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Question
Posted by: Ocean | 2010/05/20

The attention card played

I have a 19 year old stepson who is in matric. He stays (and his sister) with us for the last 6 years. This year it seems like he is rebelling. It started with stealing small change around the house, then a R100 (which he still denies to this day, although it could only been him, as he was the only one who knew other than me where I have kept the money), lying about small things and then the latest he stole 3 cellphones at once at a rugby match. Nearly 5 days later the school contacted me to inform me about this. When I confronted him, he ran away. We all were sick of worrying. Just to found out that he has been staying with an old school friends family. He told them my husband threw him out of the house. So last night my husband went there, and he said he did it for attention. And that I am a different person when my hubby is not home, screaming at them the whole time.
For one, I don''t think at the age of 19 the attention card can be played. As surely he should know exactly the difference between right and wrong.
Secondly, and this gave me the idea that he is still lying, is that he said that I scream at them every night when my husband is not there, which is a lie. If he said that occasionally I scream at them (cause not listening or not doing what they are supposed to) when he is not there, then I would have had agreed.

Can this really be an attention issue?

He ran away at the end of April, after returning from my mom''s house after week of " time-out"  after being caught our lying for the thousand time. He stayed away the whole of the longweekend, without even telling us where he was or if he was ok. Then when he returned he and my husband had long chat. And when I and the rest of the kids came home, we all had a chat. Agreeing to be honest at all times. To sort issues out there and then. And most of all not to run away again. Obviously this did not happen. This also make me think that the attention thing is a lie due to that he the chance of saying all that he is claiming now.

What is your thoughts about it?

O ja, just some additional information: About 3 years ago he was caught shoplifting. His mother suggested that I take him for councelling. The shrink said afterwards that he has a good understanding between wrong and right. And that he did it out of " pure stoutigheid" .

Thank you, will checking for your response.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

"Attention" is almost al;ways too simple an explanation for complex misbehaviour, though it may be part of the problem. It sounds unfortunate that the last time he saw a shink they gave an unhelpful diagnosis and apparently no proper advice on how to change his bad behaviour.
It would probably be wise for him to see a good psychologistg now, for a re-assessment and diagnosis ( if any ) and to plan a proper code of conduct and behaviour / discipline at home, including small rewards for keeping to the rules, and real penalities for misbehaviour, including losing privileges and things he values and wants. THis has been going on too long to be due to something as simple as "attention" and if he is allowed to go on this way, he could soon end up in serious trouble, and getting far more attention of an unpleasant sort than he would want

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Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/05/20

"Attention" is almost al;ways too simple an explanation for complex misbehaviour, though it may be part of the problem. It sounds unfortunate that the last time he saw a shink they gave an unhelpful diagnosis and apparently no proper advice on how to change his bad behaviour.
It would probably be wise for him to see a good psychologistg now, for a re-assessment and diagnosis ( if any ) and to plan a proper code of conduct and behaviour / discipline at home, including small rewards for keeping to the rules, and real penalities for misbehaviour, including losing privileges and things he values and wants. THis has been going on too long to be due to something as simple as "attention" and if he is allowed to go on this way, he could soon end up in serious trouble, and getting far more attention of an unpleasant sort than he would want

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