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Things going missing

(42 Posts)
Twoofeight Tue 14-Aug-18 23:52:23

I've just been talking to my dd, who is worried because her 5yo daughter's friend, who is a bit older than her, appears to be stealing things when she's at her house. It's little things - a pretty hair slide dgd had for her recent birthday, a pair of scissors she had just bought with her pocket money, and although my daughter hasn't seen her take these, and is only at this stage suspecting that the friend took these things, she did see her take a coin that belonged to dgd. She's wondering how to deal with it, without causing upset. Any suggestions, gransnetters?

muffinthemoo Wed 15-Aug-18 00:05:10

I would tactfully but firmly put an end to the older friend’s visits.

Visits at the friend’s house or playing elsewhere (park etc) only.

If the friend is older, she will know she has been rumbled.

grannyactivist Wed 15-Aug-18 06:11:55

One of my daughters and one of my grandchildren have both had a lack of impulse control that led to them taking other's things. It's actually quite common between the ages of 5-7. They were always made to return items and apologise and to think about how they would feel if another child took their things.
I wouldn't stop the child coming to play, but I would explain that in your house everything belongs to the family. No one can take anything from your house unless they ask you and you agree to give it to them and then ask her to please bring back anything that she has taken.

BlueBelle Wed 15-Aug-18 06:23:04

I agree with Granny don’t ban her from the house if they are good friends that would be a shame just let her know how to behave, you only pass the problem (if it is a problem) to someone else to deal with if you ban her and at the stage you’re daughter isn’t even sure she is stealing

Twoofeight Wed 15-Aug-18 08:16:51

Thanks for this input. I’ve realised on re-reading that what is disappearing are things that are important to my dgd, rather than something valuable from my dd house. I’m wondering if it’s a jealousy issue - what’s disappearing is what she knows is important to dgd. My dd doesn’t want to ban her from their home as she’s a neighbour and the two girls play well together.

kittylester Wed 15-Aug-18 08:28:20

I agree with GA. I don't think any of mine did it but have had things go missing which were subsequently returned by the parents with their child in tow.

The exception was the boy who progressively took DS2'S smurf collection. His mum thought we were very generous to give them to him! That boy is now a well respected surgeon.

MissAdventure Wed 15-Aug-18 08:35:25

I think it fairly common.
Children just see something and want it.
I would mention in front of her (in a non scary way) that you have noticed things going missing, and that you are going to have to find out who has been taking them.

labazs Wed 15-Aug-18 11:04:36

perhaps its more a case of envy than stealing she sees something she doesnt have and wants it perhaps she doesnt have these things at home perhaps a quiet gentle word about owning things

Teacheranne Wed 15-Aug-18 11:18:07

My daughters friend used to do this. I simply had a word with her Mum who then frisked her after each visit and made her return anything with an apology. She soon stopped! My son used to bring things home from school but lotion from the chemist sorted that out!

HildaW Wed 15-Aug-18 11:28:35

Its pretty common and if it can be dealt with quietly and in a non threatening way most children are content to be rumbled if it does not lead to a huge scene. It all depends on the relationship the two Mum's have.
If we had a tricky subject at pre-school all those years ago we would either read a book on the subject or make up a story and have a small group session. Tell the story, get the children to talk about it and usually the penny would drop. Children are usually highly moral, and the stealing is often not a case of moral choice....more a sign that they are unhappy about something such as trying to make friends or issues around peer pressure.

rubytut Wed 15-Aug-18 11:38:44

My daughters friend used to take things from my house, I suspected it but it was only when I visited her house that it was confirmed. She took me to her bedroom to show me it had been decorated and I saw a box with lots of little things from my house. She did not try to hide the box so I just asked if the items had been brought home by mistake and she had put them together to bring back, she looked confused then relieved and handed me the box. Nothing else went missing. I think maybe ask if she has taken something home by mistake, it gives the chance to return and she will know that you know.

Twoofeight Wed 15-Aug-18 14:09:49

Thanks for these helpful suggestions. I've passed them on to my daughter, and she's going to try to sort it out in a non-threatening way, as has been suggested.

bikergran Wed 15-Aug-18 15:20:17

a friend of my gs used to come and play with the BIG suitcase full of Lego... we found some of the little figures diapering.. (we knew how many we had as used to line them up )
So when it was time for the young friend to leave..I used to say..ohh have we got all the little men..just make sure none have got stuck in your sleeves or your pockets hmm grin

oldbatty Wed 15-Aug-18 15:30:54

I would talk to the children about how much fun it is to play and have nice things. Then mention that the nice things live in the house and that where they must stay.

You can do it in a child centred way but still get the message through.

M0nica Wed 15-Aug-18 20:25:51

It is difficult though. DGS has a friend he really likes who seems to have 'accidents' with DGS's belongings when he visits so that they are damaged. It has happened couple of times and it is difficult to know whether this is deliberate or just thoughtlessness. DDiL is just being very watchful when he visits, especially when playing with DGS's 'treasures'

Fennel Wed 15-Aug-18 20:54:37

We had a few examples like this when ours were 4-6 or so .
I don't think they learn the importance of ownership of property until then. But need to be taught of course.
It's part of separating the idea of self from others. Babies and toddlers are completely self-absorbed.

ajanela Wed 15-Aug-18 23:32:20

Teacheranne, the penny has just dropped that the lotion from the chemist was for head lice. I was just about to ask what lotion stopped your son from taking things from school and my brain just could not think or imagine anything. confused

Aepgirl Thu 16-Aug-18 09:18:53

My daughter had a friend who used to 'steal' things- nothing of great monetary value but things that my daughter loved. I dealt with it by putting a plastic pot by my front door when the friend was going home and asking her to put anything in it that she had put in her pockets. It worked as she wasn't accused of stealing, but she knew what I meant.

Saggi Thu 16-Aug-18 09:46:30

My grandson at 5 started doing the same ... but only from his classroom. I used to pick him up from school and on occasion he would have a small toy ( soldier, car, or figurine) in his pocket . Knowing his own toys intimately I realised he was taking them from his class. When questioned he admitted it and said he only wanted to play with it at home. I told him ok but he had to return it in the morning , which he did. I told his teacher what was happening but not the parents as they had enough to cope with at the time. Me and the teacher sorted it out between us.... and he stopped doing it after a few weeks , in fact as soon as he'd settled in school. I suggest you have a quiet word with the little girl and tell her she's welcome to 'borrow' these things but she must return them as your 5 year old misses them. See how that goes....if it continues of course you must broach the subject with her parents.

ReadyMeals Thu 16-Aug-18 09:48:43

Might be a good time for your GD to learn about making things safe that are valuable to her. It's a sad fact, but in this world that is a skill we all need sad So perhaps space could be set aside that her visiting friends don't play in that she can put special things in. If anything comes out of that space to share, it is noted and it's made sure it is still there before any friends leave after a play session

dollyjo Thu 16-Aug-18 09:49:13

I agree with Teacheranne. If you know the child's parent / carer then have a gentle word with them because she may be taking things from other places too. It is quite common at that age but it can be dealt with sensibly.
My son (now aged 54yrs) brought home a matchbox car from a local shop. I spoke to the shopkeeper and told her that I would be sending him back to the shop with it and to accept his apology. This she did. End of problem and I don't think he ever took anything again.
One of our tales shared at Christmas is him remembering having to take it back.
As a child, I can remember taking sweets when the shopkeeper wasn't looking but I've never told my son that. A question of do as I say and not as I

Nannan2 Thu 16-Aug-18 09:52:21

Yes if your daughters very good friends with her mum she could mention it but of course she may also get uppity with her as she would be ' defending' her child! So you have to be careful.also if the mum came and 'frisked' the child at end of every play the child would be mortified to be shown up in that id meet elsewhere or at her house for a bit then the child may start to think for herself a bit"is it cause of i took such&such?"(as shes older,she will cotton on)then after a few times invite her back in,see if it makes a difference.if not mention the "things stay in our house" thing- its hard to handle but as you say maybe this child doesnt get bought things as little treats as your GD does?if theres something shes particularly liked maybe your daughter could say to her mum "oh so&so liked the little hair clips(or whatever)i got (GD)but theyre only(whatever cost) at (name shop where bought from)sounds simple but maybe shes never thought to buy her whatever it is as childs not shown interest in 'girly things' or whatever.or she might just feel closer to your GD if shes got her things in her house.or maybe her mum knows and will return them? You can only try.

madeline Thu 16-Aug-18 09:54:02

Hi, our neighbours daughter used to come to play and I had suspicions she was taking things but it's one of those times where you doubt yourself and can't be sure, so I didn't say anything. That was until I saw her wearing a bead bracelet I had made for my daughter that said "diabetic". I knew for sure she had taken it and when I asked her where she got her lovely bracelet, so told me her aunt bought it from the market for her. I mentioned it to her mum but we never got the bracelet back.

Nannan2 Thu 16-Aug-18 09:58:41

Sadly people these days dont do the ' taking back' thing that was the norm when we were young! (Probably in case of police recriminations as its not often a shopkeeper would just accept an apology these days is it?)However another parent might? And yes i would teach your GD to put away her "special items" in future and play with others with sharing toys.sad yes i agree but signs of the times maybe and still id mention the "things from here stay here" thing sad

inishowen Thu 16-Aug-18 10:10:10

When I was about 12 I noticed all my nice things gradually disappearing from my bedroom. Then I went to Guide camp and saw the older girls using my things! My best friend had been taking them and giving to the older girls. I didn't confront her and to this day I don't know why she did it.