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Stepson stealing personal items

post #1 of 100
Thread Starter 
Good Morning......

We are a blended family consisting of 3 stepsons and my 2 biodaughters....
Stepsons are 13, 16, 17......biodaughters are 18 and 20 (20 year old is on her own now)

We have an ongoing problem w/ 16 yr old stepson.....he has been taking personal items from my daughter and I...i.e. underwear, tampons, sanitary pads...this past weekend when the stepson visited for the weekend, he was caught for the 3rd time taking these items....this time from his aunt who lives next door.....
I admit, I blew a cork w/ him....including telling him it was perverse in what he is doing and it has to stop.......
We had this problem w/ the older boy a couple years ago, but he stopped doing it.
His father is upset, but doesn't seem to DO anything about it.....his mother has been informed each time this has happened and nothing seems to be done about this......
After the mother was told of this this past weekend, she got mad at me for saying it was perverse....and text messaged me and chewed me out over it.

I have forwarned everyone.....including the parents that if I find this again, I am calling the police and having him picked up.....I have hit my end of the fence on this one......SOMEONE has to do something about this and no one seems to think that there is anything wrong...
I am waiting for the bio mom to take us to court over me saying it was perverse....
The boys are to come back for another visit this coming weekend, I need suggestions on how to handle this any further......I am at wits end and want the child to get some help......
post #2 of 100
While I don't condone his behavior, I think your reaction is over the top and unlikely to help anything. Teenage boys are curious about sex. It is unlikely that he is actually a "pervert". Being shamed for this is not going to help him. You're the adult in the situation, act like it.
post #3 of 100
Thread Starter 
And there is to be no consequences to these actions? Just let it go and keep having him not get any help?
I do admit, I should not have said the perverse word...but it is perverse...and this is a situation that is ongoing and doesn't seem to have a ending to it....
I guess I don't understand, why everyone chalks it up to sexual curiosity and thinks that it will just go away....when it is not going away and it seems to be escalating...
I have come to conclusion, that I and my daughter must live w/ locked doors and our personal items must also be locked up.
We both feel very violated and am looking to find some solutions not only for ourselves, but also for him...he needs help to work thru this and neither of his parents seem to find anything wrong w/ what he has done.
post #4 of 100
Yeah, he needs help in the way of gentle understanding and conversation. Not for someone to call him a pervert and threaten to call the cops on him.
post #5 of 100
Has he been in any type of counseling? I don't think the problem is going to be solved with consequences alone, and they may just drive the behavior more undercover. Taking things from family members is not okay. I would definately see about getting him into counseling.
post #6 of 100
Thread Starter 
Neither parent thinks that there is anything wrong....so no counseling has been sought after...
I just want him to get some help and get past this.
And by saying the cops will be called, maybe they would get him the help he needs before this escalates to the point of him hurting someone...his grandfather on the bio mom's side molested both bio mom and another in the family....I do not want this to get to that point.
He is getting at the age of dating, and do not want him to hurt someone w/ his curiosity..wanting him to get help is the only thing I really want for him...
But as a step mom, my hands are tied if the parents don't seem to see anything wrong w/ what he is doing.
post #7 of 100
Calling it perverse is just going to escalate his behaviors I believe. At this point you NOW have the problem behavior as well as an embarassed and ashamed young man. Someone needs to approach him gently and figure out what is going on. Lableing him is going to create a monster in my opinion. I work with teens on a daily basis with much, much, much more "perverse" behaviors so to me - this is an issue that can be taken care of easily with a little compassionate effort....and believe me even though this is a bit out of the norm, sexual deviance gets much worse than this.
TMI - just try to put yourself in his shoes - when he looks at every adult in his life, he will automatically think, "OMG they think I'm a f'ing freak." Try to handle it like you would with your own daughter...to me it would break my heart thinking that something was going on and I couldn't fix it. When it's not your child, it's easier for anger to be your first reaction....and anger is definitly not what he needs.
See if you can persuade the father to try counseling? Will the child respond to you if you sit down with him and see if he wants to talk to someone?
If you don't mind telling me what state you are in - and perhaps a general area I would be happy to find some good referrals for you. PM me if you are interested.
post #8 of 100
The cops won't do anything for stolen sanitary items. They wouldn't even bring it to court. If mom was molested by the grandfather it is very very possible that this child was as well... or if he wasn't the mom could have definitly passed on ideals about sex to her children that are creating "deviant, " sneeky, odd, behaviors now.
These behaviors within itself are not at all indicative of future offending behavior. He would have shown signs long before now....
post #9 of 100
I dont understand what is perverse about sanitary products? Are we talking used or clean? My DF was molested and doesn't and never has stolen any panties or anything, I'm not sure what this has to do with molestation??? I was also molested and never did anything like this. Is that a sign that I have never heard of that a child could have been molested?

Has anyone calmly sat him down and asked WHY he is doing it? I admit, if you called my son a pervert, I would be pretty p.o.ed. I mean its a little strange and annoying, but if I were you I would sit him down and all the parental parties involved and talk to him about it. Then I would tell your DH and his EXW that you want him to be in counseling before he returns to your home for visits, if it makes you that uncomfortable.

Is it less what he takes and more that he is invading your privacy?
post #10 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeliphish View Post
Calling it perverse is just going to escalate his behaviors I believe. At this point you NOW have the problem behavior as well as an embarassed and ashamed young man. Someone needs to approach him gently and figure out what is going on. Lableing him is going to create a monster in my opinion. I work with teens on a daily basis with much, much, much more "perverse" behaviors so to me - this is an issue that can be taken care of easily with a little compassionate effort....and believe me even though this is a bit out of the norm, sexual deviance gets much worse than this.
TMI - just try to put yourself in his shoes - when he looks at every adult in his life, he will automatically think, "OMG they think I'm a f'ing freak." Try to handle it like you would with your own daughter...to me it would break my heart thinking that something was going on and I couldn't fix it. When it's not your child, it's easier for anger to be your first reaction....and anger is definitly not what he needs.
See if you can persuade the father to try counseling? Will the child respond to you if you sit down with him and see if he wants to talk to someone?
If you don't mind telling me what state you are in - and perhaps a general area I would be happy to find some good referrals for you. PM me if you are interested.
I would have no interest in talking to the OP if I were the stepson. What he did was wrong, yes. What she did was more wrong. This needs to start with an apology from her to him. Why would he want to talk to someone about his "problem" who has already made it clear that in her eyes he is a criminal and a pervert? Even jumping to the idea that counseling is necessary is a huge leap.

This kid is screwed. The reason Dad probably doesn't think this is a problem is because it most likely _isn't_ a sexual problem. It is a boundaries issue for sure, and that should be dealt with, perhaps by punishing him. The kid knows he shouldn't be taking stuff that doesn't belong to him. But who knows _why_ he is doing it? OP sure doesn't, and she's in no position now to ever find out. Maybe he's dared by his friends. Maybe he's curious about women's stuff/sex/etc? But to the OP, those aren't the most likely scenarios, no....what she think is most likely is that he's a budding rapist because someone else in his family molested people. Good lord. I feel so bad for this kid.
post #11 of 100
Also - it's easy to forget that at 16 EVERYTHING is sexual. I could get turned on just looking at a commercial and could masterbate (TMI) to a simple kissing scene in a book. I defnitly remember still looking at the pictures on the tampon box and getting a little aroused. - I mean that's why all of these movies out now "Superbad" etc. play on the crazy sexual nature of teenage boys. Look at "American Pie" the 16 year old gets busy with an apple pie....
Not to downplay the situation as you feel it, but it's just sometimes the nature of 16 year old boys.
post #12 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by plunky View Post
This kid is screwed. The reason Dad probably doesn't think this is a problem is because it most likely _isn't_ a sexual problem. It is a boundaries issue for sure, and that should be dealt with, perhaps by punishing him. The kid knows he shouldn't be taking stuff that doesn't belong to him. But who knows _why_ he is doing it?
Yea- more than likely it's not a sexual problem, but if he sees himself as being labled as a freak, pervert, etc. it's going to create a problem.
post #13 of 100
She did mention the older son doing it as well. Not sure if that is indicative of anything really, but just noticed that.
post #14 of 100
Thread Starter 
I plan on apologizing to him this weekend.....and try to talk to him about this.

I came here to try and find a solution to this problem and realize I have screwed up....

Sooooooooo, how bout helping me find a solution to this so all involved feel a little better?
post #15 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by momtostepteens View Post
I plan on apologizing to him this weekend.....and try to talk to him about this.

I came here to try and find a solution to this problem and realize I have screwed up....

Sooooooooo, how bout helping me find a solution to this so all involved feel a little better?
Just keep in mind throughout this that 16 year old boys can get turned on just from the wind blowing a little stronger on their jeans. Seriously- that's why I mentioned the movies earlier that focus on teenage boys and the "bizarre" sexual things that play out in their mind....it's true to life. He may think your daughter is hot... I mean I don't know how long you and your DH have been married but it is very normal for teenage step siblings to have sexual chemistry between them. Even if your daughter isn't attracted to him in the least bit, he still may think she is sexy. Most of my girlfiends in high school who had "hot" older step siblings ALWAYS had a crush on them.
At any rate: I don't know any details about the dynamics of your relationship with his children but if it were me.... I would sit down with him privately and apologize. Taking a drive is usually a good thing to do because it opens up the door for conversation because you don't have the ackwardness of looking at one another. If it were me- I would down play it as much as possible at this time and just continue to tell him that you overreacted and that you had forgotten what it was like to be 16. I would try to interject a story from your past that may be particularly embarassing - that will help more than anything him relate to you. (My parents revealed so much of themselves to me through stories of their past when I was "caught" doing something and it truly made me feel like they understood me and weren't judging). I would talk about boundries and say that he just can't take her underwear because that is crossing a line as they are your daughter's personal belongings and is just like someone taking her jeans to wear without asking.- I probably wouldn't mention the tampons etc- because unless he's taking a bunch then it's just not going to bring anything positive to the table by discussing it.
That;s a start at least. Let us know how it goes...
post #16 of 100
Quote:
I have forwarned everyone.....including the parents that if I find this again, I am calling the police and having him picked up.....
No accusations, but this is a bit telling. Aren't YOU one of the parents, too? It seems like it's your kids against his kids.

Is it possible this isn't even sexual in nature, but that he's doing it to get on her nerves/tick her off?
post #17 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarah W View Post
No accusations, but this is a bit telling. Aren't YOU one of the parents, too? It seems like it's your kids against his kids.

Is it possible this isn't even sexual in nature, but that he's doing it to get on her nerves/tick her off?
No she isn't a parent, she is a step- parent. She doesn't have the same rights as a parent. I also make a distinction between my child and my DF's two. Eventhough I parent them, I am not their mom. I had to learn that really quickly. I parent my daughter differently than DF's kids are used to. Unfortunatly, that makes a difference.
post #18 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by momtostepteens View Post
I plan on apologizing to him this weekend.....and try to talk to him about this.

I came here to try and find a solution to this problem and realize I have screwed up....

Sooooooooo, how bout helping me find a solution to this so all involved feel a little better?
Well, good on you for trying to fix it. After you tell him you reacted badly and so on, I think you definitely need to address his behavior, though.

So let's imagine that you came here and posted that you weren't sure how to react because your 16 year old SS was stealing your underwear and your daughter's underwear. And you didn't have the whole pervert/cop thing going on.

Disclaimer: I am not an expert on teenagers, by any stretch of the imagination. But, I'd say this is a problem. And it should be nipped in the bud now, probably by your DH. Here's why: it was a nonconsensual sex act.

Your stepson probably feels very powerless and unsure about sex. It's normal at that age. And maybe a lot older. But he needs to learn that he's becoming a man, and becoming a man has certain responsbilities associated with it. It is a fact that date rape is common. And it is a fact that men are very often sexual aggressors. Women and girls commonly have nonconsensual sexual experiences. And that's wrong. Enthusiastic consent is the goal. Anything less than enthusiastic consent should result in no sex act. Since youd didn't tell him that he could take your underwear, there was no consent here, enthusiastic or otherwise.

There was recently a thread on one of the feminist blogs about "upskirting", which is an odious practice, whereby men take camera phone pics of women in public. I'd look around for that, and decide whether or not to show him it. I don't think I can post a link without violating the TOS. Lots and lots of women commented on how they felt about similar things that happened in their lives. It is not uncommon. And the comments may be eye opening to him.

My guess is that this act scared you on some level. I doubt your SS realizes that. You and your daughters should feel safe in your home.
post #19 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeliphish View Post
Just keep in mind throughout this that 16 year old boys can get turned on just from the wind blowing a little stronger on their jeans.
:
\
my DH is 25 and was "happy" to be in the midwives waiting room the other day just because it was morning and well, morning.

I can understand why you don't want your things stolen, expecially your panties.

I think I agree with plunky, you should talk to him (or your DH) about how this makes you and your daughters feel vunurable and violated.

Also, does he have a girlfriend? Girl Friend? female aquantance? He may just be trying to figure women out! 16 is prime figurin-stuff-out age!
post #20 of 100
I'm going to chime in here because I don't think many of the pp have lived with this.

My dsd went through a phase where she was constantly stealing, lying and destroying things in our home. Unless you've lived through this you cannot imagine how crazy it makes you to feel like a child is holding you hostage in your own home.

It took me 4 years to convince my dh dsd had a problem, because he didn't want to see it. I was painted as the evil stepmother, and when I came to MDC to ask for help, people piled on me and told me how awful I was to pick on this poor innocent child.

We finally got her diagnosed with an attachment disorder. Guess what happens to stepmothers of attachment disordered children? They feel attacked and helpless, and they are treated like it's their fault because the child commonly turns on the charm for everyone except the stepmom or siblings. They look for help and get told what terrible people they are. Sound familiar?

I see some comments have been removed. I don't know what they all said since I had one poster blocked because when I posted about my problem with my dsd early on, she told me I was a horrible person who should leave before I caused the poor child any more damage.

I stuck it out, we finally found the right counselor for her, and we've seen amazing progress in the past few months. Thank god I didn't listen to the people who kicked me when I was down, or who knows where she'd be now.

Kids with psychological problems need help. Beating up on the parents does not help in any way. When people come here reaching out for help, you shouldn't pile on them and kick them when they're already down.

For a place that talks so much about mutual respect and caring for others, there sure isn't a lot of compassion for stepmoms if they aren't complete doormats who never say their stepkids are anything but perfect.

s, OP. With help it can get better, but ignoring it or listening to people who tell you what a terrible person you are will insure it doesn't. Keep after your dh until he steps up and parents his child. If he's too blind or too proud to think his child needs help, your marriage won't survive the continued stress of feeling attacked in your own home. BTDT.

hang in there!
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