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Bonnie, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 2189
Experience:  and pediatric nurse practitioner with 30 years of experience counseling parents.
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My 14 year old daughter got her hands on my wifes check card

Resolved Question:

My 14 year old daughter got her hands on my wife's check card number and has used it to buy clothes online over the last two months. I just found out by doing our monthly account balances and I confirmed the purchases by looking on her computer history. We confronted her with it last night. She never apologized until after we told her the punishment. When asked why she did it, she said she "wanted" these cool clothes. We take her to the store often and let her pick out her own clothes, but evidently, that's not good enough. Those clothes sit in her closet. I was very angry of course, but my wife and I remained calm and told her she was committing credit card fraud. We told her she could go to jail if she was older. We told her she was grounded for 6 weeks. We blocked her computer and cell phone and told her she would be going to my wife's job to work off the debt. We even gave her the opportunity to continue to work so she could earn money for herself. About 6 months ago we found out she was "cutting" herself. She wouldn't tell us why, but she claims she doesn't do it any more. She is a pretty girl with a models figure, but she thinks all her friends are prettier than her and she always starving herself and trying to dress sexier than she should. I have two questions. Do you think the punishment is too severe and should we take her to therapy? Thanks.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Bonnie replied 6 years ago.
Hello and thank you for consulting JA,

The 6 week grounding is severe but now that you have said it you can't go back. Instead think of a way for her to decrease the time. You could say that every week that goes by without stealing she can earn a week back. Or you can have other chores that will help her earn back. Or if she cooperates well on the job. You can also have her earn things instead of time...the cell phone, the computer, the time with friends. Social isolation will make her symptoms worse (poor self-esteem, eating disorder, attention getting)

The restitution is a great idea.

She does needs to see a therapist to learn healthier ways to cope with whatever is bothering her. The next two years are the worst in teenage angst and if she can go through them with some tools it will, of course, make it easier on her. You also want to head off an eating disorder.

Thanks for asking and good luck....
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