My Daughter Broke My Heart Tonight… I Feel Like a Terrible Mom

by Leila on October 12, 2011

My daughter is known for her selflessness, big heart and doing thoughtful things to make others happy.

She is known for being a responsible and mature kid for her age.

She takes on more responsibility than most people because she is all too aware of her life threatening allergies and the chronic pain she endures.

She is nice. She is sweet. She has been challenging me lately in more ways than one.

Everyone says its the age, hormones or just stuff that kids do. I thought it was her medication or something else going on her body and autoimmune issues… or it is just her.

She has become lazy, spiteful and mean. Mostly just towards me… but that is to be expected. I’m a single Mom so I get the be the only bad guy.

All I know is that lately I can’t help but wonder… What the fuck happened to my little girl?

There is a book fair at the school right now and it always causes a lot of negativity. Every year there is always gossip going around about some kids stealing. They steal from the book fair, other kids or hell even their parents.

The acts themselves have always made me sad because I know these kids feel pressure not wanting to be the only kid that didn’t get to buy something.

It is hard being a kid. I get that.

Honestly, it’s always been the parent gossip that has pissed me off. The upturned noses and snide remarks that their kids would never do something like that. The judgment that comes with parenting is sickening.

Tonight I found myself in disbelieve because I never thought my kid would do something like that… not because I am a self righteous snob, but, because she truly doesn’t do things like… stealing.

Oh sure the occasional cookie, brownie or junk food is swiped. Candy is sometimes consumed. Those moments pissed me off because of the sneakiness but also because of her health issues. Food can be painful as well as end her life.

Those things seemed like a big deal at the time. Until tonight.

Never thought I’d find over $80 in dollars and change in my kids backpack so she could buy stuff at the book fair. She took it from her brothers piggy bank, emptied hers, took out cash we have in a large bin that is donation money for Japan… and even out of my wallet.

That is not something my kid would do. I didn’t even recognize her.

Never thought she would be one of those kids… and I never thought that I’d ever feel like this much of a fucking failure. I never thought I’d feel like I screwed up the last 9 years somehow to be faced with this bad decision she made.

I don’t feel like a great Mom. I don’t feel like I have a resolution. I don’t feel like I can forgive her.

I know kids mess up. I know I am not perfect and neither is she. I know she is just nine years old. I know mistakes will be made and I know there are a lot of reasons why she would make these decisions. I know there are a lot of things I could have done differently or a million reasons why this is my fault.

I especially know that this moment sucks. I’m hurting, crying and I want to punch a wall. This destroyed me and how I view my relationship with my daughter at this moment in time. I’m physically ill from crying and feeling angry as well as sad.

I’m sad because this all comes down to her not wanting to be the kid who couldn’t have something again.

I also realized that all of this made me feel more single, alone and on my own in this than anything before. Usually that empowers me… but right now… I envy those that have someone they can rely on to get through these little hurdles together.

Tomorrow it will hurt less and the anger will have subsided. It will be a moment that passes and hopefully something she can learn from. And me as well. Maybe I will be the Mom that is gossiped about for having the kid who steals… I don’t give a shit what people do or think they know… what I do know is that this isn’t my daughter’s usual behavior…

and we will get through this…


… just to prepare for our next hurdle.









About Leila DontSpeakWhinese

Leila, aka The Ninja, is the advocate for all things not whining. Parenting is fun when everyone stops b*tching! She is the Mom of a big blended family of five awesome kids. They ninja kick through life together. Oh and she is a total jackass.

{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

Dana K October 12, 2011 at 4:05 am

Oh, wow. This is so tough. I’m so sorry. I wish there was something I could say or do to help your heart hurt less. {{{hugs}}}
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Leila October 13, 2011 at 10:45 am

Thank you so much {{hugs}}
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Coleen D October 12, 2011 at 4:21 am

I feel your pain…I really do! Nothing can make you feel better only time. I also had the most loving caring, greatest kid in the world (of course all of our children are) and then one day I got a call that I had to pick him up at the station for stealing from a store $5.25 worth of crap….I felt like a complete failure…but we are on the road to recovery as mom and son…be strong it is hard to handle alone, I know that feeling too…but your strong and your love for her will get you through it..(i know its sappy…but its true!)


Leila October 13, 2011 at 10:46 am

One of the most comforting things about me putting this out there (even with how embarrassing it feels) is that so many of us have experienced the same. Thank you so much.
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Elly October 12, 2011 at 5:06 am

When I was a teenager I stole money from my mom’s bank account so that I could buy clothes. I got in a bit of trouble but I think but beyond that i think she was so flabbergasted that I would have done anything like that. Her disappointment in my behavior was truly sufficient punishment for me. (Not saying it would be for your daughter or anyone else or even that SHE thought it was enough but was just lost on what to do next.) She taught me better than that. She taught me to know right from wrong. There wasn’t anything she could have done differently (I guess if I had an allowance similar to that of my peers…which was outrageous, I would not have felt the need, BUT that is by no means an acceptable excuse or justification), sometimes kids just fuck up. And she, like you, didn’t have anyone to team up with.

However, now as an adult I’m super aware of fairness and ensuring that I do not take something (material or otherwise) from someone. I even deleted music off my iTunes and iPod before selling my CDS. I’m acutely aware of how my actions affect others and I don’t EVER want to disappoint someone the way I disappointed her that day.

While it’s always good to review your parenting when something happens, remember sometimes shit just happens, despite the best parenting, examples, love, support….so on. And from what you say here, that sounds like what happened. Giant hugs to you, those are tough shoes to be in.


Leila October 13, 2011 at 10:48 am

I echo all of this and appreciate your insight. It is true… kids just fuck up sometimes. It’s been a rough couple of days because of it. Disappointment is the biggest lesson learned in all of this… as well as my patience being tested 😉 Thank you.
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Jenn@Fox in the City October 12, 2011 at 6:36 am

Ah man, I am so sorry that you are struggling with this all on your own. Your little girl made a mistake, a big one. She used really bad judgement and damaged the trust between you. But, you yourself said that this is out of character for her, so don’t beat yourself up over it and look at it as your failure because it wasn’t. Let her know how badly she damaged the trust you had, how disappointed you are and how you are both going to have to work together to repair that trust . . . and you will repair it because she is a wonderful little girl and you are an awesome mom.
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Leila October 13, 2011 at 10:51 am

Thank you so much Jenn. I’m a perfectionist and it is hard for me to not internalize when something like this happens. I beat myself up over it. You are right… we are getting through this with love of love :)
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Sondra October 12, 2011 at 7:01 am

This is definitely not easy. I was a kid who stole at that age, mostly because of peer pressure. I’m not sure how you talked to your daughter about this but I hope you let her know exactly how you feel, how it made you question your parenting skills and how you know she typically makes better choices.

I have a feeling that once you address these very things with her, she’ll surprise you yet again with the mature way she chooses to make up for this, with you and her brother.

You’re a great mom but the hardest lesson for us to learn sometimes is that outside influences (that oftentimes have nothing to do with you) affect her, especially at this age, when she needs you (and pushes you away) most.



Leila October 13, 2011 at 10:54 am

Thank you son much Sondra. That was exactly how I addressed everything. I told her how I felt and what this did and why. She felt terrible… and I felt terrible saying it but she has to understand the magnitude of this.

She pretty much avoided me yesterday because we had a field trip with our Girl Scout Troop… but last night we cuddled, she cried, let it all out and so did I. Today was a completely new day and there is more maturity in her. Hopefully this life lesson will stick.
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handwashcold October 12, 2011 at 8:00 am

I hope you’re doing okay. I would like to say that I really believe that at some point, EVERY kid steals. It might be a chocolate bar from the supermarket, a pair of earrings from a store, or $80 from her brother’s piggy bank. It’s possibly one of those growing up things that every kid has to experience for themselves at least once, and that it’s not necessarily a reflection of the parent or their parenting skills. What’s a reflection of you? Is how you deal with it. (And that doesn’t mean that I know how you should or how I will when it happens w/my kids one day!) I hope everything turns out okay, and that this turns out to be a one-off “strike it up to growing” experience for your daughter. Good luck!


Leila October 16, 2011 at 12:29 pm

I’m okay now and thank you. Actually going to try to finish up my follow up post to this for tomorrow. Thank you for your input. At the time I knew it was so very age appropriate but I was just so hurt and mad. We have grown since then.
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Mimzy Wimzy October 12, 2011 at 8:15 am

*hugs* Been there done that, didn’t get a t-shirt. My son steals from us. Food. Change (only because we don’t have cash, rarely ever). Hubbys cologne. Books. Random dumb crap. My daughter used to steal from us. Still would had she not moved out. Once she stole pain pills from Hubby after he had surgery. Totally not cool & not safe!! My Aunt is dealing with this issue with her one adopted son. He actually stole a gift card from my son. Spent it on a remote control helicopter the he broke. He has to save the money to pay it back. Give my son back the money/gift card AND give him the broken helicopter too! {We get to tell our son karma’s a bitch. You steal, you get stolen from}
You will survive. You are strong. You will find a way to make your relationship with her stronger. She will be ok. She will not turn to a life of crime. Ninja fight your way through!!! xoxo
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Leila October 16, 2011 at 12:31 pm

It is honestly so comforting to hear that so many people experience the same. Thanks woman, I really appreciate it!
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Carolyn (temysmom) October 12, 2011 at 8:35 am

This is so NOT your fault. I have a 9 year old daughter and this is a really hard age. My kid takes money too… and she lies to me… and she hides things from me. Yes, I get angry with her but my I truly believe this is a phase. They are trying to see just how much they can get away with. Personally, I am using it as a teaching opportunity. Two days ago I found unfinished homework hidden in her room with a note from the teacher that she had to finish it and I had to sign it. I don’t know how long it was hidden but I called her on it and I told her I was going to tell her teacher. I did. I don’t think she’ll do THAT again. All we can do is tell our kids our expectations for them and pray they will one day get the message. Hang in there… she isn’t a bad kid, she’s just being 9.
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Leila October 16, 2011 at 12:33 pm

The day after I found the stolen money I also found homework and a test that I was supposed to sign. First of all… why do kids suck at hiding shit like that?? Second of all I was even more upset on top of everything. I read your comment and it helped me confirm to call the teacher. He was actually great about it. He isn’t a super strict teacher but believes heavily on just making that child aware in disappointment. Kids… wtf are they thinking!? Thanks so much for your input :)
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Cyn October 12, 2011 at 8:49 am

This is a great blog post. Honest, heartfelt, and speaks a truth about parenting a teen or pre-teen that most of us can’t or don’t verbalize. You are a very good mom, you recognize difficulty and are confronting (not denying or avoiding) it. Thanks for such a moving, inspiring piece.


Leila October 16, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Thank you Cyn. I truly appreciate your praise and words.
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NerdyMomma October 12, 2011 at 9:00 am

You are -not- a terrible mom, and she is not a bad kid. She is just a kid who made a terrible choice, and you are a kickass mom who will deal with it perfectly. Even if you don’t know how to deal with it now, you will, I know it!
It’s hard, being the kid that doesnt get to get something, and normally, your daughter is smart enough to know that there are others who have even less. Whatever her thought process was, she is also smart enough to deal with the consequences of her actions, whatever you decide they are.
I love you all, and if you need me, you know where to find me :)


Leila October 16, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Thanks woman… I didn’t think I would forgive her when I wrote this. I didn’t think I could see the positives. But, we have learned a lot from then. Love you!!!
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Julie October 12, 2011 at 9:08 am

This is so hard, and I’m so glad you were able to put all of this down. Like the previous commenters, I just want to make sure that you know this doesn’t make you a bad mom and it sure as hell doesn’t make her a bad kid. I imagine seeing your reaction feels 100X crappier to her than walking away from that book fair without a book that she’ll have on a shelf for a couple of years. These little growing up bits suck, building character sucks.

I won’t get into my opinion on these school situations that put a spotlight on the haves, the havenots, and the prefertospendwhatwehaveonotherthings. Especially something like a book fair…her takeaway should be “Man! Books are cool!” not “Gee! I wish I could get one of each because Sally is!” Okay, now that I said I wasn’t going to get into it…

Hugs to you, mama.
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Leila October 16, 2011 at 12:37 pm

I think the Haves and Havenots in school should be a post of its own. I get super ranty about it. I see the catty behavior with kids all the time and it makes me sad. Ugh. Okay now I am going to go off!!

Thank you for everything you said. It is much appreciated!
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meleah rebeccah October 12, 2011 at 10:33 am

Oh sweety, my whole heart goes out to you.

I don’t know why your daughter is acting out, it could very well just be the age, hormones, her medication or something else going on her body and autoimmune issues. Or the fact that she wants some kind of “control”.

But whatever it is, it does NOT make YOU a bad mother. And it does not make her a BAD kid.

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Leila October 16, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Thanks hon! This made me feel a ton better. What is causing this is a combination of a lot of things.. and like all obstacles in life.. we are working on it. One ninja kick at a time.
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Julie October 12, 2011 at 11:07 am

Ok, but this is something she would do, because she’s human, and a kid. We all make huge mistakes in our lives.

This is a gigantic teachable moment in her life, and you are going to do a great job handling it, because you care about your kid!
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Leila October 16, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Thank you so much Julie! You are right… and mistakes happen and we can grow from it :)
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Sam October 12, 2011 at 11:29 am

Aw honey. It has nothing to do with being single, or having health issues or your being a bad mom (as IF). Your daughter is simply at the girl-to bitch turning point. It was bound to happen. And stealing? She is at the exact age where they try their hand at it (Look it up, its true). Just feel fortunate that she didn’t steal from a store!
Leila, I know EXACTLY how you feel. And I know you’ve been on the receiving ends of phone calls when Ive felt this way about my own daughter. I dont have great advice, as I dont feel I handled it well myself, but I can say it DOES get better eventually. Drinking helps too 😉
The problem with our girls is that they have almost super-human personalities. When they act “Normal” it feels like a betrayal and we don’t know what to do. Sigh.
Sending love & hugs from the east coast. Call me if you need me ♥


Leila October 16, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Thanks Sam! I didn’t exactly feel me being single caused this behavior… but rather me being single in this made me realize how alone I am… and it was the first time that fact sucked.

These are things that just make us stronger. Them. Us. The world. Even if it is hard to see it at the time.
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Dr. G October 12, 2011 at 12:09 pm

This is so painful, but in no way your fault. She is experimenting with her darker side. This shows poor judgment and risky behavior on her part, but also initiative and planning and goal-oriented behavior! You can harness those abilities for good, and so can she. Keep the faith. You’re doing a good job, and she is still a great kid.


Leila October 16, 2011 at 12:40 pm
Trish October 12, 2011 at 12:21 pm

What you said at the end of your post is true. You’ll get through this. It is horrible now, but it’s also an opportunity for growth. For your little girl and for you. I hope you’re able to sit with her and talk with her about why she felt like she had to do it, and help her understand that she doesn’t have to do things like that, that her life will be better if she doesn’t ever do things like that again. She’ll get it. She’s a smart kid. You’re a good mom. Big hug.
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Leila October 16, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Thanks so much Trish! I didn’t see any of that at the time… but I do now. It has turned into a positive experience and I am really glad I put it out there. Realizing that so many not only go through this but feel the same was very comforting.
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Mommy2¢ October 13, 2011 at 7:30 am

I just want to give you a HUGE hug! You are not a terrible mom. You can tell that just by simply reading this. You care, You’re loving, you’re hurting… all natural reactions from a mother who loves her child. Try not and beat yourself up. Thank God she stole from you and not from the book fair at school. At least you have the opportunity to deal with this privately in your own home without all the gossipy chatter from other (asshole) parents. I think most kids steal something at one point or another in their life growing up. I know I did and I think I turned out ok… well, some may question that statement 😉 My mother did a wonderful job turning it into a learning experience. I never stole anything again after that. I could tell I broke her heart and that for me was worse than any other punishment she could have given me. Your daughter loves you. Even if she’s not acting like it right now. Trust me, she will one day grow to have the up-most respect for you for all you’ve done for her and especially as a single mom.

Hang in there girl. My little girl is only 5, but I have no doubt my day will soon come too… and when it does I’m coming to you for advice! :)
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Leila October 16, 2011 at 12:44 pm

I appreciate your reply so much! Thank you. If she stole from the Book Fair it could have been a ton of school consequences. We are making this a huge learning experience and discovering what drove her to do this. It has been eye opening and in ways… I am thankful for it.
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Kristin October 13, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Thank you for having the courage to share this with us all. Although for different reasons, I have gone through/am going through many of the same mom-feelings that you are right now. The previous commenters have said much of what I’m thinking, but I did want you to know how much your post touched me.
You are a great mom, one I truly admire, your daughter is a great girl who did a very dumb thing. Lessons will be learned, and you both
will heal. Keep up the good work, one day at a time!
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Leila October 16, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Thank you! This was REALLY hard for me to write. Humor is a coping mechanism for me 😉 It is hard for me to put anything out there that makes me emotionally vulnerable but it ended up helping me heal. It also provided a ton of comfort knowing how much it moved others.

We will get through this. Yes, we will. :)
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Jew October 13, 2011 at 7:17 pm

My response is not going to by near as long as I want but I’m I iPhoning it on a train. Gimme a break!

Anywho. Think of it this way. How many lessons would you have learned if you hadnt done stupid things and gotten caught? Probably none.

Be happy that you caught here before she had a chance to spend it. Now she knows mom is not only always going to be watching but there will be reprocussions for her actions. A girl like kimi is going to hurt more by your broken heart than any other form of punishment!

Personally I think she’s just taking it out on you because I didn’t get a chance to dance with her at my wedding. Talk about feeling bad about something…


Leila October 16, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Thanks buddy! I thought she did dance with you!! Or was it Jack?! All I know is that after your wedding they both slept well from all the rockstar dancing haha

I never did any stupid things 😉 NEVER! Especially nothing recent.
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Asianmommy October 13, 2011 at 8:00 pm

I’m so sorry–these things happen. Kids do stupid things. She’ll learn her lesson, and that’ll be that.
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Leila October 16, 2011 at 12:48 pm
Laura Vivoni (@mantybat) October 13, 2011 at 8:42 pm

I’m sorry you have to go through this. And in your post you don’t say if you were able to talk to your daughter about what she did and what she had to say about it. But it makes me curious as I have a 10 year old who is already showing signs of being different somehow from the little girl she used to be.
When I was a teenager I shoplifted with my then boyfriend who is now my husband. I got caught and he took the blame for me.
Why did I steal? Because I could. Because I felt that I didn’t want to pay for the stuff I was getting. I didn’t have a lot of money but I probably could have paid for at least some of the stuff. I never stole again after being caught. I don’t remember what made me do what I did, but I sure would want to know what is going through my daughter’s head if she ever did it. I hope you guys can make amends and you can figure out what is bothering her and what you can do to help her sort her feelings out.
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Leila October 16, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Thank you so much for sharing. This age is such a huge change. I’ve always heard that from my friends with older kids… and its why I thought I always wanted boys. Teenage girls exhaust me LOL

Her and I have had a lot of great dialog with a lot more pains that have come up since then. I am writing a follow up post on it. It’s been a rough week… I am drained emotionally… but in the end it is turning into a positive life learning moment.

Thank you!
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