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Stopping DS7 from "taking" things

(5 Posts)
Woteap Mon 16-Jan-17 00:37:53

Sorry long post ... Need some ideas on how to handle this as I've tried a few and they don't seem to be having any effect...

DS7 has been taking things without permission. I wouldn't like to call it stealing (although I have used that word in front of him) It's been happening on and off for the last year and up until today has been about chocolate/sweets. For instance before Xmas, I found he had opened 2 entire boxes of Lindor balls we had bought as presents for friends and over a period of time had been eating the chocolate and hiding the wrappers behind the fridge - only came to light when we got the boxes down and found them curiously light. Today he had got into a cupboard where we had stashed a few toys for regifting, taken one of them (Lego), opened the box and started playing with it. Aside from the nutrition side, I'm worried this is the start of a slippery slope where he thinks it's ok to just take whatever he wants and I don't want DS5 to start doing it too.

The sweets/toys were kept in high cupboards so he has had to get kitchen steps to find these things. It usually happens in the mornings before we have got up as he's an early riser.

We've tried talking to him - pointing out that these things don't belong to him and he shouldn't just take them, leaves less for other people, they were supposed to be presents etc etc We've tried going heavy about it - if he did this in a shop he would be in trouble with the police/prison. We've tried clearing the house of all sweets but that isn't a long term solution as sooner or later he's going to have to resist temptation. We've made sure there are breakfast cereals well within reach that he can help himself to if he's hungry in the mornings. We've even tried a weekly "mummy tuck shop" where he can spend his pocket money (£1) on sweets (25p each) He usually stops for a few weeks and then it happens again and I find myself having the serious conversation about how disappointed I am. He always seems to listen and says sorry but it doesn't stop. Overall he's a good boy who does ok at school - although lately I've felt like I'm losing my connection wth him. He's ignoring me more and doesn't want mummy cuddles and kisses as much - I had put this down to just him growing older and wanting more male role models.

I'm seriously running out of ideas to try. Or do you think I'm taking this too seriously and should try and make light of it/ignore it? maybe he wants more of my attention? (I returned to full time work in Sept - these incidents happened before and after that point - is that's driving it Im not sure what to do!)

NuffSaidSam Mon 16-Jan-17 04:50:05

All your solutions are very 'softly, softly' what you need to do is punish his bad behaviour.

Unless he has SN, 7 is old enough to understand what he is doing and why it is wrong.

Natural consequences are the best so I would start with not allowing him to leave his room when he wakes up early. Explain to him why. 'It's very sad, but I can't trust you to go downstairs without me, so you'll have to read in your room until I wake up'.

Everytime he takes something he needs to pay for it. If he doesn't have enough pocket money/Christmas money he will need to earn some by doing additional jobs round the house, selling something that belongs to him or giving up a treat (e.g. 'I've had to cancel our trip to the cinema because I've got to use the money for our tickets to buy two more boxes of chocolates. What a shame you ate them and now we can't go to the cinema!').

He needs to put right what he's done wrong where possible, so for example, he needs to clean out the wrappers stuck behind the fridge and he needs to go with you (with money he has earned) and buy two new boxes of chocolates.

Woteap Tue 17-Jan-17 09:54:21

Thanks NuffSaidSam - we have in the past docked his pocket money to pay for things he's taken and also set additional chores to earn more pocket money. This time I said it was to replace the toy and also banned TV until the weekend as punishment for doing it in the first place. Unfortunately he shares a bunk bed with his brother so can't have him staying in his room after he's woken up as he usually wakes the younger one up too and he really is a mess if he doesn't get extra sleep. Haven't tried taking him with me to buy the things he's taken but that's a great idea. Should help drive home the consequences. Thanks!

Wookat1983 Tue 17-Jan-17 12:00:06

Hi Woteap, 'stealing' is part of a developmental stage at this age, much like learning to lie when they're 3-4.

It is absolutely about how you handle it like NuffSaidSam says. However, rather than always reacting to what he is doing wrong by 'pre-empting' and re-enforcing the consequences before he does anything wrong then rewarding when he does it right you will have a more successful time. You'll need to 'set him up' a few times so that you can control the outcome. For example., let him know that there is a box of chocolates in the cupboard for everyone to share at the weekend. Also let him know that if he takes any before you give him them then he will not be able to have any. Ask him to repeat the consequences first (if he does take some), and then ask him to repeat what happens if he leaves them alone. Then if he leaves them alone make a big thing about how proud you are of him and let him share the chocolates out. If he takes some ask him to tell you what the consequence is and let him sit in the room while everyone else enjoys them.

Rewarding positive behaviour is the most effective way of changing negative behaviours. Punishments and threats tend to be very ineffective (if they worked then all our prisons would be empty!).

Hope this helps!

Woteap Wed 25-Jan-17 20:53:27

Thanks wookat1983 - appreciate that and will give it a try

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