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Our Daughter Steals From Us

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Nov 10, 2018

Question

I do not know where to begin. I am worried and in a state of constant stress. To the point: My daughter is stealing from us and we are unable to stop her. We have 9 children and all are girls. The one who is stealing from us is 14 years old. My wife and I work very hard. She works in the home caring for our children and she does a great job. I work outside of the house to provide but make little money. I am not a smart man, just a hard worker. The point being, I cannot go back to school to make more money and I do what I can. Overall we get by moneywise, but we are not rich or have money to throw away.

Going back to the issue of my daughter, she is stealing from us and it is hurting the whole family. I barely can buy milk for my young daughters because of this. How does she steal our money and how, after we know about it, can she still steal, you may ask. Well, it started off with her taking money from my wallet. So, I stopped carrying cash in my wallet. Then she started going to the bank with a forged signature to withdraw money. I stopped that. Finally, she has been able to break into the computer where we do our finances. I changed the code. I even have a lock on the computer. She still gets in. She has stolen half of my paycheck at one time. I must have this computer to pay my bills online. I cannot change this otherwise I'd be running around the city paying bills. My time is very limited as it is. I have failed.

I go to the mosque. We all pray 5 times a day. We observe `Eid. We do everything we can to put Islam first. My wife is upset. I hate my wife upset and I ask her advice how to deal with her. We both are at a loss. I'm sorry to bother you with our problem. It's hard for me to share my feelings like this but I have even signed up for a therapist to help our family, but we must wait 7 months for the appointment. I don't know if I can last that long. I love the girls and my wife. They come first. I spend every little second I have with them. I work lots because I must. I have to. I just feel like I am a failure. This isn't about me though, it's about our daughter who steals from us and puts her sisters and us at risk. I asked her why she does this and she just laughs and tells me "to get lost." I try to ground her, she refuses and leaves the home when I'm at work. I get her mother to talk to her sweetly and perhaps with another perspective. My daughter hits her and spits on her. I cannot stand this. Her grades are okay. She stopped praying and basically is hard to deal with. Perhaps normal at 15 ... perhaps not.

I don't know how she breaks into locks and passwords. Last week she sold our sofa. I came home and my wife was shopping, we arrived together with the kids minus the eldest girl who steals. The sofa was gone. She sold it. I asked my wife why she wasn't with her and she said she could not deal with her as she has 8 other girls to worry about. Now we have no sofa and I'm wondering if we'll have anything left by the end of the month. I took away her house key months ago yet she still gets in. My wife tries very hard to watch her. It's endless and I don't know what to do. Please help me. Please excuse my English and grammar. Thank you.

Counselor

Answer


steals

In this counseling answer:

“I think if I were in your position, I would contact the police and speak to someone who deals in family problems and traumas, who would visit your home and inform this girl that they know all about her, that her behavior is criminal, and that it will only get worse and not better if she is not brought up sharp. If she has only stolen from her parents and not others, it is still criminal, and it is only the kindness of your hearts and your natural distress that have prevented you from having her charged and dealt with already. That must seem a horrendous thing for you to consider, but I am afraid you must consider something drastic.”


As-salamu `alykum wa rahmatullah.

Dear brother, I am so sorry that your family has got itself into such a predicament with your 14-year-old daughter. With so many young girls, you have enough to worry about without all this. You have told me not only that this girl steals, but she is also spitting at and abusing her parents, caring nothing of their hurt and distress, damaging them, and so on. I am afraid that you are now facing a very serious decision in your life—you cannot let her go on like this, it is ridiculous.

It is obvious that she does not care about you or her behavior, and that may quite possibly have sinister causes. What does she need all this money for anyway? I have a huge suspicion that she may already be involved with people on the borders of criminal activity, if not actually highly involved.

She obviously knows that she is “getting away with murder,” and is really taking you parents for fools. Whatever you are doing to try to stop her is not working, and so she is not even feeling any boundaries. I’m afraid when things have reached this level, you really have to get in help from outside sources.

I think if I were in your position, I would contact the police and speak to someone who deals in family problems and traumas, who would visit your home and inform this girl that they know all about her, that her behavior is criminal, and that it will only get worse and not better if she is not brought up sharp. If she has only stolen from her parents and not others, it is still criminal, and it is only the kindness of your hearts and your natural distress that have prevented you from having her charged and dealt with already. That must seem a horrendous thing for you to consider, but I am afraid you must consider something drastic.


Check out this counseling video


Once a person steals, they tend to become thieves for the rest of their lives. It is a bit like smoking in a way—people grow up to be either smokers or nonsmokers, do you see what I mean? The vast majority of people would not dream of stealing at all, and only a few would do it if seriously tempted. Your daughter’s behavior is an enormous test for you and your family.

You know the Islamic teaching on theft, obviously, and possibly how she would be treated and despised if you were living in Afghanistan. Thieves are always despised. She may be getting away with things now if she is a sweet-looking 14-year-old, but that won’t last long. The deceit, etc. will soon be etched in her face, and any softness left in her will harden up. She MUST be brought up sharp to realize the consequences of what she is doing.

It may be that you have been soft with her, gentle talking, and have been helpless to stop her; the moment she expands her activities to steal from others, they will not take this soft line at all, and her downward path will accelerate.

You must look into WHY she is doing this. Has she started up with people who take drugs? I would take the thought very seriously.

At the end of the day, she will either see how stupid she is being and come round and improve herself, or she will not and you will have to face up to all the consequences of having a daughter who steals. It will be extremely hard for you. It definitely sounds to me as if she should be on probation right now, and perhaps getting some help from some sort of counselor.

I am so sorry I cannot be more help. You are most certainly in my prayers. Allah bless you, wa salam

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