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Normal behaviour?(6 Posts)
I'm a total newbie here - didn't quite know where else to go.
Sorry for the long post in advance!
I have a 7 year old stepson, I've been in his life since he was 3 and we have a great relationship. He lives hundreds of miles away in the middle of nowhere and I don't see him all the time - only school holidays when he stays with us for weeks at a time. When he is here we get on very well. He was over the moon that i trusted him enough to go into the boys toilets himself ( i waited outside) Mum still makes him use the girls apparently.
Anyway he spends all day telling my husband how much i trust him and how we're best of friends. It's really lovely.
So here's my issue.
A few days ago my neighbours took him out with their kids for the day. I gave him two ten pound notes and told him to give it to them when they were getting snacks to pay for everyone's snack. His first question 'what if they don't take it' I told him that he's to give it back to me when he gets back. All good.
That evening i forgot all about it and it wasn't until the next day i was washing his trousers, and making sure that there was nothing in the pockets, when i wondered if he had given them the money.
I asked him and he replied 'yes, they spent it on the snacks' I was chuffed, for once i was actually able to pay for something as my neighbours never accept!
So as the day goes on, i was getting his stuff together to go back home. I brought his backpack downstairs and the stuff he had wanted to take back. He came into the kitchen and started telling me some long-winded story(you know the ones) about how his backpack had fallen up stairs and stuff had come out of it and he was going to take it back up there and sort it. I never thought anything of this at the time but with hindsight it was rather strange.
I had asked him where his football stuff was, it was to go in a separate bag as it wasn't going back to his house. He shouted that it was in the main part of his bag. As i started to open the bag he came charging out and grabbed it from me saying he would get it. Again i didn't think much of this at the time. However he then took the bag and sat it by his feet in the living room which was just weird and i suddenly felt like he was up to something.
When we got into the car, i took the bags to put them in the boot - I know i shouldn't have looked but I knew he was up to something with the backpack. When i had a quick unzip i seen one of the £10 notes.
I asked him again if he definitely gave the £10 notes to the neighbours and 3 times he told me that they spent it all on snacks. The 4th time i said ' they spent it All on snacks' Suddenly he had the rabbit in the headlight look on his face and he replied ' I might only have given them one of the 10's' He said it was maybe in his backpack. I got the bag out for him and he riffled through it and said ' They're both here!' As if it was a shock to him.
I have to admit, I know this is possibly normal behaviour and I'm maybe worrying about nothing but i couldn't help but feel heartbroken by it. I wasn't even angry, just dejected.
He had taken the money out of his jeans, and specifically put it in the bag to take home.
When i asked why? He kept saying he couldn't remember or he didn't know. When i started getting angry he responded I 'didn't think i would get a row' and when i asked why he was taking it he said ' to give to my mum'
I know kids lie but I couldn't believe just how many times he lied, and how calculated and deceitful the whole thing was.
Am i totally crazy? Is this completely normal?
Sorry for the huge post!
Well children steal for a number of reasons.
He may have been too embarrassed to hand the cash over. That's quite an unusual thing to ask a 7 year old to do.
7 is very young.
Or, he might want some money for himself because he wants things he doesn't have....or he may have friends he wants to impress or keep up with.
Or he might genuinely want to give it to his Mum. Could she be struggling?
Either way it's never a good idea to get angry about this sort of behaviour. It's quite a common thing to happen....and certainly doesn't indicate a future felon.
Best way forward is to tell him that he can always be honest with you and you're sorry you got angry with him.
If you get angry, they're often too afraid to tell you things you'd want to know because at this young age, they can't always work out what's "naughty" and what's not their fault.
thank you for your response.
It's so good to hear from people way more experienced than me.
I was basically just following my neighbours lead, they had done something similar earlier in the week and their son had handed money to my husband when we were buying lunch. We didn't accept it and he returned it to his mum as soon as we dropped him. I didn't think it was unusual when it happened and that's why i done the same. I don't have my own kids and i'm kinda winging it all the time.
This is as much my fault as anyone else but there is nothing he doesn't have. He is a very lucky child and he's always been aware of that. He's not spoiled or bratty but he does get what he wants from his mum and dad.
His mother doesn't seem to be struggling at all either.
My anger was directed more towards the responses rather than the act. I never shouted at him. I was just disappointed.
It's not that unusual but I think it's awkward getting the child to do it as A: They may lose it
B: The receiving parent will feel terrible taking it from a child and might even have said something like "Oh no dear, you keep that for your piggy bank"
It invites too much responsibility and too much opportunity for confusion.
In future, you offer the neighbour the cash and perhaps speak to your stepson about money in general. Have you discussed this with his Dad?
Yeah i understand that but it didn't seem like a huge deal to him or to my neighbours son. They are both 7.5 and very able.
My neighbours knew that it wasn't his money and my husband feels that giving him responsibility like this is a good thing. He thrives on trust and absolutely loves it when we trust him to do something.
I have spoken to him about money in the past. He came to me and asked me to explain it to him as 'all his friends knew about money' and he didn't.
He 100% knew he was in the wrong. There was no confusion.
My husband was absolutely mortified by it but i told him to leave it. So he hasn't said a thing to him about it and he doesn't plan on doing anything else.
I just wanted to know if this was normal.
It seemed more than a little white lie. It seemed like it was planned.
Well even 7 year olds can plan but the point I'm trying to make is that 7 is still on the border of understanding morality fully.
Do you have any concerns with the way he's being brought up by his Mother?
Whilst MOST 7 year olds know that stealing is wrong and can control their urges, some cannot...simply because they're not mature enough. Still others may understand it's wrong to steal but have trouble controlling their urges.