Monday, August 18, 2008


I will start with some opinions I found on line by professionals.

For younger kids

I just got back from class. Oh my this is going to be a tough one for me. Anyway, I have been thinking about the subject of stealing so much today. This is what I came up. This is only a Brendaism and is by no means professional advice so take it or leave it. To me this is one of the symptoms of RAD that is just that...a symptom. Trying to stop it is like trying to stop sneezing without treating the cold. I think there are things we can do that will help. I believe having them return the item and apologize is necessary. Even if it does not change the behavior it shows them you will always hold them accountable whether they take responsibility or not. I love Christine's idea and will share it here:

"Maybe you could make posters over your doorway that say something like, "I pray that everything brought into this house, that does not belong, is covered in my never-ending love. May that love seep into my children who are stealing because they are frightened."I could probably word it better, and with less sarcasm, if I had more time to think. We've dealt with this some, yet we haven't had them stealing from outside the house - just from one another. So, we include this idea into our mealtime and family prayers on occasion. I've actually prayer walked through my boys' room before. "Mom, what are you DOING?" "Honey, I know that sometimes you are tempted to take things from others because you feel like you've lost control. I am praying my love and God's love all over anything here that doesn't belong to you. I'm putting goodness into the poor choices."We haven't had stealing in weeks now. :)"

I believe this behavior is a symptom of the problem in their heart. They do not feel safe, they do not feel loved and so they try to comfort themselves with these "things". I believe Christine's children must have felt some love and safety coming from her answer. Its really good. Stealing is hard for us because it is morally wrong. As adults they will go to prison if they steal. So it is also frightening. Our son has to pay us $10 every time he takes something that belongs to another family member. He did get tired of paying and not having enough money to buy what he wanted and so cut back some. I do not believe that changed his heart but did slow down the behavior. It is really the feelings of love and safety we are after though. This is one of the symptoms that I saw immediately stop when Taz started healing.


Bren said...

Thanks for talking about this. Charlotte had all but one RAD symptom when she came here. She now has only a few and stealing FOOD is at the top of the list. Almost always sugary or food belonging to me (I am on Atkins). She will also take food that she is told no to. She asked for more refried beans on taco night and I told her she had her share...there would not be enough for dad and her brother, and she could have some fruit if she is still hungry. She waited til the room was empty and got into the microwave where the beans were waiting for the guys. She was caught by her father (rarely happens!) with her fingers in those beans. I am wondering if it is not entitlement that comes from RAD. I can not beleive the degree of entitlement that abused/neglected kids the world owes them something. Anyway, I love the idea of a sign...I could put it in the kitchen and make it about taking food. "Lord, please forgive her, for she knws not what she does."
Your suggestion of putting a bag or bowl of treats in her room is not one I would consider. I NEVER did it with my other kids and C has a little brother that would have to have the same. Both have bad reactions to sugar and dye. It would be a zoo here. Plus, she is all about the steling. She has stolen food that was made available to her...a can of pop given to her at Grandma's house sat pretty much untouched while she went downstairs and stole 8 cans exactly like given is not the same as food stolen. She requires that control. I have had alarms on the pantry and the frig. Now I am marking things with tally marks...I am a Grandma and Grandma's have treats!!! I bought Dora frozen juice bars yesterday. When I hand one out I make a tally mark inside the fold of the box. I KNOW how many should still be there. I also know my tally marks. She understands. The natural consequences here for stealing are, you are not to be trusted, therefore, your life is may not go inside a friends house, nor be considered responsible enough to do other things girls your age are. Because of my younger attached son, she will also require a "real" consequence for stealing...buttermilk. SHE HATES IT and needs to drink about 4 ounces everytime she steals. This is new and really appears to be working. Like you said, it does not change the heart, but the behavior is limited. When she is not always in trouble (she steals 3-4 times a DAY) then there is more chance of bonding. This is a tough one. Thanks for bringing it up here.

Brenda said...

I really think food hoarding is a separate issue from stealing other things....let's talk about that one too. I'll see what I can find.

Bren said...

No hoarding going on...she use to do that too...she eats it right away sometimes wrapper and all. I call it stealing because even though it is food related, it is stepping across that boundry where you take what does not belong to you. She use to steal the food off her brothers plate and then leave food on hers...this was awful because he was too young to "tell" and I would think he ate this great meal, when she had eaten it. I had to sit and watch every meal (sometimes lunch and breakfast I am not present in the room the whole time) Now she has done the same with TJ's snacks and juice (my grandson). No boundries. No remores. Total entitlement.

Bren said...

Yeesh...I meant REMORSE.

Queen Mommy said...

Another fantastic Blog! Thank you so much.

I completely agree with you! Stealing is merely a symptom of the larger "issues". I have found that as they are healthier, they exhibit less of these symptoms.

Thank you!

Queen Mommy!