What to do when your step kids are stealing food from your house to bring home to their home???

Christine - posted on 01/30/2009 ( 15 moms have responded )

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I have 4 step kids , 2 boys and 2 girls(16,14,11 and 7) and live with their mom 3 hours away from us. We get them on the weekends and holidays. I have noticed lately that my daughters lunch snacks and cases of pop that I have boughten are missing. I actually caught my 11 year old step daughter with the snacksi n her bag and she says that her mom doesnt buy her the kinds of snacks that she likes.

My husband says its not stealing, beacuse its their fathers house, but I do consider it stealing, or taking with out permission. He pays $1000.00 a month in child support for his children. I get no support for my daughter. I have repeatedly asked them not to eat her lunch snacks for school, they can have anything else in the house they want, except those items. I always make sure to have plenty of food when the kids are here, and not sure what to do about this...am I being unreasonable???

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Kerri - posted on 02/24/2009

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I am sorry guys.  Some people have given good advice but I just have trouble swallowing some of the suggestions that have been left here.  Christine, I hope that you can work this issue out for your family.  I guess my situation is just completely different.  I spent the first year of my marriage dealing with issues like this.  I have learned that if things are not working - change them or adjust to them.  It will be easier for you to change and adjust than it will be for you to ask your children and step-children.  They are already dealing with enough.  I would never - ever ask my children (or step-children)  to pay for snacks.  I would also never consider their eating food or taking food back and forth stealing.  I would really hope that some of you could take a step back and think about it this way:



Would you be upset if your child were in a blended family and their step-mom told your kids they could not have snacks because they belong to her child only? 



I understand what you are saying, that they are lunchables for your daughter's lunch.  However, I am an adult.  It is easy for me to understand that.  Children are not going to understand it.  They are going to hear it but in thier minds they do not really get it. All they get is that "there are snacks here that I want and she is telling me I can't have them."   Also, lableing the food - PLEASE DON'T TOUCH - to a child is like saying - here it is - I know you want it but don't touch it.  I am not in any way suggesting that you are doing this - just that this is how children see things.  If we try to put ourselves in their shoes and interpret things as they do - it will be easier to find a solution.  



It is not my intention to offend anyone or to seem rude. 

Tammy - posted on 02/24/2009

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The problem might be that the step kids feel left out cause the snacks are only for your daughter.  Buy snacks for everyone for the weekends and buy your daughters snacks on Sunday night after the other kids leave.  My hubby told me of a similar situation when he was a step child.  He said he would go over on the weekends and there would be food that he really loved and didn't get at home but he was told it was off limits to him.  It made him feel really awful and left out and when they hid it, it made him feel worse (he never stole or eat it just asked about it).  I can understand how that would feel.  $$ is definitely an issue cause you can't afford to keep replenishing snacks meant for school lunches so I think keeping the snacks completely out of the house when step kids are present woul help them not feeel left out and save your money and sanity.

Christine - posted on 02/23/2009

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Stuff that I cant keep out of the fridge, like the "lunchables" that my daughter takes to school I put in a bag, tie up and put a note saying PLEASE DONT EAT. And as soon as I go to bed or they think I am not paying attention, they take them and go to the basement and eat them! Same goes with the pop. I put enough in the fridge to last the weekend for everyone and hide the rest in the closests and again, they are gone before they leave, itsl ike they wait for me to go to bed and then just help themselves. I have tried almost everything that I know of. I always make sure that there is TONS of stuff here ofr them when they come, I know their mom doesnt buy the stuff that they like so I like to make sure that they have it when they are here, but they cant be taking everything either! My daughter has to eat still after they are gone. 

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Tammy - posted on 04/19/2009

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Quoting Kerri:



I am sorry guys.  Some people have given good advice but I just have trouble swallowing some of the suggestions that have been left here.  Christine, I hope that you can work this issue out for your family.  I guess my situation is just completely different.  I spent the first year of my marriage dealing with issues like this.  I have learned that if things are not working - change them or adjust to them.  It will be easier for you to change and adjust than it will be for you to ask your children and step-children.  They are already dealing with enough.  I would never - ever ask my children (or step-children)  to pay for snacks.  I would also never consider their eating food or taking food back and forth stealing.  I would really hope that some of you could take a step back and think about it this way:






Would you be upset if your child were in a blended family and their step-mom told your kids they could not have snacks because they belong to her child only? 






I understand what you are saying, that they are lunchables for your daughter's lunch.  However, I am an adult.  It is easy for me to understand that.  Children are not going to understand it.  They are going to hear it but in thier minds they do not really get it. All they get is that "there are snacks here that I want and she is telling me I can't have them."   Also, lableing the food - PLEASE DON'T TOUCH - to a child is like saying - here it is - I know you want it but don't touch it.  I am not in any way suggesting that you are doing this - just that this is how children see things.  If we try to put ourselves in their shoes and interpret things as they do - it will be easier to find a solution.  






It is not my intention to offend anyone or to seem rude. 





 

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I would just talk with their mother, I mean if the snacks are so important to them that they have to take them from your place then maybe their mother should consider what is going on as well. Does she feel good that they get all the "good stuff" from your place, I doubt that unless she is very lazy and doesnt care what they eat while at home. I think that if both you and her discuss which foods they want more maybe she could allow one or two favourites into her home so that they dont feel as though your food is their only option.



 



We dont have that problem when my step son goes to his mothers for a few hours, our only problem is the amount of junk food he eats while there but thats a whole other topic ;)

Tanya - posted on 03/28/2009

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I also agree with Kerri, We go through tons of snacks in this house. I have 4 stepsons and 3 of them live here full time. The one who doesn't live here, comes over every day after school and usually stays until after supper. He has snacks, his friends have snacks. He pretty much lives here, just goes home to sleep.

Tammy - posted on 02/24/2009

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Kerri- thanks for the insight, I couldn't agree more and you are not being rude.

Heather - posted on 02/23/2009

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Nope - you're not being unreasonable. Maybe their mom doesn't buy them because she doesn't want to. Whatever the reason, food in your house stays in your house!



One trick you could try worked well for me - I bought 4 plastic bins - one for each kid, and I divided up the 'lunch snacks' and 'goodies' into each bin. If a child eats all of theirs at home, (or took them to their other house in your case) then that's all they have for the week! This solved the problem we had - my stepkids complaining that all the snacks were gone while they were at their mom's...and they didn't get their fare share.

Courtney - posted on 02/23/2009

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Well, you all have me thinking about when my 5 boys reach teen years. Right now my kids don't go and help themselves. They eat 6 times a day at certain times (your main meals and 3 snacks). If someone is hungry they ask for something. I hope it stays that way when they get older (am I being dilusional lol) . But they don't leave my home with food when they go to their real moms house either. Now in your case I'm wondering if their Mother gets frustrated when they come from your home with all the goodies. Is she some health freak lol? Not that it's bad, I give healthy snacks and I give the good stuff too. Or does this Mother not buy much for food at her home? I know my grandma is going thru this with my teenage brothers...they go thru a box of ceral and a gallon of milk a day!!!! But they have always gotten away with helping themselves and not really be consequenced for it. So my advice to you (not sure if I'm right or it would work) BUT ........ Filling foods like apples with melted warm peanut butter something that is good for them and fulfilling..... keep them acitve. .... they are possibly eating out of boredom which we all do. Put away the goodies and you offer them don't let them help themselves. I know my grandma actually hides stuff in her bedroom and locks her door lol..... do what you can to take control of the situation because teenagers can eat and eat and eat!!!

DeAna - posted on 02/21/2009

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I quit buying snacks and drinks for awhile, i couldn't afford to keep replenishing them every time I turned around. I even tried the these are yours if you eat them all at once they are gone until its time to buy more....didn't work....the snacks we inhaled and then so were the others.....i lock them up on the weekends that my stepdaughter is here to keep that from happening anymore....sad but true....locked up.

Kerri - posted on 02/17/2009

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I understand where you are coming from and I understand where your husband is coming from.  Snacks became such an issue at our house that I had to come up with a new way of handling it. There was always a situation where someone ate someone elses snacks. Each week I request a list from my children and step-children before I go to the grocery store.  I know their likes and dislikes now so I purchase what is on their list and additional items to supplement them.  Each child has learned to pick something that the other kids don't like.   



Here is how I would handle this situation if it were me:



1.  Buy enough lunch snacks and pop (whichever they are taking) for your daughter and your step-children.  



2.  I realize cost might be an issue so if the dad is okay with them taking it, have him pitch in the extra money to purchase enough for them to take to mom's house.



3.  Offer the snacks to your step-daughter.  Say, here, I noticed you liked these snacks so I got some for you too.  This will encourage her to be more open with you rather than having to take things and then you can explain to her that there is no reason to take them, she can just ask. 



My kids and step-kids take all kinds of things back and forth.  Some of the things they have taken have shocked me, right down to glasses from our house that they like to drink from, wash clothes and towels because they were softer, leftover food that I have cooked, candles that they like the smell of (they said it reminded them of here).  They look at everything in our house as theirs and belonging to them.  I love that!  It makes me feel great to know they all feel that way!

Christine - posted on 02/09/2009

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I do that too...I hide the pop in the closet under some clothes and they still find it and take it! My daughters lunchables, I put them in 2 grocery bags, tie them up and put a note saying PLEASE DONT TOUCH, after of cuorse telling them to please not eat this stuff. I always make sure that I buy plenty of sncks for them but they still take it and bring it back to their mothers. I've talked to them, had my husband talk to them and of course they all deny that they have taken the stuff...it is so frustrating!

Kristy - posted on 02/08/2009

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Not unreasonable at all! Mine did that (well, one of them). Taking without permission IS stealing.
I actually gave up fighting about it and hid the stuff in the garage while she was here. I explained to my kids (and my hubby) that those specific foods were for school snacks and would be put away over the weekends.
I hated it, I didn't feel like I had a whole bunch of options...

Mary - posted on 02/03/2009

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Quoting Christine:

What to do when your step kids are stealing food from your house to bring home to their home???

I have 4 step kids , 2 boys and 2 girls(16,14,11 and 7) and live with their mom 3 hours away from us. We get them on the weekends and holidays. I have noticed lately that my daughters lunch snacks and cases of pop that I have boughten are missing. I actually caught my 11 year old step daughter with the snacksi n her bag and she says that her mom doesnt buy her the kinds of snacks that she likes.
My husband says its not stealing, beacuse its their fathers house, but I do consider it stealing, or taking with out permission. He pays $1000.00 a month in child support for his children. I get no support for my daughter. I have repeatedly asked them not to eat her lunch snacks for school, they can have anything else in the house they want, except those items. I always make sure to have plenty of food when the kids are here, and not sure what to do about this...am I being unreasonable???


Mine do that too. I just want them to ask for it first, then I gladly give them what they NEED.

Eileen - posted on 02/02/2009

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I think you are absolutely reasonable...



Its perfectly respectable to establish boundaries esp with food,  and kids need to know that they have access to food when needed, and what they can and cannot have. Personally I like to keep a bowl of fruit on the table so they can grab when they get hungry.  Keep drinks available, but if needed, stash the  " junk.."



Kids reach for what's easy and handy, if the less expensive and hopefully healthier snacks are easy and in reach, that's what they will go for. 



I would hide the cases of pop, put any non refrigerated snacks on a top shelf out of reach and sight, and in the fridge, set up two bins..(a big rectngular tupperware works great here...) label them .. " anytime" snacks... SCHOOL/WORK only snacks. 



Put it to them that you buy so many of these a week, or better , every two weeks; and that they can have them on ocassion with permission, but when they are gone they are gone till the next shop.. if that happens to be before their next visit, then they won't have any of those favorites at all that visit.  Make it clear that the rules apply to ALL the Children! Maybe make treat time part of the visit.. pop with a movie or the favorite snack if they eat all their dinner.. etc...



Regardless of " who's house" it is, TaKING WITHOUT PERMISSION IS STEALING!!!



Maybe a canteen idea would work with the older ones.. if they want a certain snack, or pop (beyond what you would allow) set up a jar and ask that they pay for it.. 25-50 cents per item..if they can't or won't pay..they don't get it. Use the funds towards purchase of snacks for the next visit.



Hope this helps!!!



 

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