Need opinions please (long)


Going Green
difficult child is currently on probation but if you ask me why, I won't be able to tell you. It's been extended and ammended a few times so at this point I can only tell you the original reasons why. (Theft mainly) Before I ask my question, let me give you a little background.

We live in a small house with very, very limited usable storage. We have rearranged the house so that what was the living room is now basically a catch all/storage room. Stuff isn't just thrown in the room anywhere but it is still mainly for storage. Also, I'm definately NOT Martha Stewart or June Cleaver so my household organization isn't what it could be. Anywhoo... I've been looking for the digital camera for a few weeks now. There is a possibility it has been buried in my bedroom (waaaaay too much stuff locked in there to keep away from difficult child) but unless it's fallen behind something, it's not in there. husband and I plan on cleaning it out this weekend and I'm hoping to find it but I just have that gut feeling. We've also noticed that our video camera is missing. That too is possibly hidden somewhere but again, gut feeling. difficult child doesn't use drugs (this is one of the few things I am positive about) and has never stolen for malicious reasons. He just sees something he wants, doesn't think and just takes it. Sometimes it's to have it and sometimes it's to "make" stuff with. (never mind what because his creations are always the stupidest things that never make sense. I now own no curling irons because he cut the cords off to make something with them. No idea what he had in mind but he needed them. :slap: )

So, my question is this. (and I know it's kind of a stupid one because I've pretty much decided what needs to be done...... just wanted other's input) If husband and I do a thorough search and confirm that the cameras are indeed gone, should we call the probation officer? Would you? We've already asked difficult child and he denies any and all big surprise there. Of course he also has been known to lie more than he breathes so who knows. I just find it too much of a coincedence that his current fasination lately is digital cameras and now all of a sudden ours is missing. And of course, it will be all my fault because I forgot to lock it up. On a side note, I did a quick run through his room today and found a cell phone. (He does not have one) When I turned it on to see if I could figure out who it belonged to, the last name of friend's of ours popped up. I have confirmed that it is theirs and it's not connected to a service currently but it still has numbers stored in it. My friend says that as far as she knows, her husband did not give it to difficult child. Actually it's one of their old phones that they let their 2 year old play with. She thought that her husband had given it to my husband to see if he could do some sort of automatic transfer of the stored numbers to his new phone (husband works for their provider) but my husband said that hadn't happened. I'm thinking that difficult child saw our friend's boy playing with it when we were at their house and pocketed it. This is not the first time that he's taken something from them. These are also friends though, who don't quite get difficult child's issues. They tend to think he's not as bad with his behavior and antics as I say he is. Once my friend asks her husband tonight if he knows anything about difficult child having this phone, she is going to call me. I'm also thinking of calling the PO about this too. The problem with that though, is the last time I reported difficult child taking something from someone else's house, he wanted a statement from that person. I don't know if my friends would do this as it would more than likely get difficult child into even more trouble. It's not that they don't want difficult child to have consequences but they just don't get it. They think that "normal" consequences (extra chores, groundings...etc) are enough. She will look at this (and has already commented about it) as "it's an old phone that we don't use anyway, etc. and I don't know how serious she will take this. (the last time he stole from them he was caught before we left their house. he had actually gone into their room to watch tv with their permission, and took a couple of pocketfuls of change from their change bowl. not hard to miss as he jingled when he walked :hammer: ) I can understand the possible argument of it's just an old phone but we're talking about a kid who has been told/instructed repeatedly over the course of years that if it's not his, he can't have it/use it/borrow it without asking. He know's better even though we all know that knowing and doing are completely different.

Thoughts, opinions, comments, offers for me to come hide at your place for awhile?????


Well-Known Member
I can understand exactly where you are coming from. I raised a thief. It is the one thing that sets me off to no end. He was told from the time he could form thoughts that you dont take what isnt yours but it never sunk in.

Hope you can figure this out. Probation never did much good when mine was a teen but maybe yours will.


Active Member
ant's old room is empty and ready for

I would not call the PO. I am never calling the PO on ant again. just brings more trouble.

get a safe and lock up your valuables or store them in your car trunk.


Going Green
Probation doesn't really do much for (to?) him. Currently though, he has a suspended placement to somewhat of a Residential Treatment Center (RTC) facility. I've reported violations to the PO before and nothing has really come of them but I would think (hope) that stuff like this would result in something happening. I guess that's why I was wanting the board's input. I think that if I go to the PO with all of this (assuming the camera's are gone) that the suspended placement would be activated. I've always said that I would have no hesitation in reporting even if it resulted in a placement and logically I know that's the right thing to do. Now that it's a definate possibility though, the thought makes me more than a little anxious.

As for locking stuff up, we have a safe and also have a deadbolt on our bedroom door. Occasionally we slip up though and leave stuff out. Sometimes it's fine and others......poof, it's gone. I've forgotten what it's like to be able to just leave things lying about. I even have to keep all of my toiletries in my room. I have a little caddy that has my shower stuff in it that I carry back and forth to the bathroom. If I don't, my stuff comes up missing. (This one is so stupid it's funny... difficult child once used an entire bottle of my hair conditioner to wash his feet.)


Well-Known Member
I reported Cory to attempt to get Residential Treatment Center (RTC). I got it ordered but they never found one that they "approved" of so it was a moot point. I got it done through mental health instead.

I dont bother with reporting crap now that he is an adult. I figure it is between the cops and him. Not my problem.


Well-Known Member
Janet, it's between the two of you if he's stealing from you, right? Just not sure I understood your post...


I hope you don't take offense to my question, but has your difficult child ever been evaluated for an autistic spectrum disorder? His behavior sounds quirky and different rather than that of a felon (or am I missing something?). I'm wondering if he does these strange things because he's wired differently. Just a thought . . .


Going Green
No offense taken at all. I've asked about further testing with psychiatrist but she doesn't feel that any is needed. From what I've seen here and on other sites I've looked at, difficult child does show some traits of the spectrum but never enough to really show up on the charts and anything I can say that I've seen out of him is never consistent enough for me to really be concerned. Honestly, I think a big factor in his behaviors is the fact that while he wants the freedoms that come with his age and growing up, he want absolutely none of the responsibilities. His therapist has stated that emotionally and socially he's on the level of a 11-12 year old. I don't think it's all diagnosis related though. He knows what he needs to do to, for lack of a better term, get along in society/real life but refuses to do it. I truly think that he just doesn't want to work on or put any effort into managing his behaviors and his own life. I don't know if that makes any sense or not but hopefully you know what I'm trying to say.


New Member
I turned my son in to try to get Residential Treatment Center (RTC). Over and over again. It did no good, they wouldn't send him. I also finally went through mental health and the school. I had to change his IEP. If this is your 17 year old, act now. Mine went to an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) in Texas on May 7 of this year. I do understand your concern, I hope you find a solution.


Well-Known Member
Im talking about anything he does wrong as far as breaking probation. Not my problem. I am not a probation officer. I dont get the pay nor any of the benefits. If he steals from me I will file charges. That isnt simply breaking probation.


Active Member
I was also thinking that Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) could be an issue.

Also, is he a thief, or is he a hoarder? Sometimes there's not a lot of difference. If he sees something that is apparently discarded, left lying around (ie not valued) and he feels he would value it more, then maybe that's why he picks it up ("I've got something I could use this for, they don't seem to care much about it or they would put it away safely"). I'm not making excuses, just trying to think of WHY.

Both my boys have done this. difficult child 3 especially - he collects absolute rubbish and stuffs his pockets with them. At school he would pick up and eat discarded food. The plastic bits that are left over with a lot of sweets, he would pick up and take home. In his pockets on wash day I would find stones, small shells, bottle caps, dead balloons, pencil stubs and pieces of chalk. Not just a couple of items; his pockets would be bulging. And it was every pocket, every wash day.

We have 6-monthly street rubbish clean-ups. We all put rubbish out on the nature strip and the council truck drives round and collects it all. A lot of people do the rounds of the heaps and 'recycle' things, but what difficult child 3 brings home is often totally appalling. While he does know that if it's not his, he can't take it, he still sees something vaguely useful and wants it, desperately.

Your son was adopted from foster care at age 10 - this can often produce a sense of deep insecurity, that nothing he owns is safe unless he's using it all the time. Things get swiped, go missing and if he wasn't using it at the time, it serves him right. Plus, the lack of stability can make them extremely materialistic in that they hoard. If they can take something and keep it safe, then when a time cones that they can use it they will already have it and not have to go and get it.

it still doesn't make stealing acceptable, but it might give a therapist a handle on why correction doesn't seem to be working.

I really hope you find your cameras, but like you I have a niggling feeling that he's got them - he felt he could value them more than you. because, if you wants something really badly, you can convince yourself that NOBODY could want it as much as you, and shouldn't it go to the person who wants it the most? I suspect that if he had something and met someone who desperately wanted it, and he felt they wanted it more than he felt he did, he would give it to them without question.

On the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) suggestion, check out and do the unofficial Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) questionnaire. You can print out the results and take them to a therapist or doctor if you think there's a possibility of something worth considering.



New Member
I know the feeling all to well of having to lock up everything that isn't nailed down, and it's not a good feeling. My difficult child was stealing from us left and right and pawning stuff to support his drug addiction though, so it sounds like your story is a little different. I never turned him in because he went into rehab. and never stole from us again once we caught him, changed the locks on our doors and locked things up when he came to visit. The difference is your son still lives with you, so it becomes really difficult to make sure you never leave so much as a dollar around for him to take.

I don't really have any good suggestions. Just wanted you to know I understand how it feels to have your son stealing from you.


Going Green
In his pockets on wash day I would find stones, small shells, bottle caps, dead balloons, pencil stubs and pieces of chalk. Not just a couple of items; his pockets would be bulging. And it was every pocket, every wash day.

We have 6-monthly street rubbish clean-ups. We all put rubbish out on the nature strip and the council truck drives round and collects it all. A lot of people do the rounds of the heaps and 'recycle' things, but what difficult child 3 brings home is often totally appalling. While he does know that if it's not his, he can't take it, he still sees something vaguely useful and wants it, desperately.

I suspect that if he had something and met someone who desperately wanted it, and he felt they wanted it more than he felt he did, he would give it to them without question.


You are pretty spot on with these three points. The hoarding of things I don't see as much as you do with yours but it does happen often. He will pick up the stupidest things to keep or make something out of. I don't know how many rocks, sticks, pieces of trash I have thrown out around here. Yesterday I found a fairly long somewhat thick stick that was wrapped with foam pipe insulation that came with our new water heater. He had also put stripes on it using blue painters tape and tied a shoelace around the end. No idea what it was supposed to be but it all got tossed except for the insulation.

As for the trash pick ups..........I HATE those. We have them twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. Last spring I came home to find the biggest, nastiest, stained and smelly COUCH in difficult child's room. Someone three doors down had put it out for pick up and difficult child drug that thing home, wrestled it in the house and put it in his room. It was AWFUL!!! And I'm pretty sure that the neighbor's dog had given birth on it. Another time, he had found one of those old 70's style casset tape cases. (fake leather covering, big clasp, boxy looking thing) This thing was in two pieces and smelled absolutely disgusting. But he was bound and determined to put some of his stuff in it. (GAG)

He is constantly giving his stuff away or trading. Drives me up the wall. Things are always just appearing and disappearing in our house so much that I can't keep up sometimes. And if he's borrowed something from someone, he has no hesitation in giving it to someone else. Just last night one of his friends came down to get a poster and some comic books he had lent difficult child. When we had originally asked difficult child about the comic books (they were in protective sleeves) he said he got them at the youth service bureau. Or at least that's one of the stories that we got. He gave husband one story, and me another. Well, turns out they belong to his friend. Now I have to call my nephew and get back the comic book that difficult child gave him. :mad:

As for him taking care of things better than someone else though. Nope. He gets these things and usually just trashes them. He has absolutely no respect for things, even those that supposedly mean something to him. He had a really nice memory book his previous foster mother made him. I wound up taking it away to make sure it survived. He raised such a fuss about it for so long though that I finally just gave it back. He claimed they were HIS memories so he should be able to keep it himself. By this time he was a little older so I decided, fine, you keep it, but take care of it. Of course I got all of the promises but sure enough, it's long since been torn apart and disposed of.

He's just so inconsistent with this stuff that I don't know what to think. I will do the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) checklist and see what it says though. Thanks for all of the input!


New Member
I used to dread bulk pickup when my difficult child lived home. He pretty much redecorated his entire room every spring with other peoples garbage. He just turned 20 and is just starting to respect material things, but I think it's because he has to buy them all himself now.


Well-Known Member
I don't have a suggestion but I do have a couple of questions.
Primarily...what do you want to happen? Is there a reasonable
expectation that your action will lead to that result? I am one
of the ones who stay out of the PO business but that does mean that you should feel the same way.

I don't know if you have any financial flexiblity to make it possible (I have lived years with none as well as many with some
choices!) but cluttered living is extremely stressful for difficult child's.
ADHD and AS kids in particular have so much difficulty with impulse control and focusing that the starkest of environments is
best for their development. If you have the option, I would suggest that you remove everything from your home that is not
needed on a regular basis and get a storage unit. Then, make
simple rules for all three of you about picking up and putting away things where they belong.

I am not Heloise, although I think my Mother was in disguise LOL,
but this change in your home will greatly reduce the stress of
wondering what he may or may not have taken. It also will make
life easier and simpler for you and your husband. Good luck. DDD

Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful

I also have to admit while reading your post I thought major Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) going on.

T has always had this problem. Although now it is much milder as I have him convinced stealing outside of the home wouldn't be good for his health. Inside the home is a bit harder to convince him that it is the same as stealing. However, I've had success with the "you take ours, I take yours" technique. Which has greatly reduced his borrowing around here.

I can't really classify T's "borrowing" as stealing in my head. Because he's not doing it for personal gain or for malice. He just does NOT get personal boundries. And this includes other peoples belongings.

I think I'd leave the PO out of it. Espcially if you're already suspecting autistic spectrum. (and he really sounds like it) Because I know with T that type of concequence wouldn't phase him. His has to be immediate and straight to the point. Related to what he did. Otherwise he doesn't even remember what he's being punished for.

Is there any way you could get him privately evaled??

Over the years with T, I just stopped getting mad. Anything I don't want him to get stays under lock and key. If something comes up missing, he's the first person asked. We found that casually mentioning it gets us a more truthful response. And sometimes I have to push for him to search his room because once something is out of sight it's out of mind for him. If he breaks or distroys it while he has it, he has to replace it.



New Member
my kids all assume anything in the house is community property. SUch as hair conditioner, hand creams, even my crutches. I am wondering if when things are locked up to keep them out of a childs hands, maybe that further sets a mindset that if it is not locked up, it is anyones for the taking? (I am asking, not saying this is true or real in their minds) I mean I lock my deooderant but there is deoderant in "special" things are locked and community property items aren't.
Would I call PO on my kid? Most likely not. Usually when I have reported a problem to anyone of any authority, it has backfired and caused more trouble than the help it would hopefully bring. As for how others handle any dificulties with my kids? Well, thats not in my power or control......


Well-Known Member
Im talking about anything he does wrong as far as breaking probation. Not my problem. I am not a probation officer. I dont get the pay nor any of the benefits. If he steals from me I will file charges. That isnt simply breaking probation.

That makes more sense. Thanks, Janet.


Going Green
We had a talk with him last night about the cell phone I found in his room. According to him he doesn't remember exactly how he
came to have it but he thinks he was playing withmy friend's daughter and either she put it in his
pocket or he did and just forgot it was there. Ok
fine, I can understand that. But once he found it
again in his pocket did it occur to him to tell us so
we could figure out who it belonged to???? NOOOOOOO
He said he was going to throw it away because he
thought it was broken and then we got the "I thought
it was a toy" line. So basically, we pretty much
believe the first part of the story but not the last.
Not quite sure yet how we're going to deal with this

As for the storage unit idea, we've considered that but just haven't been able to do it. I'm looking for another job as I'm only working 10 hours a week so hopefully we can do it after a get a new job. We hope to put the house on the market in the next year and I would have to do it anyway to make the house look like it's actually big enough to live in. :hammer: (anyone good at "staging" a house??? :smile: )

I'm not going to call the PO on this one although I'm not sure about our cameras if we find that they really are missing. I don't know that I really want one thing or another to happen. I think I just look at it as a natrual consequence and maybe one last chance for him to get into an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) before he ages into the big boy league. I don't know..........there are a lot of conflicting thoughts and emotions floating around in me right now so I guess I'll just have to see how it goes.

I did do the Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) checklist today though. It gave a result of mild/possible Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) or something along those lines. If I were to have him evaluated and it came back that he's on the spectrum, at his age is there really anything that could be done for treatment?