AIBU to expect my 13yo not to steal from me?(221 Posts)
(Have name changed obv)
He takes EVERYTHING. As in, there's some cash on the side in the kitchen - change from fish and chips yesterday - and he took a pound coin (brought it to me after his sister told him I had noticed it was gone). DH & I have a drawer in the kitchen with 'our' snacks in - nuts, dried fruit, chocolates - and a couple of weeks ago he took the chocolate bar that was in there - 150g dairy milk that was for me for a week, and he scoffed the whole thing. He took an unopened pack of (10) caramel rocky bars last weekend, ate the lot - wrappers all under his pillow. I got two tubs of roses (am I showing my age if I say I preferred the tins) because they were on a good offer at tesco, put them away in the cupboard for christmas time (it takes 2 tubs to fill up the 3 kids advent calendars). Spotted only one was there the next day, asked DH if he'd put it somewhere else, but no. Got 13yo son into kitchen, asked if he'd taken it, and he admitted it. Brought leftovers downstairs, and there was literally ten chocolates left. He'd eaten the rest (in less than a day).
We've always been really clear that we need them to tell the truth, as otherwise there is a consequence for what they did (eg taking chocs) and another for lying about it.
I know 13yo's have massive hormonal surges and impulse control issues and struggling to work themselves out, but this is just getting ridiculous. His weight and teeth are fine, he walks to and from school five days a week which is just over 2.5 miles each day, eats maybe 3 or 4 slices of toast for breakfast, then a bacon roll when he gets to school, school hot dinner, 2 apples when he gets home, and tea might be pasta, or soup with bread, or veg stew or something like that, along with another piece of fruit. I get that he's growing like a weed but can always have fruit or toast for a snack if he's hungry, so I can't see it's just hunger, but have pretty much run out of patience! It's not even like it's only food he takes - long story but we had a lot of cash in the house a few weeks ago and know that he took at least £100.
Are all teens like this and I need to get my head round it? I hate having to think twice about what I should do with a handful of change because I worry that if I leave it somewhere he might see it then he'll take it! Do your teens do this? What should I do???
He needs to be punished. It's not normal at least it wasn't for me, my brother or any of my friends.
I don't think its normal exactly.
Mine wouldn't take stuff that was obviously for someone else, or for Christmas/Halloween/a special occasion.
They would certainly never take money. What on earth did he do with £100!?
What does he say when you ask why?
I usually get shrugs and 'I don't know' - a couple of times lately he's said he's taken things because he's so angry at us (as in me) because of the consequences/punishments I've given him for other things - eg he takes chocolate, I tell him he can't watch TV that eve. Next day he takes something else, he says he took it because he was so angry at me not letting him watch TV.
With the cash he bought sweets and crap for friends as well as himself.
Definitely not normal. If I tell my teens that something is to be kept for Christmas, they don't touch it. No money goes missing in this household either, and if I give them money to go and get milk or things, I get a receipt and change back. You need to crack down on this.
Does he get any money to choose what he wants to do with? Does he get his own treat shelf (like you and your dh have a drawer)?
I was always told not to go down my parents pockets/purses and knew what food was off limits. But every week they did by me some special bits and bobs which I stretched out over the course of the week... I was a hungry child (a lot of intense exercise plus grew a lot, very fast), your ds' diet looks very good, but I probably had a bit more stodge thrown in to fill me up (cakes, puddings)
I don't necessarily think it's normal teen behaviour, but I guess some do steal. I used to take food when I was a teen, crisps etc. and a couple of times I took a bit of change from my mums purse. The moral code is a bit different as a teen and I don't recall thinking of it as a big deal but obviously, stealing is stealing! I'm 42 now and have been fairly well adjusted as an adult
I have 12 and nearly 14 year old dses and thankfully neither steal
yet DS2 gets a couple of quid once a week to blow on sweets and a drink after school which keeps him happy, me not so much but I know kids enjoy going to the shop after school so I suck it up.
If punishments aren't working, I guess unfortunately for the moment you need to look at locking away money etc and keeping food you don't want eaten where he can't find it. I know I'd hate having to do that but teens can be impulsive and I would if I had to.
Do punishments have any impact and does he say why he does it?
I'm trying to but I don't seem to be having any impact! I'm running out of punishments tbh, and I don't want to 'take away' future stuff, eg no scouts in 2 weeks time kind of thing.
That is not normal behaviour!
I think you should threaten him with the police. (Although not actually call them, just a threat.)
He needs to understand that stealing money and treats from his family is wrong.
I would find that quite worrying actually. It seems compulsive. The binge eating, the taking of small amounts like a pound. I think you need to look at this more closely.
Did you punish him for the £100? Definitely not normal.
Do you think he has a problem with compulsive eating? Or sugar cravings?
You need to tackle that really. Locking sweets away is just sticking a plaster over the top.
Sorry op but this is definately not normal teen behavior.
l think you are being way too soft on him punishment wise, if this was my child the first time would result in being grounded for a day with no technology or TV, the second time grounded for a weekend and the third time removing his phone ( if he has one ) for good.
Personally l would be LIVID if my child stole any money from me, my wrath would have them shaking in their shoes!
The bigger picture is if he continues to think this is acceptable he will get sacked from a job, and possibly prosecuted and end up with a criminal record. l think you need to stop making excuses for teen behavior and get tough for his sake. Good luck
My DB went through a phase of this at about the same age.
I'm sad to say, it went on so long my mum asked a police man to come to the house and talk to him. I think that gave him a fright and sorted him out.
I used to steal money from my parents because I was angry with them, I was very messed up and had to go on to get help.
Wouldn't dream of stealing now! However, you NEED to up the boundaries and you need to find out what's going on with him.
It's not normal behaviour, he is hurting and angry...find out why. Also why are you not locking money away if he has form for stealing? Also, he's eating a ridiculous amount of food, like a form of self harming
This needs to be addressed and urgently
Stealing is bad.
Stealing food is maybe less bad if you're a growing 13 year old and your mum thinks you'll be full with a 'hot' (so what?) school dinner at lunchtime, some soup in the evening, plus carbs and fruit.
We had problems with my 14 year old eating loads of crap like yours, but he hadn't 'stolen' it, he'd been buying packets of biscuits and big bars of chocolate like your son and eating them in his room.
Have a think about your son's nutritional needs. If he's not fat, then he probably needs those calories to grow. Not just soup and fruit.
He has 'sweet box' as do the other 2 kids (aged 12 and 15), and a couple of quid a week pocket money which he can spend on whatever he wants.
Problem is I can't put food where he can't reach it/find it/get to it - open plan kitchen diner and he's taller than I am so high shelves no deterrent!
We started being careful not to leave any money anywhere but then I get passed off at not being able to put a handful of change down anywhere, you know?
Have thought of telling him he can't be in kitchen unless DH or I are in there, but as eldest has SN we can't really enforce it as at any second we might have to go deal with him, and then he'd just sneak in anyway.
Should point out punishments are not only no tv - we also take his tablet and don't let him use wii (he has no tv or anything in his room anyway).
Eastmidsmummy - I get what you're saying but maybe 'soup' is misleading - if tea is soup that's two proper size bowls of homemade chunky soup plus between a third and half a French stick and a bowl of salad 😆
Any suggestions for punishments? Can't ground him as he doesn't go anywhere apart from scouts and school, and already taking scouts! He spends most of his time in his room (his own choice) reading - should I take away books?
you need to give him consequences, but also l agree with poster who said talk to him to find out id there is an underlying issue.
l would make it very clear what he is and isn't allowed to take and the next time he takes something that he shouldn't, take something of equal value to him so that he understands what it feels like. Once he ahs been on the recieving end of this he may feel differently.
The food would annoy me but not to a massive issue. I would be looking at WHY dc were taking so much food and minor punishment.
The money stealing would make me very cross though.
I would want to find out more about why before punishing the behaviour. It sounds like he might have an eating disorder and is using stolen money to buy more food as well as what he's eating in the house. Has he lost or gained a lot of weight recently?
I dont see taking food (not Christmas chocolates but biscuits) from within the family home as stealing.
You do need to be concerned about the money. You need to try and find out why he does it. What does he do with the money? Are you sure that he is eating the food at school and not subsidising a friend who has no money at all ? (I found that one of mine was) If it is to buy food then have you considered that you are not feeding him enough?
I'm really sorry to sound harsh but his diet needs looking at. Toast wouldn't keep a growing teenage boys full in the morning. He needs porridge, eggs, etc. Veg stew or soup and bread is not a filling dinner. Is there protein in there? School lunches are always small portions and don't fill them up. I have two active teen boys who don't eat a lot of rubbish but they are always hungry. They need regular feeding and it needs to be food that keeps them feeling full for a while.
Even chunky soups and vegetable stews may not be filling for a 13 y.o. And white bread and processed carbs too. It sounds like he's craving fats (and, yes, sugar). Eating more eggs, milk, meat could be more nutritious.
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