What to do about my 15 yr old son stealing??

[deleted account] ( 66 moms have responded )

My son steals from me, my husband, his dad, step mom, and grandparents. It is money, cameras, knives everything even my glue gun. I don't know what to do with him anymore. We have locks on our doors now to keep him out. My husband packed everything in the office and put it in the locked garage. Any suggestions welcome.

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Nyia - posted on 01/13/2013

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My son is 17 years old.He has been stealing from me since he was 8 years old.The other day he stole 700 dollars Frome me,and that was money for bills and groceries .I am not sure if I should call the police,or if I should give up in him??

Heather - posted on 04/28/2010

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Hi, Tammi! First of all... my heart goes out to you and your family. We've "been there, done that," with my soon-to-be, 18-yr. old son. To begin with, I would like to say (in our experience with this issue), it has much more to do with a cry for attention (whether that be physical attention or attention sought for other reasons), than it does for a desire to "have things." That said... I know exactly what you're living through. In short, it's a nightmare. Having to lock your doors, hide items and keep a strict eye on your "things-" all, because your OWN CHILD steals from you!- is painful, shameful, agonizing, BUT... may be very necessary, in the moment. Unfortunately, these things (in and of themselves) will NOT "cure" the stealing... maybe temporarily, but not in the long run. What helped us was a two-fold approach. When people steal, it's not the problem (though it is what gets the attention, because it is the act of stealing that prompts all the issues), but rather... a SYMPTOM of a deeper problem. Whether it be out of a physical desire for attention, anger, depression (or other mental illness), etc... stealing is simply one of a series of acts prompted by what is truly a more serious issue. Well-intentioned people would give us such "advice" as I'm sure you and your family have heard... from locking doors and hiding items to being more strict, or even physically abusive, toward your child. When you're in such dire circumstances, with your back against the wall (so-to-speak), you'll try just about anything. I would only say, "Be careful doing so, because what we might be desperate to 'cure' now may lead to increased, and more severe, problems later on!" As a single mother, I tried just about everything. Unfortunately, some of my actions did, I believe, make things worse. What worked for us, and I believe what works for many families faced with this issue, involves regaining your child's trust. My son had been through much more, in his life, than any child should have to, so I always kept that in the back of my mind... not as an excuse (which many people believed), but because I knew my child- deep down- was pained, and hurting, and needed much more than just foolish, superficial, "band-aid" solutions. We were both in therapy (still are) at that time, so I knew the solution lied there... getting at the true meaning of what was going on. We, not only, had individual therapists, but we had family therapy, as well. I must say, I was skeptical of the family therapy, at first, because I envisioned a scenario where, we'd go into session and I'd be blamed for everything... from being a single mother to being the sole reason for my son's actions (whether that be, because my son lied a lot or- in my eyes- the therapist would think I was a bad parent). At first, my son (highly intelligent, by the way;) was the master manipulator, playing mom against therapist every chance he got! That made me angry, because- in my opinion- not only were his lies just that- LIES!- but, it made me look "bad" in front of the therapist. Now I know, not only, was the therapist NOT judging me, but he has worked with families who deal with these issues for a long time... and he realized, early on, exactly what my son was doing. Lucky for me;) The second aspect of our approach included communication, which is VITAL in any relationship... very much so, in the parent-child relationship! I always thought we had good communication. My son would tell me things (usually, that he'd done), I knew, other kids were not telling their parents, so... that false sense of security, on my part, led me to believe I knew EVERYTHING my child was doing. Not so! Unfortunately, it was just the opposite. He had been playing me (telling me exactly what he knew I wanted to hear, whether it was the truth or not- usually, NOT) for some time, and... naive mother that I was... I believed every word of it, because- in my mind- my son was being "honest and open" with me. The alternative was for me to believe my son to be a liar, a master manipulator, a thief, or worse, and... what parent wants to think that of their child?! I certainly didn't. So... with long-term therapy (accountability- unfortunately, this can also, sometimes, involve law enforcement, to hold your child accountable) and a lot of hard work and dedication (to improve communication, set boundaries and regain my son's trust), we've come a long way. I am no longer locking interior, home doors. I no longer hide money or "things." I give my son the benefit of the doubt, BUT... I'm much wiser and open to the idea that he might not be telling the truth (listen and watch for signs), that he could be "slacking off" or that he could be being less than "good." This is where consequences come into play. I make it crystal-clear to my son, that there WILL be (and, in life, ARE) consequences for every action. If you show good behavior, good things happen. If you show bad behavior, bad things (can, and usually do) happen. One of my son's favorite activities is using his cell phone. What was once, in my opinion, the worst mistake I ever made (purchasing the phone for him), has turned out to be a blessing in disguise. If he does something he's not supposed to, I can take the phone away. If (which has happened in the past) he does not want to give up his, physical phone... all I have to do is call the phone company and have his service suspended (temporary) OR shut off, all together. Simple solution. Up until recently, my son had a job he valued very much... giving him added responsibility (which was good for him) and pocket money. If he stayed late, at work, on a school night, say (which, he knew he was not supposed to do!), I would give him ONE opportunity to rectify the problem himself. If he neglected to remedy the problem (by telling his boss he couldn't stay late on school nights, by requesting less hours, etc.), I would make a call to the boss, MYSELF (which, to a teen, is HIGHLY shameful), and request my son's hours be limited. In the short term, it caused friction... but, if things got too tense at home, all I had to do was talk to the therapist or institute further consequences. Eventually, they realize our "yes means yes, and (our) no's mean NO!" I know I've written quite a bit here (I hope it posts;), but I wanted to let you know EXACTLY what we went through and how finding a solution to the act of stealing IS VERY POSSIBLE! I hope this helps. Hang in there! With sheer will, persistence and love... you will, all, come out of this experience much wiser, and blessed, people=)

Rebecca - posted on 04/21/2010

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I used to steal. I was actually a major klepto. The reason he could be stealing is because he feels his life is out of control and he needs to control something. If one steals from family it is usually because they are feeling jipped by that person. I think everyone needs to talk to him one on one and ask how he feels about the relationship between just those two. But everyone do this. See what his perception of this life he has been placed into. And see if anything on anyone else's part could change, not just him. It's a family affair. He wasn't born this way. He's adapted this survivor mode for a reason.
I'm not pointing the finger at anyone, but kids are very smart and do find ways to survive whatever pain it is. Only the outcome sometimes involves really bad choices. Nevertheless, it is or rather he is probably trying to protect himself even though it seems like he is diliberating trying to hurt you...he is actually protecting himself and trying to survive pain within himself.

Shelly - posted on 04/18/2010

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My son is almost 15 but 13 at the time and we had the same issue with him. The last straw was the money to pay for the Boy Scout popcorn. I knew it was my 13 year old but I took all three of my boys down to the police station and had them sit in a chair in front of the receptionist meanwhile I requested for an officer to speak to in private. I told him what was going on and he was very understanding and told me he knew just what to do, it is a program that the local Sherrifs department has taken on to help parents when they are in need. He and I walked out in the waiting area and I said " Here are my boys, one or all three are stealing from me and everyone else in the family, I am here to turn them over to you because we have done everything we can do." He then took my boys over to the Sherriff side and turned them over to the head Sherriff. He then took my boys in back, put them in jail suits and brought them out to say bye to me. Crying and shaking, all three of them, they said bye to me. I left them there for about 45 minutes or so. The Sherriff gave them a tour of the jail cells, they walked through where the criminals were locked up and chained to each other awaiting trials and he then took them to an empty cell in another building and sat down with all three of them and had a long talk (30 min or so) about stealing and where you will eventually end up and asked them if they wanted to be locked up like the inmates they just saw.

I came back with a bag in my arms to look as if it were their belongings and the look on their faces, they just held me tight and said "Momma please please we will never steal from anyone again, don't leave us here, it's scary." From that day on I can leave a quarter on my dresser and I know it will be there 30 days later.

You may want to ask your local police department if they have a program like this. The local police departments and Sheriff departments are usually very good about helping any parent that is having a difficult teenager.

Quintana - posted on 04/20/2010

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Take him to a counselor, maybe he needs to talk about something. He's probably stealing for attention. You shouldn't have to lock up your things in your own home. Our son at fifthteen got caught shoplifting, and apparently he had been doing it for a while. When the police came to our door, my husband and I were in shock. My husband asked if they had the right child, my world came crumbling down. Because I thought he would ever steal, he has no reason to, so I thought. We put him in counseling, made him pay the fine. He was punished for six months, no company, no going outside, no after school activities. We took all of his game hardware, anything that he enjoyed, we took. He just starting earning back his life, the beginning of this year. You have to put your foot down, it may be hard, but you don't want him behind bars.

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Lera - posted on 01/30/2014

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I'm sorry for your troubles, but I believe your son may be going through something that has happen to him in which he is not able to talk about. Take your child out to lunch just the two of you and let him know that you believe he is hurting and nothing he tell you could change your love for him. I started stealing from my father at age eight, now I tell you why. I was raped as a child, I was beaten almost daily, and the only way I found relief was to steal from the one who was hurting me. My dad beat me and my brother was raping me every chance he got. So what is a child to do. Talk with your child and be ready to believe his reasons. I never told my dad, but at the age of fourtytwo I found out it wasen't just me.

Lisa - posted on 09/23/2013

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this is for you Sue, the prayer is very encouraging, our whole family is going thru the sam issue with my daughter, to the point that it causes a lot of distress. thank you so much. Sol

Lynn - posted on 09/15/2013

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Rebecca, you need to start putting things in a safe that your son does not have access to. You should also start considering what you will do once he has finished school because this is not a life that should continue. I do not think he is going to simply agree to get help; therefore, you need to find options for yourself and get into a good support group.

Rebecca - posted on 09/12/2013

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What to do when your 16year old son is doing drugs and stealing my money and my medicine what do I do he makes good grades in the 11th grade and one more year of school I need help I can't do it any more please help

Vli - posted on 07/31/2013

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Lisa: I am so sorry that you are having this experience - been there with a grandson. But I am a therapist - still took him to another and to a psychiatrist for an evaluation, as well as had his school psychologist do testing there for emotional disturbance (ED).
Please consider asking your family physician for a referral to a child psychiatrist or developmental pediatrician. Ask them to test for
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Conduct disorder, Antisocial personality disorder,Attention deficit disorder,Reactive attachment disorder and oppositional defiant disorder - to see which may apply based on the symptoms for your daughter look them up on the web at a reputable sight such as Mayoclinic.com and each of these disorders has non profit organizations for parents and kids with the disorder. When you see the symptoms that most fit your daughter - you are probably on the right track. SOme of these are scary to hear and read about but be very honest in your assessment and in talking to your doctor(s). The younger intervention begins the more likely it is to make a difference in the long run. Also know that just as it takes time to get to know someone, therapy is not like a pill; you don't go onc or twice and see a difference. It tales time to change a mindset and even brief therapy is 6-12 sessions. Most of these disorders require both meds and therapy to make a significant change in an older child's behavior. I hope this helps!

Patricia - posted on 06/11/2013

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I have to agree with this person.It is the only way to teach them the correct way to be a good person and it will also teach them respect. It is a very hard thing to do ,but the results are fantastic.

Jolene - posted on 05/05/2010

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Dear Tammi, My son is 15 as well. He has always come off to me and the family as bright, responsible, giving, with a twist. He has his attitude problems, cocky with his dad and me, mean to his brothers. anyway I thought that all normal. Me and his dad split up for 5 months and I just came back in November. Since I have returned He has taken a turn for the worse and so have my other two sons who are 12 and 9. The younger two steal daily, from us, from grandma, from cousins uncles and SCHOOLMATEs. My 15 year old just got caught with a stolen bike and brass knuckles. In maine brass knuckles is not legal to carry on the body so he was charged with carrying a concealed weapon. the bike brought a charge of theft by unauthorized taking which I just found out is a class c felony. I was devistated, I cried, I baulled, but what could I do? Well, I was called by the police and I asked them to take him to the police station and formally charge him, cuffs and all. He had lied to them about information so they complied as the wated the trueth. David got scared and he came out and told what he did, he told the cops he knew it was stupid, and he shouldnt have done it. He now has to deal with juvinile corrections, community service, fines, etc. I have to say he has never been charged with crimes before and has pretty much stayed out of trouble, he isnt a big troublemaker. But I have since learned of other things he has done, and a big one is smoking. AND he has allowed his brothers to smoke as well. I feel like I did something wrong, but now know I didnt in a sense. He felt so responsible for taking care of his dad, and watching his brothers after I left to take care of my problems that it over stressed HIM worrying about everyone else. after I came back and he felt some relief I think he wanted to hurt us for the hurt we caused him. Its confusing I know, but to a 15 year old mind it makes sense. I have a bigger problem with his brothers though. Maybe someone can help me there. Anyway, be consistant in you punishments, your demands, your rewards, all of it. Its hard but consistancy is very important. Sometimes tough love is necessary but sometimes being stern but lovingly verbal is more important. meaning stick to your guns but let him know YOU know whats going on, snoop, search, whatever you have to do, but make sure he knows eventually you WILL know what he is doing and he may calm down.

Patricia - posted on 05/02/2010

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Dear Tammi,I also have a granddaughter that steals from her grandfather and I. I think the only thing you can do is put them in a juvie place until they realize who really loves them. I know that sounds harsh but I have tried everything also. Nothing is going to work as long as they can be out amognst the living.

[deleted account]

Hi Tammi - I don't know what your financial situation is like but I also had behavioural problems with my son - I enrolled him in a program called Kaya at Kenilworth clinic - have a look at their website http://www.kenilworthclinic.co.za/kaya/i... . I do see you are not in Cape Town but if you can find something similar close to where you are maybe you would consider it. It really helped us and they counsel the family too. Its been a year since my son spent 4 weeks there and he attends an aftercare program once a week so has ongoing support. He needs help and sometimes we don't have what they need and we need to ask for help. Good luck.

Michele - posted on 04/29/2010

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Gai Fawsett I think that maybe because your son says that he blames you for you and his father not being together maybe you should allow him to go to his fathers for a while it might do him some good.... But I know as a mother myself I don't want my kids away from me but because of the Florida court system, my youngest son, he is 16 now, had to go to Florida and live with h is father and he has told me that he wants to come home and live here again but I don't want any mother to have to go through with the heartache that I had to. But only as a suggestion you might want to think about it... I hope that this helps you

Pam - posted on 04/29/2010

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Do you personally know anyone on the local police force?? A few years back we were having an issue with our oldest (then 10) and a pocket knife. My brother was a cop at the time, and very intimidating in full uniform. I arranged it with him ahead of time to take our son down to the station. We went under the guise of taking a tour of the station. When we got to lock up, I explained to my son that I was going to be leaving him with his uncle for a while, to talk about the knife. My brother would not tell me what he had planned. A couple hours later, he called and told me to come and get my son. He'd had a strict talk with him about what happens when a juvie gets in trouble, and then left him in a lock up cell for almost two hours. It definately left an impression.

Kindle - posted on 04/29/2010

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There is some good avice here on this board, some applicable and some not, but my son 13 was stealing and when he stole from a friend who had given him shelter for a week, i snapped. I went to his school, had a conference right then and there with his counselor and the police officer who worked there. Thankfully the officer loves my kid, and so does everyone else there. They had no idea that my son steals or is even a compulsive liar. Btw, yes he does have ADD and is not taking any meds as I do not want his growth stunted.

The officer spoke with him privately and assigned him three papers of apology to write as well as he will be doing community service through that officer directly. We made my son sign an agreement stating I would call the police, the next time he stole.

We are getting some strong male role models in his life through the baseball team and believe it or not, the barbershop. I am also pursuing counseling with a strong male also. So far, he has told me when he wanted to take something and we have discussed it. I had to really pray and all I can say is God answers prayers so I will include your child and family in my prayers, for guidance and wisdom.

And thanks to a few of you who have provided some really good information. I love this community!

Sherry - posted on 04/29/2010

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Make him get a job to pay back what he stold. Then after he paid everyone back, he'll have his own money to buy what he wants

Cheryl - posted on 04/28/2010

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I too am having this problem with my 16 yr. old son. I have to take my laptop and all of our meds and lock them up in our bedroom. Now he is taking the change from our change jar so we'll have to lock that up too! I'm at my wits end as well! My husband is pretty strict with him but we still allow him some priveledges that we probably shouldn't. He is very disrespectful at times and it seems many of his friends are as well. He smokes, swears, admits to having tried drugs. He has mood swings and likes energy drinks. He has gotten better in the past few weeks but his girlfriend is making him be a better person. Thank God for her! I know this isn't very helpful to you but sometimes misery loves company. Good luck to you and if you come up with any ideas, I would love to know. Thank you.

Pam - posted on 04/28/2010

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I unfortunately don't have a clear answer for you because I am in the same boat. I have put locks on every door that I wouldn't want my son to pass through. I have taken him to counseling ,spoken to him until I was blue in the face,even have taken away some of his possessions, some of his privileges. And yet he goes back to repeat those same offenses. I remember when he was 3, he would go to our tv and press buttons.I would tell him no and he would do it again.I then would say no and smack his hand. At first he would be amused ,then he would continue.His hand would be beet red and he would still go press buttons even though I said no every time.He was stubborn.....he still is..sigh, I am sorry for your situation, I understand. You may still have a chance to help him, Just don't give up , tell him you care and you want to help him. Make him look in the mirror and help him recognize his own problems. Always tell him you love him no matter what. There is always hope. Talk to him, tell him what he is doing is hurting the family. I think you are beyond the " because I said so" stage. You may have to approach him at a different level. This approach may not work for you, but never stop talking ,never stop trying. I am still am working on mine and he is now 19, but I never give up either.

Tonya - posted on 04/28/2010

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Hi there, I am not sure if this has been covered as I did not read all of the posts... is your son on meds for the ADHD/ ODD? As a nurse, I can tell you that there is alot more to this disorder than what meets the eye. His brain does not work the same as a normal person. I am not sure if you have him in counseling,etc?

Karrina - posted on 04/28/2010

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I have a friend who are looking after a 15yr old stealer too. Currently it is April and he is grounded til christmas!! My own 2 sons never stole thankfully. I just want to add one thing I did with my boys regularly. I use to hold pre xmas parties and walk their mates. I was scared my kids would choose their friends over their parents advice,etc. I wanted to know who they mixed with and make them feel we accept their mates. It sounds as tho all the therapy inthe world want change things (teens hate to talk) but a counsellor friend said he often deals with boys - and takes them out surfing (something physical) during his sessions. They need to be active while theyre talking and interacting with a group of people who all know he steals breaks the secret barrier and exposes the thief. Good old Ostracism. But do you know who he steals to impress? Can you involve those persons? Im glad he's not on drugs!

Alice - posted on 04/28/2010

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I cant say I know how to fix this problem but I do know where it can lead. My brother in law (who I have know since he was 13) was the same, always takng things and then lieing about it, he has ADD too and now at he age of 25 has racked up 70 K of debt and skipped the country..
I think he has a spending compulsion and needs addiction therapy. I know this probably does not help you but it does show how important it is to get this behaviour sorted.
Good luck.

Heather - posted on 04/28/2010

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Dear Tammi,
I just have a bit of advice. If it were me, I would take most of the "advice" given with a grain of salt. I would imagine all to be well-intentioned; however, I have read things, in the responses here, that are, either, inaccurate, just poor "advice," or a little of both. One thing I would like to clarify, is... different rules and different laws apply in different areas of the country/world, so...for someone to give a blanket statement- regarding treatment, diagnosis, laws pertaining to juveniles, etc.- is careless, to say the least. That is why I worded my response the way I did, because... those are the things WE dealt with, as a family, and how things happened in OUR situation. I'm sure you know this already (lol;), but some people tend to take some things people say/do as gospel... especially when given few, other alternatives;) Thanks for listening.

Stephanie - posted on 04/28/2010

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Do NOT send your kid to Jovie jail! He will have a permanent record! Hormones are playing a major role in this. If I were you, I would consider changing schools (getting him away from his old friends), drug test him (which is going to be hard because he probably will test for ADD meds, etc Opiates), but still. Counseling, church, fishing, whatever. Let him know you love him and that material things don't matter to you. My daughter has ODD, and if I place importance on her bad behavior, it makes it WAY worse. When I take the power of my reaction away from her (like you would a toddler), then the symptoms seem to decrease.

It sounds like he's selling and stealing for drug/alcohol money. Please don't disregard lightly. I would first investigate/rule out that being a motive.

Good luck. NEVER jail your kids with psychiatric disorders to deal with undesired behaviors. Unless totally warranted.

[deleted account]

Aye, aye, aye Tammi. I have been there and done that with my daughter. She started young in 4th grade...she stole from me, her lil brother, friends, went into teachers desks and stole money, stole trinkets off her schoolmates backpacks. There was no limit to who she stole from. I couldnt even keep money on me, she took my spending money for the month ($60) and spent it on school. Walmart was fair game for her. After me disciplining her, talking to her, taking things away, I finally had enough. I called Walmart and told the manager that she stole from them and she will be returning the item back to them but I needed her to talk to my daughter and not just a little swat on the hand. The manager was happy to see us and showed my daughter the security room and told her if she ever stole again she will press charges and ban her from the store. I then proceeded to take her to a police department and asked for an officer to talk to her. He showed her a cell and the shower room. He had dealt with troubled kids and recommended she go to counseling. I did that (I was in the middle of a divorce) and it worked. Not saying she is perfect. She took my credit card 2 years ago and charged a membership on Club Penguin-an online game. Her friends had told her how to do it. I later banned those kids from coming over. I didnt find out until we went out to eat and my debit card was gone. She denied knowing where my card was. I checked my online banking and lo and behold there is the charge. I asked her if there was something she wanted to tell me and she profusely said no. I confronted her and she was mad. Since I was in the Army at the time, I took her to the Military Police and had them talk to her. The Investigator that talked to her was an investigator on credit card theft. He talked to her and told her she is at an age of being charged, that I can press charges and she will be finger printed, photo id'd and everything sent to the FBI. McDonalds, BK, KFC wouldnt wont hire her later on because she has a history of stealing. he said if I press charges, they will also hancuff her and take her to the juvenile detention center and she wont be able to take her baby doll. She was scared. She was in counseling and it was great. The counselor showed her ways on dealing with situations like this and how to avoid friends who are trouble. Now she is going to be 14 in a few months and she is doing good. On a different note, she had sentimental things stolen from her and it tore her up. It was a reality check for her and she told me she now knew what if felt like to have something stolen. Sorry this is so long but Hang in there Mrs. Hill.

Kelly - posted on 04/27/2010

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I know you must feel like you are at your wits end, but do not give up. I believe these behaviors may be linked to his ODD. He may feel like he needs attention, bad or good. Does he give a reason why he does it? Does it seem like he is remorseful? Often times, kids with ODD lack the ability to be "sorry" for their actions. They need help in doing so. Continue to take him to therapy, both individual and group to get to the bottom of the WHY. Only then can this behavior be understood and corrected. Good luck and God Bless

Susan - posted on 04/26/2010

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My Dear Tammi,

I am so sympathetic to your situation and I can totally understand how helpless and frustrated you must be. You have had some very good responses and I didn't get to read them all so forgive me if I'm repeating someone else's answer.

I have been doing therapuetic Foster care for a Christian foster agency for the past 7 years. Some of them mild problems, and some of them severe problems,...but one thing that I ALWAYS need and rely on with each situation, is "prayer"! I realize that there are many different ways that people believe, and don't know how you believe, so all I can do is tell you what I would do.

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you and praise you for loving us and being willing to listen and help in times of need. Forgive me for not always listening and obeying you. Right now In Jesus name,I'm asking you to help me in this situation with my son. You alone know him and know what he needs.You have given me this special young man to take care of for these past 15 years and somewhere along the way something got messed up. And I know YOU are the only one who can guide us in the right path. Father help us, give us the wisdom and send in the right direction. We don't know what to do but our eyes are on you! Lord open my ears so I can hear you more clearly, Open my eyes so I can follow you more nearly and Open my heart so I can love you more dearly. And work in my sons heart so he can express whats going on inside him, and Lord, thwart the plans of the enemy as only you can! We are trusting you Father, thank you for what you are going to do,...In Jesus name I pray, Amen

I hope this helps. Not trying to tell anybody what to do or how they should pray but I can only tell you what worked for me and its said with love.
Tammi,stay strong and believe for the best. I'll pray for you!
Blessings to you and your family
Sue

[deleted account]

My nephew was bad to steal. He was diagnosed with kleptomania. He was unable to control that urge. When he got on medication he was better.

Kate - posted on 04/24/2010

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An old fashioned kick in the bum doesn't hurt.....he is old enough to know better. That is your home and if your son doesn't want to respect your way then tell him to leave. Soon enough he will work out that enough is enough and you and your hubby won't stand for that. Good luck.

Jill - posted on 04/23/2010

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o-yeah,,,my son was in ROTC...we had great hopes, He got kicked out. He was stealing from the others. No kidding,,,true story..We were at the end of the road......sink or swim time. Good luck, I feel your pain.,,But trust what I am saying,,,,It will get better if he is caught and held responsible now before it's too late, as a juvenile his record is sealed. Once he is an adult and gets caught, getting a decent job will be very difficult.

Jill - posted on 04/23/2010

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OK,,I have been here, done this. I am the step mother. My son was stealing since I knew him when he was 12. He is now 18 1/2. There is no mother in the picture, she left when my son was about 4 and never came back. That said...We have done the therapy thing, the punishment thing, the."What is going on with him to make him want to steal " thing....unfortunately---NOTHING made him do it. HE did it because he wanted to. He stole money EXACTLY like your son, from anyone. We locked our doors and guess what.....when he was about 16,,,he just broke the door. So what did we do ? We let him get caught. I know that sounds aweful, but everytime we went to a store, I approached a worker and told them to zoom cameras in on him...and finally one day he got caught. As a juveline he got community service and yes there was a fine, Juvenile services did not take money from us parents, they made him pay. He got house arrest for 2 Months and as luck would have it , It started November 11 and ended January 11. He couldnt go to family Thanksgiving or Christmas, Yes we would start to feel bad, but it really was for his own good. Because we knew once he hit 18 he was going to ruin his life. Now he is 18--almost 19 - he says he stole for the rush...Cuz he actually felt he wasnt going to get caught, and when he stole from us he knew all we could do was yell at him...and thats all, he would still get away with the money. So my advice, call the police, if he steals from you or another family member, call the police and press charges...IF YOU DONT---He will ruin his life.

Jeanette - posted on 04/22/2010

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you might ask him whats impotand to him. Sorry i no i cant spell. Try to get him in to something he like. Or ROTC a lot of schools have thim. or go to the receuting offices for the melatery. if you get him in voild with something like that. he might like it..

Deb - posted on 04/22/2010

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I've read all the responses and sympathized. My 13 almost 14 yr old daughter is doing the same thing. She's been in counseling and will be again. She has been stealing since she was very little. Some of it I blame on the "Queen Bee" syndrome. When she was very little and in another home before we adopted her, anything she wanted she got, didn't matter if it belonged or was played with by someone else.
When she came to live with us at age 17 months, it was a nightmare trying to get her to stop. You couldn't leave anything laying around from soda to food and she would have her little hands or mouth on it. We've done everything from grounding, extra chores, nothing in the room, meds for adhd and bi-polar. At first it looked liked it was all my things but she's taken from her grandfather and broke into his house and took old coins, money from her basketball teammate, my folks too. Granted out life style or family is chaotic with all special needs children. She is the youngest of 4. Two older sisters living out of home and her brother a yr older is living out of state in a special residential treatment home for his Aspberger Syndrome, IED and ODD. Attention, yes I am sure part of it is that. But her defiance is more then I've seen in many children with the same issues. I truly believe if she isn't stopped now then she will be in juvie. Her oldest sister tore our family apart with her behavior a couple yrs ago. We are all still recovering from that but this has been going on long before that. That sister is now on 3 yrs probation for felony theft and has lost her children to the father. Sorry I guess I needed to vent.

Lisa - posted on 04/22/2010

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My son is now 20 and doing well but we went through the same thing from age 15 to 18. I finally had to call the police when my younger son saw his brother at a sports pawn shop pawning our ps3 games. The police picked him up and found one of my rings on him and took him to jail. He ended up serving 4 months in jail and now has a felony on his record. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. When he got out he was on probation. I had to tell him he couldn't come back home, so he found some friends to live with. Then his friend had stolen something and my son got caught with stolen property. Even though he didn’t steal it he was stopped and had it on him. When he wouldn't turn the person who did it the police took him in because he was on probation. He served another 4 months for breaking his probation. He finally learned his lesson and changed the kind of people he hangs around and doesn't steal from us anymore. It was a hard way to learn but he finally learned his lesson and does not want to go to jail ever again. When tough love and counseling doesn't work sometimes we have to get tougher. He will turn around, just hang in there and stand your ground. Don't let him get away with anything and get counseling for yourself as well as him. There is also a program called Teen Challenge you might want to look into. http://teenchallengeusa.com/ By the time I found out about this program my son was an adult and wouldn't do it. Call and talk to someone and see what they offer for him. They have programs for kids with all kinds of problems, not just drugs. Good luck, stay strong and remember you are not the only one going through this. There are more of us! :-)

Brenda - posted on 04/22/2010

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My 13 year old son with ADHD/ODD does/did the same thing...Currently he has no door on his room, until he earns it back. I've padlocked all his stuff and put it in the attic. My sewing room, office and media room are locked as well. He has just begun (again) going to a good, firm, male counselor (no warm fuzzy here) that puts him on the spot to confront himself. this has helped. I'm on board with him earning everything-- it's hard to take everything out, but it has helped-- Bottomline, he doesn't think the rules apply to him.

Have you listened to "Total Transformation?" That helps with your behavior and response to his behavior- very enlightening.

Michelle - posted on 04/22/2010

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my middle son was stealing from my family also if he is steeling a variety of things you should have a urine test done on him because hes probably doing some kind of drug thats why my son was steeling. you can also have the crap scared out of him also tell him the next time he steals from you or anyone in the family have him arrested trust me after a night or a few hours in jail it usually snaps them out of it. you can buy a drug test know at any drug store or take him to his drs and ask them to do it. sorry to be so blunt but usually if kids are stealing large items they are usually getting money for drugs.

Debbie - posted on 04/22/2010

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hi that sounds like my almost 16 year old,he even stole our safe the had money in it that we had put away for car rego,im hoping you get some good suggestions that might even help me,my son is in a boys jail,just to scare a boy he put a lighter shaped as a gun to a boys neck asked for his mobile and said he had 2 bullets,when the boy said he didnt have a mobile my son told him to go

Athena (Tina) - posted on 04/21/2010

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I am not accusing but I might suggest that you look closer. There could be a problem that you may not have noticed or possibly overlooked. Also hold him accountable. You may need to even call in the authorities; I realize that is the last thing any parent wants to do but sometimes tough love and accountability comes with a heavy hand. I have had to recently deal with a similar thing from a grandchild. It is tough but in the end so worth it.

Faye - posted on 04/21/2010

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I Beleive i know how you feel as my son was like that. For him i think it was attention grabbing as he is number 4 of 5 children and he is different from the others so doesn't get on with the others very much. We kept it in the family but i must say it has been very hard because the one's he stole from have never forgiven him. and if anything goes missing it is always him that gets the blame.
You need to get him to talk but I KNOW IT IS VERY DIFFICULT most of the time it's a grunt
but stay with it because it is your love that will be with him even if everything else fails.

Steffanie - posted on 04/21/2010

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I understand how you feel. My 14 year old son stole from my parents and a cousin. I am getting him counseling. It is very frusterating when your child is heading in the wrong direction. I am confused as you as to what to do. It is heartbreaking when children act t his way.

Katrina - posted on 04/20/2010

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You better stop it now............I know. My mother-in-law has a son who she has let steal from her, his son, his 90yr old grandmother, his sisters, his brother.........everyone under the sun. He is now 38 and is living in jail. He is a good waste of skin. Since the age of 6 he has been a theif and a dope head. She has continued to uphold him in everyway. No one is allowed to speak to him because it might upset him. Big Friggin Deal..........Get over it.
You need to tear his tail up and start stealing from him and let him know how it feels to be robbed. You are living in a prison already by having everything locked up. You will end up just like mother-in-law if you do not get a handle on this child. These ppl have put oodles and oodles of money into there house to keep him out and she turns right around and allows him to stay. STOP IT NOW...........The next time he steals call the police and press charges. Good Luck and God Bless ♥

Tessa - posted on 04/20/2010

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Report him or take him to the nearest station or have a local police officer come and talk to him. My mum did this to my brother and it scared him enough to knock it out of him...

Kerry - posted on 04/20/2010

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Hi my 13 yr old daughter has been taking things from my mums house which obviously don't belong to her , i've punished her myself on previous occasions , but she never listened or took any notice and decided to take something else ......... so ......... i phoned the police , they came out and basically gave her a talking to , told her to see this as a warning but if they have to come out to her again it will be different , possibly get arrested etc . I'm hoping now she has learnt her lesson as i don't think she really believed that i had even phoned the police lol , but she was in for a shock when they turned up .

Sheila - posted on 04/20/2010

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If he does not have problem like being a kleptomaniac, then I would set him down and tell him that he knows as well as you do that stealing is wrong and you are not going stand for it. Tell him that the next time he steals you will call the police and have him arrested, I know that sounds hard but if you are going to have a chance at stopping him then you have to do it. That is what I had to do with my 16 yr old son. It is probably the hardest thing I had to do is call the police on my own son but I did it to try to help him. He didn't think that I would but he found out fast that I meant business. It sounds like you don't have any other choice. It sounds bad if you are having to lock your things up. You should not have to do that in your house. If do call the police and have him arrested hopefully he will learn his lesson from this and stop. Otherwise he may get arrested for breaking into someones house and stealing from them or a store or even a bank. I know that it is hard but you are trying to save him from himself before he get worse. I hope this helps!

Angie - posted on 04/19/2010

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It sounds like he's holding your family hostage. If his father is a cop, turn him in and let him pay the consquences. I know it sounds cruel but maybe he'll be scared straight....

Deirdre - posted on 04/19/2010

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What if he takes things that he really wants and you ask him why and he always responds "because I wanted it!" (Usually a video game.) We've already taken him to authorities to have a talkin too! He cried at that time, but months later he took a video game from one of his best friends and now isn't allowed over for a while. He swears up and down his friend said he could, but his friend swears he didn't say that he could borrow it. Not sure who to believe, but my question is what else can I do if this happens again? He has taken from a store!

[deleted account]

We caught him on Video tape take money out of my husbands pants in our room. That's why we put looks on our door. We woke him up asked him why. he stood there seeing himself on TV telling us it wasn't him for 5 minutes. I haven't taken his guitars out of his room or his stereo because those are his outlets from everything but toys, TV, games and stuff are out if he is good I let him play the Wii or PS2 down here in the kitchen. I am hoping this new school doesn't make things worse. It is a behavioral school. They are supposed to help us deal with him in different way. But nothing yet. I have an IEP meeting on the 29th. I am going to ask them what to do the next time he steals. This school also has live in kids. I would rather not do that but if it get worse that is an option.

Jane - posted on 04/19/2010

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my son does the same he has not been diganoised with ADHD but does show some traits,all we can do is tell him that taking things that dont belong to him is wrong,if we confront him about these issue's he gets aggresive ,we have to lock every thing down,money,mobile phones,xbox games even food as he will take everything and what he dont eat he feeds to the dogs,i know how you feel we have 3 other children so we cannot always blaim him for anything thats missing but 9 times out of 10 i will get a call from his dad as we are not together to say he has found this and that in his bag is it ours,i do believe he does not realise he is taking these things but then at times when money was taken from my partners pockets while he is asleep it does make me wonder but he then denies taking anything,i do know that kids with adhd do have a habit of taking things,my son is 13 .we have now started changing our way we deal with him he loves drawing so when something has gone missing we will often say i wonder where that could of gotten to and if you find it for us we will get you some more art pencils and it often turns up,maybe your son really enjoys some thing and you can try and divert his stealing,i really would not remove things from his room because of his adhd he will not have a concept of right or wrong and he will not even understand the dangers of many sitiations so punishing him for something that he does not really know he is doing will not help,i done that with my son and it didnt work,it might work with a child that does not have the same problems are your son,your son will be having a hard time dealing with his increased hormones also which will not be helping,my son's behaviour got worse since he changed school he went from main stream into a special school,has something changed in his routine that may have started this all off ?

Khairani - posted on 04/18/2010

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Did you asked him why he did that? I'm sure he has his own reasons for doing that without you and your family members realised it.

[deleted account]

Thanks for the idea. One thing that is a downfall with that. My husband is a cop.We have tried different things already on that end that he has done with other kids.

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