My Daughter and Her Sticky-Fingered Friend

What to do if your child has a sticky fingered friend

A few nights ago, my daughters and I decided to watch a movie as we wound down from a long day of activities. We bantered back and forth briefly about our various options, then settled on one of our favorites–“Despicable Me.”

My older daughter shuffled up to her room to retrieve the movie but was –for some reason– unable to find it. “Strange,” we thought to ourselves, but not too unusual…perhaps it was simply misplaced or maybe even sitting amongst one of the scattered piles of “clutter” around the house (not that we have a lot of clutter, but yes, we do have a few piles!).

As we began to contemplate the potential whereabouts of our sought-after movie, we came to realize that this was the third time we had searched for a movie that wound up “missing in action.”

My daughters are pretty good about putting their movies away after watching them and there really aren’t many places in our house where the missing movies could have gone without being found fairly quickly.

Then it occurred to me…my daughter had had a friend over a few times recently and it turns out that this “friend” has a reputation for accumulating things that don’t belong to her (or so I was warned by another parent that had noticed this child hanging out with my child). Unfortunately, I had given the “friend” the benefit of the doubt and allowed her in our house to play with my daughters. I guess that was a mistake.

I thought back to the times that this friend was over in an effort to identify any “red flags” that I might have missed. Then I recalled a couple of times when the “friend” left our house carrying out a balled-up sweatshirt in her hands…and this was in the middle of summer! When I spoke to the parent that had warned me about the sticky-fingered friend she told me that the items that were stolen from her house were taken in the same manner.

We have since come to find out that we are missing about eight DVD’s, including four of our favorite family movies, including one that is very difficult to come by.

The question now is: How should I approach this situation?

Option #1: Talk to the “friend’s” parents.

This seems like the best option but from what I’ve been told both parents are highly protective of their daughter. I have since found out that these parents have been approached by two other parents in the past with issues related to stealing and property damage…and both times the parents denied that their daughter was involved. This now appears to be my least likely approach.

Option #2: Set up a “trap.”DSC00096

This would be simple. Invite the friend over and confront her as she is leaving, especially if she is leaving the house with a balled-up piece of clothing I her possession. We could even go so far as to set up a hidden video camera in my daughter’s room to record the friend’s actions.

Option #3: Use social media.

We thought about posting on Facebook that we were missing some movies from our house and that we would like them back (this girls has a Facebook page is “friends” with my daughter). This may not do much but it will at least let the friend know that we are onto the fact that our movies have been taken. We could even go so far as to hint that we know who it is. I’m not too sure about this idea. It certainly isn’t my favorite, but it IS an option.

Option #4: Employ natural consequences.

We could simply chalk it up as a learning experience and replace the movies ourselves. Naturally, the friend would not be allowed over again and my daughters have already said that they don’t want to play with her anymore anyway (even though they were pretty good friends). Given the circumstances, this is probably the route we’ll take.

What would you do?