My 10 year old step son steals from anyone! He's been doing this for a couple of years now, however lately it has become more frequent and I'm at my wits end. He lives with his mum at the other end of our estate, and comes to stop with us every weekend from Friday night until Sunday afternoon. We also encourage him to visit us any other time he wants during the week. When we first realised he was stealing, it was usually 'pretty' objects, and he would take something from one person - say his mum, to give to someone else. We used to call him the Magpie. Just lately though, he has started taking money from other family members (once so he could go to go to the fair) and he even stole a bike from one of his friends and a memory stick from his teacher. The police were called to see him by the parent of the child who he took the bike off, but he didn't seem to show any remorse other than that he'd been caught. The teachers at school, have held meeting after meeting with my husband and my stepson's mum, but nothing seems to stop him doing what he does. He has a great respect and plenty of love for my husband and hates it when we find out what he has done. We have tried talking to him to find out why he does this, but he clams up and won't discuss it with us. My husband threatens alsorts, from him not stopping the weekend to having his personal things removed from his bedroom. The last incident a week ago, was him taking money off his aunty. She realised he had taken it and asked for it back, telling him that if he returned the money she would let the incident drop without repercussions. He gave her the money back and then stole it again before he left her home. He then went straight to the local fair and spent it on rides and sweets. His aunty came and told us so my husband gave her the money back out of his pocketmoney. He also took away his son's tv from his bedroom and again we talked to him, explaining that if he kept this up he would end up in jail when he's older. Later that day we went shopping and he stole from the shop. I really am at my wits end now. I can't bear to even look at him when he is here, the trust that I used to have for him is dwindling away and I don't want him around me now. Apart from the stealing, he is polite and helpful, and we try to provide him with everything he needs within our small budget. My husband says he doesn't have much at home, but he has everything he could possibly want at our house. Any feedback would be welcome.
okay any feed back' ... well I think he is upset by something , Why is he doing it, have you asked him exactly that , 'why do you steal from other people 'Is he the only one in the family who has or has had this habit of taking things, is there any jealousy issues that his Dad is with you ,It does sound to me that he is seeking attention and negative attention is better than none ...has he siblings .Not bearing to look at him may not be a good thing he is only 10 years old,he may pick up on that, you are the adult,if he is causing you to dislike him maybe cut back on the visits ..good luck .
I once knew a nice kid who stole some money from me. He was also 10. Turned out that he was to try to fix the mess in his family life by buying gifts for his little sisters and looking like a big man, because his mom was overwhelmed and depressive, and they were broke and on public assistance. I'd possibly try to get the kid into therapy, to uncover the roots of the uncontrolled urge to steal.
I agree that it may be an attention seeking thing. Make sure that he doesn't just have 'stuff', but that he has quality time with his dad. However, I am also a tough love kind of person. If he does something that is wrong, he needs to pay for what he did. If spending quality time with him doesn't help, he may need some sort of juvenile hall to make him realize that what he is doing is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.
Thank you for all of the comments, they are a help. We have talked to him and tried to find out the reasons he steals. He is very much loved by both myself and my husband, even though we are now finding it tough to cope with him. He has never shown any jealous tendencies towards me before. We do loads of things with him - trips to the beach, fishing, bike rides, walking our collie, and we have always made him feel welcome in our home and show him that he has a home here too. His bedroom is a childs dream, kitted out in his favourite Man. Utd. team colours. His dad adores him and his sister, who seems to be quite stable in her character. (She's 3 years older than him). We have promised him his first trip abroad if he can control his urge to steal and he seems really excited at the prospect of doing this, however the stealing continues. He lives at home with his mum and his two younger brothers (his sister is granny reared but that's another story). Mum doesn't seem to have a lot of time for him and grounds him one minute, then lets him out when he gets under her feet. We don't have any access to her younger sons as they have different fathers, so the time we have with him is good quality time. We are trying to get him therapy with the schools help so maybe this will finally help him. We just pray it doesn't continue into his teen years as we are worried sick that he will end up in a borstal school and maybe prison.
It may not be a jealousy think at all. People so often think that a child is looking for something and granted he may but children are very smart and can be manipulative so you have to be able to distinguish the two otherwise he will use that against you. My daughter used to steal right there with me in the store. I found numerous digital cameras and cell phones, she would say they were her friends. So often I believed or wanted. She was even caught stealing out of the register at her job.Some kids today feel they are entitled to get what they want and will go to any means to get it. For a long time I fell for feeling bad for my daughter that I was giving in to all these things. She was a straight A student and accepted into great colleges and was overall a great kid with a good heart thing is once the hormones and teenage years came in she went wild. We spent so much on counseling and banging our heads to try to help her. Spent hours of talking and trying to see how we could help to no avail. She was caught stealing and arrested. The first time we bailed her out. She turned 18 and continued to steal and left home. My daughter is now in a rehabilitation center in leiu of jail. arrested 3 times and lost her scholarships to college. We guided her as much as we could unfortunately when she turned 18 there was not much we could do. I hope you are able to find help for your son. Try counseling and talking to get him to open up. I have been through much heartache and prayer hoping that my daughter changes. I live in constant fear of her well being. I also learned how I could or was an enabler. Very hard to take when your to love unconditionally and this is your "baby". This is so hard to deal and unless you have walked in ones shoes cannot imagine what pain it is to deal with. It starts small and gets worse. He's ten put all the effort you can without dragging yourself into turmoil. No parent is perfect and as long as you are doing the best you can in your heart that's all that matters. It can tear your family apart. Mine is still ongoing and my daughter is almost 20 years old. Now I sit and wait for the phone call once a month to see how she is. I cannot call her they will not confirm she is there for HIPPA reasons. My heart goes out to you and I pray your situation turns out great. Good Luck!!!
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