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Have just discovered DS1 (16) has been stealing money from us. Any advice?

(26 Posts)
BecauseImWorthIt Sun 13-Jul-08 17:49:21

£40 yesterday (we suspect)and £40 today (we know for sure).

We're waiting for him to come back from his day out, when we will be confronting him with our knowledge (rather than a suspicion).

Has anyone else been through this? How did you handle it/what punishment did you give?

DH and I are both very upset about this. DS1 is a good, well behaved boy and there has been no inkling that anything like this would ever happen.

My mind is running away with me imagining what on earth he could be spending it on.

Hecate Sun 13-Jul-08 17:54:21

Haven't been through it, but sorry for you.

Guess the first thing is find out why and then get him to tell you how he thinks is the best way to repay you.

Good luck.

Blandmum Sun 13-Jul-08 17:55:24

talk to him.

find out what this is all about. make him work off the debt and remove his bedroom door until it is paid back

hellish Sun 13-Jul-08 17:57:37

Remove his bedroom door, a 16 year old boy?

That's shocking - that would drive him away IMO

Blandmum Sun 13-Jul-08 17:59:00

it is all about trust. If you can trust him rounbd your purse, you can't trust him behind his door.

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 13-Jul-08 18:00:15

Message withdrawn

Blandmum Sun 13-Jul-08 18:01:22

and you do need to talk to him and find out why this is happeneing.

Cammelia Sun 13-Jul-08 18:03:41

Does he have access to his own money at all?

hellish Sun 13-Jul-08 18:05:47

I think denying a 16 year old's basic right to privacy is cruel and I would imagine, the best way to send him running off to that squat or stealing more money for the train ticket to London (or wherever)

Does anyone really trust their 16 year old?
Is trust essential between teenagers and parents? I think all teenagers do things their parents wouldn't like them to do, and parents would be naive to think they can 'trust' them not to do those things. Does that mean they can't live together?

Obviously the stealing is wrong and needs to be dealt with - I like Hecate's idea of asking him how he's going to repay the money.

BecauseImWorthIt Sun 13-Jul-08 18:08:57

The drugs thing is exactly what is worrying me.

He gets £50 per month, and has already had his money for this month.

Up until now I would have said that I did trust him. No I have no idea.

We will be having a long conversation with him when he gets back, and I won't leave it until I know exactly what's been going on.

He will certainly be paying the money back and I'm also going to make sure he does something round the house by way of compensation.

TBH I think part of this is that we have been letting him do whatever he wants, on the basis that he's just finished his GCSEs and that he should enjoy some relaxation after them.

We're going on holiday in a couple of weeks time, so getting a job is probably out of the question, but that is something I will be pushing him to do once we're back.

BecauseImWorthIt Sun 13-Jul-08 18:10:07

Am very sad as well as angry - and also a bit frightened about what this might mean he's been up to.

hellish Sun 13-Jul-08 18:13:39

Sorry you are dealing with this BIWI, you must be worrying like mad.

Sounds like you have a good relationship with him, I would need to know what's going on too. I hope it doesn't turn out to be anything too serious.

If I were you I would let him know that you are more worried (about why he needs the money) than angry about the stealing.

hellish Sun 13-Jul-08 18:13:40

Sorry you are dealing with this BIWI, you must be worrying like mad.

Sounds like you have a good relationship with him, I would need to know what's going on too. I hope it doesn't turn out to be anything too serious.

If I were you I would let him know that you are more worried (about why he needs the money) than angry about the stealing.

BecauseImWorthIt Sun 13-Jul-08 18:19:07

Thanks hellish.

Although stealing is one thing, I am more worried about the reasons behind it.

StarlightMcKenzie Sun 13-Jul-08 18:24:18

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BecauseImWorthIt Sun 13-Jul-08 19:26:56

I have spoken to his two closest friends' mums (also friends of mine) and they are both saying the same thing - that the boys are going through stupid amounts of money at the moment.

Difference being that my son has been stealing it from us, their sons have been asking for (and being given) the money.

I suspect that my son hasn't asked because he knows that he will be told 'no'. We set up a bank account for him, into which he gets his £50 a month, and were very clear that this money was for him to buy everything (including his clothes).

From what I can gather, it seems as if this is a case of just wanting to go out all the time (cinema, Burger King, buy sweets, etc) and being thoroughly spoiled brats in the process and assuming that if they want it they can have it.

No evidence of drugs so far, to any of us.

FrannyandZooey Sun 13-Jul-08 19:31:51

is £50 a month enough to buy a 16 year old's clothes etc and have any left over for going out? I would have guessed not. Don't know your situation, so have no way of knowing if you can afford more for him, but it seems to me like he needs to have some more money from somewhere or be permanently strapped for cash. Does he not have a job?

Heated Sun 13-Jul-08 19:40:39

When my brother got a parrot drunk on a field trip (don't ask) he was suspended for 5 days. My father, a senior member of staff so v blush, thought the punishment ought to fit the crime and suggested he should clean out cages at the local animal sanctuary grin for a month but was over-ruled.

Your ds owes you £80 - with little appreciation of how hard you and dh have to work to earn that. The minimum wage for 16 and 17-year-olds is £3.53 which means he owes you 23 hours of hard graft. Got any fences you want painting, attic tidying, grass cutting?

wingandprayer Sun 13-Jul-08 19:45:26

I admit that I did exactly the same when I was a little bit younger than him- about 14/15 I think. I went through a phase of helping myself to my parents cash. This was silly because I had a job, and I had reasonable pocket money but I just couldn't help myself. I spent it on all types of crap- clothes, makeup, art stuff, music. They never mentioned it, but I can't believe they never noticed.

Rather than this being some confessional moment for me, I just wanted to let you know that it was a phase I went through, there was nothing sinister behind it and I did not go on to lead a life of crime as a result. I think it was my insecurities coming out (divorce imminent for parents) I felt insecure and had very low self esteem/confidence and as if I needed all that rubbish to make myself feel better, more reassured. If my mum had mentioned it I would have been mortified, which may have made insecurity worse. What would have worked was if she had made more of an effort to hide the money so that I knew she knew without actually discussing it. Obviously this is a tricky time for your DS with school ending and exam pressure and maybe his motivations were similar to mine?

WendyWeber Sun 13-Jul-08 19:57:29

eeek, £80 in 2 days is a scary amount of money shock (even if it turns out to be just £40, that's a lot to take at once & expect to get away with...)

Before any repercussions you've got to find out what it was for - I hope it is just mad teenage consumerism. If the £50 a month is all the money he's been getting then I agree that it's not a lot for a 16-year-old but that doesn't excuse what he's done - he needs to be earning some money outside the family & he needs to start paying you back.

Good luck when you do speak to him - try to be calm & non-confrontational (easier said than done)

BecauseImWorthIt Sun 13-Jul-08 21:29:58

Well an update.

I confronted him with it - and was very calm about it. I didn't beat about the bush but said that we knew he had taken the money.

To his credit (I suppose) he didn't deny it and then did say sorry. Apparently it is because his money isn't enough, and if he asks he know we will say no. As I suspected. Although actually he has never asked us, and so we've never said no!

I think £50 a month is plenty - I don't expect him to buy essentials like school uniform or underwear with that money. He also gets other things bought for him, e.g. tickets to go the 02 festival last week (£55) and money to go to Wimbledon (£50 given to him by a family friend), so it's not exactly as if he's deprived of anything. He also doesn't go out a great deal normally. We are very lucky in that regard, in that he isn't going out drinking and clubbing like a lot of his peer group.

He doesn't have a job yet, mainly because he plays cricket at the weekend so doesn't have much spare time. However, this is something that I fully intend to change when we're back from holiday and the cricket season is over.

It seems as if it was just, to quote WW, 'mad teenage consumerism', and he and his mates are as bad as each other. However, we have well and truly put the kybosh (is that how it's spelt?!) on this, and he has been told in no uncertain terms that if he hasn't got the money then he doesn't go out and doesn't just expect it to be given to him.

Thank you everyone for your help, suggestions and words. I was getting a bit hysterical about it all earlier. It's a real shock when you find your PFB isn't the angel that you thought they were. blush

I will be continuing the conversation with him tomorrow in terms of paying the money back/reparation - as well as future consequences.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 14-Jul-08 11:40:56

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WendyWeber Tue 15-Jul-08 11:38:13

Missed your response, BIWI - glad you were able to sort it out amicably. He probably felt rotten spending the money that he took & is obviously repentant so I hope you don't need to worry about him doing it again.

Re working, as he has finished his GCSEs he can apply to all the big supermarkets etc for after-school/weekend work - he should apply now, mentioning the dates he will be away, he prob won't get anything before Sept anyway but needs to be on the waiting list.

FWIW DS2 (15) did a Mon-Sat morning paper round for 2 years (v well-paid here, he started on £22 & it went up to £25 although if he missed a day he dropped a fiver) & has now got a Saturday job instead which pays slightly more. He spends all of it - for a while I would gave him £5 every week if he banked at least £15 & didn't withdraw any, but he now gets paid 4-weekly & has a debit card account so I have no control hmm

Anyway it's his own money, that he spends on his own things, including eg cinema, train fares into town, phone credit & leisure clothes (his current passion is luridly patterned boxer shorts & socks), and he does spend close to £100 a month shock - hence "mad teenage consumerism" grin - £50 doesn't go far now. We don't give him pocket money but his itunes account is on our credit card & we pay a share of things like football boots & trainers - he used to get a small amount of actual pocket money, but at his insistence we now have Sky Sports so he effectively pays for that too.

HTH smile

BecauseImWorthIt Tue 15-Jul-08 12:59:47

Thanks WW!

I do want him to get a job, but as we're off on holiday in 2 weeks time, for 3 weeks, I hadn't anticipated him looking until our return. Never thought that there might be a waiting list, so that's a good tip.

I hope we don't have to worry about him doing it again. He is obviously repentant. When I got back from work last night his bedroom was spotlessly tidy - which never happens without much nagging!

cory Thu 17-Jul-08 16:24:39

Feeling a little nervous at the thought that most posters consider 50 pounds a month too little for non-essentials. I can't afford to spend that much a month on going out myself or on non-essential clothes (indeed on any clothes), nor can dh. And I feel pretty sure we won't be able to give dc's any more when they hit their teens, maybe less.

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