Been caught stealing(31 Posts)
I'm not seeking answers as there probably aren't any, I just need to get this off my chest. My 14yr old has been a troublesome teen since he hit 12. Constant trouble at school, mouthy to teachers, endless detentions, lazy, arrogant, smoking etc etc. I've dealt with each situation as it has arisen with appropriate sanctions. All he seems interested in is his mates, smoking and girls. On the plus side, he is a very able student (although he rarely does any work atm), he comes home on time, hasn't come home drunk and as far I know, he doesn't use drugs.
Today I had a phonecall from the police to say that he was being held at a department store for shoplifting, could I go and fetch him? Turns out he had been in town with his mates and he picked up something in the shop and tried to walk out with it and was caught by security. They called the police. The store has decided not to prosecute this time but he has been given a lifetime ban in the store. The police officer is coming to my house tomorrow to get me to sign something explaining that if he gets caught doing anythnig again, he will be charged.
Obviously I had very stern words with him and told him his fate (no phone and grounding for at least a month depending on behaviour). This is his worse fate as all he ever wants to do is be with his mates. It does punish me and his siblings too as we are stuck in the house with him and his moods. He has said he will never do it again but I really dont feel any remorse from him, in fact, he's almost a bit smug that he 'got away with it' as he hasn't been charged.
I feel like I'm banging my head against a wall with him, nothing I say or do sinks in as he thinks he knows best and what would I know because I lead a boring life and I never take risks ~he says. Oh and the security man confiscated a bottle of vodka he had in his bag!
I want to scream at his stupidity.
Something I might add to the consequences is lack of trust by close family & friends (get family in on this). He is a sneak thief (sorry but shoplifting is sneak thieving). How would he feel if people rather obviously put their purses/wallets/cash out of sight when he is around?
He needs to feel the loss of respect and trust of family and friends.
This needs to hurt.
Disco my ds, who's 13, has recently been in trouble for stealing from the school canteen. Twice.
He had internal exclusion for a whole day at school (where they just sit in silence in a room and do very little all day. Horrible. They have to be escorted to the toilet. It's really grim).
I talked to him about the direct consequences. About when the canteen staff tally up and find they're short. They might be suspected. They're deemed to have failed in some way. I also talked about how, if people steal, the company providing the stock will have to price food higher to account for loss of profits. This means the other pupils (and of course parents) are having to pay more because of his selfishness.
I second the book Flow linked to (Get Out Of My Life). It's great.
Your ds sounds very like mine except mine is really great at home. He helps around the house, walks the dog, cooks etc ... but at school he's a nightmare. Showing off, lighting fires, smoking, cheeky to teachers. He tells me he 'becomes a different person' at school and doesn't understand it himself. It's extremely unhelpful that his friends think he's some kind of legend.
I think the list that sashh has some very relavant bits to it.Especially to your son, who thinks he has got away with it. He hasnt though he doenst know it yet.
I did read the beginning of your op and think, well everything from that can be got over. ie at say aged 20, if he has got his act saoemwhat together, the stuff he did at 14 would be just a blip.
But with the shoplifting, I dont think it is any longer.
If he did properly understand the consequences, do you think he will care?
The only thing I can think of to do, that you havent already done is when he is calm, to ask him where he sees himself in 5 years time.
Another thought: is there someone who's good opinion of him your DS values? For my DS that wouldnt be DH and I but my brother, DS's uncle. DS would be mortified if his uncle found out that he had been caught thieving.
Is there someone like that for your DS? If so, is this someone who could talk to your DS?
On a different thread a poster said that the community resolution order her son received for criminal trespass has now prevented him from joining the police cadets.
I think that it is very difficult for teens (I have three teens so some experience) to understand consequences. This would be the lesson I would be reinforcing with OP's DS. 14 is a tricky age in that he is heading into GCSEs, career choices etc. Reputation starts to matter, being banned from a shop should be an embarrassment to him. I would be making sure that is something he doesnt forget. I would be emphasising the sneak thievery nature of his behaviour - he wont be getting a part-time job in a shop with a reputation as a shoplifter.
While he isnt there yet, he is on a slippery slope towards the consequences that Sassh described. Okay, convictions do become spent in most circumstances (but not all) but in the mean time they have to be declared.
Lay the consequences on with a trowel.
I have taught HSC to people with criminal records, but not all colleges will take someone on with anything on their CRB.
The college I was at took a student who had been rejected from another college because of her conviction. She had had an argument with her mother, that spilled out into a shouting match in the street. The caution she received will follow her for life, we all hope that the fact it was fairly minor and a long time ago employers will ignore it, but she has to declare it.
Please reread, a lot of what I said was 'may' and 'might'. It was also, as clearly stated, intended for disco's son.
I obviously do not have a crystal ball and I cannot see in to the future, CRBs are on the way out, the USA may change it's rules.
I hope, most of all, cautions would be wiped completely after a set time.
I hope this has been the kick up the backside your son needs. I wish you both all the best.
You would be suprised how many teenagers are more bothered about not being let into the USA than a spell in prison
I think they sound like a good idea, albeit much harsher than current practice often is...
Yes it does. He apologised to the store detectives and given that the item he tried to take was of little value and it was the first time, they agreed to the community resolution form with restorative justice and he has a lifetime ban from the store. Ithink we got confused when the officer was here.
Interesting. We don't have these in our area yet, though they seem to be rolling them out across the country. They usually have a 'restorative' element - i.e. the perpetrator is expected to 'make good' some of the harm they've done, e.g. by apologising or repairing damage. Does this apply to your son?
It is called a community resolution form. The store agreed to it because my son apologised to the detectives. Apparently it is a fairly new thing in my area.
I'd be interested to know, if you can find out (and don't mind telling us!) It does sound like a Penalty Notice, except I didn't know they could last that long. It seems like quite a stiff penalty, given that there has been no conviction. By comparison, a nasty drunken, drugged-up youth who recently threw a flower-pot through my window and caused £250 damage, lost me a day's work and several nights' sleep has only got a caution, with no further action and no costs to pay.
Hi flow, I cant remember exactly what the officer called it but it is a period of 3yrs where his name will be kept on file by the police and if he does anything wrong in that time, he will be convicted. He hasn't been convicted this time as the store decided not to press charges due to the item value and the fact this is the first time. The officer described it as being likea probation period. I will call the station to find out. Thanks again for your support and good wishes
disco, I am a bit confused by you saying he has 3 years 'probation'... I guess you are using this particular word informally to mean something different from its official meaning, because a young person can't be put on official probation until after 'disposal' - i.e. until after conviction, and would be very, very unusual for a first offence. Has some sort of order been made against him (e.g. an anti-social behaviour order) or has he been issued with a Penalty Notice?
It's worth pointing out that if he had a Penalty Notice issued, this must be because you live in one of the new pilot areas, because they're not in use all round the country. They are not a criminal conviction, but may be disclosed in a CRB check if the police think it's relevant. ( More info )
If he hasn't already been referred to the YOT, I'd suggest you push for this. They do some very good work with young people to help prevent them becoming (more) involved in crime. I think you may be able to phone them up and self-refer, under the circumstances.
Also, this book is definitely worth a read.
And don't beat yourself up about whether you're being 'strict' and/or consistent enough... It sounds like you've got this reasonably in hand. At this point, it is at least as much about helping him learn to control himself as it is about you controlling him. That thread will give you lots of insight into common 'issues' for parents, like guilt, emotions, emotional distancing, energy, looking after siblings and yourself in all this... Good luck
yes, I would agree with you on that! (as long as he doesn't do it in the house and burn the place down)
I disagree with the idea that half the population has a caution. But the warnings about criminal records ARE relevant. You may have noticed that it is quite tough to get a job - the ones with the records will not be at the top of anyone's interview list. If he keeps doing this kind of stuff, it will all build up.
as he is clearly very easily led, he needs some new mates and new role models. Flow4 is right - time to channel that energy into something less destructive, rather than hanging around with the losers.
Thanks for your messages and experiences everyone, you've been really supportive and its given me alot to think about. My son now has a 3yr probation period, I had to sign it today. Fingers crossed he won't be shoplifting again but it also means he has to keep out of any kind of trouble for the next 3 years (and forever hopefully!)
I've always tried to be strict and consistant with him, he tells me I'm stricter than all his mates parents, they all say that though don't they? It is hard work because his attitude stinks and it upsets his siblings as well as me. I feel like he is taking up all my time, energy and emotions and leaving very little for anyone else. I'm aware though and constantly addressing it.
I do worry about his attitude to what happened yesterday, I read him the riot act and told him how hurt, embarrased and upset I was. At the the minute, his attitude is " well nothing has happened to me, nothing to worry about". Even after the officer and I talked to him about the consequences of being in trouble again, he was still strutting around. I hope this is just bravado.
Is it just me or does it always feel personal? Interestingly, he chose his own length of grounding!
Thanks again, I'll take a look at that thread.
....his smoking is the least of my worries
Maybe, WBHV. I think most of us on that thread have kids who have done much, much worse things than disco's DS, so it might be comforting!
Here's the thread if you want a look, disco.
Agree with Flow4.. a lot of Sashh's post is misleading.
DS1 was cautioned several times at the age of 16, mostly for stupid moped stuff ..letting a friend on it with no insurance/helpmet etc. But he was also arrested for arson! Later proved to have nothing to do with him (thankfully.. he was stupid at that age but not that stupid)
He is now 20, and a reasonably sensible young man at last, and has been working for well over a year in health and social care. For this he needed an enhanced CRB. he is also studying Btec Health and social care through his workplace..
He also worked a couple of summers ago in a scheme caring for disabled children.. another enhanced CRB.
Your son is NOT written off for life having a caution at 14. Christ if that really was the case half the UK couldn't get a job!
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
sashh, a lot of what you have written here is misleading or simply untrue. And none of it is helpful to disco.
disco, it sounds like you're handling the situation well enough. 14 is a very difficult age IMO, because it's often the start of a few years of bad behaviour, but you're totally new to it as a parent, and haven't developed any of the skills, tricks and coping strategies you'll have by the time they're 16-17!
Be aware that grounding may not work. At some point this month, your DS may suddenly realise you can't make him stay in the house. The last time I grounded my son, at the same age, he laughed at me and climbed out the window. He was bigger than me and I couldn't stop him. Losing my 'parental authority' like that made things very difficult for a while, and I wish I'd realised this was a possibility before he did... I'd suggest that if/when you next need to punish him, you pick a sanction you can control - e.g. phone removal and/or stopping allowance.
He sounds bright and in need of challenge. His comment about risk-taking needs attention. I would suggest you get him into some kind of structured risk-taking ASAP - scouts, D of E, adventure sports, army cadets, anything - the more challenging the better! It will be hugely good for him. Don't leave it until he works out you can't 'make' him; insist now.
Sashh thats not all true I'm afraid. Spent convictions may have to be declared in certain circumstances but it's not quite as bleak as you say.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
That is a really interesting post, and I suspect will help a lot of people not only the OP.
That really hits home - can't travel because of a criminal record. I didn't know it stayed with you for life.
OK I teach 16-19 year olds.
I teach health and social care, most of my students want to be nurses.
Those with a criminal record often can't get on a nursing course. Some colleges I teach in won't even let students do BTEC courses in health or childcare courses with a criminal record.
This is serious.
You may not want to be a nurse but you might want to:
be a teacher
join the police
work for the government
help out at scouts
work in a bank
work for an insurance company
travel to the USA
travel to Australia
travel to New Zealand - basically travel anywhere outside the EU you may have problems
Maybe you don't want to go to the USA, but maybe in 20-30 years time you will have a child who desperately wants to go to Disney, how will you explain that you can't take them?
You might not want to do any of these now, you might want to do them in 20 years time. If you get a criminal record it is there for life.
It can be used against you. Maybe in 20 years time you are married with a baby but your wife wants a divorce, she can use that criminal record to stop you seeing your baby.
Maybe when you pass your driving test you have an accident and someone is hurt, you have a criminal conviction so you will be treated more harshly than someone without.
You are incredibly lucky that you have not been given a caution, a caution is a conviction and stays on your record for life.
This is up to you. Your parents, friends, family can all give you advice but it is your decision.
Your photo will have already been circulated to other shops, you will be watched whenever you are in town.
If I was your mother I would be sending a photo to every town centre shop and asking them to ban you for a year so you are not tempted again.
Do you know what happens if you are arrested?
You will be taken to a police station and kept there while the police search your home, so not just your bedroom but the entire house.
Do you want someone searching your mother's underwear because of you? Or emptying the bin on the kitchen floor?
And the police are not subtle, there will be at least one marked car outside while this happens.
The police can then take your property for investigation, and you don't always get it back. If you do it can take months, so imagine in the middle of GCSEs they decide to take all your notebooks / revision materials?
Is this really worth it?
You are 14 and probably cannot imagine life as an adult, but something you do now can have a massive impact on it.
You have had a close shave, you really need to think about that because what you do or do not do will have a huge impact on the rest of your life.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
OMG, he's just 14 and he's doing all this!!!!
You do know it's illegal for him to smoke don't you?
He's been caught shoplifting and this ^ is what you choose to get hysterical over?
disco I wonder if in fact it has occurred to you at all that he should not be smoking?
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