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9-Year-old Stealing

By Jodie Lynn


My nine-year-old daughter confessed to me that she and a friend have been stealing small items from stores. Although she is begging me not to tell the other mom, I feel like it is necessary. However, the girl's mom never believes anything anyone tells her about her spoiled little daughter. What should I say or do?


Tell the other girl's mom anyway. Just be sure you, and especially your daughter, are prepared for the response from the girl's mom. While it may end their relationship, at least you can have a little peace of mind in regards to your daughter and your family. - A.P. in Rochester, NY


Be sure that you get the whole story from your daughter. For example, how often do they do it, where, how and when? Who had the idea first to actually steal, what are they stealing and why? Ask to see some of the items and be sure to keep them, instead of returning them to your daughter. If you find that it was your daughter's idea, then talking to the other mom may not be as hard but it's certainly not going to be an easy task regardless. Or, you could elect to keep your daughter away from the other girl and wait to see if her mom approaches you about the reason; you could talk to her then. Another choice would be to talk with the other mom right away and explain what your daughter has shared. Be sure that you do not point the finger of guilt at either girl, unless your daughter admits that she was the one who started it. Perhaps make a suggestion that the girls take the stolen merchandise back to the store and pay for it. Then, put whatever it is into a bag and donate it to a thrift store. This way, they have to pay for the items that they took but they do not get to keep them. Either way, you will have to prepare your daughter for the possibility of the other mom becoming hostile to the point of ruining the friendship and putting all the blame on your daughter, especially if she feels that her little girl can do no wrong. Of course, your daughter needs to be punished somehow as does the other little girl, but how, if the other mom decides to do so, is not your business. Your main concern is that your daughter learns a valuable lesson before the situation gets out of control.

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Our three-year-old grandson will be staying with us for a couple of weeks while my daughter and her husband go on a cruise. He is quite active and somehow manages to get doors, drawers and cabinets open. Our concern is him swallowing something that may be poisonous. We have plastic locks and latches but he still gets into things. What do other grandparents or parents put into place to prevent a potentially dangerous and scary scenario with a very inquisitive child?

To share parenting tips or submit questions, write to: Parent to Parent, 2464 Taylor Road, Suite 131, Wildwood, MO 63040. Email direct2contact, or go to which provides a secure and easy way to submit tips or questions. All tips must have city, state and first and last name or initials to be included in the column.

© Jodie Lynn
Jodie Lynn is an award-winning internationally syndicated family/health columnist and radio personality. Her syndicated column Parent to Parent has been successful for over 10 years and appears in newspapers, magazines, newsletters and throughout the Internet. She is a regular contributor to several sites including,,,,, and Lynn has written four books and contributed to three others, one of which was on Oprah and has appeared on NBC in a three month parenting segment. Her latest books are "Mom CEO (Chief Everything Officer) - Having, Doing and Surviving It All!" (June 2006) and "Syndication Secrets - What No One Will Tell You!" (March 2006).
Please visit for details on her new radio talk show, Inside Parenting Success.


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