Discipline problem

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by JSales, Dec 4, 2009.

  1. JSales

    JSales New Member

    I'm new to these forums and desperately need some insight. I have a 13 year old daughter with ADD. She was diagnosed when she was 7. We have had multiple behavior issues over the years as most of you are familiar with. Our major one of late is what is currently driving me batty. I really need some help with dealing with this.

    Our daughter steals. At first it was the small things: nail polish, hair bows, small trinkets, etc. Then it moved on to pilfering the kitchen late and night and hiding sweets in her room, under her pillow or bed. She'd lie about it when we found stuff missing, but we always found her out. I even have picture evidence of some cookies she took. Now she is stealing money. It ranges anywhere from a couple dollars to a couple hundred. That last only happened once and we learned not to keep large amounts of cash in the house.

    Lately she's taken to getting a few dollars from my wallet or taking laundry quarters. All because she wants to buy breakfast and lunch at school. While I don't have a problem with her eating at school, we can't afford for her to do it everyday. So I've set a rule that she eats breakfast at home and she packs a lunch to take with her. Eating breakfast at home is essential since she's a slow mover in the morning and won't get to school in time to eat let alone get to class on time.

    We've been over so many times about not stealing and the consequences of what her actions are. For example, taking laundry money means we can't do several loads of laundry. With 5 people in the house, it's essential that laundry gets done. Taking money from our wallets is taking money that has been earmarked for other things, like bills, groceries, etc. This concept has been explained over and over and over again. We've tried every punishment we can think of. Grounding, taking priviledges away, taking special items away, etc. Nothing is getting through.

    We tell her that she knows right from wrong and that she is old enough to make the choice to follow the rules. We explain that following the rules will lead to a happier home life and much less grounding, etc. I don't know if she is just buckling under peer pressure or what. I'm really at a loss as to why she does this or how to go about getting her to learn from her mistakes and not repeat this behavior again. I'm really tired of the stealing and I'm really tired of trying to drill the concept that stealing is wrong into her head.

    How can I make this lesson stick without having to hit my head against a brick wall time and time again???

    Thanks for listening and any advice you can give.

    32, mom of 3
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there and welcome.

    You may want to fill us in more on your daughter. ADD hardly ever is the only diagnosis a child has. Has she been evaluated again since she was seven?

    We'll be glad to help you, but we need more information. Also, sadly, if a child doesn't "get it" I doubt anyone can tell you how to make her get it. I'm sure you've already tried removing her privileges and/or toys.

    Any psychiatric disorders on either side (yes, including absent Dad) of her family tree? His genes live inside of her. Was he a substance abuser? Anyone else on her family tree abuse substances? How was her early development and does she have friends?

    Until you can figure out what's going on with her and she is better, I'd lock your money up in a box. That may be the only way to stop her and it doesn't sound like you can afford to lose it. Have you looked into the reduced/free lunch program? My kids are on it. It's hard for my kids to eat breakfast because they have to leave for school so early and it's easier for them to grab something at school. That would at least eliminate the problem, if not the cause...
  3. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Welcome! I'm glad you found us.

    Is she taking any medications for her ADD?

    Sometimes anxiety can accompany ADD (and can be made worse by ADD stimulants if she's taking them). A form of anxiety called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) could be causing a compulsion for her to steal money. There's a chance she may not be able to help herself, no matter how many times you tell her to stop it. I recommend an evaluation by a qualified child psychiatrist.

    Again, welcome.
  4. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Actually many children have ADHD/ADD as a stand alone diagnosis. But, of course, their parents don't need to find this site :redface:
  5. compassion

    compassion Member

    Stealing was a part of my daughet's mania part of the bipolar as wsell as the conduct disorder. Howold is your daughter. She cannot be reasoned with/conseqeunces/actiosn do not connect as in most people. Protection for ourselves is the focus today. We lock doors if she is coming over. It is incredible impulsivity on her part. I keep allmoney ,keys,etc. on my self at all times. In her case, it is metnal illness,not maorality. She was raised in church,confirmed,etc. etc. We now have alot of help to keepthe boundaries/limits iwth her and keep us safe. Compassion
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I would remove her ability to steal things. Many of us have lived with locks on doors, locks on cabinets and safes to keep our money, medications and other valuables safe from our kids. It isnt ideal but we dont end up losing what we cant afford to replace.

    Its only in the last year that my son has stopped stealing from me and I think thats because he knows now what it is like to be stolen from.
  7. JSales

    JSales New Member

    Thanks for your comments so far.

    My daughter is 13, hasn't quite hit puberty yet, much to her chagrin. So hormones are playing havoc with her right now. Her biological father did have substance abuse problems, but to be honest I don't know much about them. The one thing I kept hearing from his mother was that "he was such a naughty boy". Plus he's done some prison time for felonies. So I know there is some kind of conduct disorder there, I just don't know what exactly. Relations with that side of the family are non existent, so I won't be able to find anything more out. Considering the history of that family, it's actually better that my daughter has nothing to do with them anyway.

    I myself, am beginning to think I deal with ADD. After reading about it and symptoms, etc., I'm seriously considering seeing my doctor and getting treated for it. My daughter has not been re-evaluated by a psychologist since she was first diagnosed, but she does see her pediatrician every 6 months for physical check ups. She is due one soon, so I may be talking with her more about these issues and seeing what she suggests. Unfortunately, my insurance won't allow my daughter to see a psychologist unless she is showing signs of depression, extreme anxiety, etc. Conduct disorders is not something they provide treatment for other than medications. There are also no support groups available through them. And yes, with finances being tight, I can't afford to find a psychologist outside of my insurance. My daughter currently takes a form of time release Ritalin. She was on Concerta, but again, prescription coverage changes caused me to change medications just so I can afford to keep her on them. When she is not on medications, everything is worse.

    Since I posted a couple of days ago, my husband and I discussed purchasing lunch tickets so she can at least eat lunch at school. But my daughter did tell me that she doesn't like eating lunch in the cafeteria because of the noise level. She would prefer to eat outside, but you know how it goes, buy lunch in the cafeteria, eat in the cafeteria. Maybe I just need to invest in Lunchables so she has more variety.

    Thanks again for your help.

    Janice :D
  8. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

  9. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    I'm sorry you're in this situation. I think the article on ODD and CD that Smallworld recommended is excellent, and I would recommend it too. At 13, your daughter does know right from wrong. Also, stealing is not part of the symptomatology of ADHD. The amount of money your daughter steals is worrisome. Quarters may be just because she can do it; two hundred dollars is for something. May I suggest taking her room apart when she's not there, down to the light fixtures, to see what she has stashed? I'm sorry to say that drugs are a good possibility; if not, there may be items she has bought with the stolen money. Even if she has no drugs or paraphernalia in her room I would watch her like a hawk and check up on her friends and activities. I'm sorry to raise such a worrying topic, but so many kids get into drugs by twelve years of age.

    It seems clear that talking is no longer in order; you've talked and explained until she's heard it all. These aren't mistakes she's making, they are choices. You also have choices. You can, and should, protect the items you can't afford to have stolen. You can also impose sufficiently severe consequences that she will think twice in future. You could consult with a counselor on this and make a plan, write it up, and refer to it to keep your resolve. In my opinion, you don't have to inform her in advance of exactly what the consequences will be for stealing. She knows it's wrong. I spent years trying to be meticulously 'fair' to my difficult child and not imposing consequences if we hadn't discussed everything in detail in advance, and that was a mistake.

    If you can set clear boundaries and consequences now, you may be able to get control of this behavior. I'm sorry ... best wishes and warm thoughts.
  10. JSales

    JSales New Member

    Actually I want to clarify something. The $200 she stole was when she was in 5th grade. She took it to school and we found it missing, we confronted her and she she took it to school. We contacted the school and notified them that the money was in 20's so if it came up missing it more than likely belonged to us. She lost most of it because she had it in her backpack and it either fell out or there were other sticky fingers involved. She did spend some of it and gave some to a friend, whose father approached me about it.

    I did consider drugs at one point and am still wary about the possibility so I'm always looking at her closely and monitor her friends, probably to the extreme. I'm relatively certain she's not on drugs. She only took the $200 one time. She got in major trouble and I don't think she's forgotten it. But yes, she is making a conscience choice to take even small amounts of money. I'm starting to think it's because her friends at school always have money and she doesn't.

  11. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    First of all, welcome! This place is a sanity saver without a doubt!

    I agree with the others. I think you need to get new/more testing/evaluations done on your daughter. Maybe your insurance would pay (at least partially) if your doctor gave you a referral.

    As for the stealing, much as I hate to tell someone else to live like I do....lock everything up. Personallly, I have a deadbolt on my bedroom door. My purse goes in there as does anything else that are problem items in our household. Sweets, cereal, junk food, tape, laundry detergent (he uses waaaaaaaaaaaay too much)...anything that cause problems in your house. We started off with a key locking doorknob but I wouldn't waste your money. Our son jimmied ours twice. Also, make sure the windows in your room are locked or somehow prevented from opening. (wood dowl or something similar) Carry the key with you constantly and keep it locked whenever you aren't in the room. Even if you are just going to the bathroom...lock the door (and lock the bathroom door so she can't come in and grab your keys if you're in the shower). It's a pain, I know, but unfortunately for some of us, it's the only way to keep our belongings, money, food, etc. safe.

    If there is anything that everyone uses but your daughter takes, you'll still have to lock it up and distribute as needed. Doing this affects everyone in the house but again, it's the only way to keep the stuff safe.

    You may also want to consider, as Janet said, some sort of lock box or even a safe to keep money and/or valuables in. Even without a difficult child in the house, those aren't a bad idea in case of burglary or fire.

    Continue to stress the wrongs of stealing but sometimes you've got to just quit talking and take action. You may get a nuclear tantrum when you do this so be prepared....I can't believe you don't trust me, I can't believe you're doing this to me....blah blah blah blah blah. If this happens, it WILL be all about her and you WILL be the horrible, mean, abusive, totally unfair person. If that happens and you need back up, the extra industrial strength rhino skins are over there in the closet ------------>. Just watch out for Star's donkey (he kicks), that opossum Janet kicked out of her house and don't step on any of Abby's sporks. (LOL confused? Stick around...you'll hear allllll about them.) We're still working on the teleporter that can instantly transport us to each other when needed or to that tropical island just for us. Beverages of our choice, quiet, beautiful beaches, books, music, cabana boys and best of all....NO difficult child'S!!!!! We'll let you know when it's done.
  12. TPaul

    TPaul Idecor8

    Welcome to the board!!

    Does she recieve any kind of allowance?? If not you might try setting an allowance amount that she can get weekly. This might allow her to feel that she has money, and not want to take it from someone or someplace else. It might not work, but you might try.

    Many of us on the board, do have kids that tend to obsess about money and many other things. Part of Bi-polar can be the obsessive ness about money and the high it brings in spending it. I face that with wife and DS. It is part of their condition. The best that we can do is direct these obsessions toward something not so costly, LOL :surprise:.