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So... my 12 yo nephew got caught shoplifting condoms...

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I just don't know where to begin here.

His life is full of tumult. His mother is long gone and his dad hasn't seen him in 3 months. My MIL raised him and recently had to make some big changes, so my nephew decided he wanted to go live with his uncle (the brother of my nephew's father and who has a wife and 3 kids under age 6).

He's been living with my brother-in-law (the uncle) for three months. In that time, he flunked 6th grade, destroyed my niece's playhouse with a BB gun (and had no remorse), and last week was caught shoplifting condoms.

When he got caught, the store manager called my BIL instead of the police. Nephew again showed no remorse. When BIL asked him why he did this, he said it was "in case he met a girl he liked". He's TWELVE!

The family is all very close, and everyone has taken turns to help raise this child. I love him dearly and would gladly have him come live with me, but it's not in the cards right now.

What do we do about this? Of course, he's grounded. I want them to put him in therapy, but NO ONE is willing to take responsibility for him. BIL is treating him like a 16 year old instead of a 12 year old, and is clearly not supervising him enough. He's also overwhelmed with his own kids. My MIL (the primary caregiver up until 3 mos. ago) says that becuase she no longer lives with him, she can't force him to go to therapy and she is at a complete loss as to what should be done. She can't have my nephew come live with her becuase she now lives in a senior community, so my nephew is stuck with my well-meaning but idiotic BIL.

I need guidance here... In your opinion, how serious is this? Are we starting down a dark road, or is this just stupid pre-teen stupidity? My MIL is actually thinking of GIVING him condoms, since according to her, he obviously seems to be headed in that direction anyway!

What should be done about the fact that my nephew seems to think that having sex (and probably with a peer, who is just as young!) in the near future is okay?

And what about the lack of remorse, between destroying the playhouse and the shoplifting? Should I assume that it's bravado, or is this part of the overall problem?
post #2 of 18
I do not disagree that he needs some counseling but his response sounds like he was trying to save face.

He is 12 he is budding sexually. Puberty is here and yes he is curious! He is starting to think about girls in a sexual fashion. His body might not be their yet or it can be there and he could be masturbating (another reason to have condoms a lie they are for a girl. Do you think he really wants to say the real reason?).

Has anyone sat down and had the "talk" with him. Letting him know it is OK to masturbate? Changes with his body? Has he ever send a condom in real life or only heard about them?

As for destroy, the doll house with a bb gun. The changes in his body is honestly making his brain not work well. This is the age my son's intelligence left his body. He thought what he was doing was cool and could not think further

Then he gets into the situation of not wanting to look DUMB so he does what his world is telling him to do, bury it. Or he could have had a delayed reaction to remorse. We had friends whose son had a panic attack that sent him to the ER, a week after he lassoed his dog (because he want to see if he could do it) because it finally dawn on him he could have seriously hurt his dog. So because the remorse isn't immediate don't think it isn't there.

If he also just moved he might not have any ownership to the things of the house. It is someone else not his. He should be made to work the doll house off....but I am leaning more to he got curious if he could actually shoot it then his brain didn't stop.

You need to create an environment that these emotions can happen. He has to be hurting because nobody really wants him (or as he sees it). Apathy most likely has set in about school work.
post #3 of 18
I agree with pp.

I had a buggy, a sit on "riding" toy in a ladybug shape. My cousin shot at it with a BB gun. I was between 4 & 6, way too big to still be riding it but still it was MINE & I loved that thing. My cousin would have been 10-12. It is what 10-12yo boys do. They get bored.

The stealing condoms. He probably showed no remorse & said it was JIC he met a girl becuase he knows that's what condoms are for & didn't want to get in trouble in case they were for something else. Most likely he bought them to show off to any friends or curiuosity.

He could be attention seeking now. Sure it sounds like the family has rallied over the years to raise him, but has he had real stability? I agree he probably needs therapy.
post #4 of 18
Actually - I'd bet he was stealing the condoms to sell them at school. Kid you not. Yes, 12yo's are having sex and there is a "black market" for condoms in many middle schools. The kid with the locker next to my daughter in 6th grade was doing just that. And he had plenty of buyers, apparently.

What men, besides your BIL, are available as role models for him?
post #5 of 18
I feel for him, what a hard road to travel.

When I was in 8th grade, we were taking sex ed and in the classroom did the classic condom on a banana thing. After school, a group of us went to the corner store to buy some (why, I couldn't tell you, we weren't sexually active to that extent) and the store owners wouldn't sell them to us. If they were on the other side of the counter I can promise you we would have stolen them at that point.

Has he taken any sex ed lately that might make him curious? Just a thought.
post #6 of 18
When I was about his age one of my friends started BC for some menstrual problems she was having. The BC came with a condom. We were not at all sexually active, but neither of us had ever seen a condom before. We locked her bedroom door and opened it to check it out. We were sure we'd get in trouble, but it was so intriguing we couldn't help ourselves. For most kids, sex is something forbidden, he may have thought the only way he could see a condom was to steal some.

I agree, it sounds like counseling wouldn't be bad, I just don't think you should jump to conclusions that he's sexually active or a criminal in the making. He could be sexually active, but he could also be curious about sexuality and not know how else to get the information he needs.
post #7 of 18
if the only things he's done are shoplifting condoms, doing poorly in school and shooting a BB gun, with the recent history he's had, i'd say you guys are damn lucky. i'm annoyed with the idea that you seem to think he's some kind of dangerous degenerate. none of those things seem like completely out of the ordinary behaviors for a 12 year old... as is not showing remorse when caught doing something bad. if he'd been caught have sex with a class mate, set his classroom on fire, and shot the neighbour's cat with a BB gun and shown no remorse, then i would say you had something to worry about.

obviously he needs more supervision. therapy to deal with the loss of two parents and lack of continuity from family care-givers might be a huge help. but mostly, he needs his family to stop thinking of him as some kind of thug and take his exploits in stride. if no one is talking to him about safe sex, then that needs to happen in a safe and loving manner. if no one has given him reasonable expectations for performing in school, that needs to happen too. if he hasn't been expected to pay back his family for damages he's caused, then he needs to start mowing the lawn and doing chores to earn money to help his cousin repair her toys.

your BIL sounds like the best option so far. he will adjust to having an older kid, and your nephew will adjust to having younger siblings. it might take some time, but with a little work on your BIL's part to readjust expectations, i think it will work out just fine.
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtiger View Post
Actually - I'd bet he was stealing the condoms to sell them at school. Kid you not. Yes, 12yo's are having sex and there is a "black market" for condoms in many middle schools. The kid with the locker next to my daughter in 6th grade was doing just that. And he had plenty of buyers, apparently.

This is really sad to me. Not that I promote children having sex, but it is really scary to think that they could be having sex and taking a huge risk just because they have no access to condoms.

It seems like he has some issues with showing no remorse. I feel like most people at that age would be embarrassed or feel some sense of remorse. I think you are correct to advise that he go to counseling. What about talking to the school counselor if no one wants to take him to therapy.
post #9 of 18
First off, it sounds like he's having bonding issues with your niece. He's showing signs of rivalry by shooting up the playhouse, and not showing remorse.

Did he switch schools when he was placed with your BIL? That can be tough on a kid academically. He should have strict "study time", and his guardians should be enforcing that. I know around here there are after school programs that provide tutors. If BIL isn't too good about helping your nephew with school work, give him information on the after school programs.

It also sounds like he needs a good friend. Somebody he can hang out with, who is from a good family. Somebody whose parents you (and/or his guardians) are friends with. That way, he can develop a strong friendship, which is extremely important at this age.

Regarding the condoms, he needs further sex education. Do they belong to a church? Some religious guilt might help him keep it in his pants for a few years. :P

Also, let him know next time, if he needs condoms, he can go to (name local resource), and they can provide condoms for him free. He doesn't need to steal them.
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by AtYourCervices View Post
Do they belong to a church? Some religious guilt might help him keep it in his pants for a few years. :P
Logging in just to say I 100%, totally disagree with this. I personally think that's the wrong way to go about a situation like this. =/
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by First-Time-Mommy View Post
Logging in just to say I 100%, totally disagree with this. I personally think that's the wrong way to go about a situation like this. =/
I was partially joking with that answer (hence the :P ). However, becoming involved with a positive social group through a decent church can be beneficial (if the right one). It could also backfire if it isn't a good one. I'd say choose the youth group WITH the nephew, so he feels like he's part of the decision.

Personally, I'm Unitarian Universalist/atheist, and I've had some positive experiences with church based youth groups. I've also had some pretty bad experiences. *shrugs* I'll admit, I did postpone sex longer when I was active with a church I liked. However, when I was involved with churches I DIDN'T like... different story.

I'm partial to Unitarian/Universalist or non-denominational youth groups, though.

The spiritual needs of this young man should be addressed. It is something he will be curious about as he gets older (as he will also become more interested in sex). I'm not a proponent of abstinence until marriage. I am a strong supporter of safe sex. This means knowing your partner well before engaging in sexual relations, and understanding and accepting the consequences. Some exposure to spiritual beliefs and practices could help this young man find a middle ground between complete abstinence and overly promiscuous/dangerous behaviors.

If many of his peers are engaging in sexual relations at a young age, he should meet other kids who aren't as early to... uhhh... mature. That way, hopefully he won't feel so much pressure to grow up so fast.

In some instances, shame is an appropriate method used to teach young adults. They are on the brink of entering the "real world". Out there, shame DOES exist. Sometimes, shame exists for a very good reason. We have all come across somebody who does something we don't agree with. In some form, I bet we've all "shamed" those who take actions we don't approve of. Even avoiding/ignoring the person is a form of shaming. The feeling of guilt they experience can help them reevaluate their choices, and THINK before they act.


P.S. This young man didn't show remorse for shooting up the playhouse OR stealing. To me, that sounds like he DOES need some shame in his life.
post #12 of 18
He needs to stop going from place to place. Sounds like he knows he can chose to just move on when the going gets tough. Well, this age is tough, life is tough. He needs to have one place, one guardian, one person to keep after him until he is 18. I think the family needs to hold a meeting and decide which one of you all that will be. Sounds like the uncle is not the one.

Good luck!! (((hugs)))
post #13 of 18
T
post #14 of 18
If they were to go to a UU or UCC church, the kiddo would have access to OWL (which would probably provide him with more info that he even WANTS lol), and many of them actually will give out condoms to the youth group when asked for--so if he wanted to see one, he could have one to look at without needing to steal it.

I suspect that the young man already feels shame and guilt over his parents' abandonment of him. Not sure that more people rejecting him in his family is a great solution at this point.
post #15 of 18
I'd focus more on the shoplifting than the condoms. The condoms could be to use, to sell, or just to show off to friends/satisfy a curiosity. The fact that he stole them, though, is more disturbing to me. I was a really bad kid (ended up with felonious criminal record) and I was at least 17 before I started shoplifting. Does anyone in the family know any police officers on a friendly basis who could maybe sit down with the boy and talk about what starting down a path like this at such a young age can lead to and how serious it is?

Also, getting him involved in sports/arts/clubs- something he's really interested in outside of school. When you take up their time doing positive things, they have less time to spend getting in trouble.
post #16 of 18
I disagree that this is all normal boy stuff. I do agree he needs to get into some counceling, and best if it were family counselling to address the 'new' family, and issues around it. Definitely more supervision.

All of this stuff, left unattended, can be the recipe for a kid who DOES become a thug. Especially with the family hopping background and the no remorse- that might be a sign of an attachment disorder- not uncommon in a kid who bounces house to house.
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marsupialmom View Post
I do not disagree that he needs some counseling but his response sounds like he was trying to save face.

He is 12 he is budding sexually. Puberty is here and yes he is curious! He is starting to think about girls in a sexual fashion. His body might not be their yet or it can be there and he could be masturbating (another reason to have condoms a lie they are for a girl. Do you think he really wants to say the real reason?).

Has anyone sat down and had the "talk" with him. Letting him know it is OK to masturbate? Changes with his body? Has he ever send a condom in real life or only heard about them?

As for destroy, the doll house with a bb gun. The changes in his body is honestly making his brain not work well. This is the age my son's intelligence left his body. He thought what he was doing was cool and could not think further

Then he gets into the situation of not wanting to look DUMB so he does what his world is telling him to do, bury it. Or he could have had a delayed reaction to remorse. We had friends whose son had a panic attack that sent him to the ER, a week after he lassoed his dog (because he want to see if he could do it) because it finally dawn on him he could have seriously hurt his dog. So because the remorse isn't immediate don't think it isn't there.

If he also just moved he might not have any ownership to the things of the house. It is someone else not his. He should be made to work the doll house off....but I am leaning more to he got curious if he could actually shoot it then his brain didn't stop.

You need to create an environment that these emotions can happen. He has to be hurting because nobody really wants him (or as he sees it). Apathy most likely has set in about school work.
yes, this
and I agree with it taking time for bil et al to adjust to each other. I'm sure they all need support to get through it, and it sounds like you are stepping up.

I don't see shame as a positive thing in any situation. just makes my heart ache to think of it.
post #18 of 18
I've also heard of preteens using condoms as water balloons. Or he could be curious as to what condoms actually look like and how it feels to wear one. Or he might feel "mature" just having condoms in his drawer, even if all he does is look at the packaging. I can think of plenty of age-appropriate reasons a 12yo might want condoms.

The condoms are not the issue here. This is a seriously disturbed child, destroying property with no remorse, stealing with no remorse, and who has no stability in his life. He needs stability and he needs professional help.
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