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Old 05-13-2008, 08:11 PM
bostonbeagle's Avatar
bostonbeagle bostonbeagle is offline
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 133
Total Points: 41,425.33
12 year old lying and stealing

Hi need adice my 12 year old lying ald stealing! What can I do to break this habit? Stealing started a few months ago! Took my cellphone to school,loss privileges,stole some change laundry money,loss privileges,tv remotes under his bed,loss of privileges! then he lies about about,it wasn't me! Well no toher children except 2 dogs and hubby1 I want to break this habilt now,and don't know how? He is adoptive placement and planning to be adopted this August! Been with us about 9 months,what a long road we went through!

Ideas,and Advice! Contact me!
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Old 05-13-2008, 08:57 PM
AmyAnne's Avatar
AmyAnne AmyAnne is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,767
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As for the stealing..... I would take his hiding spots. IF you have to pull every piece of furniture except a matress from his room, and have him earn it back one piece at a time... SO BE IT.

Sew his pockets shut. Check his bookbag.

Decrease his freedoms and his opportunities to steal would be my advice
Happily married for 11 years.
Adoptive mom of 13 Year Old Austin
Finalized 12-08-05
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Old 05-13-2008, 09:57 PM
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chickymum chickymum is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2008
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Well it seems to me the honeymoon period has ended. Your long road has likely just begun. I think my kids were around 9 months too. Um...what can I say, there is not much you can do except continuously check, check ,check but they get crafty, more craftier than you would ever imagine. They can fool anybody and he is 12, you should see what my daughter could steal and hide and lie about it at age 4.
If you find an answer be so sure to let me know. In the mean time you need to find ways to not let this get to you. I had a friend who simply did pocket checks every time he left our house knowing that there was likely stuff hidden. And there always was. She never gives up. Amazingly he never gets mad. He just makes his daughter give it back and they go on their merry way. I wish I could be so patient.
Bio son - born 95
Adopted daughter - born 00. Came to us from foster care when she was almost four
Bio son - born 01
Full Custody, waiting for adoption to take place of beautiful baby girl - born Feb 09. In my heart and arms 10 minutes after birth
Crazy husband - thinks he is a kid too
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Old 05-14-2008, 03:53 AM
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Mkuhlmann06 Mkuhlmann06 is offline
Sanity is Overrated
Join Date: Apr 2006
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My AS was 11 when placed with us and 11 when adopted. His bad behaviors were (maybe still are?) lying/stealing. He's been with us for 9 months and has been doing it since day 1, but we only noticed maybe month 2.

Anyway, during the heightened time where we were noticing it occuring daily... we stripped his room down to the boxspring/mattress on the floor (it was a four post bed with headboard and footboard), removed both nightstands, removed his tall dresser and took the doors off his closet. I told him it was b/c we were going to be doing room inspections adn I wanted to reduce all the hiding spaces as a result of his behaviors. (And we did do the room inspections, sometimes when he was home and sometimes when he wasn't). And because he knew we were doing that, he started hiding stolen game boy games in other/extra bedrooms (we have no other children either). We also started doing pat downs before leaving for school (to ensure he wasn't carrying something he brought home from school that we missed) and when he arrived home from school. Book bag was inspected inside and out, his pants pockets were also. He wasn't allowed to come home and just run upstairs (to his room), we had to do this pat down.

As for lying, we wouldn't ASK if he did something after we found it. We would tell him we found it. We try to reduce his opportunity to lie. When we did come to a cross roads where we asked him about something nad he lied, we not only removed priviledges, but gave him things he had to do before he could have them back (or certain ones back). He's written sentences (started out at 50 times, now is up to 500 times). He's had vocabulary words (started off writing them 3x each, now up to 10x each). He's had to do "mommy" work (read paragraph, answer open ended questions). We would show him the difference in his consequences, by writing on the dry erase board in the kitchen two columns. One for just stealing the item, the other for lying about stealing the item. We would have him read the list, tell us what was on there back, then role play if he were to admit to taking it (no yelling, no getting worked up), etc. We would do this in a very calmly (it's hard too!). When he stole a gameboy advance from a girl at school, I picked him up and took him to the police station. I let the juvenile detection "scare" him into what happens when caught stealing (in our state at the age of 10 you can be prosecuted and it would stay on your file for life - no more expunged at age 18). My AS was given "probation" from the detective after a long, long talk with him. (I did call the police station and give my story and the detective knew I was coming and what happened and that I wanted to scare him).

When I ask AS a question, I try to cut him off before his answer and tell him to THINK HARD how he wants to proceed, that life is much nicer when he tells the truth. Even if he has answered, I ignore it and tell him to think about what he is going to say. Then when he does tell the truth, there may still be a consequence for the action he did, but he gets hugs, praise and quality family time for telling the truth.

The next approach was to improve his self esteem. Four different professionals, (our therapist, his psychiatrist, his old SW, and our SW) have all stated that a lot of this behaivor is coming from low self esteem. He played basketball and is now playing baseball. His school attitude and grades have improved and we tell him about how proud we are of him for a variety of things. His self esteem has improved over the past 2 3 months. Actually, we haven't had a stealing incident in 3 months. As for lying, we have actually had him admit to several small and several big things. By doing so he received a lot of praise, a reduction in consequence, etc. We haven't caught him in one in awhile. Personally, I think he is still lying in terms of exaggerating the truth or embellishing with friends and we're now going to start working on that. But we've come so far!

After each incident (lying or stealing) we process it. Asking the why, what could you have done in lieu of what you did, what would have been the consequence had you told the truth, etc.

He would tell me that lying was a habit, he didn't think and just answered, he knew he'd get caught b/c he can't get away with stuff like he could when he was at previous homes, etc. (He was in foster care for 8 years, 15 different placements).

It is tiring and you have to be ver consistent and follow through. My AS will tell you if I have threatened something, I will follow through -- to include donating his gameboy advance. We've done toy jail (removed all the fun stuff from his room) and he's had to earn them back. We've sat him out of basketball games (but made him attend and watch/support the team).

He does seem to be taking things that you will notice are missing. My AS would take other kids game boy games or game boy systems (b/c he wanted them and kept messing up earning is own). I think you need to try to figure out if there is a pattern as to why he's taking stuff that you'll notice and when he does (is it after you said no for something he wanted, is it after a bad day, etc).

Are you in therapy? We've been in therapy the whoel 9 months and we *JUST* got in home mobile and behavioral therapy services (after fighting to get them for the past 6 months). Of course, right now, we're not seeing the behaviors...but we're going to continue with them just to ensure we really have gotten over the hump.

Good luck...these are two very tough behaviors to break. Feel free to PM me.
Mom to 2 great kids (though they are driving me crazy ):
T - placed 07/28/07 at age 11, adopted 10/10/07, now age 14 - my TALL young man.
R - placed 02/01/09 at age 11, adopted 12/16/09, now age 13 - my drama queen
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