Persistent stealing(20 Posts)
I'm a regular poster but have changed my name for this.
My ds is in Year 2 and has started stealing from his friends and has now stolen money from my DH. He is very sorry when confronted (so far we've given the items back anonymously) but we're beginning to wonder whether he's sorry for doing it or sorry he's been caught IYSWIM. This has conincided with a general drop in his behaviour - rude, stroppy, cries at the drop of a hat, over dramatic etc.
We really don't know how to handle this and feel it's got past the "all kids pilfer" stage.
Please could anyone help - all suggestions gratefully received.
No ideas sorry PP - does he get pocket money or money for things he has to work for?
My sis did this for years and eventually grew out of it she just didn't understand people's value's on things.
I used to steal from my parents when I was a kid, but never from other kids. I don't think my parents ever noticed (and in my defence, I didn't get pocket money). (I never stole from shops, and never turned this into a teenage shoplifting habit, unlike many girls I know.)
I'm not sure what would have helped. I was generally annoyed at my parents, which I think was the reason.
When did this start? What was going on then? I'd look to his friends/school situation, given the stealing started there. What sort of things has he been stealing from his friends? Money? Items he genuinely wants and will use? Trophies?
Thanks for responding. No, he doesn't get pocket money (which is something we're going to change) and the things from his friends were trophies rather than money.
I just don't know how to handle this at all. Do we take things away? Ground him? I think the problems do stem from school TBH, there is one boy in particular who causes trouble and my ds is rather in thrall to him. But what can I do to stop him being so easily led?
Are there boys at school that your son gets on with, who you feel are good influences? Can you invite them over? Or are there friends your son has outside school who you can encourage him to be friends with, to give him more social confidence at school?
Is it possible the other boy has encouraged your son to steal?
Have you spoken to his teacher about this situation, to see what insight s/he might have? (I would be reluctant to do this, for fear it would change the teacher's behaviour ... but s/he probably knows more about your son's relationships at school than any other adult does.)
What line did you take when he stole things from his friends? I'd be tempted to confiscate something treasured of his, with his knowledge, for a while (a few days?) as punishment.
(How old is Year 2? 6? I'm not from the UK, so I get confused ...)
Yes, he's nearly 7. There's something not right going on at school I'm sure and have made an appointment to see his teacher as a matter of urgency. I'm just afraid that one of the children at school will discover it's him (one of his thefts was the talk of the school ) and he will gain a label that will be hard to shake off. The message that you don't steal, let alone from your friends, just isn't getting through.
I'd be inclined to take something of his for a few days - something treasured. Obviously, I wouldn't take it secretly, but let him know I was doing it (you can't steal from him to teach him not to steal!). But then he might see how annoying it is to have something you like, taken away.
I don't know what else to suggest. It sounds hard for you. I'd certainly try to encourage friendships I approved of, outside of school.
Could he be enjoying how famous one of his thefts was?
purplepumpkin, have you talked to him in depth about WHY he stole those things? I guess if you asked him straight out he would say "I don't know" though. Maybe if you picked a particular incident and asked him what he was thinking about when he stole it, how he felt (eg angry, scared, excited)when he took it etc you might gain an insight into why he is doing it.
I was going to suggest that he is told he must "own up" to the theft if anything else goes missing but I take your point about establishing a reputation.
I've been thinking about this since you first posted, if I can think of anything else I will let you know. Sorry you are going through this, it must be very worrying.
The trouble is I'm in danger of talking the subject to death IYSWIM and I don't want him to tune me out.
NQC, I don't think so, I think it probably frightens him TBH as he likes to be popular.
This parenting lark can be a nightmare sometimes . Thanks for all the help so far.
How do you feel about his school and teacher in general?
It's just if this were us, I would have no hesitation whatsoever in having full and frank discussions with his teacher/the school. I know they would not treat him in any way unfairly, and that they would deal with it in the best way.
If things do start to "go missing" within schools it can cause big problems, but it's not at all an uncommon occurrence. Presumably school are already addressing the situation in whole class talks and so on.
Actually now I think about it once last term ds1 did come out from school one day with 50p he had "found in the playground". I had no hesitation in marching him back into the office to hand it in.
IME (our) School are better at handling this sort of thing - and really getting the message across - than I am.
roisin, that's a really good thought, thank you.
its obviously the symptom of another problem which you will sort out with school. However if my children stole anything i always made them take it back - the embarrassment at 7 years old should last him for a bit
do you think he could be being bullied in some way? (the general drop in his behaviour thing). there was a lad in ds's class who used to bully and steal things and we never really found out why. i suppose some kids do it if they havent got much and are jealous but obviously this isnt the case with your ds. i dont know, i remember stealing from someone's draw when i was around 8. i dont know why i did it because as far as material things went i was incredibly spoilt, i had everything i could have asked for. it was a heart shaped polly pocket type thing and i just felt i had to have it. perhaps that was the reason with me...i didnt understand why i shouldnt have something i wanted. i remember feeling no remorse at all even when i got caught. strange really as i was always taught right from wrong and now i look back in horror when i think that in my very early teens i even stole from my mums purse. i just cant beleive i did that to her. i never had any reason to steal. im probably no help at all but want to say that i wouldnt dream of stealing now so it doesnt always lead to worse things. if i owe someone 50p it worries me!
pp, I don't know why your ds started doing this in the first place (maybe just wanted whatever it was like nightowl says) but I do know that children around these ages seem to get into habits easily. Perhaps it would help you to see it as a very bad habit rather than anything else. Has he had any other habits in the past and how have you dealt with them?
purplepumpkin, he's still very young, probably too young to really understand the moral ins and outs. You do need to deal with each incident i.e maybe by grounding him as you say or depriving him of treats. But he'll probably just grow out of it. btw does he hide what he's stolen or does he bring it home quite openly?
PP, I recently took my 11 year old niece into town and she wanted to look in Claires Accessories, I wandered up to a travel shop and told her to meet me there. I was horrified when she came out moments later and proudly showed me a pair of earrings she had just stolen.
I promptly told her to give them to me else I would tell the Secruity Guard (who happened to be walking past). She started to look embarrased, especially as I was being quite loud and a couple of boys from her school were walking past and heard everything. In the end she handed them back to me and I quickly put them back in the shop without anyone noticing. She hasn't done it again, around me anyway.
I would recommend nipping it in the bud as soon as possible because I recently found out her Mum wasn't bothered by her stealing and did not punish her for it, leaving me to be the bad guy!
Embarrasment is certainly the key, especially if the Children have to give back what they've stolen to their friend. Writing their friend an apology letter may be good as well.
I wouldn't "go public" in the school with it. Other kids can be very cruel and don't forget about things as quickly as you might think. I pee'd in my pants age 6 ( afraid to ask the scary teacher for the loo!) and was teased about it till I was 10!
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