Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“My Boyfriend’s Son Stole From My Daughter!”

From the forums:

My boyfriend and I have been dating since March. His son, Larry, is 10 and lives about four hours away. His son stayed with his dad at my house Saturday (not the first time) and, since my girls were staying with their dad, Larry slept in my daughter’s room. My daughter had about $25 in bills and a bunch of change saved up to buy something, and now it’s gone. My daughter was upset, crying last night. My boyfriend said his son probably took it because he has taken money from his mom’s purse before, almost $100.00! I’m upset and feel I cannot trust this child in my home. My boyfriend says he’s “only 10,” but I say 10 is plenty old enough to know better. My daughter is 10 and knows better than to steal. I told the boyfriend that he needs to have his son call my daughter to apologize. The boyfriend plans to pay back the money himself, but even that upsets me because the son still gets to keep the money and benefits from stealing. It doesn’t help that the mom and dad of said child don’t communicate. How do I handle this? — 10 is Old Enough to Know Better

Why was Larry spending the night in the bedroom of his dad’s girlfriend’s daughter? THAT is part of the problem here. You’ve been dating Larry’s dad all of, what, 3 1/2, four months and he’s already spent the night at your place multiple times? The boy’s being shuttled four hours in each direction between his two parents who don’t communicate, and now, on top of that, he has to spend what little time he has with his dad in some girl’s bedroom while his dad bones his girlfriend of three months in the other room? That is so inappropriate, I can’t even. I can’t even!

God, no wonder Larry is stealing! The adults in his life are thoughtless idiots who put their needs and wants and desires above his. When it’s your boyfriend’s weekend with his son, put the damn sleepovers on hold and let Larry have some freakin’ quality time with his dad without your hovering around. And if you simply cannot stand being away from your boyfriend for that long, YOU go over to HIS house, and quit dragging poor Larry over to your place for the night. The kid already has two homes — his mother’s and his father’s — so he sure as shit doesn’t need a third place he’s regularly crashing to further rock whatever stability he might have, which probably isn’t that much to begin with when his two parents live four hours apart and refuse to speak to each other.

You want to know how to handle this situation? Stop acting like you’re someone important in this boy’s life. You’re not his mother or his stepmother. You’re his dad’s new girlfriend and, frankly, at barely four months in, you shouldn’t even be a name in Larry’s head yet, let alone someone who thinks she has some say in how he’s disciplined or raised. You don’t want to deal with Larry’s acting out (and that’s what the stealing is, by the way — he’s acting out to get his parents’ attention)? Then, stop being a part of Larry’s life! Stay way from him when he’s with his dad. Let him have all of his dad’s attention when it’s his dad’s time with him. If he’s spending the whole summer with his dad, tell his dad to hire a babysitter so the two of you can go out and enjoy some time together.

If you’re still in the picture six months from now, then maybe you can start being part of Larry’s life. And if you ever end up living with his dad, then he can sleep in your home. But for now, no. No more sleepovers at your house. THAT’s how you deal with Larry’s stealing. That’s as much involvement as you need or get to have in this scenario (beyond reimbursing your daughter for the stolen money from her room and apologizing for the invasion of privacy).

As for how Larry should be disciplined and “handled,” that’s for his parents to worry about. If it were either of them writing to me for advice, I’d tell them to start fucking communicating with each other, quit being selfish idiots, and put their kid first. When Larry no longer has to go to great measures to get his parents’ attention, then he’ll probably stop acting out. But as long as he’s feeling like he needs to compete for his parents’ attention, he’ll continue behaving in ways that are most likely to get it, like stealing from his dad’s new girlfriend’s daughter’s bedroom where he’s been dumped for the night.

***************

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

23 comments… add one
  • avatar

    _s_ August 5, 2015, 12:15 pm

    OMG Wendy this is why I love you.

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  • Ika

    Ika August 5, 2015, 12:23 pm

    This is in the forum, but totally skipped the part where they’ve only been together SINCE MARCH. Wow. The kids should DEFINITELY not be in the picture yet. Especially given the little time Larry spends with his dad.

    With that in mind, like I said there the parents should DEFINITELY start communicating. They have kids together FFS. And it should be dad’s job to tell the kid that they know something is missing. Not accusing him, (esp if there’s a chance someone else may have taken it) but, to make him aware that this shit isn’t ok. Even if it is just acting out, no kid should be stealing. And his “he’s only 10” is a piss poor excuse.

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    • Ika

      Ika August 5, 2015, 1:12 pm

      Just saw the link. You’re the best, Wendy 🙂

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  • avatar

    Anon August 5, 2015, 12:35 pm

    Damn Wendy. Bravo.

    Can’t wait for the hate letter from the LW for us all to see. Wink wink.

    Lw, eyeah… Please take the advice from Wendy. My only hope is that you meant March of ’14 , not this year.

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  • avatar

    booknerd August 5, 2015, 12:39 pm

    Amen! This poor kid.

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  • avatar

    LisforLeslie August 5, 2015, 12:44 pm

    Another completely appropriate smackdown. I’m on Larry’s side on this. $25 is not even close to the amount owed for having to spend his weekend with his dad’s new girlfriend and having to stay in someone else’s home in someone else’s room.

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  • avatar

    Ale August 5, 2015, 1:04 pm

    Just like in the forums, I still blame this kid’s dad for this. And I would seriously be questioning this relationship if I were the LW, because of how he has handled things (including bringing him to his girlfriend’s house). Where the hell is this kid’s mom anyways? This all sounds so inappropiate.

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  • avatar

    FancyPants August 5, 2015, 1:31 pm

    Wendy, this was a masterpiece. A beautiful masterpiece.

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  • avatar

    Wendy (not Wendy) August 5, 2015, 1:40 pm

    OMG, forget about the boy having to stay in some random girl’s room–what about the poor girl? That would totally freak me out at ANY age, much less at ten, when kids are really starting to feel a need for privacy. I’m sitting here getting the creeps, imagining being that girl.

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    • avatar

      Sunshine Brite August 5, 2015, 1:48 pm

      Agreed, for some reason I read over that part the first time. I feel like as a guest I wouldn’t want to stay in someone else’s bed if an air mattress or couch was available and it would be the same with me as a kid. I’m the youngest so my sister and her husband would always end up kicking me out of my room when they came to stay which I HATED and she was an adult. I know the kid in question is out of town but the territorial-ness likely still stands.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy August 5, 2015, 1:49 pm

      I totally agree. The stolen $25 would almost be the least of my concerns if I were a 10-year-old girl and my mom just let her new boyfriend’s 10-year-old son sleep in my bed/bedroom while I was gone. Ick.

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  • sobriquet

    sobriquet August 5, 2015, 1:55 pm

    HOW can you have such disdain for a 10 year old? Kids are curious. He found some money and he took it. That’s a thing that children do when they’re put in tempting situations. Stop putting adult intentions behind a child’s actions.
    .
    My 10 year old nephew spent some time in our house a couple weeks ago while we were out of town and he ate some candy that was sitting out on the counter. Did he know better? Of course! His mom specifically told him to leave the candy alone. Did he take it any way? Of COURSE he did, because he’s 10 and no one was looking. His desire for candy was greater than any moral boundaries.

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    • cmary

      cmary August 5, 2015, 2:38 pm

      That’s a really good point about not putting adult intentions behind a child’s actions. Sure, he might “know better” but whether he was looking for attention or not, he’s 10 and it was tempting.

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  • avatar

    dinoceros August 5, 2015, 2:04 pm

    Yeah, totally inappropriate for a dad to drag his son on an adult sleepover. If the girls were not home, why did you not go to his house? Would you take your daughters on a sleepover at your boyfriend’s house? I believe you that his parents don’t communicate because if my ex took his son over on an overnight date, I’d be furious.

    On another note, something I’ve noticed about people who dislike the children of their partner is that they tend to hold them to totally different standards. What if your other daughter had stolen the money? Would you be running around acting like she was the spawn of satan? I’d disagree that 10 is old enough to know better. You know it’s “wrong,” but you’re not at the age where you always adhere to right and wrong. You break a vase and lie, even though lying is wrong. A tween steals a lipstick. You push boundaries. Kids are not perfect, and it doesn’t make them monsters.

    Regardless, if you are that displeased by this man’s parenting, then move on. It’s not your job or place to chance his family dynamics, so if it’s unacceptable to you, then stop seeing him.

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    • avatar

      snoopy128 August 5, 2015, 2:43 pm

      I have to agree.

      In my line of work, the saying is “there are no bad children, only bad behaviours” and bad behaviours happen because of inconsistent reinforcing of good and bad behaviours. Behaviours are done because they elicit a desired reaction. So clearly, this stealing was done because this kid is lacking attention and needs a way to get it or because stealing hasn’t been properly reinforced as a bad behaviour.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark August 5, 2015, 3:01 pm

    (I posted my thoughts in the forum. Here is them reworked for here.)
    .
    Eh, first, make sure it IS him. A friend of mine once was in a similar situation — blamed some poor kid, punished him, banished him from her home… only to find out instead — years later — that it was HER other kid… Is there ANYBODY else who also had access to this money?
    .
    (BUT THEN, THE LW POSTED that she felt DISRESPECTED. Which kind of… well, set me off.) (Although, I did get certain details wrong. I got my impression from the posts that they all lived together. Whoops!)
    .
    PS — Did you REALLY fucking have to go there with this whole disrespected b.s.? (People constantly claiming to be disrespected is my fucking pet peeve — as more often than not, people don’t even seem to know what that truly fucking means… As they always make it so fucking petty and trivial… LIKE THIS!) Look, sweetie, You wanna a real lesson in being disrespected means? Here’s what takes to make to a ten year old feel disrespected… Watching his father raising somebody else’s fucking kids 24/7.
    .
    Now, THAT’S disrespected.
    .
    Some angry, every other weekend kid stealing fucking 25 dollars is small potatoes compared to that. But of course now — you’ll get all defensive and won’t see it that way. Because at the end of the day you are probably LOOKING for a reason to dislike your bf’s son… Ugh. So many of you people are not only lousy step-parents — you’re just plain lousy people. Seriously? Do any of you ever even listen to yourself? Much less examine your own hilariously narcissistic behavior?

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    • Classic

      Classic August 5, 2015, 8:21 pm

      I agree– please do not assume that he stole it. Make sure to ask, at least. It would be really horrible for this child if you assumed that he had stolen the money when he did not. When you actually ask him– if he says that he did, ask him why.
      $25 is nothing compared to the other issues here.
      Focus on the children, and try to understand how their lives are right now. They are just little kids, still works in progress. Be the best adult that you can be.

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom August 5, 2015, 7:18 pm

    I find it ironic that you feel disrespected because the boy almost certainly felt disrespected when you forced him to sleep in a girl’s room. Especially at his age, boys don’t want to be treated like girls and they don’t want to look like a girl or act like a girl or have girl’s things. You made him stay in a girl’s room. That is an insult to a boy his age and it wasn’t the first time you did it. I think he did some pretty good problem solving. His problem was how to stop sleeping in that room. Stealing $25 is a pretty good way to get banned. You were lucky because he could have done something much worse. He could have broken or damaged things. He could have peed in a dresser drawer or in the closet. He could have smeared some poop around. He could have drawn on the walls with permanent marker. I think you got off easy but if you continue to treat him this way he will probably escalate. Don’t force him to sleep in your daughter’s room. He should be sleeping in his own room at his dad’s place. At your place he has no space of his own. Talk about feeling disrespected. There is nothing at your place for him and this was supposed to be his time with his dad. He probably feels that his dad doesn’t care about him or love him if his dad doesn’t want to spend his weekend with him. Spending the weekend with you will feel like dad is seeing you and being forced to drag the boy along. That doesn’t make his son feel welcome or wanted or valued or respected. You aren’t thinking of him or his needs. If you continue you can expect things to get worse. That way you’ll either ban him from your home or maybe break up with his dad.

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  • avatar

    Essie August 5, 2015, 11:13 pm

    That’ll teach me to read fast, I thought dad lived with the girlfriend, and they’d been together longer than 3 months.

    Ha. No. Larry’s dad can’t take a break from banging the new chick while his son is visiting him, so he drags him along to her house and shoves him in some little girl’s room for the night. How charming.

    Larry’s dad is a selfish ass. If he can’t keep it in his pants long enough to spend some quality time with his SON, maybe the visitation agreement needs to be adjusted.

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  • avatar

    Ronnie August 5, 2015, 11:57 pm

    I like it Wendy!

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  • avatar

    Well August 6, 2015, 4:29 am

    You didn’t answer her question though. I thought your insights were good, but the letter could be interpreted another way. She could be meaning how does she handle this with her daughter. What does she tell her daughter?

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    • avatar

      Sunshine Brite August 6, 2015, 8:03 am

      Something that indicates that she’s sorry that her poor judgment had negative consequences for her daughter and that she’ll take steps to make sure that her daughter’s space is respected in the future.

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  • avatar

    Victoria Calmon June 18, 2017, 9:48 pm

    Hi, 10 is old enough to know better.
    I’m here to help you. And in my opinion, you have to support your daughter, but if you really love your boyfriend and want to stay with him, it’s better get along with his son too. You need to understand that the education you gave to your daughter is different from the education Larry’s had. The boy just need some help. You can’t just don’t let him sleep in your house. You’re kinda his step mother, you should talk to him and try to help the kid to become a trustworthy person

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