Mr. Sticky Fingers strikes again ... cousin's money

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by TerryJ2, Jan 2, 2011.

  1. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    husband noticed that difficult child had a wad of money, with either a 50 or 20 dollar bill on the outside, when we came home from our family Christmas trip. difficult child received $140 from his bmom and grandmother on Dec. 10 for his birthday, and spent most of it. Technically, he should have only fives and ones.
    husband also noticed our b-i-l receiving $ from his daughter and worried that difficult child had taken it.
    I emailed b-i-l and it turns out that it was from his son, after they went to Dairy Queen (all forbidden foods for difficult child, too, sigh).

    I just wish difficult child could see how much damage he does to relationships when he does things like this ... before he does them. He does not have one ounce of control. I wish there were a drug or surgery we could give him to fix the missing piece. We've tried and tried to teach him consequences and he just doesn't get it. He only gets each occurrance when it happens and cannot see the big picture.
    It's exhausting, frustrating, disheartening and maddening.

    B-i-l and family know that difficult child is "different" but I don't know if they've ever considered that he would steal from them.

    I will wait for husband to come home from church and we will address it together with-difficult child.

    This, on top of going on easy child's laptop and using Facebook. (Yes, she left her door unlocked.)

    I'm running out of ideas for punishments. It seems like nothing works. He is who is is.
    But I don't want to give him back the TV cord or PS2 because it would be rewarding bad behavior.

    Thanks for listening ...
  2. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Hmm... on top of having to return the money, could you make him do work equal to the amount he took (at minimum wage per hour) for the person he took it from? Yard work or whatever? Or maybe put in those hours as volunteer service at the place of cousin's choice?
  3. Mamaof5

    Mamaof5 Guest

    Haozi that is a fantastic idea! Terry, sorry you are having a rough row with it all. I hope it gets better, I beg that it gets better. My guy is 10 and hasn't pulled something like that yet but I'm expecting it and dreading it too. I've had an aunt (who is the very difinition of difficult child herself) to this to me. She stole 200 bucks from my dresser while visiting us and this woman is in her late 40's. I know the pain of it from that side of the coin but I never brought it up to her because I figured she needed it more than I did at the time if she had to steal it (notorious for not having enough to eat, or enough to feed her kid, she's a welfare mum and an addict - doubtless most of it probably went to her addictions but I know some of it at least went to a meal for her and her kid).
  4. ML

    ML Guest

    I feel your frustration. That impulse control seems to respond to nothing. It is so hard to keep parenting and doing everything humanly possible to give him the best chances for a successful life and nothing seems to work.

    At this point, he has to have a buy in with the diet. You can keep the forbidden foods to a minimum but unless he's on board that too is just a losing battle. I sort of get that because of manster's food addictions. I guess with that too it's about impulse control. We saw a tv show about a teenager that weighed like 500 pounds and he said "I hope I don't get like that" and for the rest of the day every time he went into the kitchen looking for food I asked him "do you want to wind up like that kid" and he would drop the goods. But if I'm not there the goods don't get dropped and I can't always be there and boy it gets tiring.

    Hang in there, Terry. You really are doing a great job and I am in awe of what a dedicated warrior mom you are.

    Hoping for good things in 11.
  5. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I'm sorry to hear that, Terry. You may remember we had similar problems with difficult child 1 stealing $ from us. He's still impulsive at times, but he's gotten better since we took him off SSRIs and tricyclics. I wonder if your psychiatrist has considered whether the imipramine is contributing to any of this?
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    This is a hard battle and it is going to take a long time to win, if you ever can. in my opinion it takes a multi-prong, pretty drastic approach. I assume your difficult child has a really good grasp of "his" things and if something of his was stolen he would completely blow a gasket? We actually had to take some things from difficult child with-o telling him he was losing them before we did it. yes, stealing is wrong, but Wiz did NOT see how bad it felt until he was a "victim" of it. In reality his things were taken to pay off debts he owed because he stole or destroyed other's things/money. BOY did he lose it when he realized that HIS money was gone!! I mean really really LOSE IT! He did NOT get sympathy OR "his" stuff/money back.

    A LOT of people said it was mean and wrong to do that. With any other kid I would agree. Not with Wiz. We tried everything else and until we did this NOTHING ever got through to him. He believed he could not be stolen from because he would "get" the other person but he could steal with impunity because when HE wanted it he had a RIGHT to have it even if he had to steal to get it. Having his things stolen from him and NOT getting them back was a HUGE wake-up call. It was the beginning of honesty for him, at least in regard to theft.

    I also insisted that when he stole he had to PAY for the item AND give it back. He stole items from a dollar store and had to pay $10 for gas and his dad's snack and drink to take him over an hour each way to return the item, he had to give the item back AND he had to pay for the item even though it was "only" a dollar. If the store had pressed charges he would have had to go through that and foot any bills for it himself (or pay us back if we had to pay). He stole from my favorite used bookstore when I would not buy him a D&D dice game. Again he had to pay for gas and my snacks/drink, plus pay for the item, plus return it and take whatever consequences they dished out. There he got an hour lecture from an older lady who really managed to reach him - and embarrass him by making him really SEE what he was doing to the family (can you see why it is my fave used bookstore? They are just AWESOME - and by taking him back there that way I became a favorite customer!). We had a tough time with my parents because they blamed everyone but difficult child when he stole. He stole and ended up getting a nintendo DS with $$ he stole, but Jess and I were blamed for the theft. It was shortly after Wiz moved in with my parents and they refused to believe he would steal from them. He was told that until he owned up he could NOT come here - and we stuck to it. Finally I got an apology from both him and my mother for accusing me of stealing over $100 from her and my dad, and Jess also got one. It took refusing to visit them for their bdays because the ugliness of it all.

    I would make him give back the $$ to them (not have you do it), and would make him do HARD LABOR - scrubbing tubs, outdoor furniture, digging garden beds, weeding, even have him dig a hole and then fill it in and dig another, anything hard and physical that he DOES NOT want to do until he has earned that amt of $$ at minimum wage per hour. He would NOT get another PENNY in allowance or gifts or spending money until he had worked off that debt. And gifts/spending money/etc... could NOT be used to pay down the debt either. ONLY his hard work could do that because that is what will stick in his mind. He will begin to remember that if he steals he not only doesn't get the item, he gets hours and hours of hard, unpleasant work until he pays back the same amt of $$ whatever he stole and cannot have is worth.

    When difficult child stole games he was also never allowed to have that game again until he was an adult, in addition to the other stuff.

    I know I sound mean, even ugly to some. We did a LOT of things before we resorted to what I outlined above. Until we made him SEE how it felt to have your things stolen and not returned, and made him work off the amt of $$ for the item or whatever, plus made him give it back and NEVER have it again - until ALL of these were done he simply would NOT STOP. He didn't even believe it was wrong for him to steal. He was "owed" these things and had every right to them, regardless of who the owner really was. Made no difference if he stole from us, a store, a friend, or a stranger. He was banned from a couple of places - one after he moved out was a sword and knife shop where the owner told him he would stab him if he came in again. Wiz wanted to bring charges for having been threatened, but when we got the whole story out it was clear he was trying to pocket a knife and the owner was simply letting him know that he would defend his store. I thanked the owner because it finally made an impression on Wiz.

    The diet stuff is hard. When he has eaten the wrong things and then behaves badly, does he EVER get let off the hook for the behavior because it is due to what he ate? It sounds like he is trying to use the food as an excuse for bad behavior, NOT that you let this happen. At least in his mind it may be justified in some way. You have to start imposing some pretty big consequences for eating stuff that he reacts to. Treat it like taking a mind-altering or illegal drug. If he were to smoke pot or cigarettes, what would you do? For him, food acts much the same way as many drugs can, so start imposing that kind of consequences. You also ahve to limit his exposure even if it means no one else can eat that stuff in the house until he starts to buy into the diet stuff. Give him enough trouble that the pleasure of the food just is not worth it. Otherwise there isn't much you can do about it.

    I wish it was easier.
  7. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Sorry you are dealing with this-it must be so difficult having to deal with him stealing from family. Sending hugs your way.
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Thank you all.
    So far, we have done nothing. Total avoidance on the part of husband. Plus, we were having company and we couldn't risk difficult child exploding in the middle of everything. (One Thanksgiving we were treated to the crashing of furniture overhead from his bedroom.)

    I may have to go it alone when he gets home from school today.
    Sad, because he was super pleasant this morning. Smiling, playing with-the cats, chatting with-me, acting like a normal person.

    The imiprimine is supposed to help with-moods. It has, to a point. I think sleep is at least as big a factor. I'm thinking of making an appointment with-the psychiatrist alone to discuss things.

    And I agree that difficult child has to have serious consequences. Better that we rake him over the coals at home to teach him, than learn the hard way out in the Real World.
  9. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member

    It is so sad when our kids steal from us, from extended family, from anyone at all. I can understand why you didn't do anything with company around. The sound of crashing furniture overhead once is more then enough!!! Keeping my fingers crossed that things go better then you expect after school today... I think it's a really good idea to make an appointment with the psychiatrist. The "FUN" just seems to NEVER end...!!!

    Thinking of you... SFR
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Susie has a good point about being stolen from being one of lifes biggest teachers.

    Cory is a thief. I have to say that because thats what his record says. He has stolen from me umpteen times. I finally got sick of it and charged him with 3 felonies and his brother charged him too. Wasnt the most fun thing I ever wanted to do him.

    However, he has become much less of a thief in the years since we did all that. I cant say if he never steals because I dont know. I do know he hasnt stolen from us. What really hit home for him was he was robbed twice. He thinks he knows who it was too and that really upset him. It gave him a bit of a look into how I must have felt when I knew he had stolen from me. I got calls telling me he was sorry. There are days when Cory gets introspective and knows he has done wrong. I have hope that maybe one day he will grow up enough to think completely before he acts.

    But really...him having his stuff stolen was the key...along with getting arrested first. Without those two things, he would have never changed a bit.
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Yup. It really hoovers to be robbed. in my opinion it is far worse when a family member does it. I cannot count the times I got blamed for stealing because I had $$ (I worked from age 14 and had awesome (for me) benefits from my job so I didn't spend a lot and usually had cash on hand.) and gfgbro had no money. He either said I stole as a cover to take my money or he stole and then said I did because I had money so I had to steal to have it in spite of having a job. My job was in a used bookstore and I got my snacks/soda and all the books I wanted to read for free so I had very few real expenses and very little reason to steal from anyone. Even now he takes things from my parents and then blames me or my kids. It is one reason we don't go to my parents often. If we haven't been there we cannot be blamed for stealing. Wiz now gets that blame. He knew he would when he chose to live there.

    Until your son gets some idea of how it feels to be stolen from - without apology, though that is HARD to do as a parent - he will NOT stop. Even that may not make him stop. The cousins may have to call the police if you really want difficult child to stop. AT difficult child's age it will be a juvie record. It may not help or it might. A lot depends on what the "system" does - they can react the way klmno was treated or they can react in a sane way. I cannot say what they will do. I can say that it is going to take a LOT of ugly consequences to get difficult child to stop stealing.

    I am sorry you have to deal with it.
  12. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Oh sweetie. I feel for you.

    I have to say that, though Onyxx has been pretty much typical teen for a while now, we still lock the bedroom door.

    Mostly, now it's the taking without asking. As I told husband (just yesterday), I know no one was using the particular item. And if she'd asked, I probable would've said sure and handed it over. But as it was...

  13. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I agree with the others. I know it's not what you want to hear, but many of our kids just don't learn their lesson from typical parental methods and taking away "toys" for a certain period of time when my son was continuing to break the law (not a "revoke priviledge" type of behavior, in my humble opinion) just wasn't getting anything thru to him. I can't say that I see a big change in him while he's incarcerated or last year but he wasn't out violating other peoples' rights during that period or digging himself in deeper while incarcerated. I'm not saying that calling the police for this incident is the answer- only you can decide that. But almost always in Virginia, the first juvenile, non-violent offense is going to result in probation then getting dropped if probation is completed successfully.

    I think what you need to weigh is whether or not it is working to teach him these lessons before he gets out in the real world. If it's not, you darn sure want to consider getting him in the juvie system yourself rather than keep going down a road if it's only making him worse and giving him the idea that consequences for breaking the law will be getting grounded or losing a priviledge, then boom- what happens when he's 18yo? Just speaking for my situation with my son, I finally concluded that the only way he was going to learn how to live in the real world was to have real world consequences for his actions. That doesn't mean I wanted him tried as an adult or the book thrown at him, but the stakes for us were getting so high once he started getting violent- or threatening violence- that I looked back on it and saw that punishment by taking away toys when a kid (ok- a difficult child) breaks the law or violates someone else's rights just isn't really sending him the message he needs to get. Plus, I had the same struggles you do as far as not being able to really enforce keeping privileges away from him- like computer access- because he'd outsmart me, go to any length to get to them even destroying the house and using rages to cause me to want to avoid it. All this stuff these kids do is not controllable by medications. It's manipualtion by them or learned habits a lot of times- even when they still need medications.

    As Susie said, the system really botched things with me and my son, in my humble opinion, but I can't claim that my son doesn't carry any responsibility in his current situation. Even though I honestly believe that the people in our last county were so convinced that I MUST be the problem that they continuously made excuses to not focus on difficult child so it did nothing but enable him to get worse, most will not have extended families calling up half the people in the county to get things to that point to begin with.

    ((HUGS)) I know it's tough and you have a ton on your plate already.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2011
  14. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Thank you all.

    To add insult to injury, I just checked online and he's missing 6 math assignments (somehow still has a "D") and is working on an "F" in tech ed. Spanish is a "D" and he's missing the last assignment b4 Christmas.
  15. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

  16. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Grrr. The school stuff adds insult to the fury, in my opinion. I am sorry he is refusing to do what he needs to do. What are the consequences for not passing? Will they make him repeat the classes? Hold him back? Is he in a private school that you are paying for?

    IF you are paying for a private school, and he is purposely not getting good grades or doing his assignments (different from not being able to do the work because some legit problem like a learning disability), why not make him work to earn $$ to pay you back for the tuition? Private school costs a LOT of $$ and is a PRIVILEGE in our country. Many countries don't even HAVE schools for every child, much less nice private ones. By choosing to not do his schoolwork, he is wasting money that you and husband could use to take a trip, buy a car, add on to the house, etc... Given what I have heard even "cheap" private schools cost, you could do a LOT with that money if you chose to not pay for his private school.

    Why not have an open, honest discussion with him about how much his school costs and how expensive his choices to fritter away this education are? Let HIM feel the cost and the things you go without so that he can be in a good private school. Figure out how much you pay per year for the school, then break it down to how much it costs per week per class. If he is not going to make this a good investment, not going to give you a good return on your investment, then he can do work around the house/husband's business (cleaning, yardwork, etc...) to reimburse you for the classes he is wasting. He doesn't need the time to study because he isn't doing the work, so he can use that time to work to pay you back.

    It probably is not a common approach, and would horrify some people (those people have no business raising difficult children, lol), but it IS a natural consequence of his choices. Heck, sell his video game systems and games to help pay for the classes he isn't passing. He won't have time to play them if he has to work off that debt - no way can a kid with no education earn that kind of $$ with-o putting in a LOT of hours. Pawn the games/systems/etc... and put that $$ toward whatever his debt for classes he isn't doing the work for. Then make SURE he sees that you and husband are getting something you really ENJOY with that $$. He can buy his games back when/if he pays off his education debt first. If he cannot get them back before the pawn ticket expires, well, he can buy another set new or used when he earns enough money. Pawn shops always have game systems. Not pretty new ones, but they have them.

    This is another way to let him see the real world consequences of his actions. It isn't easy, and most parents never have to even dream nightmares about these kinds of consequences, but it might actually begin to get through to your son. If not, at least he will have some idea of how the real world works.
  17. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Susie, we went through that last yr and the yr b4. He broke his contract with-the private school in Sept. and we had a mad scramble to enroll him in public school.
    I've got a call into the counselor to schedule a mtng.
  18. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think he is now in public school isnt he?

    Personally, I would let school be his domain now. He is old enough to get the fact that he gets the grades if he does the work. Simple concept. He plays all those computer games and they are based on that concept. You do this and you get that. He obviously understands this concept.

    Tell him in simple black and white terms. You are stepping out. Its his job to do his school work and you expect him to maintain at least a because average...(make it what you will accept). Lock him out of all computers and electronics. If he absolutely needs something for school that has to be looked up online, I believe there are web browsers just for children so they cant get on bad sites. They can look up certain things but nothing bad...certainly nothing like face book or chat programs. Or you can just go to the used bookstore and get an old set of encyclopedias.
  19. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Sounds good to me. I posted a new thread about the upcoming mtng.