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So..how do I deal with stealing. Aibu to punish for it

(347 Posts)
MrsL1123 Thu 21-May-20 09:16:42

So we have a large family (6 children) 2 adults.
My kids have all been brought up knowing it's wrong to steal,
Repeatedly my husbands daughter thinks it's acceptable to go into the kitchen at night and steal food. And when I say steal food I mean she's taking 3/4 bags of biscuits at a time. She's 9. I'm fully aware that taking food from the house isn't a huge crime however I don't want
Her thinking that this is ok. So how do I deal with it? I've tried speaking to her, tried explaining to her it's wrong as she's been caught many times. So how do I stop it happening? Do I punish her for it? Or what is everyone's thoughts? If all 6 children was to be allowed to do this then there would be no food left!
And before anyone starts it's not because she's not getting enough food in the day as all my kids all get 3 balanced meals a day plus multiple snacks throughout the day..and no one else feels the need to sneak into the kitchen at night and early morning to take food.

Mistlewoeandwhine Thu 21-May-20 09:19:30

I’d be kind. Ask if she’s hungry, give her a bigger supper and explain about the need to biscuits to be shared fairly. Punishing someone for taking food doesn’t sit well with me at all. I’d never punish my kids for eating food as I think it could lead to too many issues.

Dreamersandwishers Thu 21-May-20 09:20:07

Maybe she feels that she’s not getting enough attention. Seriously it’s probably not about hunger, it’s more likely that she feels overlooked or less important than her siblings.
Maybe some more one on one time, or such treat as may be possible right now.

user1487194234 Thu 21-May-20 09:20:39

I could never call that stealing

MrsL1123 Thu 21-May-20 09:21:22

I've already explained this to her. I've already upped her portion size, but like I say if I let it go her taking food without asking and excessive amounts then won't that just let the other children think that they can also do this? Don't want to punish her, but it's during the night when everyone is sleeping and it's not just one thing it's 2/3 things at a time.

Duchessofealing Thu 21-May-20 09:22:08

If she’s taking 3-4 bags of biscuits at a time does she have an eating disorder? I’d be keeping a close eye on eating habits and after meal behaviour to check she is ok.

00100001 Thu 21-May-20 09:23:14

Stop buying biscuits.

But, find out why she's doing it. You call her your husbands daughter, are you a blnded family? what are the dynamics like between the 6 kids, what relaiosbhip does she have with her dad, her mum. Where is her mother?

MrsL1123 Thu 21-May-20 09:23:51

Dreamer, this proves quite difficult especially during lockdown. I'm at home with the children alone right now, my husband is working full time. I spend one on one time with each child throughout the day while doing school work and always make sure they equally have the same attention as much as I can.

Dreamersandwishers Thu 21-May-20 09:23:58

Has something changed in the family ? Is she anxious about lock down or the possibility that she might go back to school.

00100001 Thu 21-May-20 09:23:59

Has she alays doen this? has it just started? Did something trigger it?

for now, i would hide the biscuits, and not make an issue of it until you can work out what's actually going on.

DiscontinuedModelHusband Thu 21-May-20 09:24:11

i think it would be better for your husband to deal with this - i think if it's you, she likely won't take it as seriously.

additionally, i would be concerned this is a symptom of something else.
maybe she feels a bit lost in such a busy household, and feels a bit safer in a cocoon of her own making.

perhaps rather than focussing on this being a negative behaviour, use as an opportunity to make sure she feels safe and secure and included.

i'm not suggesting she isn't loved or included, but that might be her perception...

00100001 Thu 21-May-20 09:24:57

@user1487194234 well, what would you call taking something that isn't yours in secret?

QualityFeet Thu 21-May-20 09:25:07

She probably feels like she is ‘your husband’s daughter’ and is less part of the home than she could be. I would go carefully as this is an eating disorder rather than an issue of stealing. She is driven to over eat to fill spaces of unhappiness. I would be very worried about her future well being precisely because ‘no one else feels the need to sneak...‘ you sound like you dislike this child. I know sometimes messages don’t come over like you planned. How’s her relationship with her dad - is it always you who speaks about this with her?

Dreamersandwishers Thu 21-May-20 09:25:57

Sorry, cross post. I really do get it, especially if you are home alone.
I don’t know what to suggest other than lots of hugs (for all of them) and maybe try to reassure that things will get better.
The emotional toll on our children is huge, I feel.

DameHannahRelf Thu 21-May-20 09:28:18

Is she drinking enough water?

MrsL1123 Thu 21-May-20 09:28:30

I'm not sure about the eating disorder. She's got a healthy appetite no different to the other children, but will definately keep an eye.

Yes we are a blended family, I have 4 children (one which is my husbands) and my husband has his two children plus the one we have together. They came to live with us a couple of years back, they have contact with their mother (which can be limited which is her choice) and their relationship with me and the other children are great, all get on fine and I always treat them fairly and equally. Not sure if any of this is relevant though cos aside from the taking the food during the night she's fine, no issues except the usual things that kids that age get up to..

Ijustreallywantacat Thu 21-May-20 09:29:26

I'm going to against the grain slightly as I think yes, it is stealing, and yes she should have consequences. It's just not acceptable. At the same time, she could be binge eating which is obviously very unhealthy. You should look out for any underlying cause. I reckon a consequence, and then a big chat.

Ijustreallywantacat Thu 21-May-20 09:30:21

How very unkind of people to jump to conclusion that you don't like her.

Iwalkinmyclothing Thu 21-May-20 09:30:24

Why do you call this stealing? For starters I would say, change the language you use when thinking and talking about this, it really does matter.

And if she's not doing it due to physical hunger, there is another reason. You say you have spoken to her and told her why this is "wrong". What have you asked her? What have you heard from her? My kneejerk response is that she feels insecure and like something is lacking but obviously I'm just a stranger with no more knowledge of this than what you have written so far.

What does her father think? What are her relationships like with the other dc? Does she seem happy, settled, connected, like she feels safe and wanted and valued? Where is her mum? What is going on in her life? Is there anything else about her behaviour that worries you? Who does she have to talk to about her troubles and worries?

I would forget a "this is STEALING and WRONG and I must make it stop" approach and think, what does she need?

user1487194234 Thu 21-May-20 09:30:32

In my house the food is for everyone
If someone had more than their fair share I would have a chat with them about it
But stealing,no not for me
I would see this as a cry for help.sign of an eating disorder
Talk to her

DameHannahRelf Thu 21-May-20 09:30:42

Apparently humans often mistake thirst for hunger, (or our brains do?) and it can lead to binge eating, because you're satisfying the wrong urge, you never feel properly sated, so have more of the same and on it goes.

LimpidPools Thu 21-May-20 09:30:48

I wouldn't call that stealing either. It's not the same as stealing from a shop or a stranger. She's a part of the family, so the food is partly hers - she's just taking more than her share and at times when she shouldn't.

It sounds like a different issue than hunger though. Is it caused by an emotional issue? That seems very likely. Does she feel happy, secure and included with you and your husband and your new family? Or is she there, but separate?

This really doesn't sound like something she needs to be punished for. It sounds like a deeper issue.

noenergy Thu 21-May-20 09:32:43

There is probably a deeper issue and until you find out what it is I would hide the snacks. I have to hide snacks anyway from the kids as they wouldn't stop eating them but I wouldn't use the term stealing for taking food from the kitchen from your own house.

MrsL1123 Thu 21-May-20 09:33:36

Quality
I have no idea where u have got the idea that I "dislike this child" that's certainly not the case in fact the opposite. I love those children like my own and always always make a point of treating them all exactly the same. I show them all the same amount of love and affection, and try my best to spend time with them all equally. I'm sorry if my post came across that way and I'm quite upset if that's what people have picked up from it. But I can assure u aside from them not being mine biologically there is no difference between them and my own children. My husband has tried speaking to her and explaining to her too, and haven't gave her into to trouble for it either, just trying to get her to realise she can't continue to do it. As for the poster who said "it's not stealing" what is it then? Whether u agree or disagree with my parenting all my children know that they can have food/ drinks but have to tell me or ask first. Otherwise with such a large family it would end up being a free for all and we wouldn't be able to keep up with them eating constantly 😂

DameHannahRelf Thu 21-May-20 09:35:33

I wouldn't say she's stealing either. Being greedy for sure though, which isn't good for her health, especially if she's binge eating unhealthy food like biscuits, do you have healthy (or healthier/lower sugar or calorie) alternatives where she can get at them? Could she be comfort eating?

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