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to take my son to the police station for stealing from me

(97 Posts)
Stealingson Mon 16-Dec-13 19:18:51

I really don't know what to do. In lots of ways my son is amazing - sweet and kind and works hard at school. He has lots of friends and a full, active life. He is 11 and in yr6.
Recently he and my older son saved up for a gaming computer which we built from scratch with them. They are into Minecraft and other games like many boys their age. All of his friends are heavily into gaming too. A month or so ago he asked if he could buy a game online which cost £12 (payment goes through paypal). I said he couldn't spend that much as he needs to save his money for Christmas presents etc. We agreed he could spend £6 on another game that he wanted and no more. I had to go out then so I told my partner to put my paypal password in for him when he was ready and that no more than £6 was to be spent. While I was out a paypal notification flashed up on my phone that £12 had been spent. When I got home I queried with my partner about the amount and he said that my son hadn't asked him to put the password in. So after much interrogation it transpired that my son and managed to memorise my password and had just bought the £12 game thinking I wouldn't notice. I was utterly furious and he was immediately grounded and banned completely from the computer for 2 weeks. He seemed suitably sorry and promised to never do it again.

Fast forward to this evening. I couldn't find my phone anywhere. I turned the house upside down looking for the damn thing. Son is on the computer this whole time. The only place I hadn't been was my bedroom so I didn't bother look there. I actually thought someone must have come into the house and stolen the phone. Anyway dp eventually hands me the phone and says it was next to my bed the whole time. I swear I hadn't been in my room - weird! I check the phone and there is a paypal notification that £12 has been spent on a gaming site. He admitted he'd bought a game. I'm gobsmacked. On top of this he had moved my phone to my bedroom thinking I wouldn't see the paypal notification.

He won't talk to me now. I have told him how serious this is. What should I do. I want to march him to the police station and have them give him a telling off. I'm scared this may escalate to bigger things as he gets older. He seems to think he is entitled to steal. I don't know what I've done wrong. I know part of the problem is his obsession with the computer - we really limit the time he spends on it and try to keep things balanced. About 3 years ago our nanny caught him stealing a sweet in a shop. I think he has a problem.

Stealingson Mon 16-Dec-13 19:20:16

And yes I was an idiot for not changing my password! I honestly didn't think he'd do it again!

foreverondiet Mon 16-Dec-13 19:22:54

Police won't do anything as he had password to your phones So I would say little point...

HECTheHeraldAngelsSing Mon 16-Dec-13 19:23:11

Remove all computer time for him until he shows you he can be trusted and he pays back the £24 in chores.
And change your passwords and get passwords on all your internet devices.
Police is not the best idea because you need to make him respect YOUR authority not theirs.
Kids have poor impulse control. He just needs to understand consequences.

SPsWantsCliffInHerStocking Mon 16-Dec-13 19:23:14

about 3 years ago our nanny caught him stealing a sweet in a shop. I think he has a problem

hmm really? A problem because he nicked a sweet.

I wouldn't march him down to the police station. Stop his computer time instead for a period of time.

MrsDrRanj Mon 16-Dec-13 19:24:24

The police probably have more important things to do than worry about your son using your paypal account to buy a game.

I remember doing stuff like this at around that age. My brother did too. At that age kids don't tend to think about consequences too seriously. I'm not a criminal now! My parents spoke to me seriously about stealing, about how disappointed and hurt they were etc

A conversation about where your money comes from may help too. Kids can be thoughtless and sneaky, it's not unusual and I don't think he has a problem.

Wibblypiglikesbananas Mon 16-Dec-13 19:24:38

Take away the computer. Every time he argues back, add on another day that he can't have it. I don't know if it's the stealing itself I'd find upsetting, or the deception/sneakiness.

FortyDoorsToNowhere Mon 16-Dec-13 19:24:45

I wouldn't because a criminal record will efect his job prospects in the future. What i would do is take a computer game to Game or Cash generators to get the money back.

Pagwatch Mon 16-Dec-13 19:24:49

I would never take my child to the police - to me it's like saying 'I am not in control so I am going to find someone else to scare you with '

If it were my son he would have no access to computer/ phone/games etc etc for a month. And the conversations about lying and stealing would continue until he got it.

WitchWay Mon 16-Dec-13 19:24:53

He may not see it as stealing - the games have been paid for after all. I think police a little heavy-handed but it might be the way forward. Perhaps speak to the local station on the phone & ask if they have an officer who would have a word with him?

winkywinkola Mon 16-Dec-13 19:25:45

I would not let him on any games for at least a month.

You're right. Stealing is serious especially the second time.

So you've got to come down hard on him. No games for at least a month but I would tell him it's for the foreseeable future.

Plus he will have to pay back the £24 with chores around the house.

I would be livid.

Stealingson Mon 16-Dec-13 19:26:24

Thanks for replies. I think it's a problem because there's a history to this (and that's all I know about).

How long should I stop his computer time for?

FortyDoorsToNowhere Mon 16-Dec-13 19:26:28

technically its fraud.

meboo Mon 16-Dec-13 19:27:04

At this stage I think taking him to the police station is overkill. I would immediately change the paypal password (something you should have done after the first event). I would remove both games that have been downloaded and I would ban gaming on the PC until after xmas.
He would also have to pay me back for what he has spent assuming that he was able to (pocket money maybe).

The next occasion that he steals I would come down like a ton of bricks.

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Mon 16-Dec-13 19:27:28

First, calm down. Stealing a sweet three years ago really isn't relevant.

Does he have any way of earning money/games? Does he get pocket money he can save and spend as he likes? 6 quid to spend on games in a couple of months seems a little mean if he has no way to earn/save for it.

BTW I used to steal from my Mum and am now an upstanding member of society.

FlatAsSantasSacks Mon 16-Dec-13 19:27:33

I'd be making a list of chores for him to do over the next few weeks to help pay back. Stop,pocket money.

My nephew did something similar. Used SIL card for xbox live points £60 then after being barely punished she let him have her card for points as he gave her the £10 amount. Went to cashpoint, he'd used £46.


Stealingson Mon 16-Dec-13 19:27:50

Thanks ever so much for the replies. It's really helpful

usualsuspect Mon 16-Dec-13 19:28:40

Change your password.

And don't take him to the police station.

LaurieFairyCake Mon 16-Dec-13 19:28:48

You don't need the police to tell him off, sounds like you're doing a great job

Obviously he's off the gaming machine for a period of time? I'd do the entire Christmas period - I'm very harsh with stealing

And has to repay out of his money?

Change your password for everything obviously, and pin protect your phone.

IMO you have to wait til they grow out of it, I've had some children where it takes years - and I've locked my phone/jewellery in the car quite a few times

Once you've checked theyre not being bullied, and they're not addicted to gaming then really it's about banning them from all gaming machines for long enough that they find it very negative

Purpleprickles Mon 16-Dec-13 19:29:37

Not sure what I would do in your place but to those who say the police won't do anything they might. Years ago a parent of a 9yr old pupil of mine took him to the local station because he had taken some money from her purse. Apparently the police did have a stern word with him about the consequences of stealing and he was very remorseful. Not everyone's way of parenting but it worked with this child.

softlysoftly Mon 16-Dec-13 19:29:43

What PPs said I used to nick cigarettes from dad (naice family and everything honest).

Anyway the sit down talk about how hurt they were gote every time and as a grown up I would never steal.

Hes a kid he nees consequences and understanding and you hope it sinks in when he grows up.

usualsuspect Mon 16-Dec-13 19:29:51

Is he allowed to spend his pocket money on games?

softlysoftly Mon 16-Dec-13 19:31:58

They also taught me how to spell confused

defineme Mon 16-Dec-13 19:32:23

I'd be very very cross and there'd be a lot of grounding and consfication.
However, I stole from my Mum when I was that age (and shoplifted) and I've turned out reasonably well-I just grew out of it as I matured and developed a few morals. I was never caught. I don't think he's definitely on a slippery slope to criminality. I do think computers breed obsessive behaviour in some kids and I might be trying to help him spread his interests a bit?

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Mon 16-Dec-13 19:32:34

Obviously not, softly grin

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