Ds1 is 11 years old with siblings who are 9 and 6.
He has had a problem with stealing for years.
He steals stuff like sweets, juice earmarked for lunchboxes and other sweet food. We started off being patient and explaining stuff like if he drinks lunchbox juice then there won't be enough by the end of the week but he continues. I have to resort to only buying sugary food on the day it's going to be eaten and hiding it.
I try to explain to him that his cravings for sugary things are strong because he doesn't eat a proper breakfast or lunch and that if he's bored of the food he only needs to suggest a menu but he refuses to comment or suggest stuff.He has free access to fruit, cereal, toast and often leaves some of his dinner so it's not hunger.
He is not deprived of treats. We follow the general eating rule of healthy during the week and relaxed at weekends. On Friday I will buy sweets and weekend meals come with a fizzy drink/juice and a dessert like icecream or cake. We are all quite slim so this seems to work.
Since he has started going out with friends to play, he has moved onto stealing money. The money is used on fast food, sweets and energy drinks. Grounding him at weekends only works to a limited extent as he has to walk to school and back as I have to get the younger ones to primary school.
The children all get pocket money but he usually loses his due to bad behaviour. For example this week he swore at me twice and refused to do his household chores. There are no constraints on what he can spend the pocket money on.
He is also a compulsive liar. I have been patient and explained stuff like I know when he lies so not to bother or telling the truth quickly will minimise punishment (if it is warranted) but he perseveres.
How can we get him back on track? He is loved and praised when he's good. By good I mean instances when he shows kindness, when he's funny, when just because. This dishonesty and stealing issue has been looming over him for years and must be making him unhappy too.
He is not able to articulate his feelings well so I'm not sure how much effect talking to him has. (It often feels like me talking and begging for answers/comments) I have tried to explain the consequences- how it makes me feel, how I'll have less money for other stuff but I have no idea if he cares.
I think you should talk to him to find out if any problems. I read an article about Kleptomania once & it said that those who steal feel that they have been taken from. Other than that just a kind but firm zero tolerance and complimenting him on good behaviour.
My DS2 is a bit like this,(yr7) found a whole layer of chocolate biscuits (won as a raffle prize) in his bedroom drwer the other week, and also helps himself to crisps, anyone elses sweets/chocolate/fizzy. DS1 has a bit of a weight issue anyway due to medical reasons, and is very aware of it (gets some teasing etc) so he is consiously not eating the junk. I also found out that DS2 is buying stuff at school when he has been sent with packed lunches, and when I asked where he got the money (I know he had no pocket money left) he said he had saved it from previous days when I gave him money for school dinners- but how can £3 given for 1 school dinner last out 3/4 days, buying cereal bars, energy drinks and other things- and I know I have had money go from my purse. I asked him to make my budget stretch that far, and could he go down the shop with £3 and buy all that stuff for me,- and he went red, then, got angry and said "I never give him any money as I was always saying we were poor!" (we are not poor, just feeling the pinch like most people). I have been told this is athing that a lot of them do, and it is a "boundries" thing with preteens and teenagers, but, to my mind, its just plain stealing.