Caught, confessed, conundrum...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gcvmom, Aug 12, 2008.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    difficult child 1 and I were out running errands today. We're in Walmart and he's perusing the toy aisle when I come up to him and he's got a pack of Pokemon cards in his hand and asks me if he can borrow two bucks.

    I'm taken aback because I know he gave me the last of his money to buy Wii points for him two days prior (and he doesn't get allowance 'til the first of the month). And two dollars is not going to cover the cost of the cards. So I asked him, how much money do you have and where did you get it?

    He says, "I don't know where I got it." And then I immediately know he either found it somewhere at home or took it from someone. So I press for the truth.

    He admits to having taken it from MY wallet when I stopped for gas just before we got to the store.

    He apologizes and says he doesn't know why he took it and gives it back to me.

    Of course, I have to tell him that I am VERY disappointed -- I state this very calmly, not a lot of emotion, but he knows I'm ticked. I point out that he is nearly 14 and is wanting us to give him more freedoms and privileges like a PHONE -- and I ask him HOW can he expect me to trust him and believe that he's mature enough for the things he's asking for when he pulls a stunt like this?

    I said he could have just ASKED for the money if he felt he needed it that badly. Or offered to do something to earn it.

    He's done this kind of thing a number of times -- stealing money from family members. I really don't trust him and I WANT to, but I find myself looking at him when we're in a store and wondering if he's going to go the next level and start stealing from stores.

    Before we left, I asked him to show me what was in his pockets. They were empty. I HATE doing that, but he had his hands stuffed in them and I just couldn't give him the benefit today.

    How much of this is normal? How much of this is difficult child-ness?

    I talked to a therapist about this with difficult child about 6 months ago, and the message I got from the therapist (while difficult child was out of the room) was to give him more chances to be caught being good.

    Am I the one who drives him to do this? Is he so anxious about not having money and wanting it and not wanting to be told no that he steals it?
  2. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I am sorry, I am not one who can offer much advice. The girls are still so young. We are just getting started with the lying with K.
    I have been trying to "catch" her telling me the truth, so I can play it up. I have also been trying to not get too mad when she admits she has lied. Only because it is all so new and she is compulsively doing it.
    I know stealing it a lot worse and scary... hopefully something will get in his head and he will stop.
  3. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    No, I don't think you drive him to do this. This sounds like a compulsion/anxiety type of thing to me. How is his anxiety level overall?

    He fessed up pretty quickly and he probably really doesn't know why he does it. I think addressing this more directly with the therapist is in order.
  4. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You aren't driving him to do it. It could be a difficult child thing. Mine used to steal all the time. It got to the point where he had to have his backpack checked every day before leaving school. He stole a neighbor's cell phone once.

    All of a sudden the stealing just stopped. I have no explanation for it but it has lasted a good couple of years. He is so proud of the fact that he no longer steals.

    I'm not sure I like therapist's advice. It is important to catch them being good but that alone I wouldn't think would stop the stealing. I wish I knew what would help.

    I'm sorry it was a rough day-I hate that disappointed feeling.
  5. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Antidepressants can cause disinhibition as a side effect. While taking Prozac, my younger daughter M pierced her own ear (at age 8!) and stole $60 from her older brother's room. She also had unbelievable public meltdowns in stores when she couldn't afford what she wanted to buy (she became anxious that the item would be gone if she waited until she had saved enough allowance). These uncharacteristic behaviors completely disappeared when we discontinued Prozac.

    I'd be concerned that your difficult child is on two antidepressants plus a stimulant that can increase anxiety. Something to ask the psychiatrist about.
  6. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    No, you are not driving your difficult child to steal from you. He knows it is wrong and he makes the choice to reach into your purse or not. The temptation is there for every kid, I imagine. But, for a difficult child it is intensified and harder to resist. in my humble opinion that is.

    Do you have a lock on your bedroom door? I put one on. My difficult child has taken things from me before. Money (mostly change from a basket I keep), jewelry, hairbrushes, etc. I decided it could only get bigger from there so I put a lock on the door. Everyday when I leave I close and lock my bedroom door. She hated it at first. Said it made her feel like I did not trust her. I told her it was a known fact that teenagers make bad decisions. It was not only her, but any of her friends that may be in the house (even though they are not allowed when I am not home). She got over it. I think every master bedroom should just come with a lock and key. No questions asked.
  7. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    I don't believe for one minute you are driving him to do this. I know you hate checking his pockets. It's sort of a double edge sword, you don't want to make him feel that he is not worthy of your trust. If you treat him like a thief, wont he behave like one?? I go through the same thing here. Every time something is missing in my house or one of us can't find something, I cant help but to wonder, "Did my daughter take it?" The sad part is 9 out of 10 times she did. So I feel horrible for feeling like she is always the culprit but how can we not blame her, she just takes what ever she wants without asking to borrow it. This is one of our major issues. We have had to hide so many things. She just lacks boundaries. I feel badly accusing her because I feel like she is going to think, hey if we are always thinking she is stealing why not steal. Hence, the double edge sword!!!

    So, I get it. It's hard. Hang in there. :)
  8. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    difficult child 1 did this. He eventually stole some some small items from extended family, but it never went beyond that.
    easy child 1, if he ever stole anything, he didn't get caught.
    easy child 2, and I use the easy child term on her loosely these days, steals. She may well qualify for a difficult child, but we'll see.
    So in my experience, its more of a difficult child thing.
  9. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    Nope, not your fault at all. My difficult child is bad about this. As he's gotten older, it has calmed down but the issue is always there with husband and I. As Bran said, we hate feeling that way but when something comes up missing, we always think difficult child. And more times than not, we're right. With difficult child it's not always money although if I have cash in my purse, it's locked in our room. (Deadbolt on the bedroom door because he's been able to break in when there was just key lock doorknob) He takes anything he wants. Sometimes it's to use, sometimes it's to "make" stuff. He will even take my jeans which just astounds me. I'm 5'2" and about 155...he's 6'2" and a bit less in weight. Somehow though, he makes them work. In fact he has taken all types of my clothes with the exception of undies and bras.

    Basically, anything around the house that's not nailed down or locked up is fair game to him for whatever reason. He has some big entitlement issues and a complete lack of respect for other's belongings and we have yet to find a way to stop it. From what we can tell, he's always been like this. (We got him as a foster child when he was 9)

    Can't really offer advice other than to keep things locked up at all times when not in use or with you but I can offer hugs. been there done that and it hoovers.
  10. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I was also trying to keep calm about the event when I confronted him. I feel like he will be less inclined to cop to it if he thinks I'm going to go ballistic upon discovery (the kids said I'm scary sometimes when I get mad :( )
  11. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Overall this summer I think the level has been good. When school starts, though, I'm getting worried again because last year he forged my signature on things...

    The medications he's on are supposed to HELP his anxiety... maybe it's time to go back to the therapist.
  12. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    He's taken my cell phone to school without permission, too.

    I'm glad your difficult child is not having issues with this anymore. I hope it lasts for him!
  13. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    The stealing didn't really start to peak until the last year or so. I'm just remembering things here and there that he's done, and I guess it's an intermittent problem for him.

    His Lexapro was bumped up because his GI thought stress/anxiety were the reason he was having bowel issues (IBS -- because his Crohn's was clearly under control). Then she added a very low dose of Elavil and his IBS went away (so far). But I can't say I saw an increase in these types of boundary-crossing behaviors... they've just always been there and pop up from time to time.

    Perhaps the Daytrana is too much and this is what's contributing. If I give him a 20mg patch, it doesn't give enough symptom relief, and if I give him a 30mg patch it borders on being too much. Maybe I need to go back to trimming patches!

    I wish I'd squeezed time in with the psychiatrist last week to discuss these issues, but we've been so focused on difficult child 2's stability, everything else get's back burnered... I'll call his voicemail and leave an update. I know we won't get in this month -- he's got 94 on his waitlist for August alone.
  14. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I do, but it's not a keyed lock and he knows how to open those.

    Money is usually his biggest problem. He's stolen from husband, me, and his sister. His brother never has money, so I guess that's why he never takes any from him! But he also takes game guides from the sibs. He's taken my bra/underwear to wear himself (don't think that's happened since husband confronted him last winter). And he "borrowed" my phone for a day at school without my knowledge (I was going crazy trying to find it that day!)

    I WANT to be able to trust him...
  15. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    This is what it's come to with difficult child 1 as well :( Even his sister suspects him first because of his history.

    I told him I was worried that this will escalate to stealing from stores and he said "NO WAY." And I asked, what's to stop you?

    He can't tell me, and I can't think of what would stop him either.
  16. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I just hope this doesn't escalate...
  17. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Well, difficult child 1 took THESE from me last winter. We think it was for sensory reasons, but it also falls into the impulse control category...
  18. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    My opinion?

    1. no you don't cause him to do it and
    2. whether it's difficult child's or easy child's you still want him to stop

    Me? I tell my kids (joking of course) that M-O-M stands for "Mean Ol' Monster!"

    I caught difficult child 1 "helping himself" as he liked to call it, so after several times busted, I stole from him.

    I borrowed his brother's gameboy and took a stink load of difficult child 1's games and stuffed them in my pockets, turned the volume up really really loud and played like a mad-man when he walked by.

    "Hey! That's my game."

    "Um, no it's not - um, I found it on my way to the store"

    "No you didn't"

    "Um, yeah I did! It was, um, on the ground, yeah THAT'S it! And I almost stepped on it, yeah that's a good one, and so I, uh, picked it up, yeah, yeah, that's what happened!"


    Then we discussed how it felt to have someone steal something from HIM.

    We haven't had any more issues, but I'm always on the lookout!

  19. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Boy, does that sound familiar!

    One of the good things about my difficult child being at camp for an entire mo. was that when there was the occasional oddity, I knew immediately that difficult child didn't do it because he wasn't there. It is a pervasive thought pattern, to blame them, but hey, it's the boy who cried wolf and it's completely understandable.

    I don't see where you drive him to do that, especially if he's got an allowance and/or can already earn $ at home somehow. You could practice budgeting with-him and praise him for wise choices. That way you catch him doing something good.

    My difficult child is just barely getting out of this stage ...
  20. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I haven't read all these responses so I apologize if I'm repeating something. I just wanted to mention that my son steals when he isn't stable. That probably sounds like an excuse, but with him, it is more like a "cue" that something isn't right- With some people, it is not refilling the ice tray or putting the cap on the toothpaste- with difficult child, it is stealing. This might not apply to your situation, but I just thought I'd throw it out. I have learned that if my son picks up a dollar bill at home that doesn't belong to him, something is going on with him and I need to get in tune.