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Savans Mom
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09 Jan 2017, 4:01 pm

Hi, I am wondering what other parents would do in this situation and would appreciate any advice as I'm stuck! I'll try and sum up the situation quickly...

My daughter just turned 18 and is diagnosed with ADHD-inattentive type but everyone (me, therapists, friends, family) all believe she is mis-diagnosed and has Asperger's or HFA. But, that's a topic for a different time. Anyway, she has had difficulty since junior high with growing and maintaining friendships. She made a friend freshman year and a few months later this girl turned on her and bullied her. Sophomore year, she spent mostly in her bedroom with only her virtual gaming friends. Since then, she's made 2 friends who were older than her and who graduated last year. But, even these 2 friends she only saw occasionally outside of school. This year she was put on anti-anxiety meds and it has increased her desire for friendships. She rekindled a friendship with a girl she was very close to in grade school. Over winter break they hung out 3 or 4 times and she's been so, soooo happy.

Unfortunately, I learned yesterday that her new "old" girlfriend has a very BIG shoplifting problem. I'm talking about 2 dozen things from different stores valuing almost $500... 4 Victoria Secret bras, 3 pairs of boots/shoes, tops, shorts, makeup, perfume, etc. My daughter went to the mall with this girl twice over break and on the 2nd trip is when this girl stole things. A good portion of her "haul" is at my house.

My 1st inclination was the call the police or the stores or her parents. The only thing preventing me is that my daughter has begged me not to because this is her ONLY friend and she doesn't want to go back to sitting alone in her bedroom. My daughter wants me to let her talk to this girl; she wants to ask this girl not to shoplift again, at least not when my daughter is with her.

I am stuck and paralyzed, except for insomnia. I previously liked this girl very much and she was a regular at my house for a couple years in grade school. I even had a very casual relationship with this girl's parents. Obviously, I would prefer my daughter not associate with someone who does this. But, she has no other friends at the moment and she's been so low because of this in the past that she's engaged in cutting and had suicidal ideation (thoughts). I would also like to say something to this girl's parents before this girl gets arrested (she is 18 and it will be a class 3 felony). Plus, she could drag my daughter into it if my daughter is there when she gets caught (which I'm sure she will sooner or later). My daughter is begging me not to say anything even to her parents because she feels this girl will stop being her friend.

Part of me can't even believe I am stuck and considering my daughter's suggestion... I so conflicted and tired! So, I'm asking what would you do?



somanyspoons
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09 Jan 2017, 7:04 pm

I think this is a really good opportunity to talk with your daughter about self-advocacy. She doesn't have to stop her friend from doing what she's doing, but she can learn to say, I'm just going to wait outside. Or I don't want to get wrapped up in this, so do what you're going to do but please don't involve me. She certainly can refuse to keep the haul! In fact, you could model this for her by refusing to allow your house to be used this way. By keeping it, she's committing a crime, too. That's not cool.

So, you can't do the talking with her, but you can help her with the skills she need to have the talk herself. You can role play with her. You can write a list of things she can say.

I think it goes without saying that calling the parents of your adult daughters friend's parents is out of the question. And when it comes to calling the police, you only have hearsay. I mean, you could do it, but I don't know how it would be received.

I think your daughter might need something to help her with the big picture. Like a lot of us, she's exiting childhood with precious little experience with relationships. Very few people really understand what this does to you. It's just hard to feel behind. And we do get pulled in by bad people more often than not. Actually, I did have a friend, when we were both in our 30's, who shoplifted in front of me. It put me in a terrible place. And I did lose her friendship when I told her about how this and other actions were hurting me. It just takes practice to recognize who will be a good friend, and to let go of those who don't qualify. So, counseling if you can find someone. Patience and understanding. Try to help her find her way and support her as she goes through messing up with friends. It's OK to mess up and chose the wrong people. It's OK to make a lot of mistakes. It's not OK to break the law.



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10 Jan 2017, 3:02 am

Spoons says it all, don't let this stuff in your house, help your daughter with boundaries.
I think i was really without that, as the priority of my parents was to learn me never to have the right to say no.

I knew quite some people who shoplifted, i never found it all that an interesting waste of time,
but i got arrested once for a bf who put, while in the shop, things in my bag, i never heard back of that afterward. When taken by the police the 'friend' screamed insanities at them, as the idiot that he was, so that might have helped when i told it was not put there by me.

Maybe it's curiousity, why people are like they are, but without personal boundaries its a dangerous place out there!



selflessness
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10 Jan 2017, 7:54 am

Just make sure that she understands that stealing is wrong. But from what I'm reading it seems she already does so that's good. I wouldn't intervene just because I know from experience that making and keeping friends is really, really hard when you have ASD. Also she's 18 so she can choose her own friends. Yes she still lives with you (I assume), but still she's an adult now. You wouldn't want your own parents to choose your friends or life partner for you, that's not thinkable in 2017. If this girl was, let's say selling drugs and/or trying to get your daughter on drugs of course it's a different story. In that sense you're responsible to protect her, but considering the circumstances I'd let it slide here. Also you know for a fact that this girl is a shoplifter, but you'd be surprised at the stuff people do that you don't know about. And you could be good friends with those people for years and never suspect anything. People do bad things but it doesn't necessarily make them bad people.

By the way, why are her stolen goods in your house? Am I getting this right, am I missing something really obvious? :? I'd get that stuff out of there asap.



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10 Jan 2017, 8:49 am

I am assuming it is at the OPs house b/c the shoplifter is hiding it from her own family and if she came home with all this stuff, they would be suspicious.

I think this is a sticky thing b/c it is too easy for this girl to get the OPs daughter into serious trouble, and I am not a lawyer, but storing stolen goods is probably an accessory crime.

I would not call the cops, but I would tell your daughter to tell her friend that you found the goods (so it is your fault) and that you (the OP) is insisting they be removed from the house immediately or you will throw them away.

After you get the contraband out of the house you can work on teaching her that friends who would get you in trouble are not really your friends. I don't guess social stories would work at this age, but maybe there are some "afterschool" type specials about this. I knwo that some people will think that she needs to learn this on her own, but her maturity level is not that of an adult regardless of age, and I think she needs scaffolding.



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10 Jan 2017, 1:32 pm

ASDMommyASDKid wrote:
I am assuming it is at the OPs house b/c the shoplifter is hiding it from her own family and if she came home with all this stuff, they would be suspicious.

I think this is a sticky thing b/c it is too easy for this girl to get the OPs daughter into serious trouble, and I am not a lawyer, but storing stolen goods is probably an accessory crime.

I would not call the cops, but I would tell your daughter to tell her friend that you found the goods (so it is your fault) and that you (the OP) is insisting they be removed from the house immediately or you will throw them away.

After you get the contraband out of the house you can work on teaching her that friends who would get you in trouble are not really your friends. I don't guess social stories would work at this age, but maybe there are some "afterschool" type specials about this. I knwo that some people will think that she needs to learn this on her own, but her maturity level is not that of an adult regardless of age, and I think she needs scaffolding.


This exact scenario happened on the Facts of Life. Alas, I am aging myself even knowing what The Facts of Life is.



Savans Mom
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10 Jan 2017, 3:51 pm

Thank you all for responding to my post! Each response offered a perspective that helped me figure out where I stand on things and the best way to handle different aspects of this situation with my daughter. For clarity, both girls just turned 18 within the past 3 months, both live at home with their parents, both are seniors in high school and neither of them drive yet or have jobs.

The stolen merchandise is at my house because they came to my house from the mall. And, both of them wear the same size clothes so either the friend left my daughter with a few things or kept there here with the intention of bringing them home at a slower pace or maybe they were going to share them? I don't really know. I'm not sure about the shoes though. I didn't even think to see what size they were. The bras were a bunch of different sizes with 2 of them not being either girls' size. I think maybe she was just grabbing things? My daughter said her friend took home the bras that fit her. I donated everything to Goodwill this morning.

I read Spoons post this morning and, by chance, addressed things last night along the lines he suggested... an opportunity to help my daughter figure out where she stands on this issue and to advocate for herself with her friend. My daughter and I agreed that she shouldn't drop this person as a friend, but that she should speak to her; she is planning on telling her friend that she's uncomfortable with her shoplifting and very scared when its happening. She's going to ask her friend to refrain from doing it at least when they are together. My daughter's hopeful that her friend will honor her wishes. I also helped my daughter figure out what she should do to protect herself if her friend partakes in this behavior again while they are out together. The plan is for my daughter to take enough action to establish that she is not participating in the shoplifting--like waiting outside the store in the mall area or if the store isn't in a mall, near the doors in winter. At that point, she can then decide whether to wait for her friend or call someone else or Uber for a ride home.

I also told my daughter that she needs to convey to her friend that stolen merchandise in not welcome in my home. My daughter seems to be having a harder time understanding why she shouldn't keep the stolen merchandise. She doesn't see anything wrong with this since she's not the one who did the stealing. We're still working on this, but I did put my foot down and told her that as long as she is living under my roof, she will not be allowed to keep stolen merchandise in my home whether she's the one who stole it or someone else did. As I mentioned above, I took the stuff over to Goodwill this morning.

I am still on the fence about contacting this girl's parents. Although she's 18, I see it as a grey area because she is still in high school and we (myself and her parents) are the ones giving or paying for the girls rides to and from the mall. I keep thinking that if the girls' roles were reversed and it were my daughter doing the stealing, I would appreciate another parent telling me before my daughter gets busted and charged with a Class 3 Felony. My other option is to talk to this girl directly and that's probably more likely what I will do. I will encourage this girl to consider talking to her parents (or maybe a counselor at the local youth center) if she feels she cannot stop shoplifting on her own. I just don't want to see this girl throw her future away and I feel I will regret not doing something more if that happens. But, I'm going to talk to my daughter and she how she feels about me talking to her friend. I'll go from there and make the best decision I can.

Thanks again for responding and providing me with much needed insight and perspective! :heart: :heart: :heart:

P.S. I too remember Facts of Life, although I can't recall that episode. I'm going to see if I can find it online.



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10 Jan 2017, 4:45 pm

I can think of one more sinister possibility: that your daughter is getting used. I might be over generalizing from my own experience. That was the story of my life at 18. All my friends were either significantly more screwed up than I was, or using me for money, access to a parent-free house where they could get in trouble without getting caught, or trying fruitlessly to use me for sex.

I wouldn't assume, but please talk to her about the possibility.

Might not help. At 18, my attitude was, "Better friends I buy than no friends at all."

Somewhere in my early 20s, I realized I was wrong. Best are friends for whom your company is payment enough (tough for a teenage Aspie to find really anywhere, but the smaller the town the harder it is). Pathetic loser friends who at least like you for who you are, though, turn out to be better than friends you buy (whether with money, sex, drugs, or enabling).

Wouldn't be a teenaged Aspie again if they paid me. Not even if they held a gun to my head.


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11 Jan 2017, 9:32 pm

BuyerBeware wrote:
I can think of one more sinister possibility: that your daughter is getting used.


Same here.


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somanyspoons
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11 Jan 2017, 10:12 pm

MagicMeerkat wrote:
BuyerBeware wrote:
I can think of one more sinister possibility: that your daughter is getting used.


Same here.


Well, yah. That's obvious. But the bigger question is, how does one use this situation to help her grow? And how do her parents do their best to make sure she doesn't end up hurt. There's not a whole lot they can do, but of course they want to help. Not wanting someone to hurt is just part of loving them. Unfortunatly, learning how to navigate relationships does involve getting hurt. We just don't want her to wind up in jail, too.



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11 Jan 2017, 11:25 pm

She knows shoplifting is a crime.

Tell her, in no uncertain terms, that knowingly harnoring stolen goods is too.

Then-- she's 18. It's up to her to refuse to participate and lose a *cough* friend (no friend at all if enabling criminal behavior is a condition of the friendship-- I had 'friends' who were also relatives who made doing stuff I'm still ashamed of to this day conditions of spending time with me and now, at 38, profoundly wish I'd told them to f**k off and kept my integrity and self-respect) or hang around for the ride because it's better than being lonely.

Tell her, with people who do crap like that, she'll still be lonely. I was. Letting people use me for a car, gas money, cigarettes, weed, and cash-- sitting in the back seat with the radio blasting through the back speakers, while they made fun of me because I said it hurt and couldn't track the conversation over the music. Great friendship I bought with my integrity and self-respect there.

Let her read that, and think about it. She's young, lonely, naive, and desperate. Not stupid.


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