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mums of teens please help....suitable punishment for my 13 year old DS who I have found out is stealing

(12 Posts)
AnAngelWithin Wed 03-Oct-12 11:15:39

So DS1 (eldest of 5 children) is 13. For a few weeks I have been wondering where loose change has been going from my bag.... not really thought much of it. Then this morning I heard the lounge door closing at 7am (my bedroom is downstairs next to the lounge) so I stumbled bleary eyed out of bed and went into the lounge. DS1 stood there closing the display cabinet door (all the kids money boxes are in the bottom) I asked him what he was doing and he said 'tidying up' hmm

Anyway an hour later his school shoes were soaking wet so I stood there and dried the hairdryer with them for him. He took them with no 'thank you' or anything. I told him that if he gets home tonight and they are that wet again he needs to dry them, and that if i catch him near that cabinet again there will be trouble (its got lots of sentimental bits in it and a small collection of swarovski crystal) especially if he goes near the money boxes. He pulled a bit of an 'I don't give a shit' face then went to school. So then I looked and realised that the bottom was missing off his sisters money box (she is 11) and there was no money in it at all. I know there was about £10 in there as it was her birthday the other day. His money box was empty too.

None of the kids have 'pocket money', they don't go anywhere to need anything and if we do go out, we give them spending money, and so will grandparents. We aren't struggling, but neither are we 'well off' enough to brush off £10 going missing here and there'

I don't recognise this boy any more.

I cannot abide lying and stealing.

I am so upset and cross.

So what should I do? Give him chance to confess for a lesser punishment? He doesn't go out anywhere so I can't 'ground' him. In terms of 'material' things to confiscate etc, he has a pay as you go phone. I could just not put any credit on it next time? or take the money out of his account to give to his sister? He has a ds (but rarely play on it) and he shares an xbox with his little brother. I don't know. I am pretty sure I will get a mouthful from him either way sad I don't understand him....

SoupDragon Wed 03-Oct-12 11:19:13

None of the kids have 'pocket money', they don't go anywhere to need anything

He does - he goes to school. I bet all his friends have money to spend in the local shop.

As for punishment, first you have to get him to own up or be able to prove absolutely that he has been stealing.

MissJayTea Wed 03-Oct-12 11:20:39

I would be honest and open with him but don't go in all guns blazing. He could be bring bullied at school and they are demanding money. Talk to him and most importantly listen. And don't shout!

AnAngelWithin Wed 03-Oct-12 11:21:40

I did wonder about the bullying thing. I just don't understand, if he wants money, why not just ask for it?? Even if it is just for sweets...

rockinhippy Wed 03-Oct-12 11:39:15

I agree with the others about taking it softly softly, just incase there is a worrying reason behind his behaviour - the most unlike my own DDs behaviour I have seen has been when she was having bullying problems at school, so it is a possibility sad

& I also have to say that I think you are very naive to think a 13 yr old doesn't have use for money of his own, or that he won't feel like a big baby having to ask all the time - IMHO he is way past the age to be trusted to organise & save up his own spending money, my DD has been do this since she was tiny & now at 10 she saves & understands money & shopping for bargains, making pennies stretch & making more extremely well -

I also was given pocket money as a DC & I also am good with money - my Brother wasn't given pocket money, but got all he ever asked for - at nearly 50, he is completely crap with his finances & STILL expects to get everything he asks for from our DPs - if thats anything to go by - do yourself a favour & give your DS a bit more respect & his own money so he can learn not to be a burden on you later wink

insanityscratching Wed 03-Oct-12 11:54:11

I think teenagers need their own money so whilst it is wrong to steal I have some understanding of why he has done so.They need the frredom of choice and the indepedndence it gives them. I think you need to talk to him and ask what made him steal. I'd then suggest that he is given pocket money of £x per week but obviously for the first ten weeks it will be docked £1 each week to pay back his sister.

AnAngelWithin Wed 03-Oct-12 11:58:43

so how much is everyone thinking is reasonable amount? I DO respect him, but things like this do make me think HE has no respect if he is capable of doing this (if it isn't because he is being bullied for it)

DeWe Wed 03-Oct-12 12:09:55

Just from my perspective: Anangel we didn't have pocket money. If we needed something then we could ask.

If, for example I needed an A4 file for school-I asked, and could choose whatever design I wanted. This suited my siblings, but I wanted the freedom to choose to get that file, or to get a cheaper file and something else I wanted (eg sweets).

I very much envied the freedom of others despite probably in total having more money spent on me. When I got to about his age I started not spending all my dinner money, sometimes not eating much, simply so I could feel like the others when we went out to town. If I asked my parents I'd get given an amount of money, but it never felt like mine, and that I could spend it freely on what I wanted.

If you are making him pay it back though, you either need to make him pay back more (just a little) or have an other punishment too, because otherwise he's no worse off for taking it-he might as well take his sister's £10 for what he wants now if all he has to do is pay £10 back gradually.

SoupDragon Wed 03-Oct-12 12:13:56

I would probably make him earn the missing money back so he gets to understand that money has to be earned. eg DS1 lost two bus passes in 3 weeks at a cost of £10 each. He ironed 20 of his school shirts to pay the debt.

rockinhippy Wed 03-Oct-12 12:52:25

I'm with Soupdragon on sending out a better message to him by making him earn the stolen money back - though I think I'd come down a lot harder on my own DD for stealing, especially if there was no bullying involved.

I didn't mean that you don't respect him, I'm sure you do - just that in a teens eyes, not been trusted with his own money could well look that way & I suppose that can then lead them to not respecting you back.

As far as how much goes, I suspect thats going to vary according to your area - can you ask any of his friends Mums how much they give ?? - then of course with 5 kids you need to take into account that sooner or later all 5 of them will qualify for pocket money, so you need to budget what you can afford based on how many you are going to be giving PM to in one go - this is something your DS needs to understand too - also look at what he's likely to spend it on & give a fraction more to allow him to save for bigger items/days out. For example our DD since reading well has had enough to buy a magazine & a small cheap packet of sweets with a little left over, this has increased as times gone on.

Our friends DD is one of 3 & she gets £5, but complains its less than her friends, but knows she has siblings her Mum also pays out too, so doesn't complain too much IYSWIM - though when she does want more money, she does extra chores for extra money - sometimes even her siblings pay her to do theirs grin

My own DD is younger at 10 & we've given her pocket money since small & she gets a rise every birthday - she also gets an extra chore toowink so at 10 she gets £4 & is expected to help out with chores - we don't pay her for chores, but we do dock her pocket money if things aren't done/for punishments.

IIWY I would get you DS doing your DDs chores as punishment for stealing from her & I'd be docking most of his pocket money until paid back

rockinhippy Wed 03-Oct-12 12:53:52

Friends DD is also 13 - left out the important age bitblush

AnAngelWithin Wed 03-Oct-12 13:42:47

ok. Well I think when he gets home tonight I will sit him down (alone) and give him the chance to fess up...and ask him WHY.... I will explain to him that regardless of the reasons, stealing is wrong. If it IS because of bullying then I will deal with it with the school/whoever, and help him as much as I can, but he needs to know that it is still wrong and he should try and tell me of problems before if gets that out of hand again.

I agree with DeWe about making him pay it back plus a bit more if he has just been intentionally stealing it. Didn't think of it in the way that he thinks he can just pay back what he has taken without additional consequences. Maybe make him give her the money back, plus do something to help like soupdragon says to make up the rest? Some chores of some kind?

He's emptied his own money box as well which I am peeved at but it's his money. It's the fact he's taken from his sister and me that's annoyed me.

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