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What to do about DS1 "stealing" food behind our backs???

(16 Posts)
TheIceQueen Mon 17-Dec-07 16:57:50

I've had this before we him (he's 7 now) but I thought we'd got it sorted - he's got his own little box of "snacks" (biscuits, odd sweet or chocolate thrown in, occasional packet of crips etc - we don't have them in often so it's only when we've actually bought a multipack) and can have fruit whenever he wants - but this afternoon I went to get some clothes to put into the washing machine and picked up his dressing gown to get the stuff underneath it.

In his pocket I found 23 chocolate wrappers from the Quality Street tin - which I've since discovered he took the liberty of opening. It doesn't matter what it is, if he sees anything lying around (or even if he doesn't - he'll go looking for it!) he'll take it, and then lie about it.

It's not like we limit snacks or anything, both him and DS2 (who's incidentally has just turned 4, and can sit and stare at a stray chocolate/sweet all afternoon without so much as touching it - even when he knows its for him!) are big eaters so "set" meals are never an issue with him not finishing it.

What can we do? He knows that if he asks 99.99% of the time he'll get (unless it's 15 minutes before dinner, or just after brushing teeth before bed etc) so why does he still feel the need to steal them?? Especially as he has his own little box???

OverMyDeadStuffedTurkey Mon 17-Dec-07 17:01:16

maybe he doesn't see it at stealing them, but just helping himself to something that is in his house?

Maybe he doesn't realise it is 'wrong'? (Personally I wouldn't think my ds had done anything wrong if I found wrappers in his pocket though, so I guess it depends on how you view it?)

DINOsaurmummykissingsantaclaus Mon 17-Dec-07 17:03:17

Independence? Autonomy? Not wanting to have to ask you all the time?

I guess I find it a bit difficult to see that it's really "stealing" to help yourself to the food in your own home.

I think I would just not make a big deal of it, at least for now. Maybe make a gentle joke of it - "Oh look the Creaky Sweetmuncher's been down from the attic again" kind of thing.

TheIceQueen Mon 17-Dec-07 17:08:10

He knows it is - as we've had this issue before. I have NO problem with them having snacks and stuff, almost everything that is "snackable" in the house is available if they want it, IF THEY ASK (the only stuff that isn't is kept well out of sight and not eaten in front of them).

The chocolates he's had in his little "snack box" he's put the wrappers in the bin - and he's eaten them in front of me. But these wrappers 23 (I'm not talking just a couple here!)!!! in his pocket had definitely been taken behind our back and he'd tried to deliberately "hide" them from us. And they definitely weren't in there on Saturday morning - which means it was sometime either before 8.30am on Sunday morning, or before 8.15 this morning (and he only gets up at 8am!)

Even for me that's quite happy to let my DS's snack throughout the day I do find 23 chocolates very excessive (especially as he was given plenty of them over the weekend for entertaining DS3 for ages!)

TheIceQueen Mon 17-Dec-07 17:11:05

So how come DS2 (just turned 4) will always ASK for something if he wants it, but DS1 does it behind our back.

I wouldn't mind if it was an occasional thing - but the snack box (purely for DS1 to use!) was introduced ages ago because of this very issue. I know he's been taking bits and pieces from the other cupboards since then, but nothing as blatantly obvious as this!)

You know even if he went off to the kitchen, helped himself to something and then came back to the living room with it I could cope with that - ok he wouldn't have asked, but he wouldn't have been trying to hide it...which he very obviously tries to do hmm

TheIceQueen Mon 17-Dec-07 17:11:42

oh and Dino - he doesn't have to ask to take anything from him snack box - he can take as and when he likes from that.

DINOsaurmummykissingsantaclaus Mon 17-Dec-07 17:12:01

we've had a thread about this before www.mumsnet.com/Talk?topicid=2724&threadid=346052#7045321 - it is quite long but might be worth having a look so you can see the different views, suggestions etc.

juuule Mon 17-Dec-07 17:14:34

In our house everyone has to ask whether they can have something. If for no other reason than to let me know so that I can do a mental calculation of what food we have in and what needs shopping for.
At 7 can't you explain to him that you need to know what's happening otherwise you can't plan for shopping or allow for everyone getting a share of what's there.
If I didn't want anything going out of the quality street tin then I'd move it out of the way or even hide it.

TheIceQueen Mon 17-Dec-07 17:16:29

Thanks - shall have a look through later when I've got a bit more time.

DINOsaurmummykissingsantaclaus Mon 17-Dec-07 17:16:58

Well, chocolates can be very...compelling, can't they? I mean, I can take or leave chocolate now, but I know when I was a kid I would binge on it, I could not have had "just one".

TheIceQueen Mon 17-Dec-07 17:19:56

juule - it's not that I don't want anything going out of the tin its

1. The fact that he opened it, - it was on a pile in the cupboard along with the Christmas cake, and some already wrapped presents - which I'd already explained to him were for Christmas.

2. He'd already been given quite a few of lot of them over the weekend, PLUS he still had some in his own snack box....so it wasn't like he was being "deprived" of them.

I may try (again) at explaining that I need to know, I thought the snack box would help (suggested to me on MN after the last major issues over it) and it seemed to have been to a certain extent - but I guess not

TheIceQueen Mon 17-Dec-07 17:23:07

I can understand the "compelling" part of them Dino (without a doubt LOL) but I've made sure that his snack box has been well topped up with them (admittedly probably favouring him over DS2 with the quantity) over the last week or so as the Christmas chocolates have started appearing in the house.

I've just been down to check his snack box - and he's not touched the ones that I put in their yesterday hmm - so even though he had a (generous) supply available he took from the tin..........

juuule Mon 17-Dec-07 17:23:24

I know that the snack box idea wouldn't work with some of my children.
They would eat everything in the snackbox and then gone looking for more.
Others would keep their stash and eat everything else.
Others wouldn't be bothered at all.
I suppose it depends on the child.
I think I'd have another word with your ds and give him a good explanation of why him taking things isn't helpful and ask him why he does it.

juuule Mon 17-Dec-07 17:24:20

Sounds like he's in the 'keep your own stash safe until the other stuff runs out' group.

DINOsaurmummykissingsantaclaus Mon 17-Dec-07 17:24:22

Hmmm, interesting. Any other issues going on with him? I have an 8 year old who is very "deep" and it's hard to get him to open up about things...

TheIceQueen Mon 17-Dec-07 17:27:51

DINO - he is quite "deep" I think - he's a bit like me - quite a perfectionist (although a bright one - I wasn't very bright at school so it made being a perfectionist even harder!), and can be quite hard to get out of him how he's feeling..I know he's doing brilliantly at school, I KNOW he has friends (number of small parties he's been to, and me just "happening" to pop to the shop at break time...to see him surrounded by friends), he just seems to lack some confidence (although I'm not sure what about!)

I feel a chat while he's helping me cook dinner coming on.....

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