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It's a long 1, ready? My SS is out of control. We hav tried every form of disciplining there is, none of which seemed to phase my SS...until we started havn him copy sentences as punishment. He hates it! Last Nov we discovered my SS had been stealing from us and others. Hubby & I were both blown away. We decided to make the punishment harsh in hopes of teaching him a lesson. We sat down wit him, discussed why stealing is wrong, that stealing is illegal, allowed him 2 ask questions & share wit us why he stole. We asked him if there was anything else he had taken that we should b aware of & now wud b the time 2 tell us so we cud get passed this. We told him what his punishment was going 2 b...he was grounded from the playstation and television for a day & he was 2 write, "I will not take things from others." 25 times. He was 8yrs old @ this time. We also reminded him of the rule..if the behavior is repeated, he will receive the same & 5 more sentences will b added to the 25 & so on. We let him know we love him & he is a good kid & we didn't feel there wud b a next time.
We sat him @ a desk located @ the landing of our upstairs so there wud b no distractions. We explained 2 him he was not to move until he finished the last sentence unless we call him down 4 water, food, or bathroom breaks. He had written sentences b4 & we figured he would b done pretty quickly.
He refused 2 write them. Meanwhile we discover other things n his bedroom that he had stolen from my daughters and hid n his bedroom. When we questioned why...he replied, "I liked them & wanted them 4 myself." When he was leavn later that day 2 go 2 his moms house for her days (they have shared custody) we discovered he had my daughters makeup n his coat pocket. When asked why, he said, "I was goin 2 take it & giv it 2 my sis 4 a present." (his mother's daughter)
Weeks went on, him still refusing 2 write sentences and yet continuously stealing from EVERYONE. He told us that he didn't like writing sentences & that he in fact was not going 2, that we should just take his things away, tv, playstation away instead.
2 make a long story a lil shorter, the sentences piled up, he didn't care & kept stealing...his mom told him he didn't hav 2 write them & that we were abusing him by making him write sentences. She wud even come pick him up early just 2 get him out of having 2 write them. (When he stole while with her, she did not discipline him @ all)
In the end she had my hubby believing we over reacted on the stealing & that we were in fact abusing him by making him sit there until he wrote the sentences. She told my hubby and my SS that he would not b coming back over as long as we were going to punish him. He did not come back over for 8wks. My hubby finally decided to drop it all, so not only did my SS not have to write the sentences, but he didn't get any form of punishment for all the stealing and lying. Now my SS is quick to warn that he wont come back if we punish him or give him sentences. I think the only lesson he learned in all of this was when he does something wrong to just run to mommys to get off the hook. I personally feel we should have stood our ground, it is our household. Not to mention now there is resentment from my daughters toward my hubby and my SS because he did in fact get off the hook. They want to know why he doesn't get punished for things but they do. So do u feel 25 sentences were 2 much, & us adding sentences ea time too much even tho he was prewarned the consequence of future incidents? Wud u hav stood ur ground & made him follow thru wit the punishment that was given 2 him or wud u too have just let him off the hook? What wud u have done?
FYI sum of the things he stole were: a check from me to give to his mom cuz she was broke he said. $20 from my 11yr old, $5 from me, make-up from my daughters, toys from my baby and my daughters, jewelry from my daughters, while with his mom he stole christmas presents from one of her friends house they were visiting, money from his moms sis that's just to name a few things.
We even had a police officer come talk to him and that didnt phase him!

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Asked by melissa415 at 8:02 AM on Jan. 13, 2011 in General Parenting

Level 4 (34 Credits)
Answers (23)
  • Honestly, I think you were too lenient BUT it does sound like nothing will get through to this kid. I think a big part of it is the lack of consistency between yourselves and his mom. Seems you're trying to do the right thing and she couldn't give a damn. I'm sorry you're going through this. BUMP!

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:07 AM on Jan. 13, 2011

  • When an 8-year old steals, it is an indication of a deeply rooted emotional problem. He's not stealing because he needs things, but he is instead stealing as an attempt to fill some deep void on the inside of himself. That's where your concern should lie. And it would probably be a really good idea to seek some help in determining why he is acting out in this manner. It would probably be best if you and his dad went to see somebody first without taking the child with you. It's very difficult to find the right kind of help, and the wrong kind can actually make matters worse, and this child does not need that. He needs some help, and he needs it pretty quickly.

    Answer by NannyB. at 8:11 AM on Jan. 13, 2011

  • That is what I told my Hubby, we have to b consistent, however I can't be consistent alone, it really falls in my hubby's lap as I am "just" the stepmom and as we all know stepmoms r "nobodys"..oh that is until they need someone to take the child here or there, feed the child, babysit the child, then all of a sudden a stepmom is impprtant.

    Comment by melissa415 (original poster) at 8:13 AM on Jan. 13, 2011

  • Maybe he has anger issues and maybe he needs to be shown what will happen to him sometimes when nothing phases them maybe he needs a mentor you should find out what he wants to be or do for a living and show him how stealing could impact this or stop it from happening. My son started at nine and is now twenty he was in so much trouble now he is straight but there are things he still has to pay for and things he still has to do for the next five years. You need to start telling him now take him to see a probation office have a probation officer speak to him explain what his life will be like if he does get caught and everything from there also take him to the sheriffs office and have them talk to him as well. GL Momma


    Answer by pinkdragon36 at 8:17 AM on Jan. 13, 2011

  • I do not feel your punishment was too harsh, but he knew if he sat it out it would go away. You are at a real disadvantage with the mom reinforcing him and not supporting consequences. Every child has a "currency" which is THE most important thing to them. We used to take that away for an appropriate length of time as punishment. It won't necessarily be a toy. My youngest used to LOVE watching the trash truck. So, occasionally we would say he would not be allowed to watch it. Now, that was when he was little but at every age there is a currency.  Zero in on what really makes him tick.   Be Consistent!!   Don't threaten something unless you really will do it. Like saying "you will never watch TV again" is just an empty promise.   to be continued


    Answer by elizabr at 8:18 AM on Jan. 13, 2011

  • NannyB., We already know what the child's problem is and we can't help him and it kills us. He is abused/neglected. He knows how to steal because he watches his mother, she was in jail not 2 long ago for vehicular burglary. She takes him to shabby bars with her so she can party, she constantly parties @ home in front of him, he is regularly around adult physical fights between his mother and others. During the 1st 2 months of school his kindergarten yr he missed 14 DAYS! He was moved thru 5 schools that yr and ended up failing kindergarten because of this and her not helping him with his school work. I could go on....

    Comment by melissa415 (original poster) at 8:20 AM on Jan. 13, 2011

  • Your ss needs counseling. It sounds as though he is conflicted and wants to take care of his mom. We do not know the history of his mom and dad,, but professional help seems to be essential at this point.

    Answer by tootoobusy at 8:21 AM on Jan. 13, 2011

  • I agree with NannyB. Usually when kids steal it is because they are looking for attention and a need that isn't being filled elsewhere. I think you are right in the fact that because he didn't have to do what you said he has learned that if he gets in trouble there will be no punishment and what he really needs is the punishment. If it were me I would look into getting him some counseling and seeing if he will talk to someone else. You could try talking to him yourself and see if he will open up to you, although at this point he probablly won't.

    To me is almost sounds like he is feeling lost and looking for attention other then punishment. I am not saying you shouldn't punish him, although maybe you should try positive reinforcement instead of punishment. Maybe you do praise him, I don't know, although it sounds like that is what he needs.

    Good Luck!

    Answer by cornflakegirl3 at 8:23 AM on Jan. 13, 2011

  • The first thing that jumped out at me was that this child believes he has a choice whether or not to come to your house. That isn't acceptable, and is going to set you up for a constant "if I don't like things here I can just stay at moms" mindset. You aren't going to be able to discipline at all - he has an out. If the mother is supporting this behavior, go to court for custodial interference. Second, I think a trip to a counselor would be a good idea. If you look at the things he has stolen, none of it is for himself. That is telling, he feels that he needs to help his mother, and that it's ok to steal from your home. I'm guessing that something his mother is saying/doing is encouraging the behavior. Lastly, stick to your guns on the punishment. He needs to understand that HE isn't the boss, there are rules, and there will be consequences for breaking them.

    Answer by Scuba at 8:24 AM on Jan. 13, 2011

  • His dad and you need to be united on what you will try. Plus you both need to make sure he is getting one on one time with each of you. Kids go for negative attention when they do not get enough positive attention. Plus praise when he does things right. If he were mine I would talk to his pediatrician/a counselor to get advice. Plus get a few books from the library for resources. You might also tell him he will be treated like a baby until he can be trusted.......never out of your sight and constantly being supervised. That may, in fact, be part of the attention he is needing. I wish you all the best. It is a long hard road you are on, but you can do it with the right resources and working together as a couple to help him. hug

    Answer by elizabr at 8:26 AM on Jan. 13, 2011

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