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7 Year Old Nephew Stole $400.00 From Us: What To DO? - Page 6

post #101 of 151
I think that sounds like a great solution. It may be hard, but it sounds like you are and can continue to be a really positive influence in his life.
post #102 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by diamond lil View Post
I will also talk to MIL, nephew's grandmother and see if we can set something up. I don't even think she knows what happened regarding the money, and if she finds out the party was cancelled there will be all kinds of hell, so I know he'll listen to her.
Awesome!

s to you and your nephew, and thank goodness he has people like you and his grandmother to stand up for him. Loving guidance is the best way to teach others the right ways in this crazy world...

I *am* LMAO about the pp's great-grandmother (or grandmother?) who stole a mule, though -- that's just too cool!
post #103 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by mistymama View Post
My son is 5.5 and recently took some money off the kitchen table .. I didn't even consider it "stealing" .. he had no clue it's value, that it wasn't his, etc.

I seriously doubt your nephew knew the value, otherwise I doubt he would be giving it away to neighbors!
I am only quoting this part to make a point...

My not even 3 year old daughter can comprehend what is mommy's, daddy's, sophia's, her own, and the dog's.

She is already aware of ownership and sharing. According to Abigail, anything pink is sophia's. She knows which boots are mine or daddy's, and gives them to us as we get ready to leave, she says which coat is hers or sophia's and doesn't want sophia to have hers, and even sophia knows which coat is hers and she's only 1.5 years old. I could go on and on with examples proving their awareness of ownership and their desire to share with others, but I think I've made my point.

5.5, and certainly 7 years old, are definitely old enough to understand when something does NOT belong to them and to not take what they KNOW is someone else's. They don't need to understand the monetary value in order to simply understand it's not theirs to take. However, I do not think the fact he gave 1 bill away means he doesn't grasp the value of the money. It just means he is generous and wanted to share.

I do agree with pp's that a talk and explanation of the value of the money is important. When my husband's son repeatedly turned up the heat in our home when he was here even though he was told repeatedly not to and given alternatives such as put on socks, put on a shirt, etc ... so much so it elevated our utility bills by $120 in one month, I explained it to him. I told him how much energy it took each day and multiply by the number of days (he loves math) and arrive at... $XXX per day increase... and explained how many hours his dad has to work to earn that $XXX. We worked out an arrangement for him to do x amount of chores to earn $XXX to pay us back. The lesson was learned. But that is slightly different because this money in OP's situation was immediately returned. But a lesson in the value of a dollar is needed somehow for your nephew.

Taking away a birthday party is horrible. I'm sorry that his father chose to go that route. As someone else mentioned, that is like telling the boy that no one wants him to exist.
post #104 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by phathui5 View Post
(And $2500 in cash isn't ready to be unsupervised either. I would never leave that sitting on the counter with kids in the house.)

Even without kids!
post #105 of 151
OP, I am so glad you are advocating for your nephew. He is so lucky to have you rooting for him in life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Purity♥Lake~ View Post
5.5, and certainly 7 years old, are definitely old enough to understand when something does NOT belong to them and to not take what they KNOW is someone else's. They don't need to understand the monetary value in order to simply understand it's not theirs to take. However, I do not think the fact he gave 1 bill away means he doesn't grasp the value of the money. It just means he is generous and wanted to share.
You know, I may just have spent too much time in the GD forum. But the thing is that knowledge about possession (which is a very complex thing) and impulse control not to take something are way, way, way, apart. Also, sharing and stealing are all complex ideas. For example:

- we share our toys
- we share clean cups, but we don't share cups we have drunk out of
- we share bikes with neighbours but we don't share cars with neighbours
- mummy shares my markers but I don't share her permanent marker

etc.

(nevermind lying on your taxes, taking extra free samples or shampoo from hotels, downloading copyrighted material from the Internet... and so on.)

I have taught in a classroom (3 years) and have a lot of nieces and nephews. I just want to assure people that although not all children steal, lots and Lots and LOTS of kids between grades 1 and about grade 5 do steal things. They steal them for a wide variety of reasons - impulse, need, fear, to be popular, for attention, "I don't know why I just did," etc. It is a way of testing consequences, grappling with issues of power and money and prestige, impulse issues, and all kinds of things.

When you say "my child KNOWS" I'm sure he or she does, in that moment. But in his or her life it is pretty likely that he or she will test it out at some point.

And of course the message should not be "oh ok, take whatever you want honey." But there are ways to handle it compassionately, firmly, and with respect for the dignity and complexity of the human experience within a society that has huge issues around money and things.
post #106 of 151
I also agree with previous posters who said that a 7 year old should probably know what is and is not theirs to take. He should have known better, but I do think the punishment is a bit severe. I hope he can have his party!
post #107 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
You know, I may just have spent too much time in the GD forum. But the thing is that knowledge about possession (which is a very complex thing) and impulse control not to take something are way, way, way, apart. Also, sharing and stealing are all complex ideas. For example:

- we share our toys
- we share clean cups, but we don't share cups we have drunk out of
- we share bikes with neighbours but we don't share cars with neighbours
- mummy shares my markers but I don't share her permanent marker

etc.

(nevermind lying on your taxes, taking extra free samples or shampoo from hotels, downloading copyrighted material from the Internet... and so on.)

I have taught in a classroom (3 years) and have a lot of nieces and nephews. I just want to assure people that although not all children steal, lots and Lots and LOTS of kids between grades 1 and about grade 5 do steal things. They steal them for a wide variety of reasons - impulse, need, fear, to be popular, for attention, "I don't know why I just did," etc. It is a way of testing consequences, grappling with issues of power and money and prestige, impulse issues, and all kinds of things.

When you say "my child KNOWS" I'm sure he or she does, in that moment. But in his or her life it is pretty likely that he or she will test it out at some point.

And of course the message should not be "oh ok, take whatever you want honey." But there are ways to handle it compassionately, firmly, and with respect for the dignity and complexity of the human experience within a society that has huge issues around money and things.
I agree. And in our house we really do share everything so DS does have a harder time with recognizing ownership, despite being 7.5. He's never been a "that's mine" kid. He shares with us as much as we share with him and our house philosophy has always revolved around "ours." He even wears some of my t-shirts as does BF and I wear BF's stuff and some of DS' (hats, gloves, arm warmers are about all that fit me) and we all share our money. We go to our families' houses and it's pretty much the same so at 7.5 he may know and not know at the same time and then throw in impulse control...
post #108 of 151
Great post, GuildJenn!! I think that so many people fail to recognize the difference for a child between knowing what's right, and being able to do what's right every single time. I also think that many, many people confuse compassionate guidance with acceptance of the mistake/bad choice, and come down either way too harshly or too lightly.

It's funny because my own 7.5 year old would not have taken the money, either in my house or that of anyone else (he would have asked how much was there, and would have wanted to examine the $100 bills because we rarely use cash). As a 7 year old, though, *I* might have taken some of it. There were a few things that I stole from the ages of 3-7. I *knew* it was wrong, but I couldn't help myself, period. I'm neither a criminal (or tax evader! ) nor a klepto, and I respect the property of others. I do, however, carry around some emotional wounds from the VERY hard time I was given about it -- repeatedly being asked why, and whether I *wanted* to turn out to be a criminal, and so forth.

We *do* have to be careful to not ascribe our adult motives to young children.
post #109 of 151
OP :
post #110 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
You know, I may just have spent too much time in the GD forum.

But the thing is that knowledge about possession (which is a very complex thing) and impulse control not to take something are way, way, way, apart. Also, sharing and stealing are all complex ideas.
is such a thing possible?? i find GD to be such a learning experience, on an almost daily basis.

I agree w/ you and think your point is a very important on for us all to realize..regardless of age, we are talking about children, not hardened criminals.
post #111 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by diamond lil View Post

I will also talk to MIL, nephew's grandmother and see if we can set something up. I don't even think she knows what happened regarding the money, and if she finds out the party was cancelled there will be all kinds of hell, so I know he'll listen to her.
I'm SO happy! I've been following this thread, absolutely broken-hearted for this little guy. He needs role models, clear expectations and tons of love and attention and it sounds like you're stepping up to the plate!!! Hopefully you'll inspire the other adults in his life too.
post #112 of 151
Thread Starter 

Happy Update

I talked to BIL last night and asked him if he would reconsider nephew's birthday party. He said that after thinking about it, it did seem like a harsh punishment, so the birthday party is back on! I can't take full credit for that, since he was already thinking about it, but I think he was glad I suggested it. And I am glad I didn't have to call out the big guns (MIL)!

So next weekend, the whole family will be celebrating nephew's 8th birthday at the bowling alley just like he wanted. It's time for our little family to forgive and forget his lapse in judgement.

FWIW, I discussed the issue with my therapist last night. He agreed that nephew had no concept of the value of the money. He also said that nephew was probably curious of the money, and it is not uncommon for little kids to pick things up that don't belong to them, not exactly intending to "steal" them. I think that's pretty fair.

I asked him point-blank if DH and I should have apologised for leaving the money out (that is the one thing that has bothered me all along, because I don't think we should have to apologise). He said no, apologising would be sending a mixed message to the child. But he was happy that I asked BIL to re-instate the party and was glad that the party is back on.

We are all glad that we can learn from this and enjoy nephew's birthday next week.
post #113 of 151
Thanks for the wonderful update, lil!

Have you decided what you're going to do about getting BIL to quit pawning off his kid on you?
post #114 of 151
Hooray!! I love when I see people keeping an open mind and ear to alternatives because it encourages me to keep doing so :
post #115 of 151
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by frog View Post
Thanks for the wonderful update, lil!

Have you decided what you're going to do about getting BIL to quit pawning off his kid on you?
That is a whole other can of worms! I think part of the problem is BIL's wife (nephew's stepmom and my SIL) who has very little patience for kids. Period. Granted, she does have a 7 week old infant at home, but she was extremely impatient with nephew before she ever got pregnant. This has been an issue several times before, with other family members suggesting she increase her involvement. I think she can step up a little. I can step up a little. DH and BIL can start to include him more in their activities. I think we can all step up a little. Nephew is smart, a good kid, and just plain lovable. He needs more attention from everybody. Maybe this little episode was a wake-up call for all of us.
post #116 of 151
What a great update!
post #117 of 151
What a wonderful update!! Your nephew is very, very lucky to have you in his life.
post #118 of 151
It's nice to see this turned out so well for your DN and he's getting his party.

Maybe a bit of unsolicited advice but on the issue of having him "dumped" on you, I had the same problem years ago with DH and a friend of his. The two of them always assumed I wouldn't mind keeping and eye on said friend's obnoxious boys and would repeatedly take off to do stuff together leaving me with the kids. Being kidless at the time, I don't think my DH realized the burden they were leaving me with...I liked the kids for the most part but didn't enjoy spending entire afternoons chasing them around the house while the guys were off gallivanting....and it made bitter to be honest.

I felt bad because they had kind of a crummy mom and their dad was super absent-minded when it came to their needs so I found myself filling in out of guilt and becoming angry with myself because of it.

Your DH could do with a talking to if he's enabling his brother to do other activities by providing him with a babysitter (you) and accompanying him for the fun as you mentioned in one of your earlier posts. I had the conversation with my DH and he quickly curbed the reliance on me as a babysitter with his friend and they did stuff where the kids were included instead.

I wish you luck
post #119 of 151
I find this thread really interesting because it really seems like a cut and dry situation to me. People should not take things that do not belong to them. It doesn't matter if that person is 7 or 70. The OP should be able to leave her money out w/o having to worry that it will be stolen. I have a 6 1/2 year old who knows and understands the very basic rule of "If it's not yours, don't touch it without asking first". Even when she finds loose change lying somewhere in our house, she knows to ask before taking it and keeping it as her own. Right is right and wrong is wrong, and I don't understand how anyone can say that the OP is at fault in this situation. She did not cause his party his party get cancelled. His actions caused his party to get cancelled and he needs to understand that. He knew that the money did not belong to him, yet decided to take it anyway. That was a poor decision on his part. If you are taught not to steal, what difference does it make if there is money lying on a counter. You know it's not yours, so you go on your merry way. I am glad that the bil took the situation seriously, although threatening to hit him is not ok in my book.
post #120 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by chloema View Post
I find this thread really interesting because it really seems like a cut and dry situation to me. People should not take things that do not belong to them. It doesn't matter if that person is 7 or 70. The OP should be able to leave her money out w/o having to worry that it will be stolen. I have a 6 1/2 year old who knows and understands the very basic rule of "If it's not yours, don't touch it without asking first". ...
Ah, but this wasn't your child. And it wasn't the OP's child either. And we have heard from several posters that have said that their child might not understand this to be stealing. So you can't automatically assume that THIS child understood the full situation. Should she And thus she should have been more careful with the money to begin with. That would be prudent on the OPs part, whether or not she "should" have needed to do so.
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