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When you have a child who is stealing.....


Liberty
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One of my children is stealing, but I don't know which one and don't know what I should do.

 

My 20yo son and his wife, as well as my 16yo son live at my ex husband's house in another town, along with ex husband's new wife and her 3 children. 

 

At my house are our 13yo son and 12yo daughter. 

 

About a month ago, I went away for the weekend with my 13yo and 12yo.  When we returned, a brand new pack of expensive socks and new belt were missing from my 13yo's bedroom.  Both of my other children (20yo and 16yo) had visited my house at some point while we were gone.  My ex husband went through their belongings and did not find the missing clothing.  Both deny taking the clothes.

 

Over this past weekend, my 13yo son was visiting his dad's house.  While in the bedroom shared by 20yo son/his wife/16 yo son (yes they share a bedroom), he came across a money jar belonging to 16yo son that he pulled out and showed to 20yo son.  My 20yo son told him to put it back, which he did.  However, this morning I got a call from 16yo son saying 13yo stole $20 out of that jar.  When I asked how he knows 13yo stole the money, he said that no one else besides the inhabitants of the room know about the money so 13yo must've taken the money.  When I confronted my 13yo he denied taking any money and said the jar was full of change and doesn't even know how $20 could've been in it.  I haven't noticed any extra money being in the possession of my 13yo and have looked in his room, but found nothing.

 

I don't know what to do at this point, or who to believe.  Does anyone have any suggestions?

 

 

 

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Can you send 13 year old to his father's house with a catalogue of his belongings, kind of a checklist to make sure everything comes home?  And limit the access of the adult kids in your home?  

 

We dealt with something vaguely similar, and that's how we handled it.  Sadly, it was limiting the access of the young adult kids that nipped it all in the bud. :(

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Would 13yo have had the receipts for the socks and belt so he could have returned them for cash?

 

Are there any other signs of missing things or drug use?

No, he did not have receipts and store of purchase is over an hours away.  He is my one son I do not worry about drugs. 

 

Do your 16yo and 20yo have to have keys to your house?

Well, 16yo does as he is "supposed" to visit every other weekend (I say "supposed" because he normally hangs out only with friends every weekend)

 

Is it possible that one of the new wife's 3 children could be responsible?  Did your 20 y.o. or 16 y.o. bring any of those children to the house with them while you were gone? 

They might be for the missing money, but have never visited my house so wouldn't have taken socks and I've never seen them hang out with my sons.

 

Can you send 13 year old to his father's house with a catalogue of his belongings, kind of a checklist to make sure everything comes home?  And limit the access of the adult kids in your home?  

 

We dealt with something vaguely similar, and that's how we handled it.  Sadly, it was limiting the access of the young adult kids that nipped it all in the bud. :(

This sounds like a good idea!

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No clue. There are a lot of people in that scenario. I would not assume, however, that the $20 was necessarily taken by anybody. The 16yo might have counted it some time ago and forgotten about grabbing a $20 for something. It happens to the best of us. Especially after 13yo got ahold of the jar, 16yo might have decided to count it at that moment and then freaked out. "I had $120 I'm sure!"

 

 

 

When we returned, a brand new pack of expensive socks and new belt were missing from my 13yo's bedroom.

 

The optimistic side of me thinks... if I had a dollar for every time a kid lost a brand new pack of socks and belt, we could buy one brand new pack of socks and belt to replace all the other ones the kid lost.

 

So I would first ask 13yo to search high and low and in between for the socks and belt.

 

And for the $20, I would advise everyone to keep their money in a very safe place and not to go snooping because that's how you get accused of stealing.

 

If that plus a list doesn't stop disappearings, then I'd think harder about it. Hopefully it is just a case of people misplacing things.

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I don't think one of your own kids is doing the stealing.

 

My guess on the socks and belt is that 16yo was at your place the weekend you were gone, and brought along a few of his friends that he always hangs out with.  One of those friends stole the package of socks and belt.  Could be with or without 16yo knowing about it.  Either way, you're probably not too likely to uncover the truth here. 

 

I agree with Tsuga about the $20, though another thought there is that 16yo thought it might be fun to claim that $20 was missing from his jar and see which parent coughed up an extra $20 to replace it with. 

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Depending how how your ex handled asking the boys if they stole socks and a belt, the 16 year old might have felt falsely accused and claimed the $20 was missing to get back at the 13 year old.  

 

Are you absolutely sure the socks and belt didn't fall behind the bed or get tossed into the closet or something? That seems like an odd thing to steal. 

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Locked doors are a big help.

Where a door can't be locked (shared bedroom), locked storage areas - file cabinets, lock boxes, lock on the closet. Take a trip to the hardware store and install some locks.

 

The 13yo is going to have to guard himself if he is being accused of stealing at the other house. Not sure how that can work specifically, but not poking around in his brother's stuff would be the place to start.

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What kid is going to steal socks or a belt? Really, that seems bizarre to the utmost. I don't think that happened. If a kid really did such a thing, they must be very, very poor and desperate, and care about socks and belts. My kids never care about either . . .

 

I think it is most likely that the $20 got spent and forgotten about, and the socks and belt are buried in the debris that typically litters teen rooms. 

I'd convince myself of those things, and then I would start keeping better track of money, just in case I was wrong about the money getting stolen. 

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I can't imagine anyone not destitute stealing socks and a belt, unless they could easily be returned for cash somehow.

I suspect the $20 accusation might be a. a mistake or b. an intentional false accusation

I wouldn't do anything other than make sure easy to pick up and truly valuable things (jewelry, money, etc.) were in a safe place.

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What kid is going to steal socks or a belt? Really, that seems bizarre to the utmost. I don't think that happened. If a kid really did such a thing, they must be very, very poor and desperate, and care about socks and belts. My kids never care about either . . .

 

I think it is most likely that the $20 got spent and forgotten about, and the socks and belt are buried in the debris that typically litters teen rooms. 

I'd convince myself of those things, and then I would start keeping better track of money, just in case I was wrong about the money getting stolen. 

 

not to disagree that they could just have been misplaced (or returned by someone for cash/store-credit.  there's a reason stores only give cash with a receipt), kleptomania has nothing to do with need.

 

My *5 1/2 years older* sister used to steal from me all the time.  I had a keyed lock on my door to keep her out.  she even had the chutzpah to say her bf gave her the earrings she was wearing that looked exactly like a pair missing from my room when I confronted her.  and she said it in front of him.  he denied he gave them to her.

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What kid is going to steal socks or a belt? Really, that seems bizarre to the utmost.

Last year our (unlocked) garage was broken into.  The perpetrator took a bucket of polished rocks, some quarters (in the cars for parking meters), and a "freezer meal" from the Sam's Club (from the freezer).  :lol:

 

All the tools and bikes and sports equipment were left.

 

People are strange.

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Once when I was a teenager and my mom was gone, I had some friends over. One guy brought his girlfriend and her friend. After they were gone, I discovered a portable phone was missing. The base was there but the phone was nowhere. I found out years later when I became friends with the friend, that the girlfriend had stolen it. No idea why.

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Locked doors are a big help.

Where a door can't be locked (shared bedroom), locked storage areas - file cabinets, lock boxes, lock on the closet. Take a trip to the hardware store and install some locks.

 

The 13yo is going to have to guard himself if he is being accused of stealing at the other house. Not sure how that can work specifically, but not poking around in his brother's stuff would be the place to start.

Yes, this.  It is easy to change a regular bedroom door into a locking bedroom door, and not very expensive; a cheap doorknob with a lock might run $12.  The sets usually come with two keys, one for you and one for your son.  It sounds like you can't change the locks on the house, if I understand that your 16yo spends some time with you, but your 12 and 13yos could have locks on their space.  You might lock your room, too. 

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Honestly I would be more alarmed that a 16 year old is living in the same room as 20 year old Newlyweds.

Yeah, that is an unusual arrangement. Having once been a 21 year old newlywed, I just don't even see how that works in our culture. I hope they are making plans to move out soon, for their own sakes.

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I'm sorry for responding so late.  And I thank everyone for their input.

 

As far as why anyone would steal socks....they were brand new large-quantity Nike socks in an unopened package and very expensive for socks.  The belt was also new.  At the time they were stolen I was certain it had to be my 16yos because his father had given him his school clothes money and he had bemoaned not having enough.  These socks/belt would be the type he would have worn.  Also, he has been known to have his dad buy him expensive Nike shoes that he later sold at school.  The kid is always begging for money from me and his dad but refuses to get a job. 

 

As far as whether the socks were misplaced....my 13yos put them with all the other brand new clothes he had gotten for school but was not yet allowed to wear until school started.  They were all in the same dresser drawer.  But, we tore apart the room anyway, just in case. 

 

As far as newlyweds living with my 16yos, I agree with what has been said.  I do not favor it, but have no control over the situation.  Many things at my ex-husband's house are dysfunctional (one of the many reasons he is now my ex, but that is another story).

 

 

 

 

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Sorry, but I think it sounds like your 16 year old is the culprit. And maybe he's claiming he's missing $20 in hopes that you or his dad will replace it for him. Bummer.

:iagree:

 

After reading Liberty's latest post, it seems like the 16yo is the most logical suspect.

 

Liberty, I'm so sorry you and your kids have to deal with such a dysfunctional situation at your ex's house. :grouphug:

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One of my brothers stole another one of my brother's belt. My stepmother had bought it for school and it was hanging in the room my older brother was staying in. He needed a belt and found in the cupboard and 'borrowed' it. She was a bit annoyed I believe. So I can see your older kids helping themselves to the belt and socks because they thought they were entitled. The money i suspect is rubbish. If there were only coins he would have had to stuff his pockets with loose change.

 

That doesn't help much though.

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