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Ask Ellie: Don't accuse grandkid of stealing without proof

If you accuse her and you’re wrong, she’ll be very hurt and you could do serious damage to your relationship

Dear Lisi: I’ll start with today — I was looking for some rings for my grandson. His grandfather had quite a collection. I checked the strong box and discovered that a rather unique gold chain was missing. In its place was a junk chain. I believe it was stolen some time ago, and I didn’t realize it. I am almost sure one of my granddaughters was involved with the theft as she had a key to my house. I came home to find her and friends leaving the house.

OK , now for the question — how would I approach the granddaughter I believe was involved? My thoughts go to sending her a text. Something like, ‘I am missing a unique gold chain that your grandfather left to me. Do you know anything about this? There were also some coin sets missing too.’

What do you think would be the best approach? I just feel betrayed as I have always been really generous with her and her sister.

Stealing granddaughter

Whatever you do, do NOT do it by text.

Let’s start with this — do you have any proof at all that your granddaughter had any involvement in the theft? I understand that your gut is telling you she did, but you need proof.

Now let’s move to this — if your gut immediately landed on that granddaughter, why did you entrust her with a key to your house? Whether she took this chain or not, I would get your key back. And I would do so before you accuse her of stealing anything. Make up any excuse, it doesn’t matter. It’s your key.

You haven’t told me how old this granddaughter is, but I’m guessing at least 16. If she still lives at home, would you be able to go there and look for this chain? Would your son or daughter, her parent, be helpful in this situation?

My concern is that if you accuse her and you’re wrong, she’ll be very hurt and you could do serious damage to your relationship.

Another idea, since the holidays are approaching, is to buy her a (budget-appropriate) gold chain similar to the one missing. If she stole yours, she’ll know you know.

FEEDBACK regarding the nervous dad and his learning-to-drive daughter (Nov. 14):

Reader — “Like so many parents, this dad is expecting others to teach his daughter rather than taking some responsibility himself. Before either of my kids started driver’s ed, I spent hours with them in the (empty) parking lot of our local arena getting the feel of driving a car, starting, stopping, turning, etc.

“I then took them to an industrial area on a Sunday to practice driving on the streets. Once they had the basic proficiency, both my wife and I insisted that they drive every time when we were going somewhere together, whether five minutes in town or a longer road trip (except highways where they weren’t allowed).

“By the time they got to driver’s ed lessons, they had hours and hours of experience. Do I still worry? Of course. But I know I did everything I could to help my child.”

Lisi – Neither you nor I know enough about this dad to make a judgement call. He could be blind or not drive himself for a multitude of reasons.

But I do agree with you about getting the kids some practice behind the wheel before they start the course. My parents did the same with me years ago and it was a game changer.

Dear Lisi: I’ve been dating my boyfriend for three years. He’s fun, spoils me with gifts and wants to always do things for me. We spend a lot of time together but we don’t live together. We’ve started talking about moving in together, but I know he’s cheating on me.

I love this man and want to marry him, and he often tells me the same. But how can we commit if he’s still going to cheat?

Do I say yes?

NO! You don’t say yes to moving in with someone who you know is cheating on you. That is a recipe for disaster. Actions speak louder than words and this man is showing you that he is not ready to commit. He may say he loves you, and he may mean it. He may also really want to marry you. But he clearly doesn’t have a clue what marriage is.

So, I repeat loud and clear — NO! Do not move in with this man until he shows you that he is committed to you and only you. Don’t accept anything less than what you deserve.

Ellie Tesher and Lisi Tesher are advice columnists for the Star and based in Toronto. Send your relationship questions via email: ellie@thestar.ca.

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