New Here - Need Advice on 13 yr old Stealing

User - posted on 10/03/2013 ( 4 moms have responded )

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Long story short: Our 13 yr old son (oldest child of 4) has been caught 3 times stealing over the past 2 months. He's stolen in the past and has always been "sneaky", but those were always minor, non-expensive instances. 3 weeks into the school year he was caught with another student's iPad3 in his backpack. Received 5 days OSS and 5 days ISS. Parents and school didn't charge him, but they did say he damaged it and wanted us to reimburse them over $300. Upon his return to school, I found someone else's Nook Reader in his closet. He claims he "found" it in his desk (before the iPad incident), hid it in his closet and forgot about it. We turned it in to the dean and she basically gave him the benefit of the doubt. Well, tonight I find my iPad (and it's broke in some way now) and someone else's iPad in his suitcase in his closet, along with a bunch of junk like energy shots, my glue gun, an air duster, zippo lighter and a Wii charger. After the iPad incident, I took him to the Sheriff's office to have them sort of "talk" to him about where he's headed if he continues down this path. Last year, he was expelled from 7th grade for having a scalpel that belonged to his microscope set in his pencil box and at the same time telling kids he was going to kill them...he says he was joking, but the school didn't think so. We're on the verge of turning him in to the police and letting them have at him. I guess I'm just looking for advice, maybe encouragement? I don't know. Thanks for anyone who is listening.

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Tracy - posted on 10/04/2013

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You might try to find out what type of activity is being done on the tablets or computers you find they may have a clue of some sort in the history to see what sites have been visited or messenger services used.

TA - posted on 10/04/2013

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I'm very sorry you have such a difficult situation to deal with; I can only imagine how hard it must be. Your husband losing faith in doctors being able to help must make it so much harder, as well. I've gone through some similar things with mine, but to a lesser degree, so I have a little understanding of how you must feel.

I do believe there must be some help somewhere, but you just haven't been able to find it yet. Try to not give up hope. I think having him in the juvenile justice system will only succeed at making him worse; they do have to face consequences, but if jail is the only intervention they get, I think results are often just that a lifetime criminal is created.

I agree with the other poster who said some of those items sound like he may be abusing substances. That will likely make him worse. I don't know what, if any, blood tests, or hair tests, might be able to tell you what/if he's using, but it is important to know. Those things affect brain function; a brain scan of some sort might reveal a physical cause for some of these issues.

Very specialized medical personnel need to evaluate him - such as a pediatric neurologist, pediatric psychiatrist, etc. If there is a large children's hospital in your state, they may have a team evaluation process.

They don't have all the answers, but I have gotten helpful info from reading "Empowering Parents" http://www.empoweringparents.com/Shoplif... My mom bought me the "Total Transformation" program and it has a lot of good info, but it does take dedication on the parents' part to apply the techniques.

I've heard of some creative things like taking the doors off the bedroom & closet, so they can't hide anything [I knew a girl whose dad took her bedroom door off when she had a hissy fit, stormed in her room & slammed the door], or take away everything except the mattress, and for each day they behave, they get some comfort item back. Pillow, sheets, blankets, etc. and luxury items like phone or computer are the last things they get back. I don't know if that'd work for you, but I thought I'd mention it.

I hope you can find some help soon - don't give up, and also try to get some help for YOU. You need some support. There may be a support group for parents of kids with behavioral problems, etc. in your area. Your county social services office should have information on that. Hang in there!

User - posted on 10/04/2013

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Thank you for your response. He has been evaluated before and a doctor said he had ADHD (1st/2nd grade). Meds didn't help. Has seen 1 psychiatrist and 1 counselor. Didn't help. Saw a neurologist in 5th grade and he stated he did not have ADHD, but a behavioral/emotional disorder. My husband is now against him seeing a counselor/psychiatrist because of it not helping in the past. I homeschooled him in 6th grade through a virtual school because of the bullying issue (and he was a prime target for any and everybody to blame him for whatever they wanted - half of it was probably true). But getting him to do his work was like pulling teeth. We found a charter school, which was much better since the teacher/student ratio was lower, teachers actually cared and he was able to make good friends, but he screwed that up by October of last year when he was expelled. Luckily, they let him back this year, but he's already been in so much trouble with them, they will expel him the next time he does anything. Everything I try to do for him is met with resistance, frustration and he messes up any opportunity I give him. I let him play football a couple of years ago because he wanted to try it, but 3 weeks in to it, he called the coach the "N--" word. And definitely not because we teach that at home! He didn't even make it to the first game. I was going to sign him up for basketball tomorrow, but now, I don't know. You don't even know him or me, but it seems you have him pegged! I'm glad to know I'm shouldn't go crazy thinking I'm being unrealistic.

Tracy - posted on 10/03/2013

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The canned air and glue could be used as drugs for huffing. Have him evaluated by a psychiatrist ASAP. Based on the findings you may need to pull him out of school and home school him and you might be better off voluntarily putting him into foster care so he could be placed with people who have special training to deal with it. You may want to seriously consider pulling him out of a public school and home schooling him regardless. With everything you have stated I think he would be a prime candidate for bullying and being ostracized and will be made an outcast if he isn't already since nobody wants to hang out with someone who would steal from them. He also needs to use his allowance or do jobs to work off what he owes. He may decide it would be easier to just save the money himself next time and buy a brand new tablet instead that he gets to keep. Some people have an uncontrollable compulsion to steal so he definitely should be evaluated for a mental health issue.

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