Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by DS3, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. DS3

    DS3 New Member

    I'm having a problem with my 4 year old difficult child stealing everything he can lately. What I mean by stealing is he won't ask, he'll just help himself to whatever he wants. This can be anything from toys that I had saved away for his brothers upcoming birthday, to bread/yogurt/food items, money, things from my bedroom, et cetera. I have tried to explain to him that stealing is wrong, and that it is unacceptable behavior. Besides cleaning up the mess he's made, and giving the items back, I don't know what else of a 'consequence' there should be. I read recently that just talking about it may not be effective, and that a stronger 'consequence' should be enforced. Whether it's earning back the money to replace the items, or what not. What does everyone think of this? And consequence suggestions?
  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    This is going to be somewhat unwelcome advice.

    Look around for anything potentially dangerous or valuable. By this I mean medications (including over the counter); some kids think they're like candy. Jewelry. Money. Sharp objects like scissors and knives. Your H is in the Army, right? So - ammo and firearms.

    Can you lock your bedroom door? This will provide a "safe haven" for the things you need to lock up, and though many of our children are accomplished lockpicks, at 4 y/o your son probably isn't.

    As for the food - put things out of his reach or (if you have to) locked up. Unless you have the resources to buy a small refrigerator, I'm afraid the yogurt is going to get eaten.

    Also, a small window-type alarm, available for about $4 at Wal-Mart in the hardware section, could be used to startle him. Put it where you can reach the on-off, but he cannot. That way he sees when YOU open the fridge, it's not a problem, but HE must ask.

    My "little thief" is 16, and we literally had to buy a safe for medications, and a STRONG outdoor lock for the bedroom. She still managed to get in. However, she's none too thrilled that she has felony drug theft on her record.

    At 4, he hasn't quite gotten the connection between what he wants and what he is allowed to have. Given what else I've read about him, it may take a long time before this really connects.

    It hasn't yet with O.


    I finally quit
  3. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    We go through this a lot. Because of the autism they just don't get the boundaries and the impulse control isn't there either. We have locks on the fridge, keyed locks on the outside doors, locks on the laundry room door, difficult child 1 keeps his bedroom door locked when he isn't in it to keep his siblings out. I've tried teaching about not getting into things. The teaching isn't catching on very fast and because of the safety issues I felt I should keep somethings locked up. It doesn't help to get mad at them about it. They'll do it no matter what my reaction is.

    Most people when the lose their keys get locked out of things. When I lose my keys we're locked inside the house because we have to have the key to get out. It has made for some interesting situations.
  4. Free Kittens

    Free Kittens New Member

    Hi DS3,

    Consequences. This is a tough one. Beanz takes things she wants just because she wants them. She seems to be doing less of this as time goes on. I'm not sure what we may have done to help other than keep hitting at her ability (or lack thereof) to understand what it feels like to be in the others shoes, with a bunch of issues. Natural consequences are my favorites when I can come up with them. Like, if he steals X what/how would like be different if X just didn't exist? Example, He stole all your yogurt and now you are just too tired from not having your yogurt and having to make another trip to the grocery store that you don't have the energy to play lego's with him, or the time beacause now you have to go back to the grocery store. I know it sounds a bit over the top, but seems to work with beanz.

    Maybe have a treasure box for him to experience what favored possessions feels like and then ask him what it would feel like if you took them without asking?

    Let me know?
    Free Kittens
  5. DS3

    DS3 New Member

    I guess it's the point for me. I don't feel I should have to have everything under lock and key. It's not teaching him the limit of what he can and cannot do. Of course, me yelling at him about it every time I turn around isn't healthy either. And as my great hubby pointed out, I can't be everywhere, so better safe then sorry (especially when it comes to chemicals). So I broke down and put locks on the pantry, the shed, the garage door, the refrigerator, and the freezer (managed to find some where I didn't have to drill holes into my brand new fridge. :) ). Because of the locks, I am now wondering what else he will get into. It's just frustrating (why I created this thread), especially since I obviously learned not to do these things, so why can't he?

    On a side note, I have noticed that difficult child does better with laid out plans. For example, telling him to clean his room doesn't cut it. I need to tell him the way to clean his room (pick up the toys first, then make the bed, then we can vacuum and call it done). This is something that I picked up on today (we installed locks yesterday), so perhaps some ideas to help incorporate this more into the routine? I have a tendency to forget that he may not fully understand my directions (like what exactly picking up his room means).
  6. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    You shouldn't HAVE to... None of us should. But we do...

  7. DS3

    DS3 New Member

    I know. And that's the part that is frustrating. On a different note: The stick on the fridge type of lock does not work. Granted, he wasn't able t open it, he just ripped it off. I know that there's one out there for like 25.00, but I'm afraid it will do the same thing. Any other ideas on keeping the fridge and freezer closed? One without drilling holes into a brand new fridge? (It's got the freezer on top and fridge on bottom).
  8. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    A window alarm, too high for him to reach to turn it off. Or... With the fridge, you can get used to it.

    Maybe one on his bedroom door? That's not locking him in...
  9. Nina2000

    Nina2000 New Member

    I want to laugh like a lunatic right now! I have the same problem! I am a newlywed and have just acquired a 6 year old adhd/odd step-son. I am losing my mind and may already be headed for divorce! I have my own son (11) that this is taking a toll on, we put a lock on his room door because the 6 year old wouldn't stay out and kept getting into his things. This is my week so far: Monday- 6 yr old takes money that I left out, Tuesday- 6 yr old starts fight with my 11 yr old at school, Wednesday- 6 yr old hides my son's shoes and therefore is late to school. Maybe a week earlier my keys were missing, found them in 6 yr olds dresser.

    The only suggestion I have in the way of positive reinforcement is staying up later on the weekend, dessert or pizza night, friend sleep over. Negative- take away tv, computers, video games.
  10. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    I don't have quite the same problem (only food), but I would suggest you lock the dangerous or other stuff he CANNOT have no matter what.
    As far as the fridge, maybe try to let go a bit. Stuck up on healthy stuff and let him go at it. If it is allowed, maybe he won't do it as much. Maybe, all the "junk" food should never be in the house and only eaten when you guys go out on a special treat (mostly what we do or we have to bake).
    I agree: you should not have to lock everything, but forget the "principles". You have to do what works for you and your family. Bringing some peace of mind is more important. You have obviously tried the conventional way, now you have to be creative.
  11. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    I think of it as picking my battles. I have enough to work on with them and I choose to work on this issue when they're a bit older and can understand better why. difficult child 2 doesn't need the fridge locked any more. difficult child 3 still does. difficult child 2 and difficult child 3 both still need the locks on the outside doors. Just because you lock things up now doesn't mean they will be locked up forever.
  12. DS3

    DS3 New Member

  13. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    Looks good. How are you going to attach it to the inside of the fridge? Attaching it to the outside might result in loud false alarms. I could see my kids thinking it was funny to just bump it, run, and see mom come running.
  14. DS3

    DS3 New Member

    I hadn't thought about that one. Hmm... Maybe I'd better re-think this before purchase.
  15. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the power of the board!
    What one person doesn't think of, the next person has already tried...

    Its kind of like "cloud computing"... no Einsteins here, but enough heads get together, and good things happen.
  16. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    I think there are hooks with adhesive backing you could use, but I don't know how well they'd work in the fridge.
  17. DS3

    DS3 New Member

    I tried that. He didn't figure out how to open it via the 'correct' way. He ripped them off of the fridge and freezer within one day of putting that in place.
  18. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    We used to have to lock up everything. Now, the locks are still there but I never lock them. Occassionally, they will still get into something they shouldn't have but much more typical teen level.
  19. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    What I meant was an adhesive hook to put inside the fridge to hang the alarm on.
  20. DS3

    DS3 New Member

    Right now I have bought a small dog runner and wrapped my fridge in it, and have put a lock through the little loops at the end. I was looking into the alarms since its a pain in the butt if I want to get into the fridge, and especially the freezer (the runner was a bit long, so I wrapped it around the handles. Have to completely undo the freezer one to access).

    I don't know if the cold would interfere with the system or not (on the alarms). It would have to be something I look into. I know when I was growing up, my mom use to have a piggy in the fridge that would oink when the light came on. I was hoping to find something like that, but have yet to come across it.