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My boyfriend’s daughter is a thief

ToriOri's picture

Hi Guys! I need some help. For the past two and one half years I have been dating a man with two children that he is helping to raise. I phrase it this way because the two girls (ages 5 and 10) are not biologically his, but he has committed to helping his ex raise them because their fathers are absentee. He is extremely involved in their lives. I myself, have a 12 year old son. 

Recently, we found out that his ten year old stole my sons AirPods 2 months ago. During this time, my 12 year old had saved his allowance to purchase a new pair. This is not the first time this child has stolen. In fact, upon entering the relationship he warned me that she had "sticky fingers". Since finding out that she had stolen the AirPods and had them for quite some time, him nor her mother, have done much about the situation. She was "punished" with losing her iPhone for only two days. I requested that the parents replace my sons money because he worked hard to replace AirPods that he thought he lost, but were really just stolen from him.

A month has passed and they have still not replaced his money, nor have they made her apologize. I am beyond upset as this is not the first time she has stolen from me. In fact, it is the third. She has not been back to my home because I feel so violated. Also, I am not quite over the situation and the fact that the parents have done nothing to correct her behavior. I even offered to allow her to do chores and small odd jobs to work off her debt. My thought process would be that we could teach her to earn the things that she wants. I even was ok with giving her the used AirPods back after her working off the money to show her that we can have whatever we want with the right work ethic. I have gotten nothing but crickets from the parents.

We were planning a trip to Disney for my sons national basketball Championship, but I have recently expressed to my boyfriend that I do not believe the ten year old should be allowed to go since they are not actively trying to correct her behavior. My boyfriend is angry and thinks that I am being too harsh. He also no longer wants to go. 

Is this an issue worth breaking up over? We have been talking heavily about marriage, but I can't see how we can get past the fact that they won't help the child and I refuse to continue to be a victim to her ways. She needs help and I feel as if the are neglecting her. 

Gimlet's picture

Yes, it's worth breaking up over.  If your boyfriend doesn't see the need to correct her behavior at 10, how do you think she will be as a teen?  As a young adult?

Your boyfriend is angry that you don't want to bring her to Disney, yet he hasn't reimbursed your son for his property?   He hasn't given her any real consequences and he expects that she learned something?

This isn't going to get better on its own.  In fact, it will likely get worse and you and your son will be subjected to having people in your lives whom you cannot trust and will be a drain on your resources.

He is showing you what kind of parent he is.  Believe him. 

ToriOri's picture

I'm starting to see his evasive parenting style and hurts a lot seeing that we've invested so much time. 

hereiam's picture

Parenting, or lack thereof, is a BIG issue in relationships in which kids are involved and it will only get worse. So, yes, it's worth breaking up over.

Your BF is showing you who he is, what his character is.

One can always come up with a reason to stay but is this the kind of person you want to be with? Are these the kinds of people you want your son to be around? Living with? You have to think of him, as well as yourself.

Blended families are VERY hard, especially when one parent doesn't parent.

ESMOD's picture

I would be interested in hearing a more full picture of your BF and his relationship with you and his kids.. etc.

I find it baffling that He (forget about her mom.. she isn't your SO.. you can't have any expectations from her on this really)... is not making his daughter face ANY consequences for this "long term borrowing" aka stealing.  Does he think that the walmart or target are going to be forgiving?  How about her employer when they find she has been carting things off? 

I mean, perhaps they lived in a more open/sharing home where you didn't need to ask to borrow something that belonged to someone else.. but he told you that she had a habit of taking things without permission.  He doesn't think that is an issue?

This is such a basic thing that you teach your child.. what on earth is his excuse for not expecting her to repay your son for what she took and forced him to replace.. I mean.. I'm guessing your son got a nice lecture on responsibility when he "lost" his airpods right?  He was made to replace them with his own money.  Why on earth would your BF not see it to be reasonable to make his child do the same?

It's not like you are asking him to scream at her.. beat her.. belittle her.  A calm explanation about taking things that don't belong to us without permission.. and the natural consequence of being made to apologize and repay that person you stole from.. it is as simple as that.  It isn't yelling.. it isn't making her cry.. it's not a matter of hurting her feelings to explain that she did something wrong that is not condoned.

Now the trip to disney.. I wouldn't be necessarily leveraging her not going with the "family" on a trip because she did a bad thing.  The trip isn't a reward for good behavior.. but kind of see your BF is glomming on to the trip your kid is getting to take to add an "all expense paid vacay" for himself and his child in the mix (sharing the same accomodations .. getting the group rate on tickets etc..).  Is he in fact paying his way in your home?  The fact that HE hasn't been willing to make your son whole on behalf of the act his child did.. makes me either think he is a moocher/broke or he has some huge holes in his moral compass.

Either way... I would be inclined to go on this trip with just your child.. and tell your BF that if he won't make his kid pay your son back.. HE can do it... that is non-negotiable... if he fails to do that.. I might really rethink the relationship.. it's a small failure but one that will invade all parts of your life with him.

Sparkl3s's picture

Call his bluff.... let him stay home with his angel. Do not rob yourself of enjoying time with your son. You will be sharing a small space, that's tough enough even when you like everyone. 
Most kids with this kind of behavior don't do an autocorrect on their own, they need parents. What else is your son going to miss out on bc it will hurt his daughters fee fees. 

Winterglow's picture

Ummm ... this is a bit OT but... given that he is totally unrelated to either of these girls, what happens in emergencies? If there's an accident and either of them has to be rushed to hospital, what would happen? Legally, he hasn't a leg to stand on. He has no right to be there with them. His ex is using him as a soft touch because it's easier than getting her other exes to pay their fair share for their children. Does he realize the trouble the other fathers could cause if either of them decided to do so? I'd be very, very uncomfortable about this situation ... and that's without even considering the theft issue.

ESMOD's picture

Dang right!  I glossed right over that little nugget.

I would get very tired of accomodating and having resources and time from MY home spent on children that are not my.. nor my partner's legal obligation.

I get that he has been in their lives a decent amount.. and there is no reason why he can't maintain a peripheral "uncle" type of relationship with the girls to some extent.. but at some point.. his EX is going to get a new partner.. and at some point she is going to recall her kids and not give him access.  I would be hesitant to be with someone that was planning on keeping this up long term.... a few visits to soften the blow?  some holiday cards for a bit.. perhaps.. but acting as "daddy".. to kids that he has zero legal domain over? nope.

Hill to die on for me.. no way do they go on this trip.

tog redux's picture

I agree they are neglecting her. Why isn't she in therapy to deal with this issue? I'd have a hard time staying - at the very least, it's not fair to your son. 

simifan's picture

I would be giving "SO" the option return the Airpods as well as the money DS spent to replace them or I'm going to report the theft to the police. Yes, I would call poor parenting a definite deal breaker. Quite honestly, I would be seriously considering it since they didn't immediately reimburse your son when they realized the theft. 

No, I wouldn't take a thief anywhere with me much less on holiday. What if she shoplifted? I would be mortified. Take a look around at some of the step-mom's here who live under lock & key. Do you want to constantly live in fear if you drop your purse on the couch, things will be missing? Be forced to have cameras everywhere in your home to protect yourself? 

Thumper's picture

I am still trying to figure out who is bio parent to whom.

Sorry for your troubles, good luck.



ndc's picture

Absolutely this is something worth breaking up over. Not the behavior of the girl, but the behavior of the man.  He doesn't parent the kid and allows her to steal when he knows she's been doing it - heck, he warned YOU rather than deal with her.  And I can't even believe the lack of regard he showed for you and your son over the Air Pods. If this is all going on while this girl is ten, I can't imagine what life will be like with him when she's a teen.  I'd be long gone. 

OKtoStep's picture

"I'm angry because you don't want to take a completely unrelated girl child on a trip to celebrate your son's hard work and dedication to his sport. One of the reasons you give for this exclusion is because she stole an extremely valuable item from him that he worked for and earned and now you don't trust her." 

Did I miss anything? 

edit- Oh yeah. Have fun when she "borrows" someone's car and crashes it or gets banned from Target. 

weightedworld's picture

One question - 

When your son finds out he did not lose the air buds and finds out the truth and realizes that he busted his butt to earn the money to get a new pair while YOU knew ALL along... than what?

Let that sink in for a second. 

Do the right thing Mom.