Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by pnuts, Oct 29, 2007.

  1. pnuts

    pnuts New Member

    My 12 year old difficult child has a new trend. Now he is stealing from school. It is not anything worth alot (a bottle of water, some plastic shapes, some paper) but he always puts it where I will find it. This is driving me nuts. At first he reports he didn't steal it. Then he eventually fesses up. I make him return the items with an apology. This has happened 3 or 4 times over the past month or so. Anybody else weathered this storm or have a suggestion.

    This school year is nuts. He is skating on thin ice and I am not sure how much more the school will put up with. The really ironic thing is that this is really the best he's been at home.
  2. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Oh yeah, that's been an issue in one way or another for years around here. My first reaction would be for you to notify the school and let them handle it. But, since you said he's already on thin ice with them, that probably isn't the best idea. However, if he continues with this and eventually starts taking bigger things, or people decide they have had enough, the school will step in anyway.

    Do you know any police officers that would be willing to talk to him or maybe do some sort of scared straight thing with him? The first time my son really got in big trouble at school, I called our local police department and asked if they had anything that needed done around the station. We live in a fairly small town so the city building houses the police dept., mayor's office, water dept. office and a couple of other things. I took him down there and he cleaned 6 bathrooms, 2 locker rooms and two entrances and one of the officers spoke to him. Granted, in our case it didn't really do much but I still liked that I did it.

    Another thought. Is he in counseling? If so, I would have his therapist talk to him about it and see if there is something behind his behavior. Even if there isn't, this would definately be something that could be worked on in counseling.

    Good luck, I know how upsetting and frustrating this kind of behavior is.

    P.S. Just read your signature and noticed his diagnosis. This kind of thing is (from what I understand) fairly common with BiPolar (BP) and/or ADHD kids because of the impulsiveness they have.
  3. stepmom47

    stepmom47 New Member

    Yes, step difficult child graduated from stealing stuff at school to stuff at home.

    He always blames it on someone else or tells us he found it on the playground....
    He has to be grilled for an hour or more b/f he finally admits and tells us who it belongs to.

    Schools around here rally don't say much about the stealing?
  4. jamrobmic

    jamrobmic New Member

    My son started stealing at around age 10 (also stupid things, just anything he saw and wanted), and it has been a problem off and on with him. One of his tdocs told me it can be a sign of anger-maybe this is the case with your son and that's why he wants you to know about it (not saying he's necessarily angry with you).

    I hope you're able to find an answer and put a stop to the behavior-I know how worrying and frustrating it can be.
  5. Tezzie

    Tezzie Member


    difficult child has been a perpetual stealer, generally pens, & other bright, shiny stuff. RARELY can we get him to admit it. I refer to it as the crow or bluejay syndrome. Of course, on top of that he lies but I guess you can't have everything.

    Is your son, (or you & husband) seeing any sort of therapist &/or is he taking any medications? We have found that without medications, our difficult child is unmanagable.

    Regarding the stealing, has he started stealing from you yet? Ours will/did steal small amounts of money, a couple of my necklaces, husband's grandfather's pocket watch. He would also constantly sneak any sort of treats that we would occasionally have for desserts.

    We restorted to checking his backpack weekly, going through his room about every other week & routinely checking his pockets. I also stopped getting him cargo pants which were his favorite type of pants....guess why???

    At least your difficult child puts stuff in plain sight. Ours is very sneaky & hides everything.

    Good luck with him & hang in there.

  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    When my kids have stolen they have been taken back to wherever they stole from. They have to explain what they did, return the item AND pay for the item. If the item is consumable and has been consumed or destroyed, then they have to pay twice the amount.

    If they refuse, we go to the police station. We do not pass go, we do not collect $200.

    J stole gum from a store when she was in kindergarten. She was too scared to apologize, but since she would not, we went and had the police talk to her.

    difficult child has had several bouts. As a small child he returned the item and apologized nicely. Then, about 2 years ago he stole a computer program from a dollar store in a city 70 miles away. husband drove him back the very next day (they were closed when we found it). If they had called the cops, well, it would have been his problem to deal with it. Then he stole from a used bookstore we love, also 70 miles away. I drove him back. He not only had to pay, he had to listen to the woman who spoke with him about listening and turning things around. She still remembers me (even though it is a SUPER busy huge store) and asks about him. I also cut all the pockets out of his clothes and sewed the openings closed. He had to pay for the gas round trip for both journeys to return the items.

    He LOVES pockets. I went through every shirt and pair of pants. Even a pair of boxers someone gave him for Christmas with a pocket on them.

    thank you has not pushed it. He will. I am sure of it.

    I am sorry you are dealing with this.
  7. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts


    wm is frisked going to school & frisked before he gets back on the bus at the end of the school day. It's a comment on my son's sense of entitlement & his lack of understanding/acceptance of what is right & wrong.

    If wm sees it, it becomes his - don't have a clue where that idea comes from. It sure works for him.

    I'm sorry that your difficult child is pulling this stuff - it's one of the most frustrating for me. I hate dishonesty/stealing in any form.
  8. Stella Johnson

    Stella Johnson Active Member

    My difficult child went through this stage but it was a couple of years ago. She has finally stopped. Timerlady explained it well. Exactly how my difficult child was.

    I feel your pain. Frisking before and after school sounds like a good idea.

  9. stepmom47

    stepmom47 New Member

    I like the idea about sewing all the pockets closed...I never thought of that!
    That would really p... of my difficult child... :smile:
  10. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Add my difficult child to the list. She mostly stole things when she was younger, in 3rd grade in particular. Once she came home with a brown bag filled with calculators. She claims she stole them so easy child could do her homework better!! Haha. And another time, same class, she brought home a few copies of the book her teacher was having them read. Each time we made her bring them back and apologize. She's also stolen little things from family and friends. Again, we make her return the items with an apology. Once, after a particularly traumatic event, after years of not stealing, she stole my wedding ring, one of H's rings, and some things from easy child. It was very difficult to handle, because she wasn't in her right mind at the time and truly did not remember stealing these items. I found them in her top underwear drawer - right there, out in the open. It was about a week later because I was convinced it was one of easy child's friends. Anyway, yes, for some reason, I have found that many difficult child's have a propensity to steal.

    I love the idea of sewing pockets closed, but something tells me the difficult child will find another way.
  11. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat


    I laughed out loud at your post. A bag of calculators. So easy child could do homework better. Not one, but a bag of them. That is so brilliant of an excuse!

    And as far as the pockets go, it is a fantastic idea for a male difficult child.

    Little lady difficult children carry purses. At least my who-she-thinks-she-is daughter does. And didn't I find all of MY makeup in it not too long ago...grrrr....
  12. pnuts

    pnuts New Member

    How do you guys keep your self so calm through all of this. I am a psychiatric nurse and feel like I can't keep it together with my difficult child.
    Thanks for all of your input!
  13. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Well, pnuts, if I didn't laugh at most of difficult child's gfgness, I would be crying all the time and that is not conducive to growth. That's not to say I haven't had myself a pity party or two, or three, or four...but at some point, *I* had to find the humor in some of difficult child's "antics" or I'd have gone cookoo, Know what I mean???

    Hugs, you're not supposed to 'keep it all together' - you're only supposed to do your best and remember to take time out for yourself. There is no right or wrong when you're dealing with a difficult child. You just do what seems right at that moment...that's just my opinion, not scientifically speaking. LOL. ♥
  14. April

    April New Member

    I just recently had my first stealing (attempted) experience with our foster son. He was in respite care over the weekend (the bio parents came back in to the state, and it was for safety purposes) He tried to take some beads...just stupid little beads, only he isn't good enough at it to have not tripped over his own lies. He still maintains that they were his, but everyone involved knows they aren't.

    I don't know what to tell you to help, except you aren't alone, and I think I will be sewing pockets shut... :smile:
  15. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    You're definitely not alone. Our difficult child used to steal things from the house, from school, from local stores, etc. Anything he could pick up and slip into his pocket.

    Like your son, Pnuts, mine can't keep it to himself. He will show me the things he "found" and come up with a warped story of where he got them (even if they came from my handbag or little easy child's toy box). Then when called on it, he will tell boldfaced lies about stealing.

    difficult child also "modifies" (in other words pulls apart or destroys) many of the things he steals, so they're in no fit state to be returned by the time he's done with them.

    We keep all doors in the house (bedrooms, home office, laundry room, workshop, etc.) locked at all times, we search difficult child's room at least every other day, check his backpack every day. When he undresses for his bath, we check the pockets of his clothes (and check the bathroom drawers in case he stashes something in them).
    If we take him with us to a store, he has to hang onto the shopping cart the whole time, and we keep a very close watch on him.

    It's hard, but as the others have said, if you can't see the humour in it then the stress becomes overwhelming.

    Susie, I love your idea of sewing his pockets shut. I will definitely have to look into that.

    All the best,
  16. Pumkinpie

    Pumkinpie New Member

    My difficult child steals at times too but I never really saw it as a problem. Its normally something from my room like money. It plays out the sme pretty much everytime.

    difficult child - Look Mom I found 2 $1 coins outside!!
    ME - No you didnt you found those on my dresser.
    difficult child - No really they were by the front porch.
    ME - Go put them back where you found them son.
    difficult child - Gives the "deer in the headlights look" then takes it to my room and puts it up. Comes back out and tells me I love the baby sister more than him. . .

    Like I said the dialog is normally always the same with him. He never spends the money he "finds". The last major amount that came up missing was $80 I found over a $100 in his top drawer. Still dont know where the extra came from. I guess since I know he does do it I should probably keep a better eye out for it. I Just never really thought to much about it because it was from me and when I notice its gone I get it back.
  17. carolanne

    carolanne Member

    Yep, my gfgd is a stealer as well. At first little things...a classmate's beanie baby, candy from the store....caught every time and made to return them..Than she stepped up her went missing constantly and she would suddenly "find" cash in her room she'd "forgotten" she had, makeup and jewelery....and she started getting really sneaky about hiding things. At one point, she'd removed some stitching from her coat to gain access to the inside and hid things in there(one time I found six sandwiches all lined up between the inner and outer layer...ewwww!!!!) :grrr:

    Before she left home I was at my wits end...sewed all pockets shut, took away her bookbag and purse, emptied her shoes every time she came in...and refused to let her go to a store without a way I was glad when I no longer had to police her after she left home.

    She's been caught a couple times and charged with shop-lifting and I get the call. Last time the judge asked if I would take responsibility for her and I said no I do not...I gave the courts papers proving where she lived and with who and they went after the home for negligence and she landed with probation for a was tough but I don't regret it...not now anyway

  18. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    OK, my younger brother, the original difficult child, used to tell on himself. I swear to this. When he was little (6-9 or 10 years old). First, my mom was famous for saying that if you could not hear Mike, that meant Mike was probably up to something. So if the house seemed a little too quiet, we'd all look at eachother, realize that Mike was not among us, and go "shhh..." We'd sneak through the house, then we'd catch Mike in whatever room he was in. He'd look up with the GUILTIEST look on his face (eyes immediately dilating, face going white) and he'd say "I didn't take the cookie". "I didn't break the lamp". "I didn't pull the cat's hair out". or whatever he happened to just get caught doing at the time.

    The original difficult child.
  19. stepmom47

    stepmom47 New Member

    The best is "the janitor must have found it on the floor and put it in my bag"
  20. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat