I think my daughter stole something... not sure how/when to confront her. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 09-01-2010, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 7 yr. old is a sweet kid; somewhat gifted, kind of anxious, very social, pretty "easy" for the most part.

Last night while she was undressing for bed (usually sleeps naked) I noticed her tucking something way under her dresser. She got really defensive when I asked her what it was and said it was clean underwear that she was planning to put on in the morning. We're not exactly neat freaks, so I didn't worry about it too much, (who knows why 7 yr. olds do things?) plus she was about to go to sleep.

This morning, while getting ready for school she asked me to help her with a button, and then suddenly she decided to change her shirt. She started to take her shirt off and I noticed she had a training bra on. When I said neutrally, "Hey, that's cute, where'd ya get it?" She got VERY flustered and defensive and pulled her shirt down quickly. She was yelling that "it's just one of my tank tops! It's just all scrunched up!" Then went to change her shirt. I didn't push the issue because we needed to get to the bus stop.

She changed into a white shirt (no training bra). Once she was on the bus I went back home and looked under her dresser and there it was.

She's spent a lot of time with older cousins over the summer and although usually she's a rule-follower, I can imagine that she impulsively took it just out of curiosity.

She is VERY sensitive to shame, embarrassment, confrontation, etc. so I don't want to yell or lecture - we don't do that anyway. But I want to find out why/how she has it, and try to get this bra back to its rightful owner. I'm also concerned that she's dealing with another layer of shame because it's a bra. We are SO open about our bodies; practically nudists, but I have a feeling she'll think she's in trouble because it's a private "big girl" thing. I don't know.... Hoping to get some replies before she comes home from school.
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#2 of 14 Old 09-01-2010, 01:16 PM
 
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I think it's very possible that one of her older cousins simply gave it to her, and the hiding behaviour was because she felt that you would disapprove of the "big girl" aspect, as you said.
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#3 of 14 Old 09-01-2010, 01:16 PM
 
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I think you just have to ask. Sit down with her, show her the item, ask where she got it. If you're OK with this, tell her that once it's returned, you'd be happy to get her one of her own if she really feels she needs/wants one, but that she can't take stuff that's not hers without asking.

It's not going to be fun, but it will be out in the open.

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#4 of 14 Old 09-01-2010, 01:17 PM
 
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Choli makes a good point. She may not have taken it without asking at all.

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#5 of 14 Old 09-01-2010, 01:18 PM
 
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I'm not so sure this is a discipline issue.

School just started, and my guess is that either someone at school has said something about her needing a bra, or that a lot of other little girls are wearing training bras.

She sounds like a sweet, gentle girl who is normally respectful of rules and boundaries, so, imo, it must have been extremely important for her to have that training bra. Does she have a little extra weight, or could her buds be developing? Even barring "needing" one, it sure sounds like *she* thinks she needs one, even if obtaining a training bra meant breaking the rules and lying about it.

Good luck momma- I am not looking forward to the pre-teen years, which lately seems to start at 6!

Doctors aren't out to kill you or your children. Childbirth isn't inherently safe. Science is actually smarter than your intuition. Lighten up. Use sunscreen.

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#6 of 14 Old 09-01-2010, 01:29 PM
 
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I was older than your dd at the time, I'd guess 11 or 12, but a friend was giving me a bag of old clothes she didn't want anymore. I was really exciting picking out things from the giant pile. I spotted a training bra and stuffed it was down in the bag so she couldn't see.

I obviously didn't steal it yet I felt I should hide that I wanted it. I felt like it was a "naughty" thing to want.

Not knowing your dd personally, I'd say for me, I'd tell your dd you found it and ask her whether she would like to "pursue" it. Does she want a training bra, etc? No shame, no guilt, no bad connotation whatsoever. If she seems like the doesn't want to talk, let it go. She might just want to have that sort of thing.

And I DO NOT think that makes her too grown up in any way. And it doesn't make her too old for her age.

And later on down the road when you feel the situation has calmed down, you may want to ask her about where she got the bra. Even if she took it without asking, I wouldn't accuse her of stealing, I think that would just be very sensitive for her.

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#7 of 14 Old 09-01-2010, 01:38 PM
 
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I agree with PP-- I would show it to her and ask her about it when she gets home, and would not assume that she took it without asking.

Even if the conversation is uncomfortable, I think she'll probably feel better when it's out in the open.

FWIW, I have a lot of trouble imagining a 7 y.o. who "needs" a bra. Based on my girls and their friends, I would tend to think that 9-10 would be the very beginning of that. I can imagine a 7 y.o. being intrigued by the big girl aspect, and I would also take it as a signal that maybe it's time to have a conversation about how her body will change in a few years (if you haven't done it already). I think if my 7 y.o. were sneaking wearing a bra, I would probably want to make sure she knows that the way her body is at the moment is beautiful, and she doesn't need breasts to be special or important, IYKWIM.
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#8 of 14 Old 09-01-2010, 01:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Youngfrankenstein View Post
And later on down the road when you feel the situation has calmed down, you may want to ask her about where she got the bra. Even if she took it without asking, I wouldn't accuse her of stealing, I think that would just be very sensitive for her.
I don't understand this. If she's stealing stuff from her cousins, that's a problem, and sooner or later it's going to come out, and probably not as gently as the mom could arrange if she deals with soon. And if she did steal it, it's possible the owner got in trouble for losing it, or is uncomfortable because she doesn't have an undergarment she needs.

Since when is it ok to steal stuff just because you feel awkward/sensitive about it?
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#9 of 14 Old 09-01-2010, 03:47 PM
 
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I'm not saying it's okay to steal. I'm saying that I wouldn't get mad at the girl. Like I stated in my post, I do believe that this is a much more potentially sensitive situation. If she stole a pack of gum from her cousin, I wouldn't think twice about an immediate reaction.

Personally, I'd handle it with kid gloves. That's just my opinion.

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#10 of 14 Old 09-01-2010, 04:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, after msg'ing / emailing a couple moms, asking if it might belong to one of their girls, I found out that dd WAS allowed to keep it. She'd slept over her cousin's house unexpectedly last week, and they let her pick out something to sleep in among a bunch of clothes that her cousins had outgrown.

So technically it's hers now. ~whew~ I think she was defensive and embarrassed because it's like a bra. FTW she is a string bean and may even develop late like I did, so she has no "need" for a bra. She's likely just trying it out to see what it's like.

Youngfrank... I know what you meant about the sensitivity aspect. If I'd witnessed her taking money or candy from someone it would be different, but this was a little fuzzy. I think she was worried about me seeing it because she knows it's meant for bigger/older girls.

I think I'll just mention that I found it while putting laundry away, that I know it's hers, but that she needs to be sure it gets washed regularly. Thanks for the responses!
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#11 of 14 Old 09-01-2010, 06:41 PM
 
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i would go and buy her a couple more or just get her the super cute lacey bras from the dollar store. and just leave it on her bed.

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#12 of 14 Old 09-01-2010, 07:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by claras_mom View Post
I think you just have to ask. Sit down with her, show her the item, ask where she got it. If you're OK with this, tell her that once it's returned, you'd be happy to get her one of her own if she really feels she needs/wants one, but that she can't take stuff that's not hers without asking.

It's not going to be fun, but it will be out in the open.


I agree wtih this. If she did steal it you'll find out without accusing her. And then you can explain that stealing is wrong etc. And handle that aspect however you like.

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#13 of 14 Old 09-01-2010, 08:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Youngfrankenstein View Post
I'm not saying it's okay to steal. I'm saying that I wouldn't get mad at the girl. Like I stated in my post, I do believe that this is a much more potentially sensitive situation. If she stole a pack of gum from her cousin, I wouldn't think twice about an immediate reaction.

Personally, I'd handle it with kid gloves. That's just my opinion.
I agree about not getting mad, but if it were a situation where she'd taken something that didn't belong to her, I think that needs to be dealt with sooner than "somewhere down the road" for the sake of the person whose stuff was taken, KWIM?

Luckily that isn't the situation here, but if it were, the feelings of the original owner ought to count at least as much as those of the kid with sticky fingers, sensitive situation or not.
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#14 of 14 Old 09-01-2010, 10:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by zeldamomma View Post
I agree about not getting mad, but if it were a situation where she'd taken something that didn't belong to her, I think that needs to be dealt with sooner than "somewhere down the road" for the sake of the person whose stuff was taken, KWIM?
I guess I stated that poorly. I was thinking after she had a read on the whole situation, whether an hour later or the next day. I didn't mean in a few months or something. I do think it's very important for young kids to learn that something "laying around" at someone else's house isn't up for grabs. I've know kids to knick a few quarters cause they "found" them and their parents made them give it back because it did belong to someone.

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