to take my son to the police station for stealing from me

(97 Posts)
Stealingson Mon 16-Dec-13 19:18:51

I really don't know what to do. In lots of ways my son is amazing - sweet and kind and works hard at school. He has lots of friends and a full, active life. He is 11 and in yr6.
Recently he and my older son saved up for a gaming computer which we built from scratch with them. They are into Minecraft and other games like many boys their age. All of his friends are heavily into gaming too. A month or so ago he asked if he could buy a game online which cost £12 (payment goes through paypal). I said he couldn't spend that much as he needs to save his money for Christmas presents etc. We agreed he could spend £6 on another game that he wanted and no more. I had to go out then so I told my partner to put my paypal password in for him when he was ready and that no more than £6 was to be spent. While I was out a paypal notification flashed up on my phone that £12 had been spent. When I got home I queried with my partner about the amount and he said that my son hadn't asked him to put the password in. So after much interrogation it transpired that my son and managed to memorise my password and had just bought the £12 game thinking I wouldn't notice. I was utterly furious and he was immediately grounded and banned completely from the computer for 2 weeks. He seemed suitably sorry and promised to never do it again.

Fast forward to this evening. I couldn't find my phone anywhere. I turned the house upside down looking for the damn thing. Son is on the computer this whole time. The only place I hadn't been was my bedroom so I didn't bother look there. I actually thought someone must have come into the house and stolen the phone. Anyway dp eventually hands me the phone and says it was next to my bed the whole time. I swear I hadn't been in my room - weird! I check the phone and there is a paypal notification that £12 has been spent on a gaming site. He admitted he'd bought a game. I'm gobsmacked. On top of this he had moved my phone to my bedroom thinking I wouldn't see the paypal notification.

He won't talk to me now. I have told him how serious this is. What should I do. I want to march him to the police station and have them give him a telling off. I'm scared this may escalate to bigger things as he gets older. He seems to think he is entitled to steal. I don't know what I've done wrong. I know part of the problem is his obsession with the computer - we really limit the time he spends on it and try to keep things balanced. About 3 years ago our nanny caught him stealing a sweet in a shop. I think he has a problem.

Stealingson Mon 16-Dec-13 19:34:50

Hehe Softly! Yes he is allowed to spent half his pocket money on games/ in the shop.

My son has stolen, he is 11.

He has He took a few pound coins from his granny's change jar. I caught him with a sheepish look on his face. Sat him down and told him how disappointed granny would be, how bad he must feel inside for stealing from someone who trusts him. He had a big cry, and felt quite bad. We left it that.

A few months later he was able to download a film with my password, without checking with me. This is when I got angry. He was banned from i pod for 3 weeks.

Part of me thinks it has to do with the age they are, and sadly I have become a bit less trusting and a bit more watchful.

To be continued!

I still believe that the appeal to his inner moral compass is the way to go.

FionasFatFairy Mon 16-Dec-13 19:49:42

I have been very careful to ensure my DC do not see the password for their iTunes account which is linked to my credit card. I have set the requirement always to need the password for any purchase and make the children tun their back before I enter the password.

DS knows the password or our cable TV, but I don't think he knows (yet) about pay per view.

sykadelic15 Mon 16-Dec-13 19:51:47

So... he asked, you said £6 max. He spent the £6 + £12 (got caught and apologised) then spent ANOTHER £12 including hiding your phone to hide the fact he committed fraud (report the purchases to paypal and reverse them). You need to make sure he's aware this is fraud. It doesn't matter that you're his mother, if he steals someone else's ANYTHING its theft, using that information for his gain is fraud. Explain to him the penalties of fraud (jail time etc etc). He needs to understand that this is NOT legal and not even remotely funny.

Being a tech nerd and by husband one as well, I would lock that computer down! Including but not limited to:
- Moving the computer to a very public location. The older son will not appreciate this and that will also help with the discipline of your other son.
- password protect the computer (no nighttime games for you!).. change randomly
- install software that limits to very specific sites (wikipedia for example for research for school)
- block all downloads.
- stop any games from launching (specific to computer ID's so the older son could play).
- spyware to monitor usage (even after the suspension is lifted, sounds like he's got some friends that are bad influences)

I would also organise some form of punishment depending on your situation. You could try organising public service/charity work? Maybe this will help your son see that some people have nothing and he needs to be more grateful.

Your son right now has no respect for where the money comes from. He thinks that £30 is "nothing" because he hasn't had to earn it (that's the total amount he's spent on your paypal account lately, £6 of it authorised). Do you give pocket money or an allowance? Does he have his own bank account?

Did you buy him a Christmas present? If so, I would give one small present (it IS Christmas) which is non-computer related. I would return any other presents or hold onto it until later. I would also consider confiscating some of this other "toys", possibly selling them in order to be paid back (teaching him how much things are worth).

But then I'm pretty harsh. Come down strong and he'll be less likely to do it again (but don't include the police because once you do, punishment can be taken out of your hands and he'll not trust or respect you for it)

Stealingson Mon 16-Dec-13 19:52:01

Btw I don't want the police to charge him or anything - just give him a telling off.

Thanks for helping me see things clearer. I'm so glad to hear that this sort of thing is relatively common.

Change password, remove all technology for at least 7 days and don't give in!

Sit him down and explain why, that your hurt and its not acceptable.

valiumredhead Mon 16-Dec-13 19:55:23

I would take his computer away from him.

valiumredhead Mon 16-Dec-13 19:57:25

And I would take it away for a month. It needs to be a proper punishment not a week. He needs to properly think and reflect on what he has done.

VenusDeWillendorf Mon 16-Dec-13 19:58:51

Calm down.

You seem to think he'll end up in Holloway because he helped himself to a sweet three years ago, and also a computergame. He won't, and you going off on one, threatning to shop him in to the authorities now won't help the situation.

For sure you are upset and you fear for him, but you need to examine why stealing is so black and white with such terrible hell in a handbasket, one track consequences?

He seems very bright, and you're very lucky to have a bright DS.
He also sounds bored, and like he's becoming addicted(?) to whatever games he's playing. Is he slightly obsessive about them?

You need to have more family chats. You need to be honest and also to stop thinking about punishment and more about discipline. You are the authority, not some guy in a uniform, or some big guy in the sky, for that matter.

He sounds like he'll do very well in the city!

Threatening him with the big bad bogeyman policeman will make you look rather foolish. He may need the police's help in his life, we all do at some time. are you willing to make him distrustful of them, and worse still, of you?

Be honest, and talk with him. Why did he think he was entitled? Why did he try and cover up his tracks, did he know it was wrong? why did he go ahead, didnt he care that you were paying?
does he not understand that everything is found out sooner or later, that nothing is ever a secret.

LISTER VERY CAREFULLY TO HIS ANSWERS and don't interrupt <sorry for shouting, but it's important>

I would take all technology away from him for a month.

I would make him to loads of chores.

No pocket money for at least two weeks.

I don't think you can sell the games if he's downloaded them? But if he's bought actual games I'd sell them on.

If not, I'd delete them.

But then, I'm probably a bit too harsh!

FortyDoorsToNowhere Mon 16-Dec-13 20:02:58

The police will not just tell him off, they will ask you if you want him arrested.

I would delete the download, why should be benefit from it after the punishment is over.

WhatEverZen Mon 16-Dec-13 20:06:47

Please dont take him to police station for this. At the moment, you're the one in charge... your rules and your decision on how to deal with this / punish / deliver the consequences.

Once you take him to the police station, you relinquish some of that control and you dont know how they'll deal with it. They may give him the 'telling off' you'd like them to but they may not and may look to deal with it in another way.

Its not uncommon for young people to do things like this but quickly learn that the consequences (being caught and punished) just arent worth it...

tinkertaylor1 Mon 16-Dec-13 20:07:54

OP I would take him.

My niece (11) has been stealing...chocolate out of siblings lunch box, loose change,£20 out of dads wallet, £5 out of mums purse, stealing of her friends. THEN she went on a spree at mine. Obviously it escalated over a length of time, but shouting , grounding, confiscating did not work.

I would take him just for a telling off. He is stealing. Its wrong.

Stealingson Mon 16-Dec-13 20:08:44

Skydelic thanks for that - we sound pretty similar!

Perfectlypurple Mon 16-Dec-13 20:11:42

If you take him to the police there is a chance they will record it as a crime with him linked as the suspect. That is what the policy is likely to say. You may get someone who won't use their discretion and make it official.

bigtimerush Mon 16-Dec-13 20:15:27

I'm going to go against the grain here and say you need to calm down. Yes he spent more than he was allowed (twice) but talk of taking his Christmas presents away is completely OTT in my opinion. He's 11, millions of 11 year olds do this, they don't all turn into criminals. Give him a bit of slack.

Stealingson Mon 16-Dec-13 20:16:17

Struggling to catch up with all these replies. That is so much to you all. Venus - I agree with everything you say - I think he is bored and becoming obsessive with gaming. I have two very young dcs and he probably doesn't get enough attention sad

Stealingson Mon 16-Dec-13 20:17:22

I didn't say I was going to take his presents away!

Stealingson Mon 16-Dec-13 20:18:03

But I do strictly limit his computer time and he is only allowed on 3x week

Pannacotta Mon 16-Dec-13 20:24:05

No to police, its for you as a family to sort out. But yes to you calming down...
I would also ban him from all screen time for a month but then I hate computers/games for kids use anyway.
And keep talking about why you have done this.
Stealing is common among kids his age, but there are ways to deal with out without involving the police.
And don't bring Christmas into the mix.

Almostfifty Mon 16-Dec-13 20:25:08

My son spent about £100 on Xbox stuff.

He paid every single penny back in labour. It took him weeks, but he's never done it again.

Arkina Mon 16-Dec-13 20:31:33

if you take him to the police station or ask your local community officer to visit theyre not going to charge him.

What theyll do is stand there looking like big scary policemen and give him a talking to.

Your local police office will be happy to help and wont think of you as a bad parent. Ive seen it done loads of times

IamGluezilla Mon 16-Dec-13 20:38:56

I also think you need to calm down. It all seems to have got a bit hysterical.
I think that bringing to the police station is ridiculous. And something you should expect to have thrown in your face when he is an adult.

It is simple: lock down the security, access in public area of house only but explain it as understanding he doesn't yet understand the seriousness; the value of money; impulse control and that you are putting in place supports whilst he gets older and can use tech responsibly without your input. Don't tell your current thought that you're taking him to the police now, because he is nothing more than a thief to you.
He is 11, and still needs to know that his Mother loves him ( which by the way, is not the conclusion anyone would draw from your posts)

Vikki88 Mon 16-Dec-13 20:47:01

I honestly can't imagine what either of my DC would have to do for me to get the police involved. There is no need for you to get them involved at all and your son will definitely hold it against you in the future.

bigtimerush Mon 16-Dec-13 21:02:19

Thank god I'm not skyadelic DS or DD... hmm

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