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Q. My 13-year-old, Allison, and I are sure that her best friend (also 13) stole money from her at least twice. Should we talk to her? Tell her parents?
A. This is probably the last thing your daughter wants to do, but she must address her friend directly by saying, "This is really uncomfortable, but I need to ask you something. When we were hanging out yesterday I had $20 in my purse, but after you went home it wasn't there. Did you take it?" If she admits it, Allison should thank her for the honesty and clearly state that if the friendship is going to continue, there can't be any more stealing.
If the friend denies the theft, Allison should take her answer at face value but watch to see if it happens again. And lastly, if the friend flips out and "breaks up" with your daughter, Allison will know she's better off without this girl in her life.
Originally published in the June 2009 issue of Family Circle magazine.