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touching things and lying when caught
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touching things and lying when caught

I am a single father of 3 boys 22,16 and 7.The 7 year old is the issue he continusly touches things when told not to.He take things without asking,I allow him to play video games for example in my bedroom,then will approach me to ask if I have any chocolate,I go to give him some discovering that 90% of it has already been consumed.I have told him that is stealing when you help yourself without permission,especially if it doesn't belong to you.This type of behaviour keeps happening.My ex-wife came to pick him up for his bi-weekly visit,she returned to the door with the wee one and handed me a ring that he insisted she can have ,it was a ring that my father passed onto me before he passed away.I have had custody of my children (well the younger two) for the past 5 years.When he gets caught he lies about it,saying he didn't do it then fesses up later,when a different type of questioning approach takes place.If anything goes missing in the house ,if you approach him correctly and are smart about how you question him ,you can trick him into revealing where it is.He also seems like if you enjoy something,and he sees you enjoying yourself with the item as soon as he can be alone with it,you will return and find it gone or broken and when you ask him about he either denies it or can't tell you why he brike it.Same goes for his toys.If I buy snacks for his lunches at school I will find wrappers of these items under his bed.This is an ongoing battle which I'm sure I can figure out but it's the touching things and stealing things from myself and his brothers that I have an issue with.I have tried time outs, groundingtaking away things that mean alot to him and deny him privilges,but he seems numb to these interventions.It's like nothing bothers him except the treat of physical punishments like a spanking,then he is good for a day or two then right back to the same old stuff again.Do you have any advice or a different intervention the might set off a spark in him?
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Such push for immediate gratification, even if it means taking things, can evolve into a habit. It requires a systematic (vs ad hoc) approach to behavior management. In such an approach, the parent responds the same way to the behavior each and every time - the child learns by experience what will happen if the stealing (or whatever behavior is being addressed) occurs. It would also be prudent to have him evaluated by a Pediatric Behavioral Health clinciian to rule out the presence of any emotional disorder.
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