How do I deal with lies and stealing?

Carre - posted on 10/02/2012 ( 8 moms have responded )

6

0

0

I have three sons, one 12, one 11 and a 3 month old. My second son is causing lots of problems with his behaviour and I'm completely lost on how to react because I never seem to get through. He loves to wind everybody up, very much the attention grabber, good or bad and he fails to listen to almost anything said to him, often answering a direct question by repeating it back to me.



Recently he has started taking small amounts of money to buy 'treats' and lies without seeming to care when asked about it. This is what bothers me most, he has always lied a great deal and with an ease I am uncomfortable with. He appears to have a complete lack of empathy for other peoples' emotions and the reaction he may cause in them.



He behaves well at school but can get 'cocky' outside school and with me.



Life has not been the most stable for my two older boys and I for a long time but now it is much better and I have always done my best for them although I freely admit I don't always get it right.



I have tried grounding and removing privileges but it doesn't appear to work. Any ideas on how to get him to 'care', stop lying, not steal? Is this normal teen type behaviour? Is a lack of empathy normal at this age?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Tammy - posted on 10/17/2012

9

0

0

Well said Robert Kalina,



As parents we have to be parents first, not best friends. Kids will come to like and respect us eventually. To constantly try to only be the best friend will spoil and ruin the child. Enforce the rules, consistently, fair and in a caring manner, and things will eventually turn out for the better.

Im not trying to say you are trying to be their best friend before disciplinarian/parent/etc, I just wanted to say I agree with the above comment that many parents worry too much about whether their child will like them or not if the discipline them. I am dealing with many problems at home with our 13 year old, I discipline my stepson as best I can but his mother enforces very little and openly admits that she is scared he will not like her anymore if she punishes him much. He is on a downward spiral and I am helpless to prevent it, which leads me to this.... My stepsons punishments are very trivial, on the rare occasion he receives a suitable punishment he straightens up for a while. Are your son's punishments meaningful or does he shrug his shoulders at them? My stepson didnt mind having his tv taken away, all he did was watch tv in the living room and his behavior didnt change. He lost the ability to watch tv period after further misbehavior. After even more misbehavior he lost the door to his room. If one punishment doesnt work, change it up and step it up!

8 Comments

View replies by

Carre - posted on 11/21/2012

6

0

0

Robert,

I'm sorry, probably having a blonde moment but I can't seem to find your response??? From what Tammy said though I would have been interested to read it.

Thank you to all of you for your thoughts.

Carre - posted on 11/21/2012

6

0

0

Wow Kelly thankyou, there's some real food for thought there. I can't be sure but I don't think he has Asperger's Syndrome, he's very affectionate, can read from expression and isn't 'black and white' about things. He just fails to see cause and effect. For example he isn't a bully and yet will laugh and get involved sometimes when another child is ridiculed due to an action, he'll say 'Oh it was really funny because so and so did this and everybody laughed...' and I will point out that actually that really isn't funny and the poor child probably felt terrible when everyone laughed and he'll suddenly understand and see it from the other child's point of view.

I love the idea of 'food budgeting', that makes so much sense and great to have a practical task to teach him the value of things rather than just trying to verbalize it. I think I'm going to do that with both my older children as it's just such a great lesson in many ways.

Not long after I did my original post we sold his skateboard as being grounded wasn't getting through and suddenly we started to see a change. He is improving his attitude, we haven't had any recent stealing events but we are on a long path I think.

Carre

Kelly - posted on 10/16/2012

5

0

1

I have a 16 year old with similar problems (he's emotionally about 12-13), but first I would suggest you determine whether or not your son has a disorder. Does his empathy just pertain to you, and rules, or is he like that with everyone? Does he have friendships where he contributes toward the friendship or does he just use people? (i.e. plays with Joey because he has a cool video game). Lack of empathy can be a sign of things like Asperger's Syndrome, which typically a child has no social skills at all, or they're very limited. Or it could be a sign of narcissism, which they typically won't diagnose until adulthood (because all teens ARE somewhat narcissistic). If he's behaving well at school, it seems it may just be environmental--which means it can usually be fixed. Sometimes, though, lying is just a defense mechanism because he can't explain why he did what he did (according to one of my son's former therapists.)

There's a really good book--my son HATED that I made him sit down weekly to work on exercises in it--but it's called "Teaching Your Child Empathy, The Social Emotion". It's geared a little bit more toward younger kids, but there are some good exercises such as reading one sentence multiple times with different tones to understand voice inflections, and pictures of facial expressions that match/identify moods, etc. If he truly doesn't understand empathy, there are some good things in that book to help him. And unfortunately, with my son, the only thing that sort of helped teach him cause and effect (which he understood logically but didn't see how HE impacted others) was doing to him what he did to me, and explaining it. My son is very literal and doesn't understand a lot of common sense things. You took my money? I'm selling your game to get it back since you don't have any money.

Also, my son is a sugar junkie to the point I had to start hiding sugar behind locked doors or an entire package of cookies would be gone that day. One thing we're working on currently is budgeting. We just started this: I gave him $25 for the week, took him to the grocery store, and told him he gets $5 for breakfast foods, $15 for lunch foods, and $5 for snacks. Dinners, he didn't have to worry about. It was a LONG grocery trip because he would put things back, get something else, etc. but he started to see the value of money. He told me, "Oh yeah, and we're out of jelly." I told him, "No. If YOU want jelly for PB&J, that comes from YOUR lunch budget!" He didn't like it, but it made him stop and think!!! This way, if he wants snacks, he can have them, but when they're gone, they're gone. Also, we told him we're ALL doing this food budget so if he takes from OUR food without permission, the money for next week's treat allowance is gone. Just an idea so maybe your son will feel he can get treats without stealing, and feel like he has some control...but you ultimately decide what's acceptable and what's not.

Vickie - posted on 10/09/2012

31

5

0

My son was stealing money from his brothers. First I didn't give him a chance to lie, I knew he was doing it and told him so, I didn't ask him. He tried to give me a guilt trip about trusting him, I didn't fall for it. He had the money so I took it back. I told him the next time it happened he would have to not only give it back, but double to make amends for stealing it.



Of course on top of that we also had conversations about how he would feel if someone stole something of his, but I really think the only thing that got through to him was the punishment, he didn't want to have to lose something of his on top of it. I know it worked because he's never done it since then.

Sara - posted on 10/08/2012

5

0

0

Im not sure on how you would feel about this but one thing I did for my oldest daughter was doing everything back to her. I would take her toys and my husband would eat her snacks and leave a trail and lie. SHe got so upset and when we sat her down and told her we were sorry but that is how we felt when she took things and lied. Granted she was under the age of 5. She understood and for the most part stopped taking things. But she's 24 now and still lies about little things. I was never able to change that. Hope that helps

Carre - posted on 10/04/2012

6

0

0

Thankyou Laci, it does help to know I'm not the only one! Will definitely give you a shout if I start getting through. Carre

Laci - posted on 10/02/2012

10

8

3

I am dealing with the same here but it is not money...He steals food! I have a 13 year old and he is becoming increasingly impossible! So when and if you find a balance let me know! But just so you dont feel alone..I am right here with you trying to figure this whole thing out! I wish I had mpre for ya but I am at a lose here too...GOOD LUCK! Laci...

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms