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To ask for some help with my son

(11 Posts)
HypodeemicNerdle Fri 07-Feb-14 09:51:51

I am posting in here for traffic.

I have a lovely DS who is 7.

For the past few months he has been taking and hiding things from around the house and from school. For the most part it is small stuff, it seems to be more the taking of the thing rather than the actual usefulness of the thing to him if that makes sense. We have been upfront with school, and made DS return the things that he has taken. His teacher believes it is an emotional issue and has been trying to talk to him, as have we. Yesterday school found paracetamol tablets in his drawer at school that he had taken in from home, unknown to me. Due to the potential seriousness of this he has been referred for a course of 'drawing and talking' that will begin after half term.

In the early stages we punished DS for his behaviour but this escalated his behaviour and on the advice of his teacher we stopped punishing him and now talk to him. We remind him that his behaviour is not ok, we encourage him to be honest when he has taken something and to swiftly return it.

I am really worried about him. I do not know what is going on that would worry or upset him so much to make him act out like this but obviously there is something.

Has anyone seem similar behaviour in a child and have any idea how we can help him.

Please no flaming

TwoLeftSocks Fri 07-Feb-14 10:16:07

We've had that on a smaller scale - DS1 sneaking the odd toy snuck home, or more lately the odd elestic band or blu tac, in his socks of all places.

He'll also hide away his favourite toys from DS2, including sharing toys, but I think for him it's more about having the object to himself rather than the action of taking it.

We used to tell him off and make him return things but that just made him more secretive. We now talk it through and he knows he won't get any telling off at all if he's honest. Seems to be working, he hides the fact that he's taken something alot less.

The only other thing I can think of is when DS2 became mobile, we put a catch on one of the sideboard cupboards and made it into his Secret Cupboard, for his most special or breakable toys. It's still 'his space' and if he's taken something, it tends to end up in there.

HypodeemicNerdle Fri 07-Feb-14 14:12:41

Thanks Socks, how old is your DS?

Mine seems to have all manner of hiding places that I need to check

littledrummergirl Fri 07-Feb-14 14:25:29

Ds1 used to hide things when he was worried about something. We think it was because he had our attention(indirectly) while we were looking for things. We accepted this as part of who he was and talked to him about why he had hidden the item, reassured him that the problem would be solved and then asked him where he had put it.
This got easier as he got older and I cant remember the last time it happened. He is now a very bright 13yr old who is confident in himself.

TwoLeftSocks Fri 07-Feb-14 14:38:02

He's 7 too. He gets a bit emotionally attached to some things, and just interested in others - like the blu tac (wasn't happy about scraping that out of his sock).

The 'drawing and talking' sounds interesting, is that specifically to help with worries? Is he otherwise happy at school?

somedizzywhore1804 Fri 07-Feb-14 14:41:11

I'm sure you would have mentioned this but has he suffered a loss?

In my late teens I suffered a huge loss in my life and one if the things I did as a reaction was compulsively steal things and then hide them. To this day I couldn't tell you why. I eventually had therapy and the therapist said that this kind of behaviour was common after a loss. Almost like you're "claiming back" what you're "owed" from the loss. The hiding is about the shame of knowing you shouldn't be stealing I think.

CailinDana Fri 07-Feb-14 15:10:39

This is actually pretty common behaviour for that age. What has he said when you talked about it?

winterhat Fri 07-Feb-14 15:12:56

How about a treat after each week or so, if there's no taking/hiding of things?

GlitzAndGiggles Fri 07-Feb-14 15:22:01

I used to do this around that age but I was worse. I once stole some of my nans jewellery and hid it in a drawer in my bedroom. My mum found it and made me return it. I still don't know why I did it but I got satisfaction out of it. I had nothing against my nan she was so good to me and my siblings at the time. Sorry can't really offer advice on what to do but it's not completely out the ordinary for kids to do

FloppyRagdoll Fri 07-Feb-14 15:30:14

DD2 used to do this kind of thing, aged about 5-7.
We had the impression that she really like very small things that she could hold in her hand, or hide in her pocket.

eg, she would take her sister or brother's playmobil or Lego figures.
One time, aged about 5 and a half, we were in a shop and, the next day (100 miles away), we discovered that she had taken a small packet of miniature crayons.

On another occasion, she took a tiny Easter decoration from a garden centre.

In the first instance, we made her write a letter to the shop, and returned the goods. (We wrote a covering letter.) I guess we hoped that they might write back, saying something like she shouldn't have done it, but well done on owning up and sending it back. There was no response, though.

In the second instance, we discovered the theft an hour or so afterwards, and drove back to the garden centre. DD2's dad took her in and got her to hand it over. The people at the garden centre said, "Oh, it's ok - it's just a wee thing: she can keep it." NOT the response we had been hoping for!

All we did was never let it go; we would talk to her about things belonging to certain people and make her return it, with appropriate apologies. It was complicated because she was (and still is, aged 18!) very generous with her own belongings: if someone admired something of hers, she was very likely to give it to them. Any time she took something, we made her give it back, and apologise. Eventually it stopped. She still likes small things, though, and usually has some kind of charm or small object in her pocket, her bag or her purse. If you want to give her a treat, all you need to do is buy a Kinder Surprise egg - if it contains a little model, she is likely to be carrying it around for weeks.

HypodeemicNerdle Fri 07-Feb-14 19:18:09

Thanks all, I really appreciate the input. I know it's not an uncommon phenomenon for kids, just a really embarrising one.

He can't explain why he does it which is why he's been referred for reading and talking which will hopefully help.

I like the idea of rewarding him for not nicking but at the moment we are averidging 3 episodes a week.

Dizzy, you mentioned a loss and no is the simple answer. Although my parents split up in the summer just a couple of weeks before the new term started. He's mentioned this in passing a few times but doesn't seem massively worried about it.

School wise he is happy academically, there have been some friendship power struggles going on and some low level bullying but again he only mentions it rarely.

Drummer it's good to hear from someone whose out the other side with a non delinquent child, hopefully one day I will be able to give someone else the reassurance you've given me

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