In desperate need of advice!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by BigMamma3, Feb 11, 2009.

  1. BigMamma3

    BigMamma3 New Member

    My older daughter (9 yo), the one that I talked about on an earlier thread for stealing $3, the one that is getting evaluated for the ED label, acted out again what is apparently her new gig- stealing. Fortunately, she is not very good at so probably gets caught every time. This past Friday she took a childs book money envelope, scratched out their name on the envelope and wrote hers then took the money. :confused: RT new eactly where to start looking when he checked the envelope and it was empty. She told her RT that she gave $10 of the money to a boy in her class (That I thought she didn't even like) and the other $1 to a girl at Boys & Girls Club. Everyone involved readily fessed up when questioned. Apparently the boy in her class gave it to a 5th grade girl who said she still had it and would bring it in tomorrow. What the hell was my difficult child thinking???

    Two identical things here in addition to the stealing:
    1) It was Carnival Night at Boys & Girls Club aftercare for which they need money. She did not wind up with any from the theft though & my boyfriend brought them money b4 the carnival.
    2) It was book club money that she stole.

    My dilemma is that we planned to take our first snow trip this weekend. **If** I tell my boyfriend (who is paying for the trip) what happened- she will NOT be going on this trip! Her resource teacher is benching her for the rest of the week and will have her make amends to the student. I am SO ANGRY with her right now and I just feel like pulling my hair out!!! It's just in one ear and out the other with her! She promises she is not going to steal again every time- but keeps doing it.

    I talked to my sister who was a habitual stealer as a child and says she did it for the attention and because she wanted something. How do I instill in my child that you don't take other peoples things? I feel dishonest not to share this with my boyfriend but know that her punishment will be severe (and most likely innafective) if I tell him. She is being disciplined at school. What if I just acted as if I didn't know and let them deal with it? I think if she is doing this at all for attention and I/We get upset with her and give her a bunch of attention and punishments- she wins!

    Meanwhile, I thought I might come up with something more creative to help her learn the lesson. My idea is to start giving her allowance and arrange for it to "disappear". I wonder how upset she would be if she thought someone was stealing from her? Or maybe her just having a few bucks in her pocket will deter her from stealing.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on how to handle this in a way that has been successful in stopping the behavior??? I need advice- PLEASE!
  2. compassion

    compassion Member

    No real answers other than in my experince, it is a symptom of her illness, not her moral character. It is , I am fidnign out very common in BiPolar (BP). My difficult child is sitll doing this. We had two safes.
    I think it is related to first and formost mood disorder. Then self esteem issues.
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    My son goes thru stealing sprees too- and it was the first "phase" of illegal activity he ever exhibited when his issues first started coming to light. I don't think you should pretend that you don't know about it. But, I don't necessarily think you need to discuss it with your boyfriend either. The way you parent your child is your business, in my humble opinion, unless you were abusing or neglecting her. I think you need some 1 on 1 time with her and try to find out for yourself what's going on in her head.
  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I'd hate not to tell your boyfriend, but if he overreacts, what to do? Have you sat down with-him in the past and explained that his discipline is ineffective? I would not cancel her ability to go on the trip. It really doesn't relate to what she did, in my humble opinion.
    You've got two separate issues here--your daughter's stealing and your boyfriend's reaction. :(

    I talked to my sister who was a habitual stealer as a child and says she did it for the attention and because she wanted something. How do I instill in my child that you don't take other peoples things?

    This is very good feedback. While they are not the same people, it still helps shed light on things.

    One of the things we are doing with-my difficult child is aversion therapy. Whatever it is that he stole, we put in front of him and make him think about it in uncomfortable ways. IOW, for your daughter, "How would you feel if the whole class saw you steal this and they made fun of you?" (According to your sister, you can't just ask how she would feel, because she wants the attention--you'll have to attach a consequence to it.)
    We have to do it over and over until my son feels and thinks the negative connection instead of the happy connection.
    I hope that makes sense.

    It takes a long time. Remember, these are not PCs. They have difficulty extrapolating events into other, related events. It has to be concrete.
  5. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    Our policy on harming another person's property--whether by stealing it, breaking it, losing it, restitution. The child must restore what they have taken from the other person PLUS return it with a bonus (eg, if you took someone's candy bar you must give them back two candy bars)....and the child must earn the money to pay for the replacement items by doing extra chores. Additionally, if the person's property was harmed on purpose (such as stealing)--then the returned items must be accompanied by a nice, long handwritten letter of apology.

    This may not stop the stealing altogether--but if the child knows that there is this much work involved...they may "think twice" before stealing again.

    Best of luck!

  6. gizbywife

    gizbywife New Member

    We're having this problem with our 13 y/o son, too. I have to second the post below - restitution x2. He stole 2 necklaces from my daughter (the 2 most valuable to her: gift from Dad & gift from her Boyfriend, hmmmm) that were worth around $150. If he hadn't gotten caught, he'd have sold them. So, he had to give them back to her and something very special to him: his Nintendo DS. It nearly broke my heart to watch how sad he was, but this was the latest in a string of stealing which is getting worse and he's stealing more valuable items from increasingly difficult locations (these were hidden in her drawers). He hasn't stolen again (yet), and everyone else (daughter & Husband) feel that "justice was served" - I don't think that having her allowance "disappear" would help - it just kind of reinforces that stealing is acceptable, because now Mom & Dad are doing it. They really can't think that way. They see stuff, take it, and think about it AFTER they're caught. :anxious: Good luck. Keep us posted!
  7. BigMamma3

    BigMamma3 New Member


    Here is what I came up with after considering all your advice, discussing with therapist & RT. By the way, therapist and I both feel she "dissassociates" from what she is doing based on the language she uses to explain what happened and in describing her own frame of mind afterwards.

    RT will:
    • Have her do some clean up work around class to "work off" the $1 he could not recover. He got the $10 from the kids she gave it.
    • He also benched her for 3 days both recesses (his choice).
    I did/will/plan to:
    • Spoke to her briefly (and without anger) instructing her she needed to write a letter of apology to both the boy she stole from and the RT. She reportedly did this without much fuss at daycare. I will check letters later tonight.
    • Have a heart-to-heart talk about what is happening with her & why she gave away the $10 to a boy in her class.
    • In the future, after this has blown over, I plan to casually give her an old wallet of mine and start giving her very small amounts of money here and there. I'm going to discuss with her that money is to be kept private and not "flashed" around to her friends and safely stored in her wallet or her safe in her room. For the last year+ she has been forbidden to have money after concerns over her not knowing what its worth and also mysteriously producing cash from unknown sources. I think I need to ease up on this with her, let her have a litte responsibilty with it knowing she will make mistakes.
    • Next book club go around I will let her order some books, either paying for them myself or having her use her own savings. I've never ordered books before mostly because of money issues, but since things are improving financially, I think I will start letting them order. I think she has resented me and felt deprived around this book order issue.
    • Eventually the boyfriend and I will agree upon an allowance strategy for all 3 girls.
    • Not planning to tell boyfriend. Trying to keep school misbehavior dealt with at school. Home misbehavior dealt with at home.
    I will report back on how it all goes...wish me luck!
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Gizby, that's so sad about the necklaces. But the sad look on difficult child's face was actually what you wanted ... he needs to FEEL what the others felt to make it real.

    BigMamma, I like the part about the wallet and small amts of $. Great idea. :)