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My son is not even a teenager yet and is smoking and stealing from me

(17 Posts)
missbmad Mon 12-Oct-09 13:33:15

He's 11 and started secondary school 5 weeks ago.

Found a lighter on him a few weeks ago (which he said he found in the street) and we confiscated this. The next week he came home and his blazer smelt of smoke and he said he was stood next to someone who was smoking at the bus stop.

I had my suspicions then but gave him the benefit of the doubt.

Last week found another lighter in his pocket which was brand new. I am very anti-smoking (especially at 11) and told him I would make him eat a cigarette if I found out he was smoking. I keep on finding lighted paper around the house so thought maybe he had a fascination with lighters/matches.

We left him in the house yesterday for an hour with our eldest son who is 14 and came home to find ashes on bathroom floor.

It was definitely the 11 year old - he admitted it and told us he bought them from the local shop. 8 were gone and he had the box hidden in the back garden. He said he gave one to the eldest but he denied it.

I only spoke to his form teacher last week to say I didn't think he was very good at making friends and would she keep an eye on him as he can be rather quiet. Got a note home 2 days later to say he was very cheeky in class.

I'm at my wit's end and don't know where we've gone wrong. Is he doing it to fit in, is he doing to be a bad boy or is he just doing it because he has a bit of freedom (going to and from school) or because he just wants to.

A money bag with about £5 in change went missing from my bag last week also and he admitted to stealing this.

Luckily this week they've gone to a cashless system and he's having bus fare only from now on. If I find out he ever smokes again he will walk to and from school and won't get a penny.

I thought he'd be at last 13/14 before problems like this arose.

paranoidmother Mon 12-Oct-09 14:11:17

I'm sorry that you're having this worry now. Is it worth talking to him about why he is doing this?

Is it because he's trying to find a way to make friends at school and is trying to make the other kids think he is cool and fantastic.

Personally I would make him eat the cigarette if you find him smoking it or what a friend do was make their dc smoke the whole packet one after another until dc was sick. Never touched another cigarette again.

Could you threaten him that if he is difficult at school that you will come in and hold his hand until he goes into class and pick him up after school? Unless he behaves.

I'm guessing from his post that he doesn't get pocket money as he stole money. Could you make him earn money to go into a bank account for him, once he's earnt the money to pay you back?

What does your eldest dc say? Does he know about anything that is going on that the 11yr old won't say?

Sorry for the questions and I hope it resolves itself soon

missbmad Mon 12-Oct-09 14:24:02

I did make him eat the cigarette. He was crying when he had to but he wasn't sick or anything.

He has been getting pocket money until fairly recently but he was constantly going to the shop and spending it on lots and lots of chocolate, sweets and fizzy drinks.

If we have cans/bottles of drink in the house he can't have one he has to keep going until its all gone - he literally binges so we have stopped giving him money.

He is going to pay me back tonight by selling one of his games to Blockbuster. We recently put towards FIFA 2010 - it's a PS3 game - and I've told him I want my money back tonight. The playstation is getting taken away for a week or two as well.

I really don't know what else to do.

The thing is he's quite a young 11 year old, not mature at all and really likes playing with his younger cousins.

My eldest son has seen him smoking at school and I'm really annoyed he never told us, I don't think he smokes, probably has tried it though.

Hopefully we can nip it in the bud now and it won't be the start of a downward spiral.

LaurieFairyCake Mon 12-Oct-09 14:31:00

I'm having this too - a sudden change in a few weeks from primary to secondary. Last week dd lost her NintendoDs, mobile, tv/dvd player for a week.

I think the key thing is not to overreact (I tend to) so I got dh to deal with it, impose the consequences and lay out what we expect in terms of behviour (he teaches so he never gets angry). He reckons it was her testing the boundaries cos so much change is happening. We continue to also be firm about bedtimes etc as it keeps her feeling safe and secure.

Pimmpom Tue 13-Oct-09 16:11:04

I'm sorry you are going through this but I must admit I'm shocked at making him eat the cigarette. I would be at my wits end but I couldn't go down that route shock

VirginiaLoveGlove Tue 13-Oct-09 16:18:10

If you force a child to eat a cigarette you can be reported for abuse. If a child were to confide into a teacher or other school worker that you did this, you'd be in hot water. Do not put yourself in an unwinnable position.

I am not trying to make you feel worse, just letting you be aware of not using a don't threat which you can't or shouldn't use as it will make things worse for you.

Write to the Head of Year or Pastoral Manager letting him/her know that you know that he is smoking. Ask for their support in making positive changes in your son.

missbmad Wed 14-Oct-09 14:09:09

In my opinion smoking it would have been too pleasurable for him. I warned him I would make him eat it and I stick to my word. If he didn't want to eat it he shouldn't have brought cigarettes and lighters into the house aged 11.

I've read on here about parents making their children smoke a whole pack and it didn't do any good.

Could they be reported for this also?

cory Thu 15-Oct-09 08:34:50

tbh I think this was a bad mistake on your part

ime you lose parental authority if you behave (or even make threats) in a way that most people would consider unreasonable or borderline abusive

unless he can believe in his heart of hearts that you represent the voice of sanity and adult reasonableness, his incentive to put your ideas before those of his friends is going to be small

JemintheGraveyardwithghouls Thu 15-Oct-09 08:42:38

missbmad...I really feel for you- my son has just gone into yr7- I would be devastated if I found him smoking now, it is something that always on the horizon, that type of fear it's horrible.....

I think to have a go at her for making him eat a cigarette is a bit off the point, and pointless. Come on, none of us are perfect are we? We all muddle through the best wwe can.
Get your sticks out of your prim and perfect arses and give another parent some support....too much to ask?

How has he reacted re- the selling his game to Blockbuster? Is his general attitude and behaviour at home ok?
It can be a really difficult transition for them at this age. Hope it all settles down

missbmad Thu 15-Oct-09 11:34:45

Believe me if you had a sister like mine who is a crack cocaine and heroin addict you would understand why I did it.

She started smoking at age 11 and was so addicted to them if she couldn't get the money she would pick up cigarette butts off the street.

It escalated to alcohol, cannabis,crack cocaine and heroin by the time she was 17.

She is now 36 and still the same - she had two children who were taken off her aged 2 and 3. Her life is hell on earth.

I'd rather my children became bank robbers than drug addicts.

I think I have brought my children up well and I am shocked the youngest could do this - it can happen to any parent so please be on your guard (not just with cigarettes).

When I was a child we didn't have a very nice life - inner city extreme poverty, no father, mother with alcohol problems who couldn't cope with too many childen and who was only interested in meeting another unsuitable man. This is part of the reason why my sister went off the rails.

It can happen to anyone these days - my children are not immune - they have a very nice life, mum and dad together happily, no money problems but there are so many temptations out there.

I just hope I haven't got a child with an addictive personality otherwise I haven't got a chance. I've read the book Talking to Tweenies and children who smoke very early and have other risky behaviours/break the law, go on to a lot worse as they get older.

It's only been a few weeks as far as I know so I'm hoping I've nipped it in the bud.

JemintheGraveyardwithghouls Thu 15-Oct-09 18:14:49

You have made it clear you are not going to condone or put up with it in any way. Hope it pans out ok.

Agree it can happen to anyone

CybilLiberty Thu 15-Oct-09 18:19:50

Don't presume your son will become a heroin addict on the basis of a couple of (quite minor) misdemenours.

He is not hurting anyone, or being arrested, he is experimenting and sounds a bit of a lost soul tbh. Does he need more understanding and support at school?

We've all tried smoking before the proper age...some of us have nicked from shops when younger. Only a tiny minority will end up in the ame sad place as some of yur family.

TheCrackFox Thu 15-Oct-09 18:26:41

I find it difficult to get my 8 yr old to finish his dinner some days so I find it difficult to believe that you could get an 11 yr old to eat a cigarette.

TBH he will probably hate you for it and will go out of his way to piss you off further.

IneedacleanerIamalazyslattern Thu 15-Oct-09 18:28:37

I smoked at 12 and was a bit of a wild teen (never broke the law though) and I am sensible to the point of boring now so don't judge him on that please or you are in danger of making it a self fulfilling prophecy.

I look back sometimes and wonder why I did go off a bit as a teen and people like my dh never ever did and it sounds stupid I honestly believe my parents were far too strict and gave me far too many boundaries and things to rebel against.
My dh and I grew up in the same street went to the same primary school we went to different senior schools he went to the local (really bad comp) and I went to a private school so out of both of us on paper I was probably the least likely of the 2 of us to go mad but I did.

I never fitted in I was always the one not allowed to do anything, the one that got dropped off at the school gate for disco's the one that couldn't go to the under 18's disco in town etc. Now i'm not saying that dh didn't hae boundaries he most certainly did but his parents were far more laid back than mine about some things and he and SIL turned out way better than I did.

I suppose what I'm saying is that yes be angry and talk to him and punish if need be but please please try and find a way of communicating with him to find out where this behaviour comes from.
My parents never did and my dad was always particularly heavy on the punishments with the result that even now I don't and cannot find my parents approachable.

There is something even if it is a bit of pre-teen rebellion or trying to fit in, you said yourself he doesn't make friends easily that is caused this downturn in behaviour and now while he is still so young is the time to try and find a path though this and communicate before that path is blocked forever. Please.

bodycolder Thu 15-Oct-09 18:32:35

Eat a cigarette shock!!!!!!!!!!!!Talk to him that is horrendous and won't achieve anything

desertmum Tue 20-Oct-09 08:08:43

missbmad - I understand the addictive personality worry too well. My sister is an alcoholic, my father dabbled with alcohol for a while and I have to watch myself. It definitely runs in families so can make situations like this more worriesome imo

Do hope you can get him sorted. Keep talking . . . even when he covers his ears and shouts blah blah blah - as mine sometimes do.

sarah293 Tue 20-Oct-09 08:39:15

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