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Nearly 7 year old stealing over the last year

(2 Posts)
DoraD1066 Tue 28-Jun-16 23:15:09

Hope I can get some advice here.
I am an experienced mother of 3 but am really stumped with my youngest.

We have two girls of 15 and 13 and a boy who is just turning seven. Our son is very loved in a traditional "normal" family environment but we have a problem as over the last 6 months he has been stealing Lego or other small toys from people's houses or cars if (friends, car pool kids etc)

I am not sure if this was going on for a lot longer than 6 months but this is when I discovered this. I have spoken to him openly about how wrong this, how we don't do this in our family and we know that he is a good boy, and not his "style". We have read age appropriate books about how stealing is wrong, and he has returned the items and apologised. He does appear sorry or ashamed when we catch him and discuss it. I am never angry, but I show disappointment and reassure him that he is a good boy and this is not really typical of him.
I've discussed how it feels for the other person to have their possessions stolen and how terrible it would be if he was labelled as a thief, etc etc

I have also tried to "support his mind" by telling him that he has to listen to his "good side" when he gets tempted (and it did work once I think) but today he came home with a friend's Lego men which he took secretly and put away in his bag!!

I'm not even sure if it's a good idea to make him return the Lego himself again (maybe I should do it and make something up) as the shame of apologising doesn't seem to have worked and I'm worried that repeated apologies will just mean less and less to him.

I am now wondering if I should fake a theft so that I "steal" his scooter from the garden and let him feel how it feels? (But I'm worried this will make him feel angry and then he will steal to get back at others who stole, or perhaps I "steal" it and then return it after and say the theft got caught?)

I could also scare him with a friend who is a policeman but I'm not sure if this would work for him as it may just make him feel like he need to outsmart the police (he is a clever boy who knows how to lie and this could be part of the problem? Maybe it's a challenge for him although he did once say he gets "stressed" when he steals - we have spoken openly about how stealing makes a person feel)

I assume I will be asked to look at why he is doing this. The thing is he doesn't want to get caught so I'm not sure if it is a cry for help... He is however the youngest after a gap, and although he is being raised with love he probably always feels singled out with two older sisters and two working parents. I know that he doesn't get enough time with us but he is certainly not abandoned either.

Do you think this is a cry for help even though he never wants to get caught? Or just an immature stage? I have read a lot about this type of thing but now I'm really not sure how to move forward...

Would appreciate any input here

RandomName9 Wed 29-Jun-16 00:39:45

Not sure I really have an advice but my sister is going through the same thing with her son, although he is slightly younger at 5years old, he doesn't want or need for anything (her husbands family is very wealthy.) In fact he is probably overly spoilt. She mentioned that he had been in trouble at school a few times for taking toys, he had lied & said he had taken them into school etc. My son had mentioned he had taken toys when visiting but I just brushed it off, but have now noticed various little bits cars Lego figures etc go missing after a visit. She has tried the returning, apologising etc but it doesn't seem to be working.

I think if it was me I would try to have a chat about the policeman visiting if it carried on. But maybe more practical try not taking a bag with him when visiting friends or clothes with no pockets (I know that's easier said than done) or doing a quick "let's check we haven't accidently picked up anything before we leave." Maybe if he knows you will check his pockets bag etc before leaving anywhere he may not bother anymore.

Either way it sounds like you are doing all the right things & hopefully he just grows out of it soon Xx

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