difficult child stealing

Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
difficult child asked me to take him to the bank this weekend so he could cash in his change he has been saving. husband was out of town but seemed suspicious that he would have as much as he was thinking he would.

We went to the bank but the change machine was broken. husband came home and checked his can that he had been saving change in for a night away. Half the can was empty. difficult child would not admit to stealing. Today he cashed in his change and had $50.

We are very disappointed in him and husband even more so because difficult child is always glued to his hip and they do a lot together. husband talked to him about how he could get into legal trouble now that he is an adult.

difficult child knew husband was upset and spent most of the day in his room still not admitting to anything. At one point I went in to talk to him and said if he was feeling sad then he needed to own up to things and apologize. He shook his head and about an hour later went and apologized to husband and admitted to taking the change.

I'm glad he finally owned it and told him even though he doesn't know how much he stole he should give at least half of the money to husband. We'll see if he follows through.


Well-Known Member
Hi Wiped Out

How concerning and painful. You know how to do this detachment parenting better than I do, so I know you do not need advice from me.

That said, this is what I think. Your husband gave SON a warning that stealing is a crime now that he is adult. I would lock up all of the money, your purse, etc. If he steals again, whatever the amount, I would call the police.

Do you know why he took the money? Is it for something that you need to worry about?

I think the consequences are worse for him if you overlook another transgression, than whatever consequence there would be by calling the police.

It is not only teaching him right and wrong. It is about insisting that he treat you and his father with respect and care. That relationships with loved ones need to be reciprocal. You are worthy of care, as much as is he.

I am sorry this happened. Take care.
Last edited:


Well-Known Member
He is of an age where he wants his own money. Is he working? Is he able to work? Do you live in a town where he could access work programs for the disabled?

I don't think he was being malicious. He owned up to it. He is an adult and wants to have what all adults want.

Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Copa-Thanks, he wants the money to go shopping. His extended school year consists partly of learning to navigate in the community. They are taking the kids down to a popular shopping area and he wants money to buy clothes. I'm thankful it's nothing worse than that but he does need to stop the stealing!

Pasajes-He is working! In fact, he now has two jobs (but the second one is through school and he hasn't gotten paid yet for that one). He is just spending faster than he is making it! We are trying to get him to save but it's almost impossible (unless he really wants something-once in awhile he will save up). I do know I need to apply for Social Security but I told husband that we will have to apply for guardianship because he will not be able to save anything at this point! I agree that he is not being malicious. He is generous to a fault. When he has money he will ask to take us out to dinner or wants to buy a game for all of us to play, etc...


Well-Known Member
I am my son's payee for that reason. He has no control over spending his money.

Fortunately for us, my son knows this and is good with us paying his bills and handing out his money to him so that he has enough. It helps if the adult child is happy with the situation.


Well-Known Member
He is generous to a fault. When he has money he will ask to take us out to dinner or wants to buy a game for all of us to play, etc...
Interesting, isn't it.
When it's kids who are using drugs - there is nothing coming back from them to us. It's all one way.
With our challenged kids - they just don't "get it", so they mess up. Totally different situation.


Active Member
Stealing is the ' behavior' , the looking bad when the demands placed on the kid outstrip his skills. His concerns -' he wants the money to go shopping. His extended school year consists partly of learning to navigate in the community. They are taking the kids down to a popular shopping area and he wants money to buy clothes' - your concerns - not stealing

So solving the problem would be finding a way that he can go shopping with the school and not having to steal to have money

Did you try problem solve to find a mutually satisfying solution which is realistic ?

Read more: http://www.conductdisorders.com/community/threads/difficult-child-stealing.60742/#ixzz3hNVEgWHN

Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Allan-we didn't do the problem solving we usually would have done because we are working with him on trying to budget his money. He had been spending it on other things even though he knew this was coming up. We speak with him often about not spending all of his money and trying to save. He buys a lot of clothes, shoes, etc... but needs to realize there are limits to his available funds.


Well-Known Member
Wow, you could be talking about my son, except that your son actually went and apologized. I'm impressed. (And a bit jealous.)

My son lies and lies and lies, especially when he's using (which I think was last night and tonight. Not sure if it's pot or alcohol, but it has something to do with-his girlfriend who wears the hijab.)
He was standing in the bathroom in dim light but I did not know it. The door was wide open. I turned on the overhead light so I could use the bathroom, and heard the toilet flush. He whipped around the corner, flipped off the light and yelled, "What are you doing?"
"Turning on the light to use the bathroom. I didn't know you were in there. Did you wash?"
"I wasn't using the bathroom."
"You just walked out and I heard the toilet flush!"
"I just threw something in there."
Uhhh ... okay.
Then he ate husband's leftover pizza from last night (part of that is husband's fault for not hiding it in the second fridge). husband told difficult child specifically NOT to eat it because it was his dinner for tonight.
So not an hour later, difficult child heated it up and ate it (after we went to bed). husband got on his case tonight and difficult child said he hadn't eaten it.
Say what?
"Just apologize," husband told him.
"Well, I'm sorry, but I don't remember doing it."

Part of it is the ADHD thing of racing around and not paying attention, but when he lies and gets angry, he's usually using.

I'm glad that your son is just buying clothes with-the other kids with-his money, anyway.


Roll With It
My parents did something for stealing that I did with my kids. If we stole something, we had to pay it back double. If we stole money, we could return what we stole for half the amount (IF we still had it). The other half had to be $ we earned from working or from selling something we really like. Wiz never seemed to care at the time. He played it off as 'no big deal' for quite a while. A few years later he admitted to me that it really did make a difference, as did our disappointment and esp my Dad's disappointment.


Well-Known Member

This might not be popular given the age of your son, but have you considered controlling his banking account to teach him to budget. Most kids, but most especially our Difficult Child ones, can't budget without tons and tons of experience (and some has to be really tough). Perhaps you could do the joint account route?

We just had this problem in our family this week as well. Difficult Child stole $20 from his step-dad's wallet to order a phone online and then yesterday, his mom caught him taking money from her purse to go to the store and buy junk food. They took the phone away from him once they realized that he had stolen money to buy it. I'm not sure what the consequence was for trying to steal from his mom. Difficult Child was stealing from family members for awhile when he was 11, but that was before he had the bipolar diagnosis and a medication change. He's always had a compulsion to buy stuff and constantly obsesses about buying stuff, but he's been really pleasant and nice to be around the past few weeks, so this was a complete shock.

I felt sick when husband told me. He said we'll have to be careful with our stuff and keep it locked up. I really don't want to have to live like that. It seems like it's one step forward and two steps back. We can never relax and feel like things are improving. :unsure: