Punishment for stealing? Advice needed!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by CCRidr2, May 17, 2007.

  1. CCRidr2

    CCRidr2 Sheena-Warrior Momma

    So this morning I went online and checked my sons lunch account like I do every day. He had more money in the account than he did yesterday. We don't keep cash in the house because it disappears, our difficult child steals it, so I know it didn't come from here.

    I asked him about it and at first he said it must have been a mistake. I thought this might be true so I said I would call the school just to make sure they didn't credit the wrong account. I wasn't even thinking he might be lying, I just didn't want someone going without lunch or getting in trouble with parents because school got the account wrong.

    Just before he walked out the door he says "I put money in my account". Just for reference, I keep a close eye on the account because he is not responsible and always gets extras that cost more money than he has in the account and then doesn't tell us he is in the hole until he has reached the limit on "charging" on an empty account. I asked him where he got money and he said he found it. "Where?" "I don't know here?" "You know Mom and Dad don't keep any money in the house, so I need you to tell me the truth" "I can't remember where I found it" "Was it yesterday?" and on like this very calmly.

    Finally (I think) the truth came out, he "found" it on the bus but knew who's it was and kept it anyway and put it into his lunch account to hide the fact that he's been lying to me about his account again hoping that I hadn't checked. We tell him over and over no extras because we can't afford it, we tried sending his lunch thinking he was just really hungry but he would throw it in the trash and tell the lunch lady that he forgot his lunch/mom didn't make me a lunch (yeah right). I took 2 weeks for school to figure this out and call us (different school district, couldn't check balance online).

    Do I punish this behavior and if so what is the best course of action. Actions = consequences don't click with him and past punishments roll off his back, he just doesn't care what we do or say. Or do I tell the school what happened, I have before when he stole money from a fundraiser for victims of the Tsunami the school had, and let the chips fall where they may?

    I am so lost on what to do this time!! He's already had out of school suspension 2 times this year for stealing and in school suspension 1 time for destruction of school property and here he is back at it! I thought since it had been quiet for a few months (we moved, he's shy, I should have known better) that something had clicked ie: action=consequence. Obviously not. I am out of ideas this time, I usually know exactly how I am going to handle things. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

    Cyndi :crying:
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I don't think I'd get the school involved- the other kid's parents might already be doing this. But, in my humble opinion, I would require my difficult child to return the money to whomever it belonged to- if you need to give the amount of money to your difficult child to give back, I would think he/she could pay you back with chores.
  3. Sunlight

    Sunlight Active Member

    I also would not involve the school or he will be labeled. gossip does go around. ugh.

    I do think I would have him give his own money back to the kid somehow.
  4. Crazy-Steph

    Crazy-Steph New Member

    I agree with everyone else. I would have him return it and make him work it off.

    On a side note, our difficult child's seem very similar. I may be asking you about different things as they come up. My difficult child doesn't care about any punishments either. :frown:
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    How about really icky chores to make up the amount of money?

    I dont know exactly how much you are talking about but maybe cleaning the bathroom with a toothbrush or garbage cans with a toothbrush would be appropriate punishments.
  6. CCRidr2

    CCRidr2 Sheena-Warrior Momma

    Thank you sooo much guys! These are all goodies! Steph I have read some of your posts and our difficult child's are VERY alike. I am thinking that with the other issues we have (ie: bipolar)there may be some Radical Attachment Disorder(Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD))somewhere in there as well. I am still waiting on certification from the insurance company to have ours fully evaluated,we can't be seen without it or they will not cover anything. It's only been 2 days but I want it yesterday! :smile:
  7. amstrong

    amstrong New Member

    I would make him sell something of his that he values to a sibling or to you for the $$ he owes. I found in the past that once the chores are done, my difficult child did't remember for too terribly long but if he has to actually lose something he values FOREVER, it may stick with him.

    Just my 2 cents worth.
  8. CCRidr2

    CCRidr2 Sheena-Warrior Momma

    I actually did that at X-mas (they all know Santa is us). He completely ripped apart a stuffed animal that easy child 1 got for her 3 yo cousin as part of her gift because she wouldn't lend him a book or some such nonsense. husband's family is so big, 7 sibs, that we draw names. This was her first year buying presents with her own money from babysitting and she was sooooo proud! She went a little overboard but it was worth the look on cousins face when she saw it all.

    I told him that because we were so short on cash (not a lie, payday was another week away) that in order to replace it before X-mas (2 days) we would have to take back one of his gifts. I did! That Zathura board game that you wanted soooo bad, GONE. Took him and easy child 1 with me to the store and returned it and let easy child 1 choose a new stuffed animal, all within his sight!


    Sorry, went for a little vent there didn't I? :whew: When I said nothing works, I really meant it. :faint:

  9. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree with the others regarding not getting the school involved. I would however, make him (in front of you) return the money to the child it belongs to. Insist that he apologize and then have him "work off" that amount in household chores. No tv, games, toys, etc., until that day's chores are done.

    Then I would make sure that he ate lunches packed from home when the lunch money ran out (the orignal amount that you put in the ccount). Make sure the "lunch lady" knows that he is allowed no credit.

    Sometimes you gotta suffer to learn. If he doesn't learn at least he'll be unhappy for awhile!!!

  10. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat


    If I did something like that, My difficult child would STILL be bringing it up.

    If I did that 4 Christmases ago, she would still be bringing it up. And telling me I am mean for doing it. Different kind of disconnect.

    Hugs and prayers to you.
  11. Crazy-Steph

    Crazy-Steph New Member

    Yeah, my difficult child wouldn't care either. Everyone tells me, "Oh, he must care about something, you just haven't found it yet." But no, I really don't think he does. That is the scary part to me. How can you have no emotions? I think I can count on one hand the number of times I have seen him truly happy. And one time I have seen him truly upset (when the dog ran away). Oh, he can fake cry pretty well. But then when you call him on it, he stops-no red eyes, no tears.
  12. CCRidr2

    CCRidr2 Sheena-Warrior Momma

    :smile: Steph are our difficult child's alike or what! Ours can fake cry with the best of them! Tears and all! This used to work on husband...AWWWWW.....not anymore!

    I did close his lunch account and emailed the lunch lady and his teacher that he would be sackin' it for the rest of the year. Warned them also that he would tell them he forgot it or that Mom didn't make me one. We live 5 minutes from school so I told them if this happens I would be HAPPY to bring him one! I emailed them both with him present too so that he knew the mail got there.

    No more Mrs. Nice Mommy! :nonono: I actually had the principal at his other school tell him, after the 3rd time in a week that he forgot his lunch, that if it happened again he would get bread and water while they called Mom to see <u>if</u> she would bring him one! "I'm on to you, kiddo" said Mr. Big Bad Principal :rofl: He didn't forget it again!
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member


    Honey, THAT is a reaction. NO reaction, after he'd been begging for it for months. Just because he held it together - doesn't mean you didn't get through. I'd say you got through, BIG time. He'd been begging for months, and you took it back - WHY didn't he react? Under any other circumstances, he would have. He'd been nagging.

    No, he did his absolute utmost to not give you the satisfaction of thinking you'd got to him.

    Which means you got to him.

    The aim of punishment like this is NOT to upset them, but to make restitution and also try to get the message through to them. We sometimes feel that if we don't see tears we've not made an impact.

    Not so.

    Cyndi, what you did at Christmas is going to stay with him for the rest of his life. I think you've succeeded in showing him that when he breaks something, steals something or similar, the person he has hurt will feel as bad as he did the day you took his toy back to the store.

    Have faith in yourself.

  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree with Marg....he may not show you now that you got through to him but you did.

    You have to keep being firm.
  15. CCRidr2

    CCRidr2 Sheena-Warrior Momma

    Thanks guys! Marg, I didn't think of that......I hope your right.

    I did sit him down and talk to him about how someone else could be getting in trouble right now because they didn't turn in their lunch money or money for school picnic, etc. I told him that even that money would mean alot to us, I'm sure we're not the only ones in that boat (especially with gas prices).

    I had him put his hands up around his eyes (blinders) and had him look at me. "You can't see that picture on the wall now can you?" "No" "This is what it was like when you saw that money, you needed it to cover the extra spending, you took it and put it in your account. You know Mom didn't check your account for a few days because I didn't ask you about it and you thought you could cover it up before I noticed, right?" "Right"

    "You needed, you took, you fixed" "Yeah" "Ok, now take your hands down. Can you see the picture on the wall without turning your head?" "Yeah" "Put 'em back up"

    "This is your world" "Take 'em down"

    "This is the rest of the world. You need to remember that you are not the only one who has needs, but we don't take things that don't belong to us to fill them."

    "Ok" He walked around putting his hands up and down for about an hour. :smile: How'd I do?

  16. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Cyndi, that was absolutely brilliant! Can I use it?

    And he kept doing it - yes, you're definitely getting through to him. He has his own way of thinking and you're slowly showing him that it's not the only way.

  17. WhymeMom?

    WhymeMom? No real answers to life..

    <span style='font-family: Comic Sans MS'>Cyndi, your example goes in the archives...great way to show them a concrete example!!!</span>

    :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
  18. CCRidr2

    CCRidr2 Sheena-Warrior Momma

    Thanks! :smile:
  19. Crazy-Steph

    Crazy-Steph New Member

    Good job! I will have to try that with difficult child and see if it has any impact. :smile: