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

post #121 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan&Anna's_Mom View Post
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.
Yes, it wasn't my child, but I can't believe that a 7 year old would not know that taking someone else's money wasn't stealing. I'm sorry, I just don't believe it. If we were talking about a 3 year old, then yeah, I could see it, but not a 7 year old.
post #122 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by chloema View Post
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.
But maybe he wasn't taught before this. Stealing isn't anything we've talked to our son about yet. It's never come up. If he were to take something we'd have to talk about it but so far there's been no real reason to discuss it as he's never taken anything he shouldn't.

Loose change lying around the house? That goes to whoever found it in our house. We all have wallets where we keep what we need so if there's loose change around the house it's usually left over from delivery and wasn't enough to warrant getting put back into someone's wallet.
post #123 of 151
With all due respect, I think Chloema deserves a new thread. The OP seems happy with her outcome and this seems like it will turn into a long discussion . . .
post #124 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.
I think it's not so cut and dry.

If you are visiting someone, you actually are welcome to take certain things without asking. You can help yourself to a tissue from the box, use the tissue, and throw it away. As many times as you need! You can use paper towels, and soap too. You might be able to take food if it's left out in a certain way (e.g. a candy dish) but not in other ways (e.g. bananas on a counter.)

If you are outside and find money on the sidewalk, you can pick it up without asking.

We learn all of these things over time, through observation of usual behavior, and from having caring people who gently teach us the nuances. To make it seem so cut and dry, when in fact you'd probably be unhappy if he did NOT take some of her toilet paper to wipe his bum (toilet paper which doesn't belong to him, it's her house!), is not fair to the boy.
post #125 of 151
My 7yo i nanny for wouldn't know how much 400 dollars was, and i can see if she saw a whole bunch of dollars laying around how she might take it. I don't think they should cancel his birthday that seems a bit extreme. Maybe take away something that he loves, but not his birthday!
post #126 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by thyme View Post
I think it's not so cut and dry.

If you are visiting someone, you actually are welcome to take certain things without asking. You can help yourself to a tissue from the box, use the tissue, and throw it away. As many times as you need! You can use paper towels, and soap too. You might be able to take food if it's left out in a certain way (e.g. a candy dish) but not in other ways (e.g. bananas on a counter.)

If you are outside and find money on the sidewalk, you can pick it up without asking.

We learn all of these things over time, through observation of usual behavior, and from having caring people who gently teach us the nuances. To make it seem so cut and dry, when in fact you'd probably be unhappy if he did NOT take some of her toilet paper to wipe his bum (toilet paper which doesn't belong to him, it's her house!), is not fair to the boy.
Plus 7 is very young still.
post #127 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by chloema View Post
Yes, it wasn't my child, but I can't believe that a 7 year old would not know that taking someone else's money wasn't stealing. I'm sorry, I just don't believe it. If we were talking about a 3 year old, then yeah, I could see it, but not a 7 year old.
My seven year old doesn't understand, and she's a typically developing child.
post #128 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiamnEmma View Post
My seven year old doesn't understand, and she's a typically developing child.
What exactly are you saying that your child wouldn't understand? The concept of not taking things that don't belong to you, or the idea that $400 is quite a bit of money. I can see a child having no idea of the value of $400, but the dollar amount is irrelevant imo. If these kids are totally ignorant about how it is wrong to take things that don't belong to them, I am surprised that this has not been an issue previously. When they are at a friend's house, do they take toys that don't belong to them? When they are at the store do they steal things there? If not, why? I'm guessing it is because they know that those things do not belong to them, because they were taught (on some level) that stealing is wrong. Or if that isn't the case, then why? I really don't understand how people can say that they have never talked to their children about stealing. It just seems like a very basic idea that most 4 year olds would understand. I am around children all the time (we're homeschoolers) and they all seem to have an idea of ownership and the idea that it is wrong to take someone that belongs to someone else. I'm not saying that they wouldn't steal money if it was left out, but I do believe that they "know better". Heck, even I knew and understood that at that age. I have to admit that I did steal things here and there as a child, but I "knew" that I was taking something that did not belong to me and I knew that it was wrong. For whatever reason, I chose to do it anyway. Not that I'm proud of it...I'm just being honest.
post #129 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by chloema View Post
What exactly are you saying that your child wouldn't understand? The concept of not taking things that don't belong to you, or the idea that $400 is quite a bit of money. I can see a child having no idea of the value of $400, but the dollar amount is irrelevant imo. If these kids are totally ignorant about how it is wrong to take things that don't belong to them, I am surprised that this has not been an issue previously. When they are at a friend's house, do they take toys that don't belong to them? When they are at the store do they steal things there? If not, why? I'm guessing it is because they know that those things do not belong to them, because they were taught (on some level) that stealing is wrong. Or if that isn't the case, then why? I really don't understand how people can say that they have never talked to their children about stealing. It just seems like a very basic idea that most 4 year olds would understand. I am around children all the time (we're homeschoolers) and they all seem to have an idea of ownership and the idea that it is wrong to take someone that belongs to someone else. I'm not saying that they wouldn't steal money if it was left out, but I do believe that they "know better". Heck, even I knew and understood that at that age. I have to admit that I did steal things here and there as a child, but I "knew" that I was taking something that did not belong to me and I knew that it was wrong. For whatever reason, I chose to do it anyway. Not that I'm proud of it...I'm just being honest.
Well, we went through something similar with my, then newly, 7 year old. And reading further I found out this is not that uncommon at this age.
My son has only just started learning the value of money so I doubt your nephew had any concept of how much that was,what it would buy or how long it would take to earn.

Anyway my son was pilfering/stockpiling. Most specifically buttons from his classroom. Putting them in his pocket and then not giving them all back when caught by his teacher nor showing any real remorse about not owning up.
There was a lot of elements to why he did it. Thrill, greed, and reading a lot of stories about thieves/sneaks (Bilbo Baggins, Fantastic Mr. Fox, William stories etc)

There is a lot to this and I specifically DID make a big deal about it. I had him write out a story (he doesn't like lots of printing) about how he would feel if a friend stole from him, made him go to the counsellor, made him write an apology to the teacher, gave the teacher all OUR buttons for the classroom and talked about how to get buttons legitimately.


I agree about the confusion of community property with children (heck even adults).
While my son was going through this phase, the only time he got upset, and came to me without me going to him, was when he had taken a bracelet he had found lying in the classroom but then figured specifically belonged to someone.
So personal property wasn't something he wanted to steal but community property looked like it was abundant (e.g. the treasure box for having read through the week, the buttons, ribbons etc).
It was harder to see that it would hurt someone. Heck much of the problems we have with the environment today are the result of exactly this kind of greed over what seems to be more than enough for everybody - but isn't really. Seven year olds don't divide very well but I'm not so sure we do either.
post #130 of 151
Chloema I see you're new to the discussion and to the forums but as you read the OP's therapist supported the view that a 7 year old might not understand/have impulse control about these things.

I posted earlier in the thread but it really is very normal. I think sometimes parents of younger kids think their kids have learned about property and will never steal and then are shocked when they do (if they discover it). But it is a part of the growing/testing process to waffle back and forth on it.

If you are familiar with child development models, Piaget defined one where a child up to about the age of 7 is in the preoperational stage of cognitive development. In this stage a child is still testing fantasy vs. reality. They do things "because mummy said so."

As they move into the concrete stage that is where a lot of testing occurs (and where their ideas about rules start to solidify and become internalised so they do it "because it is wrong," not just "because mummy said so").

So basically that transition from age 7 to age 9 is sort of "prime" stealing stage as children test out their new more independent moral reasoning. Then their views tend to solidify for a few years at a very black and white view ("stealing is always wrong because that is THE RULE that I choose to follow whether mummy is there telling me not to or not"), and then as they come into early adolescence they go through a new stage (where they start to recognize mitigating circumstances) .

Kohlberg did interesting research on this too.

Links:
http://honolulu.hawaii.edu/intranet/...tip/piaget.htm
http://faculty.plts.edu/gpence/html/kohlberg.htm
http://faculty.plts.edu/gpence/html/kohlberg.htm

Sure, in our response it has to be pretty cut and dried ("that is not yours; we need to take it back right now.") But it is not the same as a 70 year old stealing. (Unless said 70 yr old is developing Alzheimers or something similar, which does impact on THEIR impulse control biochemically.)
post #131 of 151
GuildJenn, I think I love you.

I posted earlier about the developmental appropriateness of 7 year olds telling fibs and stealing. It's in what Piaget describes as testing reality. And you have posted some awesome links. And I love Piaget's work, just couldn't remember all the way back to my developmental pschology class Thanks for your work on finding the links.
post #132 of 151
Chloema, she doesn't understand the implications of those actions. She would actually be unlikely to touch it anyway just because she doesn't tend to get into other people's things, but in our home most things are community property and we spend limited time at other people's houses. She does know not to take anything from a store because she's tried it. But not all 7 year olds really understand all the social implications involved in taking a little bit from a large stack of anything. And mine doesn't. Now, my atypically developing 8 year old would certainly have understood most of it last year when he was 7, and might have tried to snitch a bill or two as well. That's who he is; a boundary tester. He would also have understood the amounts. But again, he would not have understood all the social implications of his actions. This year he would definitely understand much more of the nuance involved in such actions.

There were some phrases in your post to me that felt very aggressively confrontive. While I'm happy to defend my position when people ask kindly, I do prefer to be addressed respectfully. I see that you are new. Welcome! This is a great place to be. I hope you enjoy your stay here.
post #133 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by Potty Diva View Post
GuildJenn, I think I love you.

I posted earlier about the developmental appropriateness of 7 year olds telling fibs and stealing. It's in what Piaget describes as testing reality. And you have posted some awesome links. And I love Piaget's work, just couldn't remember all the way back to my developmental pschology class Thanks for your work on finding the links.
Isn't that funny Potty Diva? Last night I was looking over his wikipedia article (coincidentally) and thinking about how much I love him and Erickson.
post #134 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by OhDang View Post
Plus 7 is very young still.
Especially when you consider that this child is probably just turning 7 (birthday party etc...unless he is turning 8?) so a month ago we would have been discussing this as the behavior of a 6 YO.

OP good job! It sounds like you really care about your dn and are willing to go above and beyond for him. I think it is very kind of you to have him in your home so much. I am very relived to hear that he will be having a party
post #135 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by chloema View Post
The OP should be able to leave her money out w/o having to worry that it will be stolen.
It was thousands of dollars. Just left on the counter. Not that that means that it is open season on that money, but it just isn't a good idea. Do you leave your keys in the unlocked car, parked out on the curb overnight? Purse in your shopping cart when you leave it to take your dc to the bathroom? In a perfect world, should you be able to? Yes. Is it a good idea? No. If it is important to you, worth a lot, hard to replace then it just seems like a good idea to put it away or keep it right with you.

I know the OP's therapist said not to apologize to dn for leaving it out, but I still think she should. I don't see anything wrong with saying "I was wrong to leave it out on the counter; you were wrong for taking it when it wasn't yours" or something to that effect.
post #136 of 151
Sorry I have read the frst couple pages and the last one. Sorry if I repeat . . .

gees he is 7, almost 8 (pr 6 almost 7) he saw a large pile of money and thought "no will ever miss a couple of those" I used to nab my parents money until i was well into my teens because they left piles of change around. I would take a dollar or two at a time because I knew they would never miss it. I probably nabbed a couple hundred before it was all said and done. and I knew the value good and well. he obviously didn't fully grasp the value of the money as he was handing it out to neighbor kids.

i think taking away the birthday party was harsh but he did lie and that to me is a bigger deal than taking the money in the first place. Personally I would make my kids sit in time out for a while for lieing about it. the amount that he stole is completely irrelevant. weather it was 4 pennies or 4 $100 bills i don't think he really grasped the value of it. its not like he was going for the most valuble thing in the house. he just saw "hey they have enough to share and so many they will never miss a few. Thats just how kids that age think and while lieing was wrong it was also a very natrual response. he knew he shouldn't have taken it but gees why is everyone suddenly freaking out! panic, lie, freak out yourself. I think most adults would react the same way.

go easy on him. you guys have the chance to reinforce that lieing and stealing is wrong but that even when you make bad choices your family still loves you and forgiveness comes easily. I don't think you need to apologize for leaving the money out but you do need to realize that when you leave small children unattended around anything tempting (money, cake, toys, anything at all you don't want them in) there is the potential for trouble. consider this a lesson in child proofing.

i know at his age he seems really big, especially since you don't have any seven year olds of your own yet but he is not. he is just a very little boy still very young and impulsive and prone to lie under pressure. he was unsupervised, likely bored out of his mind and looking for something more interesting to do. I am not saying he is your ersponsibility but a few toys and video games will not keep a little boy occupied very long. if you leave a 7 year old unattended in a house, especiaslly one other than his own, crazy things will happen. they just will.
post #137 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuildJenn View Post
Chloema I see you're new to the discussion and to the forums but as you read the OP's therapist supported the view that a 7 year old might not understand/have impulse control about these things.

I posted earlier in the thread but it really is very normal. I think sometimes parents of younger kids think their kids have learned about property and will never steal and then are shocked when they do (if they discover it). But it is a part of the growing/testing process to waffle back and forth on it.

If you are familiar with child development models, Piaget defined one where a child up to about the age of 7 is in the preoperational stage of cognitive development. In this stage a child is still testing fantasy vs. reality. They do things "because mummy said so."

As they move into the concrete stage that is where a lot of testing occurs (and where their ideas about rules start to solidify and become internalised so they do it "because it is wrong," not just "because mummy said so").

So basically that transition from age 7 to age 9 is sort of "prime" stealing stage as children test out their new more independent moral reasoning. Then their views tend to solidify for a few years at a very black and white view ("stealing is always wrong because that is THE RULE that I choose to follow whether mummy is there telling me not to or not"), and then as they come into early adolescence they go through a new stage (where they start to recognize mitigating circumstances) .

Kohlberg did interesting research on this too.

Links:
http://honolulu.hawaii.edu/intranet/...tip/piaget.htm
http://faculty.plts.edu/gpence/html/kohlberg.htm
http://faculty.plts.edu/gpence/html/kohlberg.htm

Sure, in our response it has to be pretty cut and dried ("that is not yours; we need to take it back right now.") But it is not the same as a 70 year old stealing. (Unless said 70 yr old is developing Alzheimers or something similar, which does impact on THEIR impulse control biochemically.)
Love this post...I guess I'm a bit of a science/neuroscience/psychology geek
post #138 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by diamond lil View Post
What more can I possibly do? I work 5 days a week. Kid is at my house every weekend unless he is dumped at my MIL. He and BIL sometimes come over one or two nights a week. I take him grocery shopping with me sometimes. He behaves extremely well in stores. I've taken him mini-golfing and sledding as weather permits. Yes, I sit him in front of the tv frequently with a video so I can get things done.

*I* am not the problem. The problem is his father who comes to my house to get away from his 7 week old infant and crab-ass wife, stepmother to my nephew. Pretty soon I'm going to have an infant, so maybe he'll find someplace else to hang out. She has zero patience for him. DH and I are planning on telling her she needs to start being a better stepmother to nephew and spending more time with him. She stays at home with their infant, so there is no reason she can't at least try to be a little more engaging.
Like I suggested earlier, if you're not able/willing to supervise him when he's at your house, you ought to make it clear to his parents that they have to keep him with one of them. When you are able to watch him, let them know, but don't have him (or any kid) in your house that you don't want to watch.
post #139 of 151

Hats off and happy!

diamondlil:

it is wonderful to read the conclusion of this post becoz i was also feeling very sorry for your DN's behavior and the consequence on his birthday. It is wonderful that you continued to read the replies and gave us an update on the bday party. My eyes went moist when i read that his bday party is on.
Hope your family has a wonderful celebration and your DN feels how much his family loves him.

Peace & Love!
post #140 of 151
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmilesALot View Post
diamondlil:

it is wonderful to read the conclusion of this post becoz i was also feeling very sorry for your DN's behavior and the consequence on his birthday. It is wonderful that you continued to read the replies and gave us an update on the bday party. My eyes went moist when i read that his bday party is on.
Hope your family has a wonderful celebration and your DN feels how much his family loves him.

Peace & Love!
Thank you! Everything has pretty much returned to normal. My nephew's birthday party is this Sunday, and we're all looking forward to it.

I'm surprised this thread is still alive! I'm still stunned that there are people who still firmly believe I should accept blame for leaving the money on the counter. I'm still happily unapologetic on that point! The money was still on the counter 5 days later, when I finally had time to make a deposit! Posters will be shocked that it did not grow legs and walk away, or my garden nomes did not steal it.
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