Has your child been caught stealing from you or someone else? Have you found them using your credit card for online gaming, taking money from your wallet without asking, or even taking big-ticket items from your house?
The anger, disappointment, and lack of trust you feel can be destructive to your relationship. Empowering Parents coach Carole Banks has some advice.
Stealing is not about you and your parenting—it’s about your child and the inappropriate ways they’re choosing to solve their problems at the moment.
If your child has been caught stealing, you might have wondered, “Why would my child do this after everything we’ve taught them?” Many parents question their own abilities and wonder where they’ve gone wrong with their child when theft is involved.
And while it’s disappointing and frustrating for parents when their child steals, I firmly believe that in most cases, it’s a behavior that can be changed.
There is a big difference between children under the age of 6 taking something compared to older kids who steal. Really young kids don’t have a sense of right and wrong about this issue yet. Their brains haven’t developed enough to think outside of themselves and about others.
If your younger child has been taking things, focus on teaching them the skills of sharing. Teach them to ask for what they would like to have. And teach them to take turns.
When your child gets to be a little older, you need to coach them to say, “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have taken that without asking.” But you don’t want to make them feel like they’re a bad person. And don’t label it as stealing. Instead, make it clear that taking something without asking is wrong.
If your child is nine or older and they’re taking things from you or others, you should treat the problem more seriously. As James Lehman says, “Understand that your child is using faulty thinking as a way to solve their problem.”
The “problem” might be that your ten–year–old wants a new video game but doesn’t have any money. They “solve” it by taking money from your wallet without asking. They’re probably thinking, “I need this money. Mom’s not even going to notice.”
When you catch your child using this faulty thinking, you can say:
“Just because you want something doesn’t mean it’s okay to take it without asking.”
And then ask:
“What should you do next time?”
It’s important that you don’t allow your child to keep what they took. They should never benefit in any way from taking something from someone else. You don’t ever want stealing to pay off.
Many parents will call parent coaching when their kids have taken something from a store. They’re worried their child will be prosecuted if they take the shoplifted item back. They decide to give the child a consequence, such as no T.V., but they allow the child to keep the stolen item.
It’s best to require your child to take the item back to the store. I understand this can be a complicated decision, depending on the age of your child and where you live. This has to be a choice you make after weighing all possible outcomes.
If you decide against having your child take it back, make sure they don’t get off scot-free. Give them consequences at home—and do not let them keep the item. You ultimately want your child to learn that when you harm someone, even if it’s the owner of a store, you should make amends directly to that person. That is why the best lesson is for your child to take the item back.
Related content: Why is My Child Stealing and What Can I Do? Advice for Parents on Kids, Stealing and Shoplifting
I’ve talked with many parents whose kids have used their credit card to buy something online. Often, they’ve used it for gaming. Even if the money is gone and cannot be retrieved, don’t let your child off the hook. They can make amends by doing something extra around the house to work it off. For example, they can clean out the basement, the garage, or do yard work.
The bottom line is that you want to try to teach your child to make amends to the person they’ve wronged. In this case, that person is you. I also recommend that you log on to your credit card account frequently—daily if necessary—to monitor your card’s activity.
If your child is taking large amounts of money or big-ticket items from your home, I think you need to question why. If you think drugs might be involved, there are probably other signs that are telling you that your child has a problem, like changes in mood or personality. You should definitely look into the possibility that they’re taking drugs and rule it out.
If you know your child has a problem, but you haven’t been able to get them off drugs or into treatment, then consider reporting their thefts to the police to get them into the juvenile justice system. Many states have drug courts, where kids do not have to serve sentences in a juvenile detention center as long as they’re in treatment and clean. If you suspect drugs, reporting repetitive theft to the police can be a good course of action.
Here’s the truth: a child who is never made to be accountable will never learn from their mistakes. In your own home, have your kids make amends as directly to you or the injured party. This drives home the meaning of what they’ve actually done. It lets them know that their actions have caused harm to someone.
If your child can’t stop stealing, you need to help level the playing field for them by finding out what’s causing this to happen over and over. You also might want to secure items in your home and keep your wallet in a safe place at all times until your child can learn how to solve their problems more appropriately.
I want to stress that even if you’re worried about your child’s character, don’t let them think that you feel they’re a bad, horrible person. Rather, you need to convey the opposite. They need to make amends and do the right thing because that is what good people do. You want to say things like:
“I know it’s hard, but I believe you can do it.”
When you change your opinion of your child as a person and start thinking that they’re “bad” or that there’s something wrong with their character, there is great potential to harm the relationship. Your child will sense that you have a poor opinion of them and could start to lose hope in their ability to ever change.
If your child continues to take things from you, you will need to firmly address their faulty thinking. There may be an emotional need or impulsivity that drives their behavior.
There are also many parents who call our parent coaching team with adopted kids who steal from their families. Not all adopted kids steal, of course, but sometimes kids with traumatic backgrounds may have trouble trusting other people to meet their needs, so they take food and other items and hoard them.
I often tell parents that if you know for sure that your child has stolen something, act with that knowledge. Just say:
“I think that you used my credit card because you wanted to download some video games. And I’m going to ask you to make amends for that.”
If you don’t know for certain and your child denies the theft, then I don’t think you can give them a consequence. You don’t want to accuse your child of something that they haven’t done because it can end up really backfiring on you. They may act out just because you believe they’re capable of it. Basically, unless you catch your child red-handed, I wouldn’t punish them.
I understand that parents feel hurt and betrayed after their child has stolen something. But try not to take the fact that they stole personally. Stealing is not about you and your parenting. Rather, it’s about your child and the inappropriate ways they’re choosing to solve their problems at the moment.
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Carole Banks, LCSW holds a Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of New England. Carole has worked as a family and individual therapist for over 16 years, and is a former online parent coach for Empowering Parents. She is also the mother of three grown children and grandmother of six.
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If you would like local counseling, we suggest that you look for a family counselor that uses cognitive behavioral techniques, sometimes referred to as CBT, or a family systems counselor. Family counseling, instead of individual counseling, would be in line with the program’s techniques. A great place to begin your search is Psychology Today (https://www.psychologytoday.com/ ). Psychology Today is the leading site on which therapists list their services and you should be able to find many in your area. Our RESOURCES (https://www.empoweringparents.com/resources/) page may be able to connect you to the help you are searching for.
We appreciate you reaching out. Take care.
Thank you for reaching out to Empowering Parents. I can understand your distress. Stealing and lying are both big button issues for many parents. One thing that may help is recognizing that both lying and stealing are more about lack of effective problem solving skills than moral issues or character flaws. It is important to hold her accountable for the behaviors and even more important to help her develop more effective coping and problem solving skills. Sara Bean wrote an excellent article on problem solving skills you may find helpful:https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/.
We appreciate you being part of our Empowering Parents community. Take care.
I agree with what is written in principle. But the bit about stealing credit card to buy game is seriously out of date.
"call your credit card company and have them notify you if someone tries to use your card for online gaming—or whatever type of site your child was on—in the future"
Third party payment methods as well as polymorphic merchant(amazon, microsoft store etc) makes this targeted monitoring almost impossible. In all seriousness, you should get a notification for EVERY transaction. Also reduce risk of other people stealing your credit card for things.
"the game is deleted from the computer"
This... would only work for maybe half the games the day the article is written. Now? 5-10% maybe.
Most games now are sold as digital license, which means deleting the game does nothing, it can be downloaded again "for free" as long as the child still have the account used to make the purchase. Continuous monitoring of computer content is possible but could be difficult if there are also legit game of similar title/genre residing in the device--there are a dozen total wars game, can you tell which is which?
Performing a refund or charge back will likely prevent future access but might result in the entire account associated being banned. If the account only contains "stolen" content, that would be fine. But in case it also contains stuff that the child have earned, potentially by performing chores etc, then I'm not so sure. You guys are probably more of an expert here, is it right for someone to lose access to ten things when he or she have worked for 9 and stolen only the last one?
And I don't even know what can you possibly do if you didn't notice a digital purchase from say two month ago which you cannot perform charge back on(chance of refund is almost nil at this point, so charge back is only thing you can try). Unless the child cooperates and surrender the account and you make it inaccessible(again, same problem as above if there are "legit" stuff on there too), the only solution you have left might be stopping access to the physical device. And if that's what you resort to, beware of multi-platform/device games, you might have to take away ALL his devices.
P.S. I noticed the article because someone posted the exert on this particular section in a chat room. I proceeded to find the article and here we are.
I'm know 20 years old and stuck sleeping in a mobile home next to my parents house. I have access to the kitchen and bathroom that's in the their house.
My sister and her partner and their child live in the house with my parents. I know that I take things, ,I'll inform them before taking anything which is usually agreed and replace as soon as I can. Know I'm being attacked by everyone in the house for stealing anything and everything . My parents have recently bought a camera where they have caught my sister and her partner and their daughter stealing from them expecailly in the bed room and kitchen. But they still have a go at me for it and are thretening to kick me out. Last time it was about stealing chocolate which wasn't me led to them threatened to kick me out. I haven't took anything and I store most of my food in the mobile home, but they come in and steal from me as well I've even started to buy extra such as milk, coffee, sugar, bread and washing powder to try to prevent them having a go at me. But still they have a go at me for taking and tell me not to buy extras. My sisters partner and daughter have made it so hard and stressful to keep and maintain a job because they keep stealing they even used my credit card to buy legal highs . I can't find a full time job where my parents have not got full control over my income, to pay for driving lesson or find suitable accomadtion while trapped in a village 8 miles away from the nearest town is physically making me sick
I enjoyed the article by Carole Banks.
Very informative and I agree with the advice outlined in the article.
Thanks for sharing.
I caught my daughter looking for money to take from siblings money boxes. She is nearly 13 and has been disruptive for some years. Schools have always blamed us for her behaviour. Even though her behaviour has cost me my job and confidence. Her siblings make mistakes. We talk about them and they don't do it again.
We got involved with social care who just like her current school place the blame firmly on us.
I have been sent to parenting classes, mental health assesments (because I got upset talking about her), had every aspect of MY life combed over.
Just now I got a bill from school, even though she takes a healthy lunch to school she has been buying food there so double ate, plus I caught her off guard with a large helping from the fast food outlet.
Social care told us we are to blame for her stealing as we should just give her more money. I don't want to live with this girl anymore since she is destroying the family foundation. SC has no psycolical training but an answer for everything. BLAME THE PARENTS.
Social care in their blindness say she looks a healthy teenager, she is not quite 13 but a firm size 16 in her clothes.
My 9 year old daughter is stealing constantly. From me, from school on a daily basis pretty much. She even has a reputation in the neighborhood as a thief and some of the kid aren't allowed to play with her. She lost her father 3 years ago and I have her in weekly counseling and she also sees a psychiatrist and is on meds for adhd. No matter what the consequence is and no matter what my fiancé and I say to her she continues to steal. Yesterday morning she stole 5 different things from me. I have explained to her that eventually she will be getting serious consequences for this. I really feel like she is addicted to the rush. She is a VERY smart girl she is in gifted classes and I have her in dance and theatre in her school. I don't know what it is going to take for her to STOP. But people are going to be less forgiving because she is al.ost 10 years old now and should know better. I'm fresh out of ideas of what to say or do. Everyone tells her the same things and she doesn't seem to listen.
My daughter sometimes steals money and my wife (her mother) made sure that she did that. I read in her diaries that she did that on purpose to make us angry because she thinks I and my wife are treating our youngest daughter (8 years old) differently. We tried to deal with the situation as quietly as possible. Recently she did the same (we think after a fight with her mother on how my daughter treats her sister).
Her mother confronted her and she claimed that she did not do it and her mother might overlooked her purse. At the end of the day, my wife found out that she returned the money to the purse without saying anything.
My Question is should we (my wife and I) pretend that she found the missing money, or should we not raise the issue any more.? (We are 100% she did that)
I have gone through the article,
This article going to help many parents.
I am looking forward to see more article from you.
It can be so difficult to determine what you should do when your child is engaging in a behavior such as stealing from you. Part of the reason for this is that parenting can be intensely emotional at times, and this emotion can cloud our judgment. One technique that can be helpful is to think about how you would respond if it were someone other than your son who took the money from your account. What would you do if it were a neighbor or a friend who did this? The answer you arrive at should then apply to your son. I hope this is helpful. Take care.
I hear how challenging your daughter’s behavior has been for
you, and I’m glad that you are reaching out for support.Even though you do not believe that she would
follow through on it, I encourage you to take her threats of suicide seriously
and develop a safety plan.If she is
serious, then you have a plan that will keep her safe from harm.If she is making these statements in an
effort to gain attention, or manipulate the situation, by following the plan
you are letting her know that these statements are not going to help her
achieve that.If you are not currently
working with anyone, I encourage you to contact http://www.familylives.org.uk/ at 0808 800 2222 for
assistance in developing a safety plan for your daughter.I recognize how difficult this must be for
you right now, and I wish you and your family all the best moving forward.Take care.
Stealing is such a challenging behavior for many families to
address, so you are not alone.I’m glad
to see that you are throwing the junk food away when you discover it.As pointed out in the article, it is
important to ensure that a child does not benefit from a choice to steal.Something to keep in mind is that inappropriate
behavior is often the https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/.In
other words, your son is likely stealing because he wants junk food and sees taking
money as a way to get it.This does not
mean that this behavior is acceptable, though.I encourage you to talk with your son during a calm time, and develop a
plan for what he can do differently the next time he is tempted to take money.In addition, you and other members of your
household might consider securing your money, at least until your son improves
his self-control and problem-solving skills.I recognize how difficult this must be for you, and I hope that you will
write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family.Take care.
my 17 year old son's girlfriend was wearing a ring that I am missing. I asked her where she got it since my husband gave me one just like it many years ago. she said her mother gave it to her.
I thought he had taken it to buy pot . He said he didn't take it.
I have a 14 year old daughter who we have caught lying on several occasions about different things. Recently we caught her stealing money from us. Underwear was also appearing
which i confronted her about and she would say a friend gave it to her. this morning I cleaned out her room and there is bag full items which I've never seen before. I'm really not sure how to handle this. Many of the items are fancy under wear from the same store and are new. I look forward to hearing from you.
Lying and stealing are challenging issues for many parents
to address, and you are not alone in this situation. Because you do not
know for certain whether your daughter stole these items, or if her friend did
give them to her, I wouldn’t recommend giving her a consequence. The
reason being, if her friend actually did give her those, and you give her a
consequence for stealing, it could do a lot of damage to your relationship with
her. Instead, I recommend talking with your daughter during a calm time,
and set some limits moving forward. For example, it might be that if a
friend wants to give her clothing or other items in the future, it has to be
approved by you first. I recognize how difficult this must be for you,
and I hope you will write back and let us know how things are going for you and
your family. Take care.
I hear you, and I
understand your anger and disappointment upon discovering that your son stole
your husband’s work truck. As Carole points out in the article above, calling
the police is an option that is available to you to hold your son accountable
for his actions, and ultimately, it is up to you whether you want to formally
report this theft. As James Lehman points out in his article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/why-is-my-child-stealing-and-what-can-i-do-advice-for-parents-on-kids-stealing-and-shoplifting/, whether you decide to report it or not, we recommend
having a https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/ with your son as well as determining how he will make amends
to your husband. We do not recommend spanking him or using other forms of
corporal punishment because it will not teach him what to do differently in the
future. I recognize how difficult this situation must be for you and your
family, and I wish all the best moving forward. Take care.
It can be so difficult when you watch your child continue to
make poor decisions despite what you have modeled to him and tried to teach
him. As Carole points out in the article above, calling the police is an
option available to you with your son continuing to take your credit
cards. I also understand that this is not a decision to be made lightly,
and it’s one with which many parents struggle. If it is an option you are
considering, I encourage you to contact your local law enforcement agency
during a calm time, and talk about what you might expect if you did call to
report his actions. We have a free downloadable worksheet which can guide
this conversation; you can get a copy https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-talk-to-police-when-your-child-is-physically-abusive/.
In addition, if you are worried that your son might attempt suicide or
otherwise try to harm himself, I encourage you to contact the http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to discuss your concerns and develop a
plan to keep your son safe. I recognize how difficult this must be for
you and your family, and I wish you all the best moving forward. Take
We appreciate you writing in to Empowering Parents and
sharing your story. Because we are a website aimed at helping people become
more effective parents, we are limited in the advice and suggestions we can
give to those outside of a direct parenting role. Another resource which
might be more useful to you is the Boys Town National Hotline, which you can
reach by calling 1-800-448-3000, 24/7. They have trained counselors who talk
with kids, teens and young adults everyday about issues they are facing.
They also have options to communicate via chat, email, and live chat which you
can find on their website, http://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org/
We wish you the best going forward. Take care.
My ten year old son has been stealing money from me in the past year. Not just a couple of dollars either. He has done it 3-4 times and each time it was about $60-$80. I thought we had it under control. He took the money to school and gave it to a friend to buy candy bars. We had our son do some yard work for friends of ours to pay us back. He had to do quite a bit of work over a period of a couple weeks. I also put a pad lock on my purse for a few months to make sure that he didn't do it again. We thought that he learned his lesson and I quit locking my purse up and he did fine for a long time. But then just yesterday he stole $70 from my purse. I don't know what else to do to get him to stop this problem. He also steals food from us, mostly candy. He is very sneaky and and searches for all of our hiding spots. We are beside ourselves to get this under control. Here is a little background on him. He has been diagnosed with ADHD, he seems to have impulse control issues with all the candy and money he steals, he has behavior/anger issues with authority. He struggles a lot in school, is immature for his age ect. Everytime he does something and we give him a consequence we think he's learned. He stops for a while and then it happens again. I don't know what else to do, but know that we need to get a handle on it now before he gets older and it gets worse. Please help me know what to do. I wonder if he needs something that really scares him into never doing it again, like police involvement in some form.
@Tami Hi, Tami- My daughter is 15 and has been doing the same thing for years. I've seen it ramp up from stealing my make-up, my nail polish, tons of candy, markers from teachers at school, white-out from other students, her siblings' allowance, and now $ directly from my wallet and my piggy-bank on my dresser. She denies it at first, and then ultimately admits it. I lose my cool and tell her that the choices she's making are putting her on a bad path, and beginning to define who she is. Apparently, according to the article above, I shouldn't be saying those things.
We have removed all those items and hidden them in our garage, and now it looks like I'll have to start locking up my $. I never thought I'd have these problems and my other two kids are equally mind-boggled and upset. Negative consequences like grounding her never seem to work and I can't get her to follow thru on payback b/c she's really incompetent with chores. I've tried guilting her and it seems to work in the short term but then she goes right back to her sneaky ways. She also suffers severe ADD and impulse control. I don't know what to do! She already sees a therapist and is already on ADD meds, but obviously they're not working. The therapist suggested we give her more freedoms with $, and all that's done is allow her to use her "allowance" for candy purchases and she's still stealing! Can you tell me if you've come up with any solutions? Just know you're not alone...I'm so worried she's going to end up becoming a real criminal and getting arrested!
Stealing is such a challenging behavior which many kids
exhibit. I speak with many parents who describe similar situations where
a child was caught stealing, given consequences, yet still continues to steal
when the opportunity presents itself. You are not alone! Something
to consider is that simply giving your son consequences is not likely to change
this pattern, and finding more severe ways to punish him or scare him isn’t
necessarily going to be more effective. This is because consequences
alone do not teach kids what to do differently next time. Instead, it’s
going to be more useful to have a https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/ in which you discuss what was going on right before he decided
to steal, and to come up with a specific plan for how he can handle similar
situations differently in the future. I recognize how frustrating this
must be for you. Please let us know if you have any additional questions.
I had an incident yesterday where I think my cousins daughter stole some money from my son. I class her as my niece as we are all so close. My son is 6 and my niece is 9. They get on great and there have never been any problems.
Yesterday we all went out to the park but my son became very poorly and desperately wanted to go home as he felt so bad. This caused my niece to be a little annoyed as she wanted to stay at the park.
We all went back to mine and my son and niece went to play in his bedroom. My cousin and I had a cup of tea whilst the children played and they played fine. No problems. They left after an hour or so.
When my son and I woke this morning he said he would like to go into town and have a look around. He still had 3 pounds left over from the tooth fairy last week so I thought he could put it towards something. When I went to his bedroom to get his money from the top of his bedside table there was only 1 pound coin left. I asked my son if he had moved the money and he said no. I do believe him as he has no reason to lie and he was quite upset when he realized the rest of his tooth fairy money was missing. My son is always giving my niece things like little toys and pencils. He is very kind and loves to share his things with her. I asked if he had given her any of his money but he said no because he was saving it for a game.
I know it's only 2 pound but that's not the point. It's the fact it was his first tooth and he was over the moon the tooth fairy had finally visited and left him money. I cannot say she definitely took itbecause I did not watch her take it, but it was there before she came and this morning we realized it was gone and she was the only person who had been in his bedroom. I don't know wat to do. I don't want to tell my cousin as I almost feel embarrassed to say anything. But should I tell her so she knows what's going on?
Please help I'm so unsure ?
I hear you. It can
be very challenging to know how to address a situation when it is someone other
than your own child who may have acted inappropriately. As Carole points
out in the article above, it’s not recommended to give your niece consequences
or to confront your cousin about this because you don’t know for certain what
happened. Instead, it could be most effective to focus on your own
actions instead, because that is something that you can control. For
example, you might take steps to ensure that money is not left out in the open
when people come over to your house in order to limit the opportunity anyone
has to take it, or you might talk with your son about the importance of keeping
money or other valuables out of plain sight. I recognize how difficult
this must be for you, and I hope you will check back and let us know how things
are going for you and your family. Take care.
When you have a child who does not respect other people’s
boundaries or personal property, it can be very challenging. You are not
alone. Something to keep in mind is that simply giving your daughter
consequences for stealing makeup and other items is probably not going to
resolve this issue. This is due to the fact that consequences are not
going to teach her what to do differently the next time she is tempted to go
through someone’s belongings, or take something that doesn’t belong to
her. It could be helpful to have a https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/ with her which outlines specific strategies she can use to
avoid stealing in the future. In addition, as Carole notes in the article
above, we do not recommend giving your daughter consequences if you are not
100% certain that she actually took an item. Instead, it can be more
helpful to reduce the opportunity she has to take items that are not hers, as
you have been doing with your makeup. I recognize that this is not an
easy situation to be in, and I wish you all the best moving forward. Take
I have a 12 year old son who stole money last summer from my husband (his dad). It was a pretty good about, i believe it was at least $200, in addition to several gift cards he stole from his siblings. We gave him consequences and made him return his remaining gift cards to the rightful owners. Much of what he spent the money on, as far as we know, was spent on snacks and food, and not anything more that could be returned. Today, my husband was missing $40 and my other sone was missing $20. We called my 12 year old in to the room and asked him if he had anything to tell us. He did confess to stealing money from both his dad and brother, initially argued that it was only $20 taken from his dad and insisted it was only $20, but when we counted what he had left it didn't add up (he had $10 left). He immediately started crying after he admitted it and said he didn't know why he does that and he was very sorry. We are pretty upset, especially after last summer, and worried about our son and his behavior. I honestly do not know how to proceed, as lying is a big problem with this child and it happens often. He also is at the forefront of most fights between his siblings. I would appreciate any advice you have to give.
Thank you and Sincerely,
Stealing is a troubling, yet common behavior for many kids
your son’s age; you are not alone. As Carole Banks points out in the
article above, kids frequently use stealing as a faulty way to solve some kind
of problem. Therefore, it can be useful to have a https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/ with him during a calm time about his choice to steal: what
was going on right before he chose to take the money? What other choices
can he make if he is in a similar situation in the future? I also
recommend having him repay the money he took, even if he has already spent it
on items that cannot be returned. In this way, he is not benefitting from
his choice to steal. For example, he could do his brother’s chores for a
certain period of time to work off the money taken from him, or do extra work
around the house to repay his dad. I recognize what a challenging
situation this can be, and I appreciate your reaching out for support.
Please let us know if you have any additional questions. Take care.
It sounds like your family has been through quite a bit
lately, between the loss of your family member and your daughter’s
actions. It’s good that you’re here and reaching out for support.
I’m glad to hear that your daughter is working with someone locally who can
help her to learn safer and more appropriate coping skills she can use when she
is upset. I also recommend that you work with her therapist to develop a
plan you can implement to keep her safe if she continues to engage in dangerous
or self-harming behavior. I also hope that you are taking care of
yourself at this time. Self-care is an important part of parenting which
is often overlooked. Taking care of yourself can take many forms, from
engaging in an activity you enjoy, to using more structured supports, such as
counseling or a support group. Your daughter’s counselor might be able to
inform you of services available to you in your area if you are
interested. I recognize how challenging this must be for you right now,
and I wish you and your family all the best as you continue to move
forward. Take care.
My mom is mentally unwell. Since I started work my brother had responsibility of my mother's finances (card ). Anything my mother needs to be honest I pay for with my own money inc house bills etc. So her card should be untouched really, except for when she needs something she doesnt want me to pay for. I just ordered a bank statement and it looks like he has taken money from her everyday for the past months. Around 6 - 7 thousand.
I'm so angry because this previously happened with older siblings in my family. Who would rinse my mom. (I couldnt do much back then because I was a lil kid). That's the main reason I let THIS brother have the card when I startrd full time work so he can protect it, protect her. I did not expect this from him at all. But looks like he has been doing exactly the same thing the others did. I am so angry that he could take advantage of my mother's situation like this. I just want to kick him out of the house on her behalf because she doesn't deserve it.
Even though my mother doesn't understand much I still had to tell her that all her money is gone because it is her money. She seemed to understand a little as she looked sad and disappointed when I told her. But she went silent and as usuall is mentally incapable of dealing with these things.
There are no older cousins or close friends of families that I can trust enough to help me confront ny brother about this. And I need to confront him because she can't. I've never had to do such a thing as I am the youngest. So I need help. May seem silly but How can I start the conversation off and what questions can I ask without making him feel cornered. And what if he denies it. Should I or shouldn't I get the other older siblings involved considering they did exactly the same thing as him and probably would still if they had the chance.
I won't do the above unroll I get a response, hopefully asap.
We appreciate you writing in to Empowering Parents and
sharing your story. I am so sorry to hear about the current situation you
are facing with your brother, and your mother’s finances. Because we are a
website aimed at helping people become more effective parents, we are limited
in the advice and suggestions we can give to those outside of a direct
parenting role. It may be helpful to look into local resources to help you develop
a plan for addressing your particular questions. One resource that might be
helpful is http://www.familylives.org.uk/, which you
can reach by calling 0808 800 2222. They might be able to talk with you
about what is going on in your family, and talk through your options. We
wish you the best going forward. Take care.
We appreciate you writing in to Empowering Parents and
sharing your story. I hear how much you care about and love your brother,
and want him to stay safe and don’t want him to leave your home. Because we are
a website aimed at helping people become more effective parents, we are limited
in the advice and suggestions we can give to those outside of a direct
parenting role. It may be helpful to look into local resources to help you
develop a plan for addressing your particular issues. One that might be
beneficial to you is the Kids Help Phone service. They offer free,
confidential 24/7 phone and web counseling, which you can reach by calling
1-800-668-6868 or by visiting http://www.kidshelpphone.ca
When you reach out, you will be connected with a counselor who will listen and
help you look at your options in this situation. We wish you the
best going forward. Take care.
I hear you. On one hand, you want to give your
daughter consequences for her choice to steal money from you. On the
other, you want to keep her safe, and do not want her to self-harm. We
would not recommend taking away the college courses from your daughter, because
that sounds like a positive step for her, and it is not going to teach her what
to do differently the next time she is tempted to take money that does not
belong to her. If you are not already doing so, I encourage you to work
with local resources, such as a counselor or therapist, who can help you to
develop a plan to hold your daughter accountable while keeping her safe.
If you need assistance finding someone in your community, try contacting the http://www.211.org/ at 1-800-273-6222. I
recognize how tough this situation is for you, and I wish you and your family
all the best. Take care.
It’s quite common
for parents to have differences in opinion over how to address problematic
behavior, and effective discipline techniques. When you are a co-parent
of stepchildren, it can become even more challenging to overcome these
differences. As James Lehman advises in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/my-blended-family-wont-blend-help-part-i-how-you-and-your-spouse-can-get-on-the-same-page/, it is important for you and your husband to communicate
during a calm time about how to address these issues, so you can present a
united front to your stepchildren. If you are having difficulty finding
common ground, it can sometimes be beneficial to involve a neutral third-party,
such as a marriage and family counselor experienced in working with blended
families, to help you sort through these issues. For assistance locating
resources in your community, try contacting the http://www.211.org/ at 1-800-273-6222. Please be sure to write back and let us know
how things are going. Take care.
Hi, thanks for reaching out to Empowering Parents with your
question.It can be frustrating and
upsetting when kids take things that don’t belong to them, and then use the
faulty problem solving skill of lying to try to cover it up. There are a couple
of ways you can address this behavior with your son, but taking soccer away is
not something we would recommend, as that is a pretty big consequence for one poor
choice. It doesn’t serve to help him learn the correct behavior you want to see
from him, and can create opportunities for additional behaviors and resentment.
Janet Lehman, co-creator of our https://www.empoweringparents.com/product/total-transformation-program/ program, has a great article called, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/i-caught-my-child-lying-how-to-manage-sneaky-behavior-in-kids/, where she addresses
the issue of stealing and why kids lie, as well as how to hold them accountable
for their poor choices in a way that is effective. Please let us know if you
have any more questions!
Stealing is a
troublesome issue for many families, and many parents and grandparents struggle
to address it effectively. As James Lehman points out in his article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/why-is-my-child-stealing-and-what-can-i-do-advice-for-parents-on-kids-stealing-and-shoplifting/, it tends to be most effective when the consequences for
stealing are paired with a discussion about your granddaughter’s choice to
steal, and what she can do differently moving forward. In addition, as
you mentioned that food is a frequently targeted item, I also encourage you to
check in with her doctor to rule out any underlying concerns which might be
contributing to this behavior. I recognize how challenging this must be
for all of you, and I hope that you will check back and let us know how things
are going. Take care.
I hear how much you want your sister to learn from her
choices. Because our site is designed for parents who are experiencing
behavior issues with a child, we are limited with the suggestions we can offer
to you for your sibling. Another resource which could be more helpful is
the Boys Town National Hotline. Their staff are better able to answer
questions which arise for teens and young adults in their families, and could
talk with you about your options for how you can help your sister. You
can call 24/7 at 1-800-448-3000, or visit their website at http://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org/. They
also offer chat, text and email options for support through their
website. Thank you for the kind words about our article, and I wish you
and your family all the best. Take care.
My 10 year old son spent almost 300 $ as in app purchases on his mobile using my debt card. They were facebook games.
How should i deal with to prevent this happening again.?
I took his mobile and deactivated his facebook account.
Stealing is a tough situation to
deal with. It is understandable you are looking for ways to avoid it from
happening again. As Carole Banks points out in the above article, it is best to
focus on problem solving and alternative ways your son can handle a situation
in the future when he wants something but does not have the money to buy it.
Carole also recommends you have your son make amends to you for stealing from
you. You could have him do some extra chores around the house as a way to make
it up to you. Taking away his privileges indefinitely is not going to change
his behavior, but helping him develop better ways to solve his problem will. I
hope this helps to answer your question. Thank you for writing in.
Hi there! Thanks for writing in with your question! Because
you don’t have proof that your son took any money from your husband’s wallet,
there is not much else you can do. The reality is that there is a chance your
son did not take the money at all, and accusing him of such without proof can
be damaging to your relationship with him. Going forward, it can be helpful to
make sure wallets, purses and other valuables are locked away in a safe place
to reduce the risk of missing money, in the event your son did take the
money. At a calm, neutral time, you may also remind everyone in the home
about your rules against taking things that don’t belong to them, without
permission. Best of luck to you and your family going forward!
My 25 year old son took $500 and admitted it when I confronted him about it. I also found out he flunked 4 of his 5 subjects this semester when he was supposed to be graduating from college. In the past he has lied about a lot of things like what time he gets home and where he goes. He denies he's into drugs but that could be a lie, too.
I feel deeply saddened by the choices he makes and pray there is hope for him and he can still turn his life around. I already set my boundaries with him and if he steals from me or his father and brothers then he's not welcome to live with us anymore.
Is there hope for adult children like him? Are there those who were able to change for the better and live productive lives?
How upsetting this must have been for you. I can understand
your desire to hold her accountable for taking such a large sum of money.
Removing dance lessons as a way of holding her accountable is one option.
Taking something away indefinitely or forever usually doesn’t have the impact
we think it will. In all honesty, you can’t punish a child into better
behavior. A more effective approach might be allowing her to earn dance
lessons back by making amends. This could be done in several ways. In your
particular situation, you might have her complete extra chores around the house
as a way of paying back the money she owes. You could also withhold a certain
number of lessons, however many as would equal $200, as a way of paying back
the money is another option. What’s going to be even more important than
holding her accountable is helping her develop better problem solving skills.
While I can’t say what the exact motivation was for taking the money,
considering she gave the money away to her classmates makes me think she may
have done it as a way to gain friends or make the other kids like her more. As
adults, we realize you can’t really “buy” friends. At 10, your daughter
probably wasn’t seeing it from the same perspective. It may be beneficial to
sit down with her again and talk about the situation, only instead of asking
her why, ask her what she was thinking before she took the money or when she
was giving it to her friends. This may help you get to the faulty thinking that
was behind your daughter’s choice. For more information on how to have a
problem solving conversation with your daughter, check out the article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/. Best of
luck to you and your daughter as you work through this issue. Take care.
You certainly have a lot on your plate trying to manage and
address all of these behaviors. It would probably be most effective to pick one
behavior to focus on at a time. Quite truthfully, it’s not going to be possible
to deal with everything all at once and trying to do so will probably cause
you, and your daughter, to feel overwhelmed. Carole Banks has some great tips
for how to decide where to start in her article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/my-childs-behavior-is-so-bad-where-do-i-begin-how-to-coach-your-child-forward/.
Another article you may find helpful is https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/in-over-your-head-how-to-improve-your-childs-behavior-and-regain-control-as-a-parent/. It may also be of benefit to find out if there are any community
resources available to offer you and your family additional support. The 211
Helpline would be able to give you information on services such as family
counseling, parent support groups, respite care, and other programs. You can
reach the Helpline 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-273-6222 or by going online
to http://www.211.org/. We wish you the best of luck
moving forward. Take care.
I can understand your frustration. It can be tough to know
what to do when your child continues to behave in a way that goes against your
family values. I think it can be helpful to recognize that stealing isn’t a
moral issue or a character flaw – it’s a reflection of poor problem solving
skills. And while your son may know that the behavior is wrong, he hasn’t yet
developed more appropriate ways of solving the problem of wanting something
that belongs to someone else. As Carole Banks points out in the above article,
helping your son develop better problem solving skills is going to be an
important step in managing this behavior. For more information on how to have a
problem solving conversation with your son you can check out the article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/.
Another article you may find helpful is https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/i-caught-my-child-lying-how-to-manage-sneaky-behavior-in-kids/. We
appreciate you writing in and sharing your story. Take care.
Stealing is one of the behaviors that can cause a lot of
anger and distress. Many parents wonder what they can do to address the
behavior, and hold their child accountable, especially when it doesn’t seem as
though consequences have any effect. It may help to know that for most kids
stealing is directly related to poor problem solving skills. Your son sees something he
wants and, lacking the impulse control or ability to plan for a way to get it,
he steals from you. While the behavior certainly isn’t OK, it also isn’t that
uncommon. The above article offers some great tips for addressing this
worrisome behavior. Another article you may find helpful is https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/i-caught-my-child-lying-how-to-manage-sneaky-behavior-in-kids/. It’s also
going to be important to continue working closely with your son’s psychologist
as he knows your son and is in a much better position to determine an
appropriate course of action. We appreciate you writing in. Take care.
You ask a question we hear often at this time of year,
should a parent use the Prom as a consequence? The quick answer to that
question is no. In order for a consequence to have an impact on future
behavior, it needs to be something the child can earn back by making better
choices in the future. Using special events or occasions as consequences rarely
works to turn behavior around and often will result in resentment. You may find
these articles useful for deciding what an appropriate consequence might be: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/using-consequences-to-maintain-your-parental-authority/ & https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/kids-who-ignore-consequences-10-ways-to-make-them-stick/. I hope this helps to
answer your question. Take care.
Thank you so much!!
Many parents wonder what they did wrong when their child
acts out. As Kim Abraham and Marney Studaker-Cordner explain in their article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/parenting-truth-you-are-not-to-blame-for-your-childs-behavior/#lf-content=36684174:490119954, you’re not
responsible for the choices your child makes. From what you have written, it
sounds like there most likely will be natural consequences for the choice your
son made to steal. The most effective thing you can do at this point is allow
those natural consequences to occur. I know that may be tough to do but
rescuing a child from the natural consequences of his choices doesn’t allow him
to feel the discomfort of those poor choices. I hope this situation is resolved
quickly. Best of luck to you and your family moving forward. Take care.
@I Need Help
I’m sorry to hear your son bought an Xbox without your
permission. I’m not sure what the legal consequences might be in this case. It
may be helpful to speak with someone who is aware of the laws and procedures in
your area. Your local Clerk of Courts or police department might be able to
answer this question. You could also speak with legal counsel. The 211 Helpline
would be able to give you information on legal resources in your area. You can
reach the Helpline 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-273-6222. You can also find
them online at http://www.211.org/. Good luck to you and
your son moving forward. Take care.
I can hear how much you want to help your son. However,
you’re also aware of your own limits and boundaries. It can be heartbreaking to
watch someone you love make such poor choices. Unfortunately, those choices can
have a negative impact on those around your son, including you. It’s
understandable you would be reluctant to have your son move back into your home.
The bottom line is your son is now an adult and he is where he is because of
the choices he has made. As tough as it may be to let him deal with the
consequences of those choices, setting limits that help you maintain your
boundaries is probably the best course of action in this situation. Hang in
there. I know this is a hard place to be as a parent. Best of luck to you and
your son moving
forward. Take care.
My daughter is 8 and we have been staying with my boyfriend for the past 6 months. She a very caring, respectful, helpful and lovely young lady. But for the last couple of weeks my boyfriend noticed he was missing $20. He just thought he miss counted money. Then last night he was missing another $20. Now we where getting concerned. We thought another adult stole the money. Until last that night I checked her wallet and $40 was in there. We spoke with her and she said she was jealous my boyfriend's daughter had more money then her and she was holding it to show her and that she wasn't going to spend it. I let her know how upset and disappointed we where in her and made her apologize to my boyfriend. Now my boyfriend says he is not mad and does not think any less of her. I just don't know what to do next and what her punishment or make up to him should be.
Very very sad Mother ?
My son stole keys. Lots of them. I found a set with a name tag and number. I rang the number. The owner had lost his job after the apartments he minded were broken into. He called to my house and asked me to report the incident to clear his name. I did this. My son was on CCTV with his friends. The police gave my son a caution with myself present. I didn't bring him up to behave as he did that day. He was as rude and "stupid" in his manner as he could manage to make out it was ultimately my fault. Damages needed to be paid as they had trashed the vacant apartment and as he was under 18 the cost fell to me. Himself and his friends were already stealing from me whilst I was out working.
He rarely attended school although I drove him there (often with his friends who I'd have fed breakfast to). He'd walk out as soon as I drove off.The police would call, tell me to collect him from the station.I'd leave work and collect him, he'd jump out at the first junction or hit me. The school called in the social services who appointed him a worker. I had changed the locks on the house to stop me being burgled every day but they insisted I give the keys back to him. I had to work. They went through everything. Stuck chewing gum above the headboard in every bedroom.
I was young when I had him to a very abusive man I thought loved me.It took me 3 years to escape this man and I told no lies when he was given no access or parental responsibility for my son. This is the man that tried to drown him in the bath at 6 weeks old, never mind what he did to me. I got out, moved country, got a job, house, car, traveled many countries with my son and supported us fully.I hadn't banked on there being facebook. I don't do facebook etc.I thankfully met my life partner (the one that you have to wait for).We set up home and put my son into his chosen college course which he left within 2 weeks.We offered him a job within the company, driving lessons,a car. We told him on his 18th birthday that if he wouldn't help us he would have to go (money provided via birthday for flat).He moved in with foreign girls for a while. Told them he was an alcoholic that needed help(he couldn't drink a pint).I constantly got calls for money. The answer was work for it and I'll give it to you.He returned to the area and again I offered his bed in return for help. He visited me for a weekend with a girlfriend.I felt sorry for her, like looking at myself with his father.He rang me a week later saying he was getting new "stuff". I asked him how he could afford it.He said he'd been smart.My partner came in at this moment to tell me he needed me to look at something. There on the PC was an article published by a leading national newspaper and a podcast of an interview on the local radio.My son had signed on to indigogo(an american donations site)and in order to get as much publicity to his cause had contacted the media. 32,000 people read my son's story before I had it taken down. Thousands left terrible comments about me. The radio station broadcast the 20min interview twice and released a podcast. He said I'd made him homeless at 15 and how he slept under bridges etc. and would have attended school etc. if he could have done. All his life he got away with playing the victim at my expense - without me even knowing.Do you know how many expensive clothes I put on his back, how I gave him what he wanted/needed?And even now I don't begrudge him that as that's what I needed to do for me.He knew my weaknesses as I knew his. Having been manipulated I didn't do it to him.I told him I was proud of him.He repaid me by going to every person I ever knew (friend or foe) and killing me.He said he wants me dead, threatened to do it in detail- I am to be despised as a failure.I should have sued the newspaper/radio. I didn't.I would now but it's too late-it took me this long to process it all.I had a position where you'd recognise me-now I'm afraid.I've been treated terribly by strangers who believe him. I never told him how bad his father had been.Children are two halves of their parents and I didn't want him to carry what his father had done. I did however think that in the future he would need to know his father. I just said that I wanted him to be able judge for himself when the time came and need nothing.I hadn't planned on there being facebook.His half siblings and himself started chatting and this could well have been contributory to the problems.I blame myself, have no friends (they're just nosy and believe him as it's a better story) and hate my son. That's a lot of stuff inside a mild mannered human being like me.If I could go back I would never have had him.I'd have given him up to social services rather than mind and lie for him.He is still torturing me via family and past friends.Facebook allows him to say this stuff and there natural reaction is to feel sorry for him. This is his method. I did love my son, did my best (I am only human).
My daughter stole 30k what do I do also the money was stolen from her and she continues to steal
Stealing and lying
are two very challenging behaviors for parents to face. Something that I
often remind parents is that the role of consequences is not to make your child
“care” about what he has done, or to change his behavior; their role is simply
to hold him accountable for his actions. It can also be helpful to talk
with him about what he will do differently the next time he is tempted to
steal. In addition to the suggestions in the article above, you might
also find our articles https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/child-discipline-consequences-and-effective-parenting/ and https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/why-is-my-child-stealing-and-what-can-i-do-advice-for-parents-on-kids-stealing-and-shoplifting/ helpful as you move forward. Take care.
Advice.... Our 8 y/o daughter took a digital camera from her father's house to school and then to my house and hid it.
Straight A student, has her own Fuji mini8 camera. Very kind and we'll rounded child and her father and I are friends and co-parent very well together. Why on earth would she sneak his camera? My only thought is she is very interested in photography since she got her instant camera. But she could have asked and borrowed his!! She is sad and remorseful, and knows she has disappointed us. But I'm just not sure what her punishment should be.... As for now I've taken all technology and Christmas presents away. She may quietly read or draw.
It can be disheartening when your child takes something that
doesn’t belong to her. When she steals from a parent, it can leave you feeling
hurt and betrayed. It may help to recognize that stealing is a reflection of
faulty problem solving skills, as mentioned in the above article. You may find
it helpful to have your daughter makes amends to her father for taking his
camera instead of withholding Christmas gifts or technology for an undetermined
amount of time. An amends, in the form of paying rent on the item or doing
another task to make it up to her father, is a way for your daughter to take
responsibility for the choice she made. For more information on ways of
addressing stealing in younger children, you can check out some of our other
articles here: http://empoweringparents.com/category-Stealing.php. We appreciate you writing in and sharing your
story. Take care.
I’m sorry you are having to deal with this type of behavior
from your adult son. It can be tough as a parent to know how to address
stealing. The above article offers some great tips for things you can do to
hold your son accountable for his stealing, such as calling the police if he is
stealing from you or other family members. Another article you may find helpful
is https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/rules-boundaries-and-older-children-part-ii-in-response-to-questions-about-older-children-living-at-home/. In it, James Lehman offers parents of adult
children helpful tips for addressing some of the challenges they may face. I
hope you find this information useful for your situation. We appreciate you
writing in. Take care.
My almost 13 year old daughter has been stealing money from myself and my fiance for over a year now, before she was caught, he was constantly acusing her, and I would defend her because neither of us caught her in the act.
He decided to count his money right before dinner one day, she disappeared during dinner and money went missing from our room, he said it was her, I didn't believe it and it caused a huge argument. I confronted her, she denied it to the point of tears, until her sisters brought the money they found to me. After that she changed her story and said she was acting out because she I won't let her see her dad, but the thing is, she has been caught stealing since before I left her father, so I don't believe the excuse she has given. I can not do anything about her father, he is absent her life, and having him in her life right now may not be a great idea anyway, he has a dependency problem, he stole from me for several years while we were together and would take her with him when he sold my stuff, I try not to compare the two, but it's more than fustrating.
Needless to say, the stealing is causing a strain on my new relationship, my fiance wants me to get a handle on it before it get worse and I agree, but aside from talking to her and explaining why it's wrong and trying to understand why she does it, I have no idea what to do.
JLV1977 What I would do. First contact the parents of the girl explain so as not to make your son look bad..ie: he took the wrong necklace.....Then tell your son if he does it again he is going to have to go to juvenile hall. With the other kids that steal. Then ask him if he thinks he belongs there...he should say no....then say see ? Your not a theft and so behave like a person that is not a theft, be yourself. A good guy.
Then pray he doesn't continue with this behavior.
When I was young I did stupid stuff like that. I kinda had this thought that if no one was using it it was free game. Even jewelry. What I figured out when I was in my young 20's is that people can see it. People can see that your a bad person if you steal and they wont like you. I didn't want people to not like me so I didn't steal anymore. Like a light went off in my head.
I also had the idea planted when I was kid that stealing is against God so I had that foundation. Applying the foundation of that thought from childhood to adult hood took its toll. I finally got it.
I also got my one and only spanking from my father for lying when I was like 4 yrs old. I was a terrible liar always have been.
Lying and stealing are partners. Remember that.
I can only imagine how shocked and upset you must have been
when you saw someone else wearing your missing necklace. One thing that may be
helpful to know is that for most kids, behaviors like lying and stealing aren’t
moral issues as much as reflections of poor problem solving skills. Most
likely, your son didn’t realize the value of the necklace. He may have seen it
and thought how impressed his girlfriend would be if he gave it to her. Kids
your son’s age tend to think only in terms of immediate future and it probably
never occurred to him that you might see this girl wearing the necklace. When
confronted with the information, he then lied as a way of avoiding getting in
trouble. Have you taken steps to get the necklace back? That would be the first
place to start. If you’re not able to get the necklace back, then your son
needs to be held accountable for the value of the necklace. If you are able to
get the necklace back, your son should have to pay rent on the item at a set
price per day. So, if you decide to charge him $1/day and the necklace was
missing for 5 days, he would then have to pay $5 rent on the item. I would also
look at having him make an amends to you, whether in the form of an amends
letter or doing something else to make it up to you. Lastly, sitting down with
him and problem solving what he was thinking before he took the necklace and
what he will do differently the next time he’s faced with a similar situation.
I wouldn’t get into a debate on whether or not he took the necklace. Instead, I
would keep the focus on what he’s going to do differently in the future. For
more information on how to have a problem solving conversation with your son,
you can check out the article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/. I hope
this helps to answer your questions. Be sure to check back and let us know how
things are going. Take care.
I went through a very bad Divorce where my EX stole Money,Watches,Guns,and so on.
Now aftter my Divorce,I caught my 12years old Son stealing my expencive Watch from my Room.
He said sorry,but need advice how to deal with this situation
I know this is not an easy
situation to be dealing with, especially when you have gone through it with
your ex. Try and separate that experience from this one if you can. They are
different people and your son is not necessarily going to make the same choices
that his father did. You can start by asking your son what problem was he
trying to solve by taking the watch. Did he want a new watch? Was he going to
give it to someone? When you know what problem he was trying to solve you can
come up with a plan together about how he can solve that problem differently
next time. When he has an alternative plan, he is more likely to make a better
choice in the future. Make sure he returns the watch and has a concrete plan in
case he is tempted again in the future. Thank you for writing in. Take care.
This morning, my 12 year old daughter asked me for $3 so she could attend a talent show at school. I told her I did not have any cash on me, which I did not. She threw a hissy fit stating she was going to have to sit in the library if she didnt go to the talent show. I told her that wasnt a bad idea anyways, because she had brought home bad grades and could use the extra time to study. She walked away. We went on with our daily morning routine. I walked in the bathroom to get hair gel for my son. The door wasnt shut of the way so there was no need for me to knock. My daughter was in there however. She was messing with something in her hoodie pocket. I asked what was in her pocket and she replied nothing, I am brushing my teeth. I said, that I had seen her playing with something in her pocket, and i would like to know what it was. She still denied. I walked towards her to stick my hand in her pocket and she jumped in the shower and started swinging at me. I backed away and I demanded she give me what was in her pocket right that instant. She reached in and handed me a necklace. This necklace was previously in my wallet. It wasnt even my necklace. I child of the sports team had asked me to hang on to it, during a practice, and left before I could give it back. I couldnt think of the right words to say. I asked where she got it from and she said I dont know. I said, well I know this was in my wallet, I had just put it there last night. I walked out of the bathroom to go get my wallet from my purse, only my wallet was not in my purse. I returned to the bathroom and asked my daughter where my wallet was. She said she didnt know. I said I know you know where my wallet is, please go and get it right now. She walked into her room and pulled it out of a cushion of a couch in her room. I told her taking and hiding my wallet was wrong for so many reasons, but did she understand that I need my wallet in order to drive? In order to go to the grocery store to buy us milk for the morning? In order to take her brother to the doctor that afternoon? I walked away to go check my wallet to make sure nothing was missing. She goes into her room and comes out with her backpack and instrument for band. I asked to see both items before she left. She tried running out the back door. I was able to grab her backpack long enough to slow her down. She dropped her instrument and played out this drama filled falling to the ground scene. I picked up her instrument and asked for her backpack. She refused again. I told her that I would have her instrument and as soon as I was able to look inside both that and her backpack, I would give it back. She said she will never let me see inher backpack and left for the bus. I searched her instrument case, but found nothing. She came back inside with no backpack and asked for her instrument, stating she was going to get an F. I told her she could have her instrument as soon as I was able to look in her backpack. She went back outside. I watched her through the blinds as she proceeded to take a few items out of her backpack and then head back towards the house with the backpack. She was heading for the garage door, so i went out the front door. I walked over to the items she had thrown out and brought them inside. I searched through them quickly and found nothing. It was a Tshirt and a notebook that had about 20 pieces of paper in in with multiple sentences stating, "I will not talk in class". Was that all she was hidng from me? I have no idea. I opened the door and told her to come get her stuff and set it outside the door. The bus came and went and when I walked outside later, her stuff was still sitting by the front door.
Now that I sit here and think about it, the more worried I become. I am 32 weeks pregnant and have been very forgetful. There have been times throughout this pregnancy that I thought I had cash in my wallet, but it turned out that i did not. Now, I am starting to think I havent been loosing my mind and being forgetful. I am starting to think that she has in fact been taking it. There was one time about a month ago, I thought I had $40 in my wallet. I dont keep cash on me that often so spending cash is something I wouldnt normally forget. Same child brought a permission slip home for some kind of trip that i needed to pay for. I went to go get the money out of my wallet and there was only $20 there. I froze and tried to think what i would of done with it. I told her that I was sorry, but I thought I had the money, but I did not. Later that weekend, we were at a festival volunteering at a booth. She asked if she could walk around with friends and I said that was fine (it was a very small location on a military base so I was not worried). She came back and asked if she could buy a funnel cake. I told her I did not have any cash on me, that she would need to ask her dad. She pulled out $17 from her pocket and said, I dont need money, I have some. I asked where she got it from. She said she found a $20 on the ground and she bought her and her friend a soda. I guess I made a funny look at her, because she then said you can have it if you want. I dont need money. I asked her if that was the $20 that went missing out of my wallet the other day and she said no, she just found that on the ground. I had no proof it was my money. I did keep it though. I also made her repay the $3 that was missing from the $20 she "found" but doing extra chores.... which was like asking her to walk on hot coals.
Her brother also has a change jar that my husband and I add money to when we find change. He collects it. He likes looking at all the different dates and styles of each coin and is definitely not something he would spend, he is 6 anyways so its not like he can go to the store by myself. When I told my husband what happened today, he immediately brought up my sons change jar. I went to look in it, and sure enough there isnt much left in there. Mainly just pennies left.
I am unsure how to handle this but know something needs to be done ASAP.
I am sorry you are having to
deal with this issue. It is one many parents and grandparents face, and we know
it is not easy. It certainly sounds like your grandson had the opportunity to
take the money and it appears that he probably did. However, because you did
not catch him with the money and you have it back now, I think it is going to
be important to remove any opportunity he may have to take it in the future.
Removing the temptation is what you have control over. When he is at your
house, put your money away. I know this is not something you should have to do,
but the fact is you need to if you do not want to continue to deal with this
issue. We wish you well as you continue to work through this. Thank you for
When the relationship with your child is already strained,
it can certainly be difficult to confront him/her around issues you aren’t 100%
sure they are doing, as it can make the situation worse. For this reason,
we recommend not accusing your son of stealing unless you have proof. What we
would recommend is setting clear limits with all family members about the rules
around taking things that don’t belong to you. We would also recommend securing
all money, valuables, or things that might be traded or sold for drugs or money,
by locking them up or using a lock box. If you believe your son is using the
money to purchase drugs, this step will be especially important in trying to
make it more difficult for him to get money. Kim Abraham and Marney
Studaker-Cordner offer some additional tips for dealing with teen
substance use in their article, http://www.empoweringparents.com/my-child-is-using-drugs-alcohol-what-should-i-do.php Best of luck as
you continue to work on this with your son.
Hi my 15yo son has been smoking dope l caught him last week and again this week. I have grounded him and took away all the gadgets. And he was told the only place he would go would be school and partime job. I also witheld his pay as punishment because l'm assuming his buying drugs with that. I had a big money tin hidden in my room which was full and today decided to count as l was going to make a deposit for xmas lunch for us. It was gone..... l'm pretty confident it was 15yo old! I'm so upset . I dont know how lm going to deal with it when he gets home from school can you help? Older brother did same sorts of things and ended up doing a stint in juvenile jail! God l so dont think l could cope going through the same thing with 15 yo.
I can only imagine how upsetting it was to find the money
missing. As Carole Banks points out in the above article, you want to be
careful not to accuse your son if you don’t have proof that he took the money.
One thing you might consider doing is calling the police and putting in a
stolen property report, as James Lehman suggests in the article Why is My Child Stealing and What Can I Do? Advice for Parents on Kids, Stealing and Shoplifting. I would also refrain from keeping any cash in the house if
there’s a possibility your son might take it. We appreciate you writing in. Be
sure to check back and let us know how things are going. Take care.
My son is 13 and now in his 2nd year of high school - last year he stole 3 mobile phones from school. I put this down to him not seeing Dad ( although has a great relationship with step dad of 9 years) and also the fact I have not given him a mobilephone yet. I told him to stay out of trouble and I wouldpurchase a phone for him but a couple of months later he took his best friends Ipod (his broke a few months ago). He has a younger sister at 11 and we all are worried sick about him. I work in Family support and I am at a loss. I can't trust my son and tis is begining to put a strain on our relationship. He has now been charged with the police over taking the ipod - I'm terrified he will do it again to the point I'm hardly eating or sleeping.
Can you help with a short bit of advice
Thank you for reaching out to us with your question. I can
understand how difficult it must be to see your son make poor choices, like
stealing. In http://www.empoweringparents.com/Shoplifting-Stealing-and-Stealing-with-Aggression.php, by James Lehman, creator of the https://store.empoweringparents.com/product/total-transformation-program/ program, he encourages parents to allow kids to feel the
natural consequences of his poor choice, and in your son’s case, that means
dealing thewith the police. It will also be
important to have conversations with your son about what he can do different
the next time he wants something or feels like taking something that doesn’t
belong to him. Help him make a plan for what he can do the next time he is
tempted to take something, and review his plan with him each day before he
leaves for school. Best of luck to you and your family as you continue to work
on this with your son.
Hi there! You ask a great question here about your son, and
I can understand the pressure you are feeling to do the best you can by him. We
speak to parents frequently, who are dealing with similar behaviors, so you are
not alone. First, we would support the idea of you, as the biological parent, taking
the lead in holding your son accountable for his poor choices. While I’m sure
your son is remorseful, it will be important to help him come up with a plan of
what he can do when he feels the urge to take money that doesn’t belong to him.
When he gets the urge, maybe his plan is to walk away and tell you. Have him
come up with two or three alternatives that are more acceptable than stealing. What
does he intend to do with the money after he takes it? If there are things he wants
to buy, you might help him make a plan of ways he can earn money, by doing
extra chores, or odd jobs for the neighbors. I hope this is helpful. Thanks for
writing in and take care!
I am a single parent and my son that is now 21 has been caught about 2 years ago that he stole my camera and cell phone and sold it. At first he denied, until I showed him my proof. Then he only said sorry, and that he would replace it. I got a new camera, which I do not know where he got it from, but not the same value or as good as what I had.
I have lost all my jewelry, my late fathers stuff of value that was in the safe. My mothers laptop. I have no power tools, like grinders, drills etc left in my garage. He even told me that after I had a polygraph test done that the person who conducted the test made a mistake. Out of 3 kids tested, his was the only report that showed that he was not being truthful.
He has obviously perfected his way of getting hold of the stuff, without being caught. Things were going fine for about a year or so. And last night I realized that my one laptop has gone missing. My first suspicion is my son, and I feel really bad to say this, although I would like to believe him when he says he had nothing to do with it, I do still think it was him. I also have one other person that I suspect, but its not my child and trying to speak to one of the parents might kill a relationship just for asking if the child knows anything.South Africa is not one of the most friendly places for a young person to end up in jail. Cause I am at the point where I would accuse him and have him locked up to teach him a lesson, but what if this time it really wasn't him?
You ask a really good question, and I’m glad that you are
reaching out for support around this matter. You are correct that
accusing and giving consequences for stealing without proof can be tricky,
because if it turns out that your son is innocent, it can really damage your
relationship with him. While I am not familiar with the legal system in
South Africa specifically, something that I recommend to parents is to think
about how you would respond if your child was not involved at all. For
example, you might increase the security on your home or make a police report
that your laptop is missing without accusing anyone. I hope this is
helpful for you; please let us know if you have any additional questions.
Stealing can be tough behavior to address because it can
leave a parent feeling betrayed and also concerned for their child’s future.
The above article gives some great tips for what steps you can take to hold
your stepdaughter accountable and also help her learn not to steal. Another
article you may find helpful is “I Caught My Child Lying” — How to Manage Sneaky Behavior in Kids. I hope
this information is useful. Good luck to you and your family moving forward.
It can be difficult to hold a
child accountable for stealing when you do not know which one might be
responsible. Unless you have definitive proof that one child has stolen,
I would not recommend giving consequences because doing so with a child who has
not misbehaved can damage your relationship. Instead, I recommend speaking with
each child individually about your family values around not stealing.
Some families find it helpful to offer an opportunity for the child to return
the stolen item, such as by placing it on the kitchen table before
bedtime. It can also be useful to focus on where you have control, and
make sure that you are securing your possessions and money in a safe
place. You might also consider http://www.empoweringparents.com/Is-It-Time-to-Call-the-Police-on-Your-Child.php to report the theft, especially if it is a valuable item or
large amount of money which was stolen. I understand that this is a
challenging spot to be in for most parents, and I appreciate your reaching out
to us for support. Please let us know if you have any additional
I have a 19-year old who you are describing to a T... only I am a single mother. I often blamed it on the fact that he has no father, which I'm sure is relevant, but it sounds like you are a 2 parent family. I went to the courthouse and filed a restraining order because I do not want him in my home any more. I have kicked him out before for stealing my jewelry, but caved and let him back in after a few months because I felt bad for him being on the streets. He started to steal money, jewelry, electronics, etc. again so that's why I got the restraining order. A few days ago I found him hiding in my closet so I called the police (unbeknownst to him) and they came and served the restraining order. He made a statement referring to suicide so I petitioned him and the police escorted him to the Crisis Resource Center so he could have a 23 hour evaluation period. He signed an information release form which meant the staff could share information with me. They said he had only THC in his system and he didn't appear to be going through withdrawals while in there so it doesn't seem to me that he's using hard drugs. He left his phone here so, for the first time, I looked at his email. He was often stealing things and giving them away, as well as selling them. It saddens me to think his self-esteem is so low that he needs to give things to people in order to gain approval.
He, too, has been through the juvenile court system, seen many counselors both voluntarily and involuntarily. He goes to NA meetings and that's about the only thing that seems to help him. For the most part he really doesn't participate in it either.
So now he's on the streets again, probably frequents the neighborhood to see if there is an opportunity to steal from me again. I have added several locks and changed the existing ones. I've never been robbed before and hate living like this! But I don't want him to have another opportunity. And the restraining order was my only recourse and his only consequence. I'm sorry I had to resort to "the system" but I'm so fed up living like this. It's been going on for 6-7 years now, since he started junior high.
I go to "Naranon" meetings, even though I'm not convinced that he's a hard drug addict. I think his marijuana addiction is severe, though. The meetings are full of people from all backgrounds and walks of life who have suffered the same things that I have. If nothing else, it's comforting knowing I'm not the only one going through all this. I would suggest seeking out a support group in your area, too.
Good luck, it's a nightmare what we're going through, and it's gotta be for them, too.
i am father of 2 daughters, i am living abroad, my elder daughter(7) started stealing money from mother's wallet, unfortunately my wife has punished her physically, she took that money to school and used some amount and gave back the remaining amount through her younger sister. Kindly advise in this situation, how should i deal her.
Many parents are understandably concerned when they discover
that a child has stolen money from them, and wonder how to address this
behavior when it happens. We do not recommend using physical punishments,
mainly because it is not teaching your daughter alternative ways that she could
have handled this situation. Instead, we recommend focusing more on
building her http://www.empoweringparents.com/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior.php At this point, I encourage you to have a conversation with
your daughter about what was going on right before she decided to take money
from her mother’s wallet, and what she can do differently in the future to
avoid taking money that doesn’t belong to her. I also recommend having
your daughter repay the entire amount taken, such as by doing extra chores or
withholding a portion of her allowance. I recognize that this is a tough
situation, and I hope you will write back and let us know how things are going
for you and your family. Take care.
My son has been stealing from us and his brother for about 6 years on and off. The only piece of jewelry I have left is my wedding ring and that's because I never take it off. He's stolen games, money, and gaming consoles from his brother. He recently took my card. He even has the audacity to say that he didn't steal anything. I can't have him in my home any longer but as a mother I fear for his safety. It's not fair to my younger son either and I can't live with the stress anymore
I just don't know what to do any longer. My heart is broken. I've put up with A LOT of bad behavior from him and keep bailing him out. At this point, I'm beginning to not even like him anymore.
If someone's not on drugs than why else would they continue to break their family's heart time after time after time. Is he a sociopath?
It can be difficult when your child continues to make the
same bad choices over and over again. Many parents wonder of there is a
possible mental health issue that’s affecting behavior. While that may be
possible, the poor choices a person makes are most often due to a lack of
appropriate problem solving skills, as Carole Banks explains in the article
above. In the situations you describe, your son solves the problem of not
having money by taking things that don’t belong to him and, I’m guessing,
selling them. The reason this behavior has continued is because it works for
him. One way to contend with that is to take steps so it doesn’t, perhaps by
calling the police when things go missing and filing a police report. This will
help to establish a paper trail of sorts. And, if he gets in trouble with
someone outside of the house for this behavior, you want to refrain from
bailing him out, as tough as it may be to do that. Without any sort of
consequence for his behavior, he hasn’t had to experience any real discomfort
from his choices. Expecting him to feel bad because his stealing is hurting you
or other members of the family is probably expecting too much. While your pain
may bother him, it’s not going to be on the same level as suffering the
consequences of his own choices. If your son is a minor, it may be of benefit
to have him seen by a mental health professional in your area to rule out any
possible underlying issues, as James Lehman suggests in the article Why is My Child Stealing and What Can I Do? Advice for Parents on Kids, Stealing and Shoplifting. While a diagnosis wouldn’t be an excuse for his behavior,
it would give you more information for how to approach the behavior you are
seeing and help to determine if a therapeutic response is also needed. If your
son is an adult, then you may need to decide exactly how much interaction you
wish to continue having with him. You may be able to suggest he seek the help
of a professional but you would be limited in motivating him to consent to an
evaluation. I know this is a tough place to be as a parent. Hang in there. I
hope you will continue to check back to let us know how things are going. Take
What an upsetting situation. I can only imagine how
frustrated you are that your stepdaughter keeps taking things from you and your
husband doesn’t seem to back you up when you discover items missing. It may be
helpful to talk with your husband during a calm time when your daughter isn’t
present about what steps you can take the next time you find something missing.
It may be more effective as well to let him know when things are missing
instead of confronting her directly. This may help to alleviate some of the
division that appears to be occurring when you confront her directly. Generally
speaking, we do suggest that the bio parent take the lead when these types of
situations occur, as James Lehman explains in his article “My Blended Family Won’t Blend—Help!” Part I: How You and Your Spouse Can Get on the Same Page. You might also consider finding a way to make your items
less accessible, by putting a lock on your bedroom door or buying a lock box
for your valuables. While I understand you shouldn’t have to lock up your
possessions in your own home, the reality is that in your specific situation,
this is one of the things you’re going to have the most control over. Hang in
there. Blending families can offer some tough challenges. Be sure to check back
and let us know how things are going. Take care.
I need help, My daughter is 11, this year has been a tough one when we lost her step dad and her biological dad drops in and out when he feels and stirs up her emotions making her angry and resentful.
This last few months she started stealing at first I noticed a pound here or there, then one day she stole chocolate from a shop, I made her take it back and apologise but the shop keeper wasn't particularly interested, since then the money has continued to disappear and she brought shoes home from school, when she finally admitted taking them she said she saw them under a cloakroom bench at the end of school and liked them so brought them home, Obviously I've had talk after take, I return the things she takes when I catch her, I tried grounding, removing favourite items, no spend, early bedtime etc etc and nothing is getting through.
I've been contemplating calling the police now and letting them do what they do but I'm torn, I don't want to give her a reputation and waste the police time but I'm at my wits ends.
Does anyone have any constructive advice or experience???
Our 12 yr old daughter was told as she and a friend staying over for the weekend was dropped off at the movies to bring back the change and only spend $6 on icecream. Not only did she and the friend spend the change but, now they are playing the "I didn't know" game. I consider this as stealing. Any suggestions on appropriate punishment? I feel not receiving her earned allowance for 2weeks isn't enough because, this involves; morels, values, trust, principles and laws.
It certainly is frustrating as a
parent when you have been clear on an expectation, you trust your child to do
the right thing, and they end up making a poor choice. Unfortunately, this is
something you will probably face many times because many kids are poor problem
solvers. They need to be taught and learn the skills to solve problems
effectively. We would suggest you view this situation as a poor problem solving
issue rather than moral one. As Janet Lehman states in her article http://www.empoweringparents.com/how-to-manage-sneaky-behavior-in-kids.php, when
you take the emotion out of the situation and stop taking it personal you can
help your child to learn skills rather than just punish. By having a http://www.empoweringparents.com/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior.php conversation about how to handle a similar situation in the future,
you are helping your child develop more effective ways to solve problems. We
would also suggest withholding allowance to make amends to you as repayment.
Further consequences are not going to teach her anything, which is the goal of
consequences. Thank you for reaching out to us. We hope this is helpful for
your situation. Take care.
I can understand your dilemma. On the one hand, you don’t
want to see your child become involved with the law. On the other hand, she has
stolen money and other items and should be held accountable for that behavior.
Sometimes it can be helpful to look at the situation as if it were a stranger
who had done the misdeed. If I walked into your home and stole money and
electronics, would you call the police? My guess is most likely. After all, the
behavior is wrong and illegal. It doesn’t make it less wrong or less illegal
because it was a family member who committed the crime. I know it is a tough
situation to be in. Be sure to check back and let us know how things are going.
We speak with other parents who
describe similar situations, so you are not alone. As Carole points out
in the above article, if you are not certain that your daughter has taken money
from your husband, we do not recommend giving her a consequence for that.
What will be most effective at this point is to focus on where you have
control, which is over yourself and your own actions. Buying a spy camera
is a good example of this. Another action we would recommend is talking
with your husband about securing his money more effectively. For example,
he might limit the amount of cash he has in the house, or put his money in a
different, more protected location. As for your daughter, it could be useful to
talk with her in general about the money going missing without accusing
her. It’s a tough spot to be in as a parent, and I appreciate your
writing in for guidance. Please be sure to check back and let us know how
things are going. Take care.
OK, so I live with my boyfriend and his 17 (almost 18 year old son). We are both in our 50's. My boyfriends wife died four years ago in a tragic accident that happened in front of both of them, so I know this kid has issues. He refuses to go to counseling, and his father will not follow up and make him go. I keep stressing the point that once he is 18, making him go will no longer be an option. His father does a lot to compensate for their loss, I understand all this. I am sure of the empathy he has for his son, due to the loss of his mother.
At the age of 18, he has 5 credits towards graduation. I I have finally convinced my boyfreind to put him into a school with other kids that have issues and can not function in a normal high school setting. We signed him up last week, but he doesnt know this yet. He does not go to school, if he goes he skips several hours. He is in trouble with the police, has been caught with marijuana in his possession 3 times now.
Because of his families "name" the police let him go the first two times. The last time he was caught stealing a bunch of my jewerly and personal items. I found these items in his room before he was able to sell them. Instead of dealing with it or talking about it, he stormed out of the house on his bicycle, (his car had been taken away) He went to his father business, broke in and stole a vehicle, went to his sisters, told them a bunch of crap, stole money from her then got arrested sitting on the side of the road smoking pot. He now has to call in every day to the probabation hotline, take random drug tests, and go to a 6 week counseling session in the summer. Not enough if you ask me.
So this kid has everything handed to him on a silver platter, from vehicles, to money, to phones, and computers and video games and clothes, you name it this kid gets it. He has taken our vehicles while we are sleeping, he has totaled my boyfriends truck two times in the past six months, recklessly and intentionally doing doughnuts while he was drunk, and hitting trees. He received one ticket, no license suspension or driving classes because of it.
Two weeks ago he stole mine and totaled it in a six foot ditch, his Dad paid the deductible to have all of them fixed or replaced.
Along with all the screaming and yelling and the talking, the extra chores, the paying back/returning of items he has stolen, the grounding, we took away his computer because he would stay up all night playing games and sleep in school. He threw his phone in the road so he did not have to answer his fathers call, so no more phone( that was the second time his I phone got ran over by a car...) We took away his vehicle, and I drove him 20 miles to school and back everyday to make sure he went to class for six months...he still skipped. He did chores, but only if you asked him 10 times.
We have very much conveyed the fact that we do not like the person he has become, and that we like him as a person, but we do not like the person he has become, and the actions he has chosen to take will no longer be tolerated. So he lost everything, except his ability to drive to school. He now waits until we retire, steals my laptop and my phone to talk with his friends and play games while we are sleeping. last week we caught him. Our bedroom door has a dead bolt on it, because a simple lock was not enough to detour the child. The office now has a dead bolt on it as well. We hide our money, our credit cards, our prescriptions and our Liquor Collection in safes and lock boxes. I stay home to watch the child because he can not be trusted her for 5 minutes without doing some more stupid than he did the last time. He refuses to get a job, and his father has stopped giving him money for gas and lunch since he wont go to school anyways.
Fast forward, to the day before yesterday. He came home from school and stated he was taking his speakers to a friends house, or so he said. It felt wrong, I called his father and asked if it was ok. I was outside and watched everything he put in his truck, or so I thought. After he left I went upstairs to the loft to find that he had also taken the family's (its mine, I let him use it...) Gaming system along with about 200 games, all the controllers, everything was gone. . His father found him at his friends, and apparently he had taken it to a friends moms house, and she took it to a pawn shop and pawned it for him, and gave him the money. His Dad bought it back from the Pawn Shop.
When they returned, I told them both that I would no longer stay in this house with a drug addict and a criminal. That he would have to go into rehab and counseling this summer because I am not going to sit here and babysit an 18 year old child. He started screaming and packed his stuff and moved out for the second time. I know I should of called the police yesterday, but we are so stressed and on edge that is is hard to think clearly anymore around here. His father made sure he had all his belongings, we gave him the Ramen Noodles and the Lucky Charms and took his house key and wished him well as he raced out of the drive way.
Neither or us have slept since he left....he is a good kid, or used to be, and I hate to see this happen to his life.
But honestly, this has to come to an end. ~Sighs~ Now we are waiting for the next phone call from the police.
Any advice on where to go from here would be incredibly helpful.
Here on the Coaching Line, we frequently hear from parents
of children who are stealing from family members. As noted in the above
article, it is often faulty thinking that leads kids to take things that don’t
belong to them. Kids don’t always have the skills to figure out other ways they
might obtain the items without having to steal them. Stealing is a way to solve
the problem. Instead of talking about why stealing is not ok, which most
children already know, it may be more effective to help your son figure out a
better way to get what he wants without stealing. For example, if he is taking
money from family members to buy treats, you might help him make a plan for how
he can earn his own money for treats. You might give him some small jobs or
age-appropriate tasks that are above and beyond normal household expectations. If and when he does take something, we would
suggest having a problem-solving conversation, asking, “What was going on that
made you think it was ok to take this”, instead of asking, “Why”. The second
question would be, “What can you do instead of stealing, the next time you want
something?” This will help your son start to think about other options besides
stealing. As the above article mentions, you don’t want your son to benefit
from what was stolen or purchased. It is probably best to leave his sister out
of it, as it sounds like she is catching on to how she benefits, and instead, keep
the consequence focused on your son. We suggest having him make amends to the
person he stole from, and give or pay back what he stole. At seven years old,
he most likely doesn’t have any source of income, so you might have him do a
chore or task for the person he stole from. You can also put a privilege on
hold, such as electronics time, until that task is completed. As far as taking
your kids to the police for a conversation, that is really your call since you
know your children best. Keep in mind that talking to them, alone, won’t change
the behavior. It’s really about helping them figure out a better plan to get
what they want without stealing or breaking rules. Best of luck as you continue
to work on this behavior.
Hi I think I need help with my child.
This is the first time he has ever done a thing like this. He is 13 and stole 50 dollars from his grandmother. At first we did not know a thing but then we realised that 50 bucks was gone. We suspect him but I don't know if it's him. What should I Do.
That is a difficult situation to
be in. It is understandable that you are not sure how to deal with this issue.
Many parents are facing similar issues and are uncertain as well. While it is
possible your son stole the money, there is really no proof. Carole Banks
discusses this in her article http://www.empoweringparents.com/is-your-child-stealing.php She says it really could backfire
on you if you accuse your son of stealing when he did not do it. It also would
be best to avoid consequences in a situation where you have no proof. Instead,
let your son know that there was some money missing and ask him if he knows
anything about it. If he says he does not, take the opportunity to coach him on
ways to respond to situations where he may be tempted to take something that is
not his. This way you are making him aware that you know the money is missing
and you are helping him to learn skills to make good choices. I hope this is
helpful for your situation. Thank you for reaching out to us. Let us know if we
can help with any other questions. Take care.
Regardless of who the money was
stolen from, stealing is stealing. It is unacceptable and should not be
tolerated. If you have proof the money was stolen then you should hold your son
accountable. Your son should be responsible for repayment. That could involve
him getting the money back from his girlfriend or working to pay off the debt.
Either way it is his responsibility to return the money that he stole. It is
also a good idea to have a problem solving conversation about what he will
choose to do differently the next time he is tempted to take something that is
not his. I hope this answers your question. Thanks for checking in with
I can understand why you and your family would be upset. You brother stole a lot
of money, which will probably have a big impact on the entire family. Since we
are a website aimed at helping people who are in a direct parenting role, we
are limited in the scope of advice we can offer you in your situation. There is
a website you may not be aware of that could possibly offer you some insight
for dealing with your specific situation.http://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org/Pages/home.aspx
is a website focused on helping teens and young adults work through challenges
they are facing in their family, at school, or in other areas of their life.
They offer many different ways of contacting them for support, like an online
forum, online chat, text/e-mail help, and a call in service. I encourage you to
check out their site to see if they would be able to offer you any guidance. We
appreciate you writing in and wish you all the best of luck moving forward.
I can understand your frustration. It can be tough to sit by and
watch as your adult child continues to use manipulation and misrepresentation
as a way to get his/her needs met. Many grandparents worry about the impact
this type of negative behavior will have on their grandchildren. This in turn
can affect whether or not firm limits and boundaries are put in place. The
bottom line is your child is now an adult and is responsible for his/her own
choices. S/he is also responsible for the care of his/her children, at least in
part. While it’s understandable you would be concerned for your grandchildren’s
welfare, allowing your child to continue taking advantage of you will not
benefit anyone in the long run. It’s going to be important to determine where
your limits and boundaries are and find a way to hold firm once determined. It
may be helpful to seek out someone who can help you figure out where your
boundaries are, such as a counselor or therapist. Many people find it useful to
work with a neutral third party since s/he would be able to help you view the
situation from a more practical position by removing some of the emotion. S/he
would also be able
to help you develop a plan for maintaining those boundaries when your child pushes
back against them. The 211 Helpline would be able to offer you information on
counselors, therapists, and other support services available in your community.
You can reach the Helpline 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-273-6222. You can
also visit them online at http://www.211.org/. I hope you
and your family are able to move past these challenges. Good luck to you all
moving forward. Take care.
Thank you for writing in; I’m pleased to hear that you have
found our website helpful for your situation. Stealing can be a troubling
issue to address for many families, and as you see here, you are not alone in
dealing with this. In terms of your response, it sounds as though you are
on the right track. We frequently talk with parents about having a child
do extra chores or work around the house in order to hold him accountable and
pay back money that was stolen. Another natural consequence for stealing
is calling the police and filing a report, so we encourage you to follow
through on doing this if you find money missing in the future. One
additional step we encourage you to do is to have a http://www.empoweringparents.com/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior.php with your son about what he was thinking right before he took
the money, and how he will handle a similar situation in the future. It’s
also helpful to keep in mind that it’s common for teens to take on an “I don’t
care” attitude, so it’s going to be more effective to focus on changing his
behavior rather than changing his attitude. I realize how frustrating
this situation can be, and I hope that you will continue to write in and let us
know how things are going for you and your family. Take care.
Thank you so very much for your response. We have taken your advice and advised everyone in the family that from now on, we will be filing police reports when we determine that money is missing. This seemed to get our son's attention and I think it gave him pause. I'm not sure for how long it will be but we haven't had any money missing since we made this announcement. This is not an idle threat and I'm afraid he's going to wait until he thinks things have cooled down to try it again. I will keep you updated.
It can be frustrating when your child is stealing from you
with no understanding as to why. Stealing is often a result of http://www.empoweringparents.com/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior.php around how to get something a child wants. It would
be helpful to take a look at what types of things your son is buying with the
money he is stealing. Are they big-ticket items or things he just doesn’t want
to spend his own money on? We recommend
having a problem-solving conversation with your son, to help identify the cause
of the stealing, and well as to make a plan of how he is going to avoid
stealing in the future. It will also be important to make sure all money and
valuables are stored away where he cannot access them until he has better
problem-solving skills. As Carole Banks says in the above article, your son
should never benefit from what he stole. It will be important to continue to
take back, or at least take away, anything that has been purchased with stolen
money. If that is not possible, you can still hold him accountable by having
him pay back the money he took. You can do that by withholding allowance,
taking it out of savings, or by having him “work off” the debt by doing tasks
or chores for the person he stole from. To motivate him to pay that money back,
try withholding a meaningful privilege, such as his cell phone or computer
time, until that debt is paid off. If the stealing continues after that, you
can also let him know that you will call the police and file a report. Best of
luck to you and your family and let us know if you have any more questions.
It can be tough to decide how to respond when your child steals
from you. Calling the police is one possible option to consider. It may be
helpful to contact your local police department at their non-emergency
number to find out how they would respond as well as what help they may be able
to offer you in this situation. You could use this worksheet to outline your
questions before you make the call: http://www.empoweringparents.com/images/police_intervention_worksheet_for_parents.pdf. Another option you might consider is having your
son pay back the amount he charged, either by withholding allowance, utilizing
any savings he may have, or by having him “earn” it by doing chores and tasks
around the home. You may need to withhold a privilege in order to motivate him
to follow through and complete the tasks. I hope this helps to answer your
question. Be sure to check back to let us know how things are going. Take care.
Thank you for taking the time to write in. Stealing
can be a frustrating behavior to deal with, and even more so when the behavior
is happening outside your home, while your daughter is at her dad’s home. It is
important to understand that stealing is often a child’s way of solving a
problem, such as wanting money or other item, and not having any other means to
obtain it. We would first recommend having a problem-solving conversation with
your daughter to help understand what she was hoping to obtain by stealing, and
then figuring out with her a more appropriate way she can handle the situation.
This might be doing some extra chores to earn the money, or helping grandma
with some yard work, for example. Any consequence and amends should happen at
dad’s house, since that is where the stealing is occurring, and as Carole Banks
says in the above article, kids should never benefit in any way from what they
have stolen. Have your daughter pay back
the money or give back the item she stole, then have her share with grandma
what her plan is the next time she wants something, instead of stealing it. Best
of luck to you and let us know if you have any more questions.
We hear from many parents who struggle with this issue in
their home, and wonder about putting locks on doors and the message that might
send. You are not alone in this situation. It sounds like you have
tried to address this issue with your kids by setting limits and talking with
them about how to follow the rules, and that has not been enough to change
their behavior at this point. One thing we talk about frequently is that
you are going to be most effective if you focus on where you have control, namely
your own actions and responses. While you cannot control whether your
kids implement the different strategies you discuss, you do have some control
over http://www.empoweringparents.com/Its-Never-Too-Late-7-Ways-to-Start-Parenting-More-Effectively.php they have to continue with their current
behavior. In that aspect, by locking your bedroom door you are helping
your kids to learn how to manage their impulses by cutting down the chances
they have to break your rules. Something else to keep in mind is that, if
you choose to do this, it doesn’t have to be a permanent decision. As
your kids demonstrate that they are able to control themselves and their
impulses, you can recognize that by making a different choice.
Ultimately, though, the choice is yours to make, and we would love to hear back
from you about how things are going for your family. Take care.
I am sorry to hear you are facing
such troubles at home. Since we are a website aimed at helping parents develop
more effective ways of responding to their child’s acting out behavior, we are
unfortunately unable to offer you guidance in your situation. There is a
website available you may not be aware of that is aimed at helping adolescents,
teens, and young adults who are dealing with difficult issues. http://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org/Pages/home.aspx
offers many different ways of accessing support, such as online forums, e-mail
or text support, and a call in service through the Boys Town National Hotline
(1-800-448-3000). Help is available 24 hours a day by phone and at various
times throughout the day by http://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org/pages/ways-to-get-help.aspx#text-info. I encourage you to reach out to one of
the specially trained counselors for assistance with your situation. Good luck
to you moving forward. Take care.
easy to feel overwhelmed and lost when you have a child engaging in troubling
behaviors, and it doesn’t appear as though anything is working to stop
it. Many parents find it helpful in this type of situation to take some
time to assess both the child’s behavior, and the parent response. As
Sara Bean describes in her article, http://www.empoweringparents.com/how-to-improve-your-childs-behavior-and-regain-control-as-a-parent.php, it can be useful to narrow your focus on just
your top concerns, and to set aside other behaviors for the time being.
From what you have written, the most effective place to start might be
respecting property and treating others in a non-abusive way. For more
information on addressing these behaviors, check out http://www.empoweringparents.com/is-your-defiant-child-destroying-or-damaging-property.php and http://www.empoweringparents.com/is-your-child-screaming-pushing-and-hitting.php I appreciate how stressful this must
be for you, and I hope that you will write back to let us know how things are
going for you and your family. Take care.
My name is Priya, i am new on this blog,i am a working women. i have 8years old daughter. i am only mother to handle all the things of her. she is really a best daughter in the world.
i want guidance from you. i want to become her bestMore friend like she can share all the things with me.
so how can i behave with her?? actually i thought that she is hiding somethings from me and she is fearing to me.
what i do??? please reply...
A lot of parents become concerned when their child seems to pull
away or withdraw. It’s normal to want the relationship to return to how it was.
It can be helpful to realize that relationships do change over time. It’s also not unusual for kids to hide
things from their parents, especially in situations that involve behaviors such
as stealing or rule breaking. It is going to be important to recognize that
while a parent can do fun things with
their child and behave in ways that are friendly, a parent shouldn’t try to be
their child’s friend, as Janet Lehman explains in her article http://www.empoweringparents.com/why-you-cant-be-your-childs-friend.php. It is our job as
parents to help our children develop the necessary skills that will help them
become successful adults. We can do this more effectively if we maintain a
position of authority within the household. As Janet points out in the article,
when we put ourselves on the same
level with our child by acting like a friend, we not only diminish our
authority, it also effects how our child views other adults as well. This in
turn can affect how she interacts with teachers and others in authority. We do
have another article that may also be helpful for your situation: http://www.empoweringparents.com/Your-Child-is-not-Your-Friend.php. I hope this information is
useful for your situation. We appreciate you writing in and wish you and your
daughter the best of luck moving forward. Take care.
Hello! I am new to this blog. I have 9 year old twins, a boy and a girl. I was informed today by the principal of their school that my daughter had her brand new Ugg boots stolen by a student in her class who then proceeded to wear theMore boots to school this morning while telling everyone that her mother bought them for her yesterday.
By the end of the morning, the child confessed that she had taken the boots.
My daughter received these (very expensive) boots from my parents for her Christmas gift. I do not allow my daughter to wear the boots outside because I didn't want them ruined. They now have salt and snow stains all over the bottom. I would like the parents to replace my daughter's boots.
The principal called the girl's parents. I feel that I need to also call the girl's parents to talk to them about this issue.
I have heard through the grapevine that this girl's parents are not the best parents and are very poor. They are living in a house that they have trashed and do not pay rent. They also smoke and drink in the house with their children.
I need advice. Should I just talk to the child or should I try pursuing these parents? Thank you.
I am so sorry to hear your young
daughter had her new boots stolen and ruined by one of her classmates. I can
only imagine how upsetting that must have been for her. From what you have
written, it sounds like the principal responded favorably and was able to get
the boots backMore pretty quickly. I am glad to hear the school was so
supportive of your daughter and family. As for whether or not you should
contact the girl’s family, I believe that is going to be a judgment call on
your part. It is understandable you would want restitution for the damage that
was done to the boots. I’m not sure exactly what steps you could take in order
for that to happen. You might consider contacting legal counsel to find out
what options for recourse are available in your area. The 211 Helpline
may be able to give you information on legal services in your community. You
can contact the 211 Helpline 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-273-6222 or by
logging onto http://www.211.org/. We wish
you the best of luck moving forward. Take care.