Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Time To Confront Shoplifting Daughter Is Before She Is Caught

Dear Tazi:

I think my teenage daughter might be shoplifting. Her father and I are divorced, and not on good terms. He is constantly late on his child support, and when he does pay it is never the full amount owed. Other than this he is a good father, which is why I allow him to continue with regular visitation with our daughter.

I mention all of this because lately "Tandy" has been coming home with a lot of small but pricey purchases, like OPI nail polish, L'Oreal lipsticks, and other items that can easily be palmed and hidden in a purse or pocket. Tandy does not receive a regular allowance because she refuses to do her chores, so she does not have spending money for these types of items. Last night she came home with a new DKNY sweater that I know she does not have the money to purchase! When I asked Tandy where she was getting the money to buy all of the things she has been getting, she responded that her father gives her the money to buy them. Can you see why I smell something fishy?

I tried to call my ex-husband to confirm Tandy's story, but he is behind on his child support (as usual) so he was not picking up my calls (as usual). I would like to confront my daughter about her story that her father is buying her stuff because in my heart I believe it to be untrue, but if she is not lying - and he really is buying her all of this expensive stuff - I would like to take him back to court and have his wages garnished to ensure that the money he gives for Tandy will go to pay for her needs - like food, the extra rent on a two-bedroom apartment, school supplies, and warm winter clothing - not the luxuries that she would rather have with the child support money.

I would hate to accuse my daughter of lying - or worse, shoplifting - but I need to get to the truth one way or another. Do you have any suggestions for me, Tazi?

Struggling Mom

Dear Struggling Mom:

I can see that you are between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand is the possibility that your daughter is applying the famous five-finger discount to her purchases; on the other hand is the possibility that your ex-husband is trying to buy your daughter's love by letting her use the child support money on frivolities and luxuries. DKNY sweaters range in price from $75 to several hundred dollars - enough to buy an entire wardrobe of warm winter clothing instead of just one piece.

I suggest that you start your search for the truth by calling or emailing your ex-husband, giving him a detailed message of what has been going on, and what you plan to do if he does not give you a truthful response. Be sure to mention the cost of the items Tandy has been bringing home, just in case he tries to cover for the girl. If he does not respond within a few days, you might want to put in a call to the attorney who currently handles your child support issues.  S/he in turn can contact your ex-husband's legal representative, who will be able to explain the seriousness of the situation.

If your ex-husband is in fact purchasing Tandy the expensive goods she has been bringing home, it is time for him to stop, at least until he is current on his child support. You should allow your attorney to handle things from there; s/he will be able to subpoena financial records such as credit/debit card purchases showing the exact amount he has to spend on luxuries for Tandy, but not on child support!

You may, however, have to fact the fact that your ex-husband is not purchasing these presents for Tandy and that she is in fact stealing them or obtaining them through some other less than legit manner. As difficult as it will be, if this is what appears to be the case you must confront your daughter as soon as possible, before she gets caught and confronted by the police. Retailers usually take a hard-line with shoplifters, especially in a difficult economy. A difficult conversation with your daughter could save her legal difficulties down the road.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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