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Old 02-23-2018, 09:02 AM   #1
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Unhappy 8th grader who steals

My 13 year-old daughter has been stealing clothing from her sister who is three years older and hiding it. Often, she doesn't even wear the items. She turned down an offer to get a jacket in the store, then took the identical item from her sisterís closet. This has happened before, and the consequences have been that she must pay the itemís cost to her sister and return the item.

She had an Ipod, but with restrictions. We would take it away for several days if she did not meet her obligations (practicing piano, emptying the dishwasher) which are very few. We told her that she could not have it in her room at night after many, many compromises which did not work out. I finally took the Ipod away after she sneaked it from my room before the confiscation time was over. Today, I found her friendís Ipod hidden in her room along with the computer that is supposed to remain outside her room.

I feel her behavior is not about having what she steals so much as filling some emptiness she feels. She sees other kids with expensive possessions and becomes envious. Brand names are important to her. We have told her that she canít have an Apple phone until she is old enough to enter a contract and pay for it. She was offered a very nice phone identical to her sisterís and she turned it down because it was not an Iphone.

She is on a dance competition team, enjoys performing immensely. She does well in school for the most part, speaks French fluently in addition to English, plays piano; but in both dance and academics, she relies on what is easy and does not seek to excel if it takes too much effort. We encourage her to work at her talents, but donít push her. She is well liked by her friends. Both she and her sister are adopted. I donít know if that is relevant.
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Old 02-24-2018, 08:56 AM   #2
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Hello and Welcome to PC.

I would recommend getting your daughter therapy. Her behavior is telling you that she is having some trouble and that she needs help. Therapy can help you and her figure out what is going on and how to fill the emptiness she experiences rather than stealing items.

Adoption can impact behaviors and she may need a place to process that and therapy can provide that place. Good luck.
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Old 02-24-2018, 10:29 AM   #3
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Default Re: 8th grader who steals

The iphone point has relevance where social pressure is concerned. My son told me that he was frustrated by not being able to see most of the emojis that his friends used in communication.
Not sure what advice to give where taking her sister's items is concerned, perhaps find resources on sibling rivalry?
I saw recently, elsewhere about TBRI method for children who have been adopted or in foster care or a separation from home. Maybe that could be of benefit?
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Old 02-25-2018, 05:19 PM   #4
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I was at similar age when I stole money from my parents.

Please don't make it personal (if I am) but this type of post angry me;
The reason I stole money from my parents is that in my close neighborhood lived one (about 5 years) older boy who showed me at his house how he steal money from his mother. He knew tactics just how much he would steal so that the remaining sum of money would strangely confuse his mother of how much she thought she had.
I've learned that and I did it. I bought child-like things, Coca-Cola, guns for children ect.. also I'd steal money of another currency, and then change it at street dealers. The workers in stores and those dealers would ask themselves where did I get that money, but no one stole it from me even I was very young.
Now, after a while, my father discovered that and asked me and my sister who is doing that.. of course I got what I've deserved.

10-15 years later I came back to this subject and researched it in internet - why kids steal money from their parents?
The answer was (for me also) that finally it was one big thing with which I had a sense of control over my own parents, which would compensate all the fields (most important - personal space) where they had control over me.

My father was a control freak; he would pause his breathing in order to listen everything we do in a house; he would pretend that he sleeps just to monitor what would we do knowing that he is sleeping; he would never knock on our doors; he had no clue of privacy... His father was an alcoholic, so he survived being hyper-vigilant.

I would say that you need to install or let your daughter have a private time where she could learn responsibility for her own actions without you knowing about all. Responsibility must be slowly placed in their hands and with it the fear of unknown, that in many cases you can't and won't be there for her even you want it.

(maybe I'm wrong, but... just an opinion... may be too personal)

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Old 03-29-2018, 05:28 PM   #5
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Default Re: 8th grader who steals

I've said before that teens and young adults need both responsibility and accountability. In what way is she earning the iPod, clothes, etc and how is she being held accountable for her actions? Perhaps if she were to earn the luxuries in life she might have a sense of pride.
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