Theft & difficult child's

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by erbaledge, May 20, 2010.

  1. erbaledge

    erbaledge New Member

    What do you got? I need ideas! I need help! I need suggestions, tips, whatever.

    Gfg15 stole yet again this week from someone at school. My kid needs help! And I do NOT know how to help her! It hurts so very bad to watch her keep making these poor choices.

    PMIC staff have told the school to please let the kids' parents who she stole from know that I WOULD like them to press charges against her - as I see that as the only option that 'might' work at this point. Though, I doubt they will. So my difficult child get's to sit for 24 hours, do some paperwork, and then move on. And that's where we are. The consequences aren't harsh enough I don't think, to deter her from stealing again. Her frequency of stealing is now at an all time high! I think in the past 6 weeks, there's been 4 or 5 instances of theft that have been proven. Part of me wonders, is there more? That we are not aware of?

    What is your experience with difficult child's that started habitually stealing? What worked? What didn't?

    I feel terrible sitting idly by watching my difficult child going down the path to prison in due time. I hate it!

    And I'll add, tomorrow, staff are going to do a thorough strip down search of her school locker - because my debit card is missing, and has been since difficult child was here last. Please I hope not. I pray it's not in her locker! (no worries, the card has been canceled earlier today)
  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Yes, there are more that you do not know about; it is impossible to catch them every time.

    Since these thefts are happening at school, the school can call the police. You do not need the parents to press charges.
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    When you noticed your card was gone, did any charges turn up? If so, have the bank check into them. Have the bank hold the person responsible for fraud even if it is your dtr. Better now that she is young than when she is an adult.

    I agree with you on having the other parents press charges. Keep asking them to do so. They are doing her no favors by not doing it. Explain that to them over and over.
  4. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Sorry that you are dealing with these issues.

    I think asking the school to handle it and call the police to report the thefts is where you start. The rest will come....

  5. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Many of us have locks... In our case, on the bedroom, the sweing room, the computer room and inside the bedroom we have a safe for medications and valuables. Because they can pick locks, too.

    It's a no-win situation... You may even need to search difficult child and her room yourself.

    It hoovers.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My first thought of a teen stealing is DRUGS. My daughter stole a lot when she was using drugs (and dummy me didn't suspect drug use as I'd never been involved with drugs and didn't see the signs). We treated her for bipolar, which she doesn't have (she is clean now).

    I agree you can't know everything she does wrong at her age and I'd get her help. But I'd spring a surprise drug test on her first. Remember, though, not all drugs show up.

    Good luck. I know how hard this is. Been there/done that/have the "I Survived It" tee-shirt.
  7. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    Sadly, this is the story over here, as well....

    I am also hoping that other folks will be willing to press charges, but generally, they don't want to get "involved" over a small item and/or feel like they are doing a good thing by giving the child "a break".

    Hopefully, your daughter will get the message sooner rather than later.

    So sorry...
  8. helpme

    helpme New Member

    Worst case scenario, get a copy of the incident documented within difficult child's
    disciplinary school records. Just get it documented somewhere and
    someplace for future references. Make sure the monetary value of the
    item is included as stealing related charges increase as the value
    of the stolen good(s) increase.
  9. Tiapet

    Tiapet Old Hand

    I'm sorry I have no answers for you, just support. I'm not quite where you are, YET. I'm worried I will be soon enough though. My 13 yo difficult child is stealing constantly too at home and at school but it's low level stuff for now but it is habitual and it's at a klepto level. No rhyme or reason to what she is taking. Nonsense stuff. No drugs involved either at this point but if something doesn't give soon enough, I'm sure she will escalate into worse scenerios based on what I see and known now of her.
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    get a drug test and make her do it or take her to the pediatrician and make them drug test her. Check to see if there are any suspicious charges on the debit card and call the bank. Have school call the police or have the school resource officer arrest her (our resource officers are police officers who are stationed in the schools to do this kind of thing).

    talk to the therapist/psychiatrist to see what they say. Remove as many privileges and non-basic possessions as you can. I would take all her electronics - phone, mp3 player, any stereo she may have, tv, computer, ALL of it would go for my child.

    Is she stealing from stores that you have caught yet? My son did that. Twice. Once was from a dollar store in a city over an hour away where we stopped after I had an appointment in town. husband drove him back to the store to return it, pay for it, and take whatever consequences they wanted to give. The manager is an idiot because even though they have signs posted that shoplifting will be prosecuted, she kept trying to process a return and give them money. We were not amused with her.

    The second time was from a used bookstore that I LOVE. My fave bookstore in the WORLD. I was embarrassed and LIVID! This time I drove him down. We went in and I made HIM tell them what he did. The lady who talked to him is amazing. She used to be a biker, helped her SO raise his boys, has seen and handled everything. She actually made an impact with him. I rose to from good customer to preferred customer. The story of me marching him in is now almost a legend there. They deal with a lot of shoplifting because people think because it is used that no one gets hurt. Apparently many parents get angry with them when their little darlings are caught stealing. Even if darling is a teenager.

    Make her face the music. If she steals from you then YOU need to press charges.

    This is so hard to deal with. I am sorry.
  11. erbaledge

    erbaledge New Member

    I spoke with the Vice Principal yesterday - he said that if the item was not something that belonged to the school, then the school can not press theft charges.
    I did re-iterate to him to please let the other parents know that I HIGHLY urge and want them to press charges. His response, he can not tell that to the other parents because of confidentiality (whatever!), but that he told them that they did have the option of pressing charges - however he said that he does not feel they will, because they were just glad to get the North Face jacket back.
    And then a bit later, he calls me back, oh, they just found ANOTHER item she stole!!! Oh come on now, really?
    So as I type this, the school is still in 'fact finding' status, figuring out all that she's stolen, etc - and will hopefully call me Monday and dole out their consequences. (whoopeedeedooodah! I'm sure it will be just more school suspension)

    PMIC staff did go and do a locker search, and they did not find my debit card. I don't even know that difficult child has been notified that I suspect that there is a slight possibility that she stole it from me, I plan on telling her on Friday at counseling session. We didn't tell her, because I was concerned that it would be something VERY easy for her to dispose of before she got caught with it. Thankfully the card has been 'shut off' and I am awaiting a new one to be mailed - no charges on it that I know of at this point. I pray my stressed butt just lost it and it pops up somewhere at home eventually.

    Regarding drugs - I just do not see it. And I'm not just being a 'blind parent' turning my head. BUT I'm not saying it would be entirely impossible for her to do drugs, but difficult child's overall maturity level is quite low, and the only opportunity she'd have to do drugs would be at school, however she doesn't skip classes at this point, so only during class changeover could she - but I don't see it, but won't say 'not my kid' - I'll put this in the back of my head, and bring it up at counseling this Friday. Depending on her body language and gestures when this topic is brought up, I'm sure the counselor and I will be able to decide if we feel a drug test could be beneficial.

    Yea I do believe they are/have been documenting all the thefts from school. We just did her IEP on 5/7 and under behavior, at my dire request that it be included, it does discuss the 2 demerits she had received by that day and about her stealing/consequences, and that documentation should continue.

    Susiestar, I responded above about the drug testing.
    What is this school resource officer you talk about? A police officer? do most schools have them?

    As for prior stealing - oh yeah! I'd say at the age of 9 or so, she stole something from the local gas station, on 2 different occasions. Both times I marched her butt up there, had her apologize to the manager, and both times I requested them to call the police to talk with-her, the first time they wouldn't as it was her 'first offense' but the second time they listened to me and did call them, though the police were all nicey nice to her.
    After those, and through out the course of the years following, she's stolen items from home while here, usually my make up, my jewelry, just little things. And this continues to be a problem when she comes home for visits so I now remove items that she regularly steals and put them in a hidden places.
    I also remember like 1 1/2 years ago when she became physically violent in one of her rages and she was sent to Shelter for a few days that she even stole some undergarments from another kid there.
    And there was one time an incident where she stole a swim suit from a friend/neighbor we had at the time.

    Now, here's the kicker, EVERY item she has stolen at this point, has been returned to it's rightful owner - thank God! But I just don't get it, it's not like she lacks clothing, make up, etc - the items she steals she already owns, maybe not the exact color/style, but she's got it.

    And it boggles my mind that each time she is confronted about an item that she is being accused of stealing - she will lie/manipulate/cry/scream/promise/etc that she didn't do it, and this can and does go on for hours! BUT eventually, and too late in my opinion, the truth does come out. But she never has appeared remorseful towards her 'victims'.

    She's been at this PMIC since Sept 09, and she's at a new school district, because of location - and this is where she's broadening her theft horizons and stealing from peers at school.

    I keep asking PMIC staff if I can please go through all of my daughter's belongings in her room at PMIC, so I can go thru and mark which one's I KNOW FOR SURE that I gave her or that she received from family, and then I want to go through the 'not sure' stuff and fact find it all to find out whether it was a stolen item or something someone gave her. But they WON'T LET ME! :( (and an angry face, but not sure how to do that on this board, lol)
    I think it's my parental right to do so, but PMIC staff say they can't due to confidentiality because she has a roommate. But my comeback to that is, I won't be touching anything on the roommates side of the room and i won't do it when the roommate is there. So what is the issue? Does anyone know, what are my rights in regard to this?
    Last edited: May 22, 2010
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Erbaledge, you poor thing.

    I've never had exactly your problem, but I will say that when my difficult child stole something from a neighbor's house, they called the police and he was so upset, he will never go into someone else's house again to steal.
    However, if he is invited in and makes friends with-someone, he's got boundary issues and impulse issues and may help himself to something.

    You've gotten some great ideas and advice here.

    I wish I knew your rights in regard to searching her belongings. Seems like if she's underage, you could use that argument. Plus, what if you just wander in and "visit" sometime?
  13. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    So many people want to give kids a "break" these days and don't realize it doesn't help. I hope that you get through to someone and she figures out she is accountable for what she has done. It is a hard road.
  14. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    The stealing could be related to the medications she's on. SSRIs can cause disinhibition. I still think she needs to be weaned from the SSRI to see if it clears up her hallucinations and other strange behaviors she's been exhibiting.
  15. erbaledge

    erbaledge New Member

    Still waiting to see her psychiatric. However, I have brought up this Lexapro issue with another Psychiatrist who is VERY familiar with my gfg15 (he treats my gfg12 and has also treated gfg15 when she gets hospitalized) and I asked one of our counselors - both professionals do not believe given my gfg15's history/medications/behaviors/diagnosis's/etc that the Lexapro is causing any issues for her.

    BUT, I plan on still inquiring with her treating psychiatric. Do you have any direct info I can take with me to inquire about it?
  16. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    Don't have much to add, but wanted to piggyback on Smallworld. We had a couple of instances of stealing from stores when my son was about ten and on Prozac for a couple of months. There was major disinhibition because we had to double his dose of Adderall to get the same control. He also freaked out when he was on Lexapro for a couple of days.

    Not saying anything about your daughter's case, but people do need to be aware that SSRIs can cause serious disinhibition. By the way, my son does not fit the classic diagnosis of bipolar, but definitely has some sort of mood disorder and has done much better on Lamictal and continues his small dose of Adderall to good effect.
  17. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

  18. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    This is what we originally saw with Onyxx... And it was mentioned, she was disciplined, etc. etc. etc. It's escalated. She's been "fortunate" to not be caught shoplifting so far... She will, though. I mean weird stuff - husband's checkbook, my shoes (which didn't fit anyway)... All kinds of odd stuff. We constantly lock doors, etc. - and it still goes on. So... LOTS of hugs. Making a easy child take stuff back, etc. will help (it did with me, I've been paranoid ever since, about 30 years now)... But with a difficult child... It doesn't seem to make a difference. They only show remorse for getting caught, not actually DOING the deed.
  19. compassion

    compassion Member

    Stealing and mania very linked with my daughter. Abilify and lactimal mix has helped a lot. That and locking everything up. Protect you number one. Compassion
  20. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    There is a BIG difference between stealing at age 9 and stealing at age 15. At least in how managers of shops treat you. If she steals from Walmart they are required by corporate to press charges.

    I don't know if all schools have them, but in my state most larger towns have them in at least the high school. My town has them in the high school, jr high and middle school. Some are better than others, and some are really not allowed to do all that they should by the actions of principals who don't want anyone to thing that the school is less than perfect. Our middle school is like that.

    Docs often swear that medications cannot be doing this or that. You must be persistent with them and keep asking to change to X medication type. If you can find articles on the problem it can help a lot. Sometimes they will just give you whatever you ask for just to make you leave them alone, so you have to be careful.

    I hope you can get help soon.

    Oh, if PMIC is a psychiatric hospital type place, someplace difficult child lives, why would she have any belongings with-o her name on them? In each psychiatric hospital Wiz went to his name had to be written on ALL of his belongings. Or his number in the long term psychiatric hospital stay he had. Every sock, shirt, toothbrush, drawing, book, etc... HAD to have his name on it. Otherwise it was considered stolen. Period. Do the kids at your difficult child's PMIC not have to have their names in things? It would sure cut down on squabbles over who owns what and it would make it easier for adults to know if anything was stolen. I actually embroidered his number on his teddy bear. That way it could be removed when he got out.

    I knew one mom who had a teen who stole. Almost anything she could. This mom not only sewed all pockets shut, she made sure outfits had her daughter's name on them. In GIANT letters written with a sharpie so that you could see her name on each piece. If darling daughter did not have her name in giant letters on the legs of the pants, then she stole pants somewhere. Ditto and so on. these letters were so big you could see them across a room. daughter had been caught shoplifting clothes when she was out with mom. She also ruined her siblings things when she took them.

    You could do that with almost any of her things. SHE won't like the clothes, but if it is all she has to wear, what can she do? I would lock up all but the named items and only let her have 7 outfits or so. When she has straightened up then you can let her earn her clothes back. In fact, you could go to a thrift store and buy some stuff that will fit her but not be really appealing to her and write on those. Then you just lock up her other clothing.

    Whatever you choose to do, {{{{{{hugs}}}}}}