tell him why. I hate conflict and find it difficult to handle confrontations. However, I will channel all your thoughts and at the very least put up a resistance for the sake of my sanity. Thank you for all your replies Smile

Winterglow's picture

Tell him what one of the PPs said, it's borrowing when you ask for permission first (and permission is given), if no permission is asked nor given it becomes theft. Then add that you are considering calling the police the next time something is stolen. 

Powerfamily's picture

I wonder what to say when quizzed by husband later...  

Use his words back at him, Ask him as "I have no proof it is her", why is he questioning it.  It's your own belongings and as "Someone" in the family is taking my belongings and I do want MY things stolen.  So why is he now asking why your have locked up your things when should not effect any one else.

Siemprematahari's picture

It's ridiculous that you have to live like this in YOUR own home. What does it say about your H that he doesn't address his daughter taking things that DO NOT belong to her.

I know you don't like confrontation but sometimes you just have to. I'd address her in a stern I'm not f@cking around with you tone in front of her father that you are tired of your things going missing and would appreciate that she NOT touch anything of yours again. If she continues to steal from you there will be consequences. Your H may not like it but he has the problem of sticking his head in the sand. So if he doesn't have the b@lls to address his daughter, you will.

"You have many pairs of trousers, does it matter if she borrows a pair or two is what my husband tells me."

As far as this comment....YES it does matter because they are YOURS not hers. How the heck does he manage to even turn this around on you??? He has some d@mn nerve!