From the forums:
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.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.