School update, & daughter stole money from me!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by allhaileris, Nov 14, 2008.

  1. allhaileris

    allhaileris Crumbling Family Rock

    I posted last week about school. This week has been much better apparently due to the "talks" we've all been having with her. Her teacher said that she was a model student 2 of the past 3 days this week (who knows about today!). But I think we need to have these little talks with her like every single day to keep enforcing how important it is to do her schoolwork, participate, etc. I've also asked her teacher to allow her to finish homework on the weekends so I can have more time to help.

    Crummy thing that happened was we found out that she stole $10 from my wallet last week. I think she's done it before but this is the first time she's been caught. She wanted to by a pencil that smells and I told her no but she didn't care. She was an emotional wreck on Wed eve but I'm hoping I was able to get it across to least a little. But now I need to be extra careful about how much money I have in my wallet.

    We caught her shoplifting about a year and a half ago. We marched her right back to the store (crying) and made her return it to the guy at the counter. I'm guessing that this might be an issue from time to time because she takes things out of our room that she shouldn't touch.

    I wonder if this is normal for kids this age, or if there is any good ways to help enforce no stealing?
  2. Nancy423

    Nancy423 do I have to be the mom?

    Well, good for her for those 2 days of good behavior!!!

    My difficult child steals stuff constantly. At age 3 we had to march her back into the store and have her apologize. At age 8, we did the same thing, but this time returned some stuff we had just bought for her as a consequence. I used to have to pat her down by the doors after each shopping trip. In school, she'll take stuff (pens, pencils etc) from the teacher and other kids. Mainly she steals stuff from around the house and we find it in her room. She had my laptop in there yesterday. We now lock things in our bedroom that we don't want her to touch. She'll still steal food tho. I tell the babysitter to keep her purse in the locked car. I think difficult child has taken some makeup from her purse before.

    I did make the mistake of leaving cash in my purse and she took $30. I did get it back just to lose another $10 later that week (which I'm still out)

    As for what is normal.........I can't tell you anything other than what my difficult child is doing is NOT normal. I'd like her to be diagnosed with- clinical cleptomania.
  3. Critter Lover

    Critter Lover New Member

    I wish I could tell you that she will stop the stealing but to this day mine is 22 and we have to lock everything up in a safe. I have to keep my purse with me all the time and hubby has to keep his wallet with him at all times. We lock our bedroom door at night because we do not want him sneaking in to try to take something nor trying to do harm to us while we sleep. We are like a prisoner in our home at this point.:anxious:

    So glad she had two days of good behavior. They sometimes surprise us when we are not expecting it.....and in a good way.:D
  4. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Sandy, Glad to hear that difficult child has been behaving well in school over the last couple of days. The "talks" probably did help somewhat, and you're right on the money in thinking about giving her these talks all the time.

    Kids on the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) spectrum (If I recall correctly, you've mentioned that you suspect your difficult child is on the spectrum) have issues with Theory of Mind, in other words, they struggle to understand that others have different thoughts and feelings than their own. This makes it very difficult for them to empathize with others, because they don't recognize that there's anything to empathize with.

    One of the therapeutic activities we do with my difficult child is hourly reinfocement of Theory of Mind. Something like, "difficult child. Other people have thoughts and feelings that are different from yours. Not everyone wants the same things you do, not everyone enjoys the same things you do. Just because you want it doesn't mean that others do, and doesn't make it okay".

    We've been spouting this at him every day, once an hour (while he's awake) for the past 2 years or so, and it's starting to sink in...

    As for the stealing, that's a very hard one because a lot of our difficult children have a huge sense of entitlement combined with no boundaries at all. So "I want" becomes "I take" very quickly. The only thing we've ever found that works for this is:

    a) Lock up everything that difficult child is not supposed to have. When he was living at home, every room in the house had a lock on it, and every lock was used at all times. I wore my keys on a lanyard around my neck.

    b) Make the consequences of stealing sufficiently painful that it's not worth the effort. If difficult child stole, he had to give back whatever he stole AND pay for replacing it. If he stole money, he had to hand over his paycheque from his paper route to replace it. If he stole things, he had to earn the money and (with help) buy a replacement whatever and give it to the person.

    difficult child still steals, but far less often than he used to. Honestly, I'm not sure whether it's because of the interventions I just listed, or (more likely) because he's under 24/7 supervision at the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and just doesn't get the opportunity as much as he used to.

    Sorry you're having to deal with this.
  5. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Glad she had two great days!

    My difficult child used to steal and I thought he would never outgrow it. He used to steal things from school all the time, things left on people's porches, our stuff. Then when he was in third grade we started having him check his backpack in with the teachers in the morning (instead of having it in the locker like other kids he turned it into them) and he would get it back at the end of the day. He had to do this for three years (for him it was just part of his routine).

    Now, he doesn't steal at all (knock on wood). He makes comments about being proud that he doesn't. I'm not really sure what did it for him-I do think part of it was the backpack thing.
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    yes, it is a normal developmental milestone. (But ...)
    It's especially good if she had a guilt/crying reaction to the store episode last yr, as that shows she is learning.
    If she is delayed, it will take longer to teach her and the events will reoccur ... you just have to deal with-it ea and every time.
    I tend to read news reports aloud to my kids, and now that my difficult child is old enough, he watches America's Most Wanted and other police shows, and it gives us ample opportunity to comment, and to ask his opinion. We ask him how he would feel if someone took all of his money and his car, and also, how others must feel when it happens to them.

    So sorry your difficult child took your $. I like Trinity's suggestions, especially about locking things up. We've had to do that with-milk products and wheat in our house, because difficult child just cannot seem to stop himself. Underneath it all, they are still children, learning right from wrong, learning self control.
  7. Wishing

    Wishing New Member

    I went to a parochial school where the ten commandments were pounded into our heads everyday.Honor thy father and mother....Thou shalt not steal.... That is one thing I regret that my difficult child didn't have it pounded into his head on a daily basis as 1) He feels a great sense of entitlement and yes he has stolen from me and now I hide my money from him or on me or keep things in a lock box at the bank. I reinforce to him that he stole bc on some level they can rationalize taking things and what scares me more is that after awhile they don't see it as stealing and then it becomes a habit and that is even worse.