DEAR ABBY: My daughter visited us for a week with her two children. The older one, "Wendy," age 9, was always "finding" money -- in the parking lot, the driveway and other places. After they left, we discovered cash missing from our car and the savings jar in our house.
I called my daughter to inform her of our discovery, and in a nonchalant, what's-the-big-deal voice she said, "OK, Dad, how much did she take? I'll write a check."
I told her the money isn't the problem. The fact that Wendy is stealing is the problem. My daughter thinks I'm attacking my granddaughter and is no longer speaking to me. What should I do? -- TAKEN BY SURPRISE IN OHIO
DEAR TAKEN BY SURPRISE: Clearly your phone call wasn't the first time your daughter has heard that Wendy has stolen. Whether the problem is lack of character, lack of parenting or an emotional issue, the child needs professional help. But unless her mother is willing to do more about it than write a check, there is nothing you or I can do to help your granddaughter. (If no corrective action is taken, I predict Mom will be writing bigger and bigger checks.)
You did the responsible thing by informing your daughter. As to what to do next, if they visit again, put any valuables under lock and key.