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Stepson stealing personal items - Page 2

post #21 of 100
I just wanted to say it's a tough situation. I once dated a man who's daughter stole my underwear. He was the one who caught and dealt with it. ("How the heck did my 13-yo get Victoria's Secret thongs?!")
post #22 of 100
I agree with bigeyes, how many of us would seriously feel comfortable dropping our daughters off at the house to spend one night with the OP? Maybe her angry tones are covering up a great big freak-out she is experiencing from this.

She lives there 24/7
post #23 of 100
You just can't even know.

I had to keep my purse on me 24/7 because my dsd stole all my ID and credit cards out of it and kept them for over a week. I went to pay bills online and they were just gone. She only brought them back after I told her I was going to go to school and have her teacher look in her desk, because they don't like it when other people know what kind of things they do.

I was unable to gas up a car, shop for groceries, pay bills, or do any of the things I normally take care of because she had all my stuff. At other times we have caught her with various items she's taken from everyone in the household, but this was the worst, most inconveniencing thing she's ever stolen. My dh works very long hours and there was no way for him to do all the errands. She was 10.

When she was 8, a friend's teenaged son was creeped out because, as he put it, I think she's hitting on me. We're dealing with some weird psychological stuff in our household, and there are times it scares the bejeebers out of me. For the past 2 years she's been trying to put things in her clothing to simulate breasts. Sexual acting out and stealing are part of attachment disorders, and believe me, it's no fun trying to keep her safe.
We can't tell her anything, because part of attachment disorders is thinking they're in charge and nobody in authority knows anything. She's been that way since she could talk. I defy anyone to deal with that nonstop and never lost their temper in the course of several years. : Everything is a battle, from the time the sun comes up until she finally goes to sleep. And you can't give up because as one therapist put it to me, these kids grow up to be the Mansons and the Bundys if you don't help them.

How would you like that hanging over your head? :

Hopefully the OPs dsd just needs someone to talk to. But you never can tell, and it isn't always the stepparent's fault.

I know there are some stepparents out there who are mean to their stepkids, but some of us are genuinely doing our best to deal with some messed up kids who have been damaged by someone or something else before we ever met them. When it's 24/7 and you never get a break, even the most patient person is occasionally going to show signs of the strain.
post #24 of 100
Thank you, Bigeyes, for the voice of reason.

"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."

As I was reading thru the posts I was getting angry and felt bad for the OP. Once again, someone is being honest (ok, she's not perfect!) and asking for help and she is being called names and shot down. This woman has to protect her daughters as well as try to help her dss. She is asking his parents for help and they are basically telling her 'no'. This kid is not only doing this in her house but his aunts house as well. Who knows what else he is doing and where else. Mom and Dad need to get involve and get him some help and he needs to learn self-control. Who knows who else might be thinking about calling the police? Is that what they want for their child? I don't care how 'normal' or how 'innocent' this is, if someone is stealing my underwear or my daughter's underwear, that's creepy and needs to be addressed especially if the 'child' is 16. I could see maybe a 12 or 13 year old be curious but 16 is a bit different and talking someone's underwear and sanitary products, is not normal in my opinion. I'm going to take a chance of getting torched here by saying I'm don't think she owes her dss an apology. This isn't the first time he has done this, it's the third. Did she lose her cool, yes....should she think next time before she reacts, yes but I think it's ok to let him know she's mad, really mad and he needs to think about that the next time he reaches for a pantyliner.
post #25 of 100
Exactly. Our therapist told us to watch name calling, but it was perfectly OK to express anger when dsd did something inappropriate.

She doesn't get a free pass when she acts out.

I don't see why the OP's dss would, either.

It gets old the way people act like they've always been perfect parents with perfect children, yk? There are people here who have legitimate problems and they're asking for help, not insults.
post #26 of 100
my frist question would be how old were these kids when they were introduced into a family enviroment?

If it was recently then the behavior is not surprising to me.

It seems to me that the kid is at the age of sexual expiramentation. If he was introduced to your daughters in a family enviroment within the last 2 years then he doesn't have the biological tie that would make the idea of your daughter being attractive repugnant.

And he probably never will. I am not saying this to gross you out, but it could be a reality.

Stealing from your sister? Aunt? (can't remember if that was right)

My guess is that he is tired of being chastised for it at home and is now looking for other outlets to express this. This isn't a 'problem' in the sense it is something to be 'fixed' and it isn't 'pervese' in the sense that it is abnormal.

If he had a girlfriend I would assume he would have asked her for a pair of her underwear by now and your reaction may have been similar to what it is. but it isn't 'out of the norm' for teenage boys. But being cornered into expressing it in other ways isn't healthy either.

My SOLUTION after analyzing?

Buy a lock for your daughters room. Inside and outside. Unless of course she can't be trusted then you will need to look into other solutions. But for the most part I'd say kids are trustworthy and having a deadbolt that locks on the door with you having one key and she having another is a good solution. Tell her not to leave her laundry laying around and her feminine products in her room.

As for your talk with your step son I do not think it should be you who does it. There is damage there and ridicule. I know it was knee jerk and unintentional but it is there. I WOULD step up and apologize to him for name calling to start the healing process and promise to try not to do it in the future, but sometimes it is hard to swallow that pride too.

If I was his dad I'd take him out for a day, relax him by doing something he likes. Movies. Arcade, Fun Park. Something. And then drop it on him that he needs to talk to him.

I would touch on these points if they were moved in together recently.

1- It is normal to be attracted to attractive girls, there is no real way to control that.

2- Your step sister is off limits, as much as I feel I don't want to say it, but I am laying it out there.

3- Ask him if there are any girls at school he likes (talk about this in this conversation or a later one depending on how awkward it is getting)

4- Ask him if he wants a computer in his room with internet access.

I wouldn't ask me WHY #4 is important, but if he needs an outlet and he has NONE IN THE HOUSE, he will FIND THEM IN THE HOUSE ANYWAYS. The computer, of course it is intended for HOMEWORK, may save you alot of grief in the long run. Could also offer to put a lock on his room that opens from inside and out (for emergencies) for his own privacy.

To me it boils down to outlets. If you cut them all off he will find another and it will never be to your 'liking'
post #27 of 100
Side note:

all of my advise still applies even if they've known eachother frmo a young age. The kid obviously doesnt have the repugnant sense. You need the boundaries I stated and the avenues of release too.
post #28 of 100
Side Side note:

calling the cops on him will solidify your problems. Probably the worst thing you can do unless he is actually putting someone at risk. But it is your life.

I never would have forgiven my parents if they called the cops on me. He is 16? Lives with you? You do realize after you hurt him like that he HAS to live with you anyways right?

Poor choice. I could never call the cops on one of my kids unless they were putting someone in harms way. Nothing you said is doing that.
post #29 of 100
This isn't really directed at a particular post, more along the lines of something I was thinking about.

I find it really interesting that a lot of the threads here are aimed at protecting your kids, standing up for your kids, you're their advocate, etc. Yet here is someone that was trying to stand up for her kids and this is what she gets for it. Yes, name calling was unnecessary and completely not helpful. She gets that, but she's looking for something that is helpful.

I don't think this is necessarily a blended family issue in the terms of one child is wronging another child. It's alway a delicate balance - when your a parent of more than one child - how do you respond to the needs of one child when those needs are seriously walking all over another child in the house. Parents need to be responsive to all children in the house. I would have felt completely violated at 18 if someone one stealing my underwear. I was too sexually unaware of appropriate boundaries and my own self to be able to process that my underwear and sanitary pads weren't an actual "part of me". (Obviously not like my arms and heart are a part of me.) How humiliating to have to tell my parents that my pads were being stolen. But that's just me and not everyone would have reacted that way. (And we don't know how here dd's reacted.)

I do think it's a blended parent issue in that the OP has much more limitations on what she can do because she's not the parent of the child that is crossing boundaries. As the parent of the child whose boundaries are being crossed, she has a responsibility to keep trying to fix this problem. Even if she can't get it to stop, it's important that her dd's see her try.
post #30 of 100
Originally Posted by Katwoman View Post
I do think it's a blended parent issue in that the OP has much more limitations on what she can do because she's not the parent of the child that is crossing boundaries. As the parent of the child whose boundaries are being crossed, she has a responsibility to keep trying to fix this problem. Even if she can't get it to stop, it's important that her dd's see her try.
Exactly. And it's difficult to navigate because it's so easy for it to become a your child my child issue. It really makes you look at the way you're both parenting and how your partnership works. If there are 2 sets of rules, there are going to be problems.

You also have to realize that while you're trying to be understanding of what your stepchild is going through, they don't have the right to infringe on anyone else's rights in the household, and that includes you. After 4 years of being expected to just take whatever cr@p was dished out I was ready to explode. There is a huge difference between being understanding and being a doormat, no matter who you're dealing with.
post #31 of 100
I don't think you did anything wrong by saying that it was perverse. It is! Your daughter was invaded and her panties were stolen! Someone explained previously and it's true that it's a sexual invasion. She shouldn't have to live with that in her own house. Brother or stepbrother, he needs to know that what he did was wrong and it violated his step-sister and aunt. He might not understand how violating someone like that is such a big deal, but it he needs to know it and understand it. When children have natural curiosity, it's ok to tell them that what they're doing is socially unacceptable. Even if the feelings are normal, they have to be taught to control their urges. It's natural to masterbate also at this age, but that doesn't mean he should be allowed to do it in the living room so as not to hurt his precious ego. C'mon! Teach some boundaries.

I would not apologize to him. He needs to know that what he did was wrong and he needs to stop it. He's not 5, he's 16.
post #32 of 100
These forums are based around GD and ridicule the last time I checked isn't in the spirit of GD in any way shape or form.
post #33 of 100
GD doesn't mean that you don't teach your child basic boundaries. She called the action perverse, which is is. She didn't call the boy a pervert (unless she left that part out), which wouldn't have been acceptable.
post #34 of 100
Originally Posted by chaoticzenmom View Post
GD doesn't mean that you don't teach your child basic boundaries. She called the action perverse, which is is. She didn't call the boy a pervert (unless she left that part out), which wouldn't have been acceptable.
Telling him that he is perverse is ridicule no matter how you paint it.

Telling him what he is doing is perverse will shame him into submission?

No, but it will make him try to hide it better.
post #35 of 100
Thread Starter 
I appreciate some of the information that some of you have given......

I will give you a little background on our situation.......

I have been with DH for over 6 years....this son has stolen sanitary items and underwear from myself, my daughter, and his aunt.....it has been an ongoing problem.......AND IT IS A PROBLEM....for over a year.....
His older brother pulled this incident once and it stopped...
YES.....I blew a cork....
YES....I told him it was perverse....which in my mind IT IS.
YES....he needs some help of some sort.
YES...my hands are tied.....I am not his parent, I am his step mother.
YES...I cannot discipline my step sons the way I have disciplined my daughters...Like I said I am his step mother.
YES....I will protect my daughter tooth and nail...
YES....myself, my daughter and my sister in law feel violated....and we have every right to feel this way...whether ppl think it is "natural" or not for a 16 year old to do such things...
YES...I have anger when it comes to this...someone steals my underwear and sanitary items and I am to pass it off?? Not say a word?? Say...oh, my....I wish you wouldn't have done that, it isn't very nice?? NO...I got violated personally...very personally...and so did my daughter....
All I want is this young man to get some help and realize boundries....
There are locks on doors to both my bedroom and my daughter's bedroom....they will stay there for the duration of this marriage...even though it feels like I am in a prison because of the locks.
And as for internet access...well, the computer in our house is used for business and none of the children use the computer because of the business content on the computer....and no, we are not buying another just for him to have an "outlet"...then to keep things even w/ all the other kids, we would have to buy them all computers...(well, he got one, why can't I have one?) And yes...we have had another "family" computer at one time..until it was turned on and all we saw was naked women doing things that shouldn't be viewed by kids (this was a few years ago and the computer was gotten rid of)....
He may be curious and yes, his father has had the "talk" w/ him and answers any ??s that these boys have.....
I am going to play this weekend by ear...my first instinct is to leave him alone and not talk about it....life goes on....my second instinct is to sit down w/ him, apologize for blowing up about the situation, but to also tell him WHY.....and how his actions make myself, my DD, and his aunt feel...a personal violation...that trust is completely broken...and our safety felt threatened.
post #36 of 100
I told my dh about this thread and we wound up having a long conversation about it over dinner last night (obviously, my dsd was at her mom's). I was curious to get another male perspective. Given the direction of this thread, I was pretty surprised at his take on the situation.

*He did not think that stealing underwear and sanitary items was normal. He said that in his experience, there are lots of ways that teen boys are curious about sex, but this was not one of the ways that they try to satisfy that curiosity.

*He was very stuck on how violating it must feel for the women involved, especially the teen. He compared it to a mild form of sexual abuse/rape. I did not mention any of the family history given by the OP. He was really surprised by the lack of concern for the feelings of the OP's daughter from most of the posters.

I have to be honest, I was as well. I wonder how this thread would have gone down differently if it would have been a mother posting about how this goes on when her dd visits her father, stepmother, and the stepmother's son was doing the stealing. I suspect there would be mentions of calling lawyers, CPS, withholding visits to keep the daughter safe.

*He said that if it was his teenage son, he would have a major talk with him - a "come to Jesus meeting" was the term that he used. He would try to figure out the motivation behind it in a non-accusatory way and also make it clear that it could NEVER happen without serious consequences. He also said that he would get his son in counseling. He stressed that the father is really the one that needs to handle this situation. He said that he understands how much parents want to give their children the benefit of the doubt, but in this case, whatever the reason, the behavior must be stopped. Everyone needs to feel safe in their own home.

*I asked about the computer in his room idea. DH thought it was a terible idea (I was particularly shocked by this answer). He said that if there is some sort of problem, often the internet brings out the worst in the problem (he's not a prude - I know he looks at internet porn on occasion, like most men). His specific concern would be that pictures of the stolen items would wind up on the internet, and then that would lead to more theft.
post #37 of 100
Thread Starter 
Thank you for getting a male perspective on this...all of us ladies involved feel violated...maybe some don't understand this, but IT IS a violation.
My husband IS going to have a heart to heart w/ this young man AGAIN this weekend...he also feels this behavior IS NOT NORMAL...and agrees that his son needs some help, but that his ex has hands tied in seeking counseling.
I feel that this young man has 'issues' and does need some help...BUT by being the step mother, I have no control over how this is handled by his parents...I can make suggestions, but they usually go in one ear and out the other when the bio mom is concerned.
I do not know how to handle this situation if it arises again...EXCEPT by protecting my daughter and myself (and others if they are involved)...whether it be leaving (which wouldn't solve anything) or by calling the court on this....which I would be faulted for on here...and probably by others...BUT...if the parents are not going to do something about this behavior, WHAT am I supposed to do? Let it go on and on....and see the young man not realize that his behavior is NOT NORMAL...OR finally get it stopped...and see a young man that can mature into a decent person that fits into societies' rules?
post #38 of 100
Like I said it is your life. You saw many of the knee jerk reactions to your reactions that you defend vehemently.

Yes you feel violated, no you shouldn't lay down and take it. However the way you are reacting to this is going to propogate the issue.

You have had 2 male perspectives on the issue, and they are polar opposite, if I were you I would go to the dad's forum and see if you could get more male perspectives on it.

I don't think you should have been attacked the way you were when you are coming here for help and support.

As for the computer in his room, make him buy it. No one said you had to be the one who paid for it. Also as for the computer in his room if he is stealing these things for sexual curiosity, then it isn't going to stop unless he finds another outlet. My dad bought sports illustrated swim suit issues and left them in the bathroom from about 15 on.

Suppression leads to some VERY disturbing behaviors under almost any circumstance.

And on a final note. I am a step parent. Albeit I came into my son's life at a VERY early age and he see's me as dad and his bio dad as his first name. I never asked him to do so, I am just saying this to say I can't fully understand YOUR situation. I applaud you for recognizing the distinction when a family unit is already set up and you are entering into THEIR realm. But your husband should be backing you up on this 100%, he should be spear heading this and not diminishing your worries. Your kids. Step or otherwise, will not respect your authority unless they see a completely united front. As for bio mom getting mad at you about calling her son Perverse? I would have flipped a lid too, after all of these responses it should be somewhat obvious that ridiculing his behavior is not going to do anything except make you the villain and solidify his belief that he has to do whatever he is doing in hiding.
post #39 of 100
Originally Posted by Yoshua View Post
You have had 2 male perspectives on the issue, and they are polar opposite, if I were you I would go to the dad's forum and see if you could get more male perspectives on it.
Three, I'm also a dude. I'm disappointed to see that the OP has just gotten affirmation that her freaking out was appropriate. I do agree that a "come to Jesus" meeting is necessary between the kid and his father. See my post about what this kid needs to learn on the first page. But stepmom has to own up to her bad reactions as well. She is the adult in this situation. This can be either be a teaching opportunity for her stepson that can make him into a better man, or it can be an antagonist, shameful blamefest that will push him away from her household. Refusing to accept that she overreacted will make it the latter.
post #40 of 100
Originally Posted by momtostepteens View Post
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.
I guess I will be the only one to say don't beat yourself up too badly. I say that when it comes to a young girls sexual safety, better to err on the side of overreaction. There needs to be immediate consequences. I would have driven him back to his mother the minute it was discovered and I would cancel his next visit to the home. I would have his father meet him somewhere alone and tell him that he is making his step sister very upset and uncomfortable and that he needs to stop or he will have to have private visits less often with dad. AND I would put keyed door locks on your and your daughters bedrooms and not keep said items in the bathrooms.
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