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Posted by: Nadia | 2012/05/04

My son is stealing and now has strange behaviour

I found out my son has stolen a game (PSP) from a friend of his. He exchanged the game for a PS2. i have asked him to return the PS2 and get back his frinds PSP so that we could return it. (Which i thought was the right thing to do). He didn''t go to school today (where he was suppose to make the exchange). He stayed at home and cut up all the cables for the electric appliances. he also broke the computer and dvd machine as well as the PS2 and his own PSP. what should I do?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Good grief ! That really is an awful situation to face ! This is much more than just a bit naughty - as Mary says, this is RAGE. He might have dreaded feeling very embarrassed at having to admit to what he did and return things to the other boy ; maybe he was bothered about doing it at school, where others would see and hear about it.
Like Maria, I wonder how old he is, and whether he is usually well-behaved or has he been misbehaving in other ways, recently, too ?
What else is going on in his life ? Has anything significant ( to him ) changed at home, in the family, or at school ?
How did he stay at home ? DId he come back after setting out for school, or do you and your husband perhaps leave for work earlier than he leaves for school ? ( so, did he mislead you about going to school ? )
You need a calm but firm sit-down discussion with him. Just asking WHY is irresistable but rarely gets a useful answer. Rather ask him to discuss how he felt and what he was thinking about when he caused the damage - obviously he was furious, but what was he furious about ?
Remind him that he had stolen something belonging to someone else, who could have called the police. You had no choice but to take this very seriously, so as he caused the situation, there's not much point with him being angry with you. As he couldn't be allowed to keep stolen goods, how would he sugest you could have handled the situation better ?
Its obvious he shouldn't then have caused all the damage to the DVD, computer, etc., all of which means he himself cant use them, as well as presumably other people, too. How does he propose to get the items repaired, and how will he pay for these repairs ? Will he, for instance, do many more chores around the house and garden, at an agreed price, to pay towards the repairs ?
Hopw does he expect to convince you to trust him alone in the house again, or to allow him to use these items which he chose to damage ?

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Our users say:
Posted by: Nadia | 2012/05/08

I found out about him bunking school and cutting the cable on friday. Friday i took him to a child therapist. and she was basically telling me things that i already know. Telling me to try things that i have already tried. After that i took him to the friends house and spoke to the mother and friend together. I told her that i was trying to get help for my son. She was very understanding. The conclusion there was that my son replaces the PSP with his own money. Yes he gets paid for doing chores around the house. So he would save up and replace the PSP. I have also told him that he will replace my cellphone chargers and DVD. I then took him to the Dr on Saturday to get a Drs letter for his absenteeism for friday as had a test to right that friday. I told him he would pay me back the consultation fee as i did not ask him to bunk school. what happened on Saturday was more shocking. I gave the kids tea and biscuits. before giving them the biscuits, i saw there was (roach gel) poison on the biscuits. I told him to replace the poison as well. But the whole thing is that he tried poisoning us and when i wanted to hand out the biscuits he never mentioned the poison. so yes there is no trust and i have to watch everything and him like a hawk. So yes, he will pay for the damages, but the poison issue is mind boogling.

Reply to Nadia
Posted by: Nadia | 2012/05/08

My son is going to be 14. Yes he has stolen before from another friend of his. They were like brothers. He would also go out on holidays with his friend. He stole that kids Nintendo. The kids mother called me and asked me to see if my son has it. I found it and he returned it. But then he lost a good friend because the frind could not trust him. This year he started high school and was very afraid with all the changes. I have not seen any changes in his behaviour. And I dont see any substance or drug usage. We are actually very close and can talk openly about things. I handle discipline issues...I talk to my kids to find out what the problem is and explain to them what was done is wrong and give them some examples. If you break something, you will replace it. I dont shout, scream and hit when dealing with such issues. I have asked him why he broke the things and cut the cables and his response was that he was angry. Angry because he had to get the game back and angry that the kids at school would find out. He is a well behaved child at home and at school. He is a top student at his school and gets marks like 99% for maths, etc. Yes he left for school and when everyone had left, he returned home and destroyed the things.

Reply to Nadia
Posted by: Mary | 2012/05/04

Totally agree with Maria.

It sounds as there are a bigger isue than just the PSP. Rage like this is usually a consiquence of something much deeper.

I would get some proffessional help if I were you.

All the best and good luck

Reply to Mary
Posted by: XXX | 2012/05/04

He needs to be punished in some way,firstly for stealing and then for cutting up the cables etc.
I would watch him very closely in future as he might need to see a psychologist if this behaviour continues.
My step son started off by stealing my son''s toys (a long time back) and has never really stopped,ie.he has stolen from his mother,money from my son''s saving box,my sunglasses etc etc.
It needs to be nipped in the bud otherwise where will it all end.

Reply to XXX
Posted by: Maria | 2012/05/04

How old is he? Has he done anything like this before? Has his behaviour recently changed? Do you see any signs of drug use? What is your relationship like, and how do you usually handle discipline issues?

He has to suffer the consequences of his actions, which will include paying for the damage he caused. It is important however to discover what lies behind this behaviour.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012/05/04

Good grief ! That really is an awful situation to face ! This is much more than just a bit naughty - as Mary says, this is RAGE. He might have dreaded feeling very embarrassed at having to admit to what he did and return things to the other boy ; maybe he was bothered about doing it at school, where others would see and hear about it.
Like Maria, I wonder how old he is, and whether he is usually well-behaved or has he been misbehaving in other ways, recently, too ?
What else is going on in his life ? Has anything significant ( to him ) changed at home, in the family, or at school ?
How did he stay at home ? DId he come back after setting out for school, or do you and your husband perhaps leave for work earlier than he leaves for school ? ( so, did he mislead you about going to school ? )
You need a calm but firm sit-down discussion with him. Just asking WHY is irresistable but rarely gets a useful answer. Rather ask him to discuss how he felt and what he was thinking about when he caused the damage - obviously he was furious, but what was he furious about ?
Remind him that he had stolen something belonging to someone else, who could have called the police. You had no choice but to take this very seriously, so as he caused the situation, there's not much point with him being angry with you. As he couldn't be allowed to keep stolen goods, how would he sugest you could have handled the situation better ?
Its obvious he shouldn't then have caused all the damage to the DVD, computer, etc., all of which means he himself cant use them, as well as presumably other people, too. How does he propose to get the items repaired, and how will he pay for these repairs ? Will he, for instance, do many more chores around the house and garden, at an agreed price, to pay towards the repairs ?
Hopw does he expect to convince you to trust him alone in the house again, or to allow him to use these items which he chose to damage ?

Reply to cybershrink

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