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Afraid daughter may be stealing

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Afraid daughter may be stealing

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Dear Christine,
I am a single mother trying to raise two children on my own. I am non-Barbadian and only came here because of my husband. Since we have separated I do not have any friends or anyone here to talk to and now my ex-husband has left the island recently. I plan to leave the island next summer too when the girls finish this school year.
The break-up has been especially hard on my older daughter as she was very close to her father. She does not talk with me like before and is often withdrawn.
My problem though is that she has taken money from my purse on four different occasions that I have know of, a total of $17. There were large bills in my purse at the time but she just took the small $2 and $5 bills.
What I can’t figure out is why she should do something like that. She gets $5 a day to take to school but does not need to spend it, and does not usually as I normally prepare lunch and a drink for her every day. Plus, she is the type who likes to save money to buy any little thing that she wants when we go out.
I was going to confront her on it but since she is the type of child who used to talk to me about everything, I thought I should wait to hear from her. But this is three weeks now since I missed the last $4 and she has said nothing.
She has also become very moody and fussy with herself. She is always looking into the mirror and fixing her hair. She is concerned about if her face looks too sweaty and now carries to school toothpaste and a toothbrush.
I notice too that her work at school has fallen off a little in her two favourite subjects. It is really nothing to shout at as she has just gone into third form and may just need to get into this level of work. But with her saying nothing I am worried about her change in behaviour and need an explanation. What do you thing could be going wrong? – Very Worried
Dear Very Worried,
When a couple separates a major casualty is usually their children. After all, their entire world is turned upside down as one parent leaves and life as they knew it changes.
What’s more, children usually blame the split on who they think is at fault, and this is based on the parent they get along with less. Depending on their age and understanding, they do not often care about the facts either. Their concern is primarily what they see and know.
For that reason, in cases where there was no obvious abuse, children often gravitate to the parent they have the most fun with. In many cases that may be the father whose fleeting presence is often remembered by the showering of gifts, playing around and just doing things together. You need to be aware of this.
Secondly, it sounds to me like your daughter is becoming aware of her femininity and that’s why her looks seem to be taking on such importance. At 12/13 this is normal. Of course there could be a boy in the background paying her attention too and this could be the motivation here.
The bigger issue is her stealing. First though, are you sure it is her and not the younger one? If you are certain it is her, then you need to speak with her on this matter and get to the bottom of it. She may be doing it because she is seeking attention or is being bullied at school for money. You will only know which one when the two of you talk.
That she only took small bills and left the larger ones could be her way of not seeking to attract your attention. This is worrying as it suggest she will continue doing this. Therefore I would advise you to speak to her about what you have noticed and find out why she has done it. But don’t accuse her of anything, try to have a chat with her. Remember, she too is hurting from the breakdown in your relationship, so you need to be as understanding as possible. I hope this helps. – Christine