Any idea why our kids steal and then deny doing it? No boundaries?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by TerryJ2, Jul 26, 2012.

  1. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I've been reading other threads and seeing an awful lot of similiarities. Why don't our kids "get it" when it comes to going into our rooms, purses, drawers, everywhere? Even when they're older ... when they're teens, you'd think they'd have learned.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I still don't know the "why", really, but I do know that the problem went away when difficult child's internal needs started getting met. Until we knew what those were, there was this big hole inside that he kept trying to fill somehow, except nothing worked.
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Insane, do you have a link to the threads where you talked about those needs? Thank you in advance.
  4. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    No idea why. My difficult child sees nothing wrong with going through our rooms and finding any change he finds. I know he has also gone through husband's wallet (never taken more than $1.00 at a time). He honestly thinks when he finds money in our room it is fair for him to claim it as his own. He doesn't steal like he used to when he was little but in his mind taking change is not stealing-ugh!
  5. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    My parents used to have a HUGE promo whiskey bottle that they kept their spare change in. I would help them count & roll it, and I'd get part as a reward. Later, I'd go get a few dollars' worth of quarters without asking... But I always felt guilty and would rat myself out.

    Steal money from my parents' wallets? NOT.

    Jett's allowance was stashed in my vanity because it would vanish from his bedroom - and I know he didn't "lose" it. Until the day Onyxx got into my vanity and swiped around $30 in change and ones. And her trazodone, and his Concerta... That was when I started keeping track of allowance in my head.

    We still lock our bedroom door when we leave and she's still there... And I still have no clue WHY she does it.
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Just my theory but I kind of agree with ICdn and in my humble opinion, those needs are similar for all but different in a way. IOW, we all, including difficult children, want to feel secure but what it takes to feel secure is different depending on age, gender, personality, etc. I can see a lot of changes in my son's and my relationship the past few months that make things so different from how things were a few years ago. I can see where we were and where we are (although still not perfect, much much better and doable for us both). I have wondered if I should post about some of this but I don't know how it might be taken by others- I sure don't have the answers about HOW all this happened, I can just see the differences in us both and the resulting relationship and lives we both have now. I will say, it took changes in us both and neither of us came up with a plan on what to change- I think we just both tried to work on ourselves and our relationship and then started making a real effort to improve things for ourselves individually and as a family. Oh- and we started showing a genuine care for each other. I'm not saying you don't do this already- just thinking out loud about what seems to be so different now with my son and I. I can tell you that if he decided to start down the 'wrong' path again whether stealing from me or something else, I wouldn't be able to stop him or motivate him to change, no matter what I tried. But at the time he was doing those things, I honestly believe he didn't see it as being his choice. It was his way of coping and surviving the minute. I don't think he feels desparate or hopeless anymore. And he knows where it led him- twice. And that I never quit loving him but as a parent, you know there's a very fine line in there with unconditional love and sticking to consequences.
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    klmno.... VERY well put.
  8. Methuselah

    Methuselah New Member

    I don't know why my difficult children steal. As I have written before, difficult child 2 is a master thief. We hauled her from expert to expert who each diagnosed or theorized a different reason she steals, each one more expensive than the last. The only consistent reason came from her: I wanted it, so I took it. With my difficult children, it isn't impulsive nor compulsive. It is a very thought out decision. They are patient and will wait for the most opportune time to take it with the least chance of getting caught. I keep my purse in a safe and my easy child's have locked boxed to keep their things in. They have no remorse, guilt nor shame. Punishments do not stop the behavior; it just hones it. They learn not to do it that way the next time. I'm a policeman and a warden more than a parent. I'm tired of it all. If someone knows why, I would love to hear it. All I know is if they want something you have, lock it up. Twice.
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    No one will change anything until the cost is to high to keep repeating the action.

    Just think about it, if all the cops were going to do to you for speeding was stop you and give you a lecture, would that deter you? Probably not. But because the cops give you a ticket, you have to pay that ticket, you get points on your license, you get insurance points so your insurance goes up for several think more about speeding. In fact if you speed too many times, you can lose your license all together. Not just a lecture. The cost of the action is high. For some people it still isnt too high and they will still speed.

    Some people never learn that they have to change. Thats why we work so darned hard when they are young.
  10. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Yes, I agree with this statement. When difficult child was in primary school she stole all the teachers calculators. I just broke down crying and couldn't understand why. Then she stole all the teachers class books that the kids were reading. She never had an explanation. Then, after a few meetings and some counseling, she stopped. Years later, after her assault she started up again, except it was our personal belongings, such as my wedding band, easy child's jewelry and a ring of H's. I asked her if she took them and she said no. When I found them in her drawer weeks later she burst into tears and said she didn't remember taking them. It wasn't the usual victim cry that we were used to-it really was scary. In meeting with the therapist, he explained it was a form of coping. Considering what she had been through it was totally understandable. And once we addressed it, it ceased. Now, that said, difficult child still helps herself to things she shouldn't, such as easy child's jewelry or clothing but she doesn't try to hide it and will just state that she has it or borrowed an item.
  11. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    In fact that is not quite true. Few years ago our police changed their protocol. They started to treat mild speeding with giving people warnings, either verbal or written instead of giving a ticket. It of course was later studied how it effected and people given a warning instead of ticket in fact did less speeding after the fact than people who got a ticket from same offence.
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Maybe speeding wasnt a good analogy because you can get a warning if you are going just a few miles over the speed limit or you can go and take classes to remove the points off your record. Maybe I should have used shoplifting or assault.
  13. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I do agree that it is their internal needs not being met. Which would then explain the randomness of what's stolen. The problem then is addressing those needs - when you don't know what they are, and the difficult child won't open up enough to give you even a miniscule peek.

    I had mentioned a long time ago that Onyxx was borderline hoarder. I understand why; her early life took so many abrupt turns, ups and downs - and every time it did she lost something that meant a lot to her (her father, multiple times; friends; and of course belongings - later her sister, her papaw, and her mother - once by abandonment and then death). She saw treasured belongings destroyed for revenge. It was an abandonment thing all along - so she kept things (even garbage) so they would be there for her. (She pushed at us, too, sure we would abandon her. And she thought we did, and then discovered we hadn't, even as others continued to.) The more secure she is in us loving her - the more stuff she throws away. She still has TONS of clothing (much more than can be accounted for, but that's an issue I will worry about later - and she is a teenager after all)... But there's not as much pure-D garbage in her room. And what's there is neatly stacked and put away (once you get past the tornado of clothes).

    We still lock our bedroom, though. And keep the valuables there.
  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think if you will ask both slsh, me and few of the other long term members you will get different answers but then again, this board seems to have changed from the type of kids that were on it back then to mostly Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
  15. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I don't think they know what the needs are and don't want to admit they have any and just simply aren't mature enough to be able to see this. Heck, I've met adults who couldn't see insde themselves enough to see things that were obvious to others. If these things in kids aren't even obvious to adults (in the sense of the problem) then we sure can't expect them to be that insightful. That's why we need good tdocs. Try finding one these days. That's my beef about the medications- not that they aren't needed sometimes but they sure aren't a substitute for a good therapist if the problem is more along the lines of skewed thinking or emotional coping instead of psychiatric in nature.

    I think there is an obvious trend with MH profs, DJ- with medications and bipolar and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)- just like it used to be adhd as a "default" diagnosis and practically any troubled child would meet the requirement for adhd if only those standard forms were used. That doesn't mean some kids or adults aren't truly adhd either but it's not fair to the ones who do have this problem to get slacked care just because it got over-diagnosis'd in our society so now it gets a lot of eyes rolling when someone mentions it.
  16. threeturkeez

    threeturkeez New Member

    This sums up what we go through with our son as well. All the bedrooms are locked, both when we are in them and when we are not. In his mind, if he can get to it, he should be able to take it if he wants it. And I especially agree with what you said about feeling like a WARDEN. Ugh!
  17. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Ditto. "I wanted it, so I took it."
  18. EStephens

    EStephens New Member

    It amazes me that I have felt so alone in issues like this for so long and I just wasn't looking in the right spots for help!
    My difficult child is also a "I found it, it's mine" thinker and a hoarder. Thank God in heaven he only hoards trash or "unwanted treasures" as he refers to the junk he finds. My coin jar in the kitchen, in his opinion is in a central location so he can take whatever he thinks he needs regardless of who it actually belongs to. But if by chance easy child or I take something that belongs to him regardless of location he will lose his mind!
  19. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    This is Onyxx exactly.

    A few years back my Mom and Onyxx had a discussion about just taking things. Onyxx expressed that she should just be able to take whatever she wanted... And Mom asked her, "Well, then other people can just take your stuff because they want it."

    But that was different!!!
  20. I am interested in the idea of stealing in order to meet internal needs. I have always thought with my difficult child that the need was more of an instant gratification. He needs booze to go to a party so he steals it from my liquor cabinet. He 'needs' money for an outing or activity so he steals it from easy child's purse. It doesn't seem to be a hoarding, comforting, need - just an entitled need.

    Maybe I'm missing something.