Child Behavior Community
14.2k Members
Avatar universal

8 year old lying & stealing

My 8 year old son was diagnosed with ODD when he was 3 years old.  When he was 5 1/2, ADHD was added and medication soon followed.  Last winter, the diagnoses of mood disorder NOS was added, along with more meds.  He is now on: 60 mg strattera in the AM, 25 mg ritalin in the AM, 250 mg Depakote in the AM, 10 mg ritalin mid-afternoon, 0.5 mg clonidine & 250 mg Depakote at bedtime.

This generally helps him focus, be more responsive to directives, control his impulses & anger, etc.  But over the past couple of week, we have caught him repeatedly stealing (food and money) and lying to cover up all of his mis-deeds.  We finally put a lock on the outside of his bedroom door which my husband latches when he wakes in the morning (around 6:30) to keep our son in until I get up around 7:15-7:30.  This prevents him from being unsupervised, but we then found he'll get into food in the kitchen while I'm in the living room with our 1 year old (he's eating cake decorations in the pantry, sneaking crackers, Oreos, chocolate candies, fruit roll-ups, etc.).  Then last week, while getting his regular bowl of cereal at the kitchen counter, he took a $10 bill out of my money jar.  I found the money quite by chance later that day.  Today, I found about $4 worth of quarters which belong to my older son; I'd stored them in a plastic baggie in the bread box for "safe keeping".

We also have repeatedly found pocket knives (he'll find them on top of the refrigerator where we've tried to hide them), gameboys (he lost his as a consequence eons ago, so now he steals his brothers and plays in his bed at night), candy wrappers, etc. stashed around his bed.

Aside from the lock, we've now wiped nearly every single toy out of his room (he still has wooden blocks, some puzzles and tons of books), pulled his bed away from the wall so we can easily ensure nothing is 'stashed' away and now have even installed a video camera with an infrared light so we can watch him after tucking him in.

I am dying here.  He says he doesn't feel guilt or feel bad about stealing, he just feels bad that he was caught.  And despite catching him in dozens and dozens of these things over the past few weeks, I have to wonder how many manipulations and lies and sneaks we haven't caught.  I am at a total loss.

Will any kind of med increase help??  He currently has a mobile therapist who comes for 1 hour per week; she'll be here next Monday and I plan to discuss with her.  I've also moved his next visit with his psychiatrist up, but the soonest we could get in is next month.  Any advice??
3 Responses
Avatar universal
I have a similar situation going on right now with my 8 year old daughter.  From preschool, I have had some issues with her not wanting to cooperate in class, all the way through until this year (3rd grade). Over time, the cooperation factor has improved, she does pretty well in school, and 2nd grade she had such an amazing teacher she did so well. This year however, I feel like I have taken ten steps back. She has been caught repeatedly stealing things from other children in school, from the after care program,and even from the desk she sits in at CCD on Sunday where I am the teacher!  We have taken her to the police department, I hvae punished her, taken things away, tried to reward her for good choices etc. We even see a therapist to help her. I am at my wits end. I feel like nothing is working. She tells me that she knows its wrong but she doesn't know why she does it. She tells me that if she were the mom, she doesn't know what she would do if it were her child. She says she thinks at the time in her head that she wants whatever it is, and then she does think its wrong, but she does it anyway. I am truly at a loss. I am doing all the right things.
Avatar universal
Well at least i don't feel so alone now.  I have a daughter who is ADHD and ODD.  She is on 25mg of Focalin.  My house is a christian household so she does learn about the differences between right and wrong. However at times I feel at my wits end.  The problems i have with her are constant lies, she doesn't clean up after herself, and she doesn't do her chores unless I am constantly on her.   I also believe she is stealing from me but it is hard to tell because I have three other children.  She is 14 and refuses to takes responsibility for anything and I try to instill in her that she will be 18 in 3 1/2 years and she will have to take care of herself.  She has no respect for others and she believes the world should revolve around her.  She doesn't want to take a look at the things she needs to change in herself.   She has been to counseling and at one time the doctors had her on 3 different types of meds.  I took her off all but one.  As far as your question about the meds.  No, I wouldn't put your child on anymore.  Meds cannot control behaviour a child needs to want to change. Some children need to learn the hard way.  I know I did.  When the child grows up and meets the real world then he/she will learn.  
Avatar universal
We as parents must realize that ADHD/ADD/ODD is the result of genetics, biology of the brain, and environment.  All of those medications allow neurotransmitters in the brain to function properly, and neuro-receptors to receive as they should.  The fact that medication must be added means that the brain doesn't function properly on it's own.  This may be the result of malnutrition (add Omega 3's, B6,12 and find out) or the result of lack of limbic system development, namely, the amygdala and hippocampus, which regulate things like behavior, anger, impulsiveness, etc.  You will find children w/ "ADD/ADHD" steal without feeling remorse not because they are bad, or have bad parents, but because the area of the brain responsible for guilt isn't as developed as it should be, or because they lacked certain stimuli around the time (0-2ish) the part of the brain regulating guilt/remorse was developing.  Punishing them will teach them consequences, but won't get that part of the brain to grow.  Neurosequential development being what it is, try cognitive-behavioral therapy for stealing.
Have an Answer?
Top Children's Health Answerers
189897 tn?1441130118
San Pedro, CA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Fearing autism, many parents aren't vaccinating their kids. Can doctors reverse this dangerous trend?
Is a gluten-free diet right for you?
We answer your top questions about the flu vaccine.
Learn which over-the-counter medicines are safe for you and your baby
Yummy eats that will keep your child healthy and happy
Healing home remedies for common ailments