I received this letter from a reader this morning – your input, dear reader, will be much appreciated. This letter was only edited for spelling.
You don’t know me, but I’ve been a fan of you and your blog for many months now, and now when I have a problem I thought maybe you and your readers could give advice. It’s a problem that kept me up this Friday night, and I don’t know whether I’m over reacting. Please feel free to edit/cut/delete.
I have 4 children, aged from 11 to 17, all with different personalities and needs (I’ll call them child1 (oldest) to child4).
Child3 is very talented at science, and goes to extra classes once a week in the evening after school. Child3 also needs a lot of sleep and finds it difficult to concentrate, so I give her a small bar of chocolate to help her get through the evening. The classes are very difficult but it means that she can start a degree during the last few years of high school if she wants.
About a few weeks ago I saw some chocolate bars on sale, and bought enough to last her for a month. I put the bag on a table in the house, and after a day or two discovered the bag had disappeared. No-one admitted to taking it. My elderly father was visiting us for a week at the time and he has a sweet tooth so I thought maybe he took it but I don’t think he would do that and of course I didn’t want to embarrass him by saying anything.
Child3 buys some cookies and puts them in her bedside drawer (she shares with child4). Child2 sees her eating one. A day or two later Child3 discovers that she has less cookies than before.
Seeing that the chocolate bars disappeared, I bought more and this time didn’t put them on the table but put them in child3’s drawer. Later we see that instead of 4 there are only two. Again I buy another few to last to the end of year, and again they disappear. A few days ago I entered Child2’s bedroom and see what I immediately recognize as chocolate stains on the sheet next to the pillow. Since Child1 and Child4 had been eating bread and chocolate spread I immediately jumped to conclusions but Child2 said she had no idea what the stains were and didn’t know how they got there. A day later the stains were gone.
Child1 is always looking for something to eat, but buys with his money. If he buys on credit from the local store he always tells me and pays me. Child 2 is trying to lose weight, so in theory won’t eat fattening things. This said, she isn’t losing weight. Child4 gets on very well with Child3, and also buys snacks for herself with pocket money.
My problem is this: Obviously I suspect Child2, but when asked she gets very emotional and hurt that we always suspect her. Child3 caught her looking in her drawer, but she said she was only looking for her deodorant which had disappeared! Why didn’t she look for her sister to ask her? How can I get her to admit the truth? It may be only chocolate, but it’s a slippery slope when you start doing something wrong, and suspicions grow.
Child2 never had enough money to go out with her sister and friends to the movies, and marveled that her sister could, while also buying lots of other items. Now I’m thinking that she has been taking money from us, bit by bit, or also from her siblings. No-one keeps a close check on how much they have (there was no need).
I would love proof of who is doing the stealing, and to know if it involves money as well. Can this be done without the knowledge of anyone but me? I’ve told Child3 that until we know I suspect all 3 siblings equally but she has her suspicions.
I hate think that a child of mine is a thief. I don’t know who it is, what they have been stealing, how to find out who it is, if I need to know who it is, and how to deal with it or if to ignore it. Lots of questions and no answers.