My step daughter stole: How should I handle this?

My * seven year old stepdaughter stole something (it was an unwrapped toy LOL, pet thingy that was intended for my youngest child’s birthday) from my house. I specifically and flat out told my stepkid not to touch it, but she took it and opened it. Her mother is furious, apparently, this has happened before - it seems as though I will be the one to deal with discipline (I home school my stepchildren, and I’m the main childcare provider in our family.) What the hell do I do? I am seriously more disappointed that she lied to her mother about it, but what would be the best way to see to it that she learns her lesson?


You can ask her mom and dad what they think would be suitable. But I think working to pay for the toy would be a start. She can do chores around the house to pay it off.


Get the cops involved, I’m not talking have her charged and arrested, but have an officer come talk to her about it and the REAL consequences if it continues. Most cops around here are glad to help out and usually it will scare them enough they wont want to risk it anymore


To me that’s something you and both parents should all decide together.


She gets to earn the money to buy the youngest one a new toy. but in order for that to really work she has to do the chores you give her money you have to take her to the store and she spends her money. She can’t just do chores and then you buy a toy she physically has to do it.
and also she doesn’t get to keep the toy that she stole you should probably have her take it to a donation place. There should never be a reward for something done wrong.


You’ve got to come up with a plan that suits all the parents involved. I grounded mine for this behavior and made them do extra chores around the house. I feel like there are programs for youth that have sticky fingers but I couldn’t find any or at least no one knew anything when I tried asking around. There has to be an underlying reason for it whether it be jealousy or whatnot. I harped about how we don’t steal or treat our family members like this because if we can’t trust our own family members who can we trust. It can be a phase. A terrible phase. Maybe look into some therapy as well. She can do chores to earn back the amount the toy was worth. While also being grounded from something that is liked until its paid off? Good luck.

I’ve seen people call the cops on their child. Seems to work. I’ve never had to go through that so I don’t know just yet but I wish y’all the best! I know that cannot be easy to go through at all!


When my son was about the same age he stole some quarters out of my purse, I made him call his grandma and grandpa and his uncle and tell them what he did. He was so embarrassed he never did it again.


Take something of hers.
To teach her a lesson.
And then have her do chores around the house to pay back for the toy she stole AND to work back the item you took from her.


When my son stole, he lost everything. He only had his bed and clothes. ABSOLUTELY no toys, tablets, games, never got to pick what was on TV. I told him if he feels he can take what doesn’t belong to him then he doesn’t get the privilege of having anything above necessities. It was hard for everyone but he has never stolen anything since. It was like a week with nothing then he got one toy back at a time after chores. He didn’t get to pick the toy he got back. I chose, sometimes it was something he wanted other times it was a book. He learned real fast to appreciate what he already has and not take what doesn’t belong to you!


Make her write an apology letter to her sister and to the adults involved and make sure she knows the seriousness of her actions.

Firstly, step parents shouldnt have the right to dicipline someone elses children & idgaf who disagrees. Secondly, dont you think maybe sitting down and speaking with the mother & father would be a little better than posting all over facebook for strangers to solve your case? This just seems petty, all kids TAKE things, its YOUR job to teach them that its stealing not just assume she is a blatent theif. I wouldnt know a child that hasnt taken something thats not theirs. I dont know what goes on in your house hold but if the mother is aware, let her deal with it.


You, her mom, & her dad need to sit down and come up with a punishment together - that way you know they are also on the same page as you are, and you are avoiding possible drama in the longrun if they don’t agree… However, I do believe (if all 3 agree) that making her do chores around the house to earn the money, then use that money to replace what she stole, would be good.

I understand she had talked to the mother. She is asking for ideas so she does it the best way to help the child. I have been the step parent and all discipline was left to me. The mother wasn’t involved as she should have been and the father wasn’t good as discipline. Having the child tell what they did seems to Embarrasse them enough that they don’t repeat, also working to buy to replace the item is a great idea. Good luck

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Dear lord, all the keyboard warriors are must be mind readers since they know you are making all these decisions yourself and not talking to either of her bio parents :joy: What is with this crap lately?!

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If she gets allowance make her buys replacement gift. Also ask police station to help you

She’s obviously needing some attention and support. Stop the idea of discipline and start thinking in terms of why. Why does she feel the need to act out, what can we do instead, how can we communicate our needs in a healthy way, etc.
the kid needs supported and loved through whatever is causing this, not punished for it. And since you, an adult, don’t even understand what’s going on you really shouldn’t expect a 7 year old to fully grasp the situation either.


When I was little and stole something, my parents made me go back and pay for it and apologize. It was a candy, or else I would have had to return it too. Start there, then serious talks about the consequences. Most kids do this, the action of her returning it/paying for it as well as confessing, is usually enough to scare them silly.

Let her dad do the disciplining. You will only breed contempt by doing it yourself.

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I’d get her to earn the money to buy a new one :woman_shrugging:t3:


I haven’t dealt with stealing, but have dealt with being a bonus mom who was very involved with my bonus daughters, and had lots of group parent conversations and had to deal with things in the moment and back my decisions up to the other parents afterwards. Just make sure you back up the other parents and they back you up. You will make mistakes. You will not be perfect. Life is a learning experience. Love the child and think what would you do if your biological child did the same thing? Then do that. No different. Proceed with unconditional love.


Take something of hers and use it in front of her, dont respond to her right away if she says something. Then put it up out of her reach but in her sight. Then as long as everyone is calm sit her down and talk to about how she felt first then let her know how it made her feel. If that dont work whoop her ass

Have a heart to heart talk with her about how it made you feel, how it breaks trust and how it will reflect on her for a long time


Take everything out of her room besides her bed and clothes. She can earn them back.


Let her know that you’re more disappointed that she felt she had to lie to you and steal from you than you are anything else. Somehow knowing someone is disappointed in us for any action is way worse than them being angry about it. Then I’d take something of hers that she really loves and tell her that until she can show you that she’s learned her lesson, she won’t be getting it back.

Hypocritically stealing from her to teach her stealing is bad, getting the cops involved, taking away all her possessions will just lead her to want to hold more value in material things (since it can be taken from her at any moment) and to be more sneaky about stealing next time. She’s only 7. Her brain is undeveloped in the region with impulse control. This means that even if she can understand concepts well, she lacks a stopping mechanism and understanding in long term consequences.

Focus on connection. This link gives a great example of what happened when their child stole money:


Whoop the kids ass. Stop being soft.

Take something she really like!

okay honestly, from the fact that she was stealing a toy but was old enough that you expected her to listen i’m going to go ahead and assume she’s between 5 and 10. if that’s the case — she really doesn’t understand the concept of stealing.

she saw something, she wanted it, you told her not to touch it, her lack of impulse control and desire to have the toy overrode your instructions. it’s really that cut-and-dry. treating her as if she’s some sort of thief in the night would be overkill, ineffective, and for lack of a better term, dramatic.

honestly the best course of action here is to just have a talk about not taking things that she’s been asked not to touch, why following instructions is important, and why what she did wasn’t nice. then drop it. this doesn’t need to be a huge lesson, you don’t need to make her pay, just accept that she’s a kid and she does kid stuff and will learn the ethics of this sort of thing in time.


I stole my grandmas music box when I was 7, what I didn’t realize was it was something she got made with her sister before she died. I gave that music box away, broke my grandmas heart for years. She told me how disappointed she was in me and how much it meant to her. Everyone in the family gave me a scolding, I can proudly say I’m 22 years old, only ever stolen that one thing my entire life, and even replaced it for her two years ago because it haunted me so bad.


While consequences are needed…I would try and figure out why she took it. Also after punishment maybe give her a journal so she can write stuff down.

I think they all do this at one point, talk to her about why she did it?

This is a teaching moment, not a discipline moment.


Group parenting, for this the 3 or 4 of you need to do it together. She needed to understand this is serious and all the parents sit together with her and talk about this and what she needs to do. Be it grounding, replacing what was stolen, writing a letter of apology, or a report on what happens to people who steal and lie. Maybe even another meeting afterwards to talk with her about it .


I’ve no idea…but well done for being a great step mum by the sounds of it :heart:

If it was my 7yr old, I’d explain that we don’t steal, ask how they’d feel if someone took something of theirs without asking. I’d take away their favorite toy and put it up for about a month. Then I’d make them work it off, if the toy cost $20, enough chores to equal $20, that way they understand things cost money and it’s not nice to take things other people work for.


Did you ask her why she took it? Maybe she’s looking for some extra attention? I’d have a one-on-one with her. Ask her why she thought it would be okay to take the toy? Explain how she hurt your feelings and that it’s not okay. Then tell her because she stole, disobeyed your request not to touch it, and upset everyone that she doesn’t get a play time. Instead she has to sit in time out. Maybe write " I will not steal " like 10 times. Tell her every time she breaks a rule like this she is going to have to do this. If she doesn’t then you take her favorite toy away until you feel she deserves it back. She’s 7, so I’m trying to find ways that might help her and you. My husband always talks to his step kids(mine) and explains alot of things and asks them questions about what happened, why they did it, should they have done it, how do they feel that they hurt feelings. Etc…


Probably jealous because negative attention is better than no attention.Let her know you love her but will not tolerate stealing and make her apologize and return the toy or put her favorite toy in lockdown until she sees the light!!!:joy::rofl::joy:7 is still young but old enough to know right from wrong.


I would make her apologize to your daughter for stealing the toy and then if the toy was valued at $20 give her 20 small chores to do.

So a punishment that really works in my house and she should be able to handle at seven is writing an “essay” about what she did, why she did it, what she should have done instead, and what she will do in the future. It could just be a sentence to answer each bullet point, making a paragraph. I also (as a homeschooler myself) make her do a sloppy copy of this, edit it, and give a proper final copy with her corrections so essentially she writes it twice. This has worked better for us than any other grounding, taking away, lecture, etc. because she really has to sit down and think about what she’s done but in your case I’d also make her replace what she took.

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Because it has happened before I think discipline should be a bit harsh… why you are dealing with it and not her mother is odd unless she lives with you… take her favorite toys … not just one… I like the idea of her writing an essay as to why she took it if she can’t explain why… “I don’t know” is not an answer and yes work it off with chores… and make sure it is a punishment not just a few little chores… don’t return her things until she does all of this

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You are making to much out of it…your husband or the mother should handle this…no she should not steal… maybe a good old pat on the hiney by her mom or dad…I hope you didnt make a fuss in front of the other kiddos


Take her phone / tablet and tell her it’s yours now . Explain to her ( you liked it . You wanted it so you stole it ) don’t give it back until she can explain why it not fair that you took something from her . Explain how stealing hurts people on both sides and in different ways.


Talk to her about why she shouldn’t do it and then take her favorite toy away from her so she will remember how it feels when someone takes something from her that didn’t belong to them.


Sounds like there’s more going on. Extra chores to earn money to replace the toy and counseling to figure out what’s going on.

Force her to return it and say she’s sorry.


What is hsppening in her life that she feels she needs to steal. Chat to her and work out together what is a fair consequence.

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I would not only punish her by taking away something that she enjoys, but I would also make her do chores (if she already had chores/allowance, make her do additional chores) to earn the money to replace the toy. I would also take the toy she stole away from her.

Make go to the other child house and own up to what she did. Take to the police station and let them give her riot act she needs to learn hope you took toy away

Have a talk with her and then make her do chores to earn the money back and buy a new one.

When I was 7, my parents took me to a model home, just because my mom thought it was a nice home so we got a tour of it. I stole some marbles from the bathroom, I thought they were pretty and took one for each of my friends. My mom found out, drove me back to the home and had me face the owner and tell him what I did, and return them, and threatened to call the police. Scared the shit out of me, but it worked.

Just ask her if someone took something of hers would she like it and see what she says do not punish her she is only a little child

She needs to 1) apologize to you
2) pay for the item… money or chores or both
3) she needs to donate the item to a shelter or someone in need.

Stephanie Calabrese …you and my daughter we 11 or 12 and got your picture taken …banned from the mall for 2yrs…I and your mother made you return all the jewelry…dont think you are an angel giving all your advice…how about starting a fire in a bucket in the back yard…only to have FD come and give you a lesson…you are no angel and should quit giving any advice

I played the step parent role and it didn’t end well in my situation. The girl got pregnant at 15 so mom give up on her. Mom was primary parent and we seen her every cple years. When she deemed it so. Well she tried to force her father to leave me saying because our son died and I was clinically depressed. I was being treated for this. That she feared for her safety and if he didn’t make me leave she would take the baby and leave. Unfortunately hes crushed but he hasn’t seen her or the grandchild in over 2 yrs. Good luck. Me and my husband have been together 27yrs now.

  1. Normal Behavior
  2. Ask her about real life consequences of stealing. Does she know what would happen if it was a store or someone else how she stole from. DO NOT say “if you were caught” that opens another door
  3. Ask her what she thinks the punishment should be. If it’s fitting go with it. An apology is not enough. Community service is great for a first offense. Can be helping neighbors or picking up trash instead of play time.
    ** Children are not born knowing all the things you do. They are learning from you. Make this into a learning moment about stealing and being punished.

Well my daughter was 5 she stole a piece of bubble gum from a store. I made her go in a return it telling the owner what she done. The owner told her aww its ok honey. Well that infuriated me because that taught my daughter it was ok to steal. So I took it a step further. I personally knew the chief of police. Soooo I took her to have a little talk with him. He talked to her for a good 10 mins explaining why stealing was wrong and the consequences of those actions…then showed her what happens if you steal… he took her to the empty holding cell and told her to listen as he closed the doors. He explained if she ever did this again mommy wouldn’t be able to keep her from being on the inside the next time she heard the door click shut. He asked did she have questions and explained/answered any she had. When he walked her back out front to me 5 mins later she said mommy im so sorry ill never steal again. And she has NEVER taken another thing that wasn’t hers. Side note: she still respects law enforcement and me.


So my youngest daughter has a step daughter that sounds just like yours. Whoop that ass! My daughter is getting a divorce because of her step daughter. She had had enough of the stealing, lies, breaking stuff, putting holes in walls because she was mad at my daughter. Now she lives full time with her dad and he’s seeing it wasn’t my daughter causing the bullshit, it was his child. Her own mother sent her to him. She couldn’t handle it anymore. He’s finding out, while raising her alone now, that it wasn’t everyone else. Take every toy she plays with, let her set there while the others play with her toys. She wont like it. But please do something about it before she’s able to do something worse.

The step mom will have to handle it. Apparently the parents are afraid to make them do right

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I would make her understand that u don’t steal anything. If u don’t make her understand that u don’t lie or steal . It will keep on going . She knew better . And I would take her something that she love so much and ground her too . And sit down and have talked with her of why she being grounded and tell her she has to write a letter tell her mom she sorry for lie . And why she did it