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Elementary School Kids Elementary School Kids

Lying and Stealing

Posted by on Mar. 23, 2013 at 9:05 AM
  • 9 Replies

Has anyone had to deal with lying and stealing?  My son is 8 and it's seems like no matter what kind of discipline he gets, he won't stop!  The stealing revolves around food only.  We adopted him when he was 2 and he has an attachment disorder (he is just starting to go to therapy).  When he first came to us he would eat food so fast as if in a panic.  As he got older it stopped because we would constantly tell him to slow down and remind him that no one was going to take it.  His teacher does say that he eats his food panicky and fast in school though sometimes.  Well....at school he was managing to sneak his lunch before lunchtime.  So we started having him leave it in the office until lunch and sending him a snack since he claimed he was hungry.  Now, we find out that he's been caught sneaking food from other kids lunch boxes!!!  He says that he knows it's wrong, but he just "wanted it".  He was already grounded at home because he was refusing to do his work at school, so this prolonged his grounding.  Then today, he snuck over and stole his brothers Easter candy gift that my younger son's teacher gave to him yesterday (my younger son loves to save things, so he was saving the candy).  He says he knew it wasn't his, but he "wanted it".  I keep telling him that their are a lot of things that ALL of us "want", but it doesn't mean we can just go take it.  So he's already grounded from his other behaviors, and now I'm making him write sentences saying that just because he wants something doesn't mean he can take it.  Has anyone dealt with lying and stealing?  What kind of discipline/punishment did you use?  It frustrates me because he says he knows that he shouldn't do it, but he does it anyway.  I'm hoping therapy will help with this issue.  I have 3 other kids younger then him and they have never had any of the issues he's dealt with.  I know that every kid attempts to lie and be sneaky at some point...I was the queen of sneaky growing up!....but his is excessive, disruptive, and getting out of control. 

by on Mar. 23, 2013 at 9:05 AM
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Replies (1-9):
maxswolfsuit
by Max on Mar. 23, 2013 at 9:50 AM
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Considering his background I don't think this is something that punishment is really appropriate for. 

I think it's great that you got him into therapy. This behavior could be compulsive. If he can't help himself from doing it, punishing him could really be making things worse. Hopefully his therapist will have some behavior modification strategies that will help him. 

Andrewsmom70
by Gold Member on Mar. 23, 2013 at 9:57 AM
Things that happen early on in life, even if we don't remember, can scar us. I'm betting the therapy will help but it won't happen overnight. Keep loving him and working on it.

It might even be an obsessive compulsive behavior that he really doesn't know how to control at this point.
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corrinacs
by on Mar. 23, 2013 at 1:32 PM

I would seek help again for him whether its a counselor or a psychologist.  It sounds like he still has a lot of deep-pitted issues from what happened to him before you guys were his family.

The food stealing is directly related to children's needs not being met.  Since he obviously had issues like that prior to him joining your family, his mind is still in that "gotta get it while I can" mode :/.  It can take years to get him out of that!  But he's going to need help and support.  I know a lot of foster care children that get caught in this rut at one point or another and end up stealing all sorts of random stuff like pencils, shampoo, etc.  They feel that they have no other way!

Good luck and I am so glad he's with you now.  You will do a good job, I promise :)

momto3B
by on Mar. 24, 2013 at 7:45 PM

We have friends that we met through our adoption process who adopted 2 brothers at 3 and 4. The older brother has had huge issues with food consumption and stealing. It is apparently common, particularly if food was not in abundance from whereever the children come from.  Punishment did not work, it only exacerbated the problem. 

If you have not already done so, I would see out a therapist that is an adoption specialist, particularly one familiar with food related issues. 

Good luck. 

maxswolfsuit
by Max on Mar. 24, 2013 at 7:46 PM


Quoting momto3B:

We have friends that we met through our adoption process who adopted 2 brothers at 3 and 4. The older brother has had huge issues with food consumption and stealing. It is apparently common, particularly if food was not in abundance from whereever the children come from.  Punishment did not work, it only exacerbated the problem. 

If you have not already done so, I would see out a therapist that is an adoption specialist, particularly one familiar with food related issues. 

Good luck. 

Did your friends have success helping their son?

coolmommy2x
by Gold Member on Mar. 24, 2013 at 8:15 PM
I agree with this.

Quoting maxswolfsuit:

Considering his background I don't think this is something that punishment is really appropriate for. 

I think it's great that you got him into therapy. This behavior could be compulsive. If he can't help himself from doing it, punishing him could really be making things worse. Hopefully his therapist will have some behavior modification strategies that will help him. 

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frndlyfn
by Gold Member on Mar. 24, 2013 at 8:20 PM

I would have lockable containers for each child so that their special snacks/candy are safe.   Put aside a container for him that is not locked so if he feels hungry, he can have something.   I would not punish him for the behavior but would keep having him realize lying about anything is not good.   If you keep adding time onto the grounding, he will feel it is never ending and then why should he behave when he has nothing to lose.   Talk to his therapist after a few sessions on discipline methods that may work with him to help guide into a productive adulthood.

momto3B
by on Mar. 25, 2013 at 8:04 AM

It was a really rough road. Much of it was my friends refusal to believe that her son's issues were adoption related. He dad was literally a drill sergeant and she honestly believed that discipline and punishment would make correct the problem. 

Although very much loving and committed parents, our friends, the wife in particular really did not seem to what to face the reality that her very young sons were taken from their family or origin and placed in a "baby home" then taken from the caregivers at the home and put on a plane with total strangers who did not speak their language. Food hoarding is often an  issue for children of international adoption in particular although it certainly effects children adopted domestically as well.  

There is much literature to be had on the subject and I am sure that any number of  adoption support sites can be of enoumous help. 

I wish you the best.. No only have I watched our friends go through their issues, but my adopted son, has his own lying and stealing issues ( not food related - more a combination of executive function issues and adoption identity issues) and it really can make every day challenging. 




Quoting maxswolfsuit:


Quoting momto3B:

We have friends that we met through our adoption process who adopted 2 brothers at 3 and 4. The older brother has had huge issues with food consumption and stealing. It is apparently common, particularly if food was not in abundance from whereever the children come from.  Punishment did not work, it only exacerbated the problem. 

If you have not already done so, I would see out a therapist that is an adoption specialist, particularly one familiar with food related issues. 

Good luck. 

Did your friends have success helping their son?



BaBa1123
by on Mar. 27, 2013 at 3:35 PM

I agree that punishment will not help in this situation but therapy and love will.

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