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<p>To make a long story short, for the past 2 years my son has been stealing from other kids at school and on the bus. He is obsessed with video games so the item he steals is always a Nintendo DS. He has stolen no less than 20 of them between this year and last year. No matter what we try for discipline, nothing gets through to him. We do not allow him to play video games at home as he is so obsessed with them, it is all he ever talks about, even though he rarely gets to see/play them.</p>
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<p>My heart sinks every time I find him with another stolen DS. I just found him with one a few minutes ago. I really don't know what to do. Any advice is greatly appreciated.</p>
 

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<p>If he's really obsessed with the video games why not give him the opportunity to earn money to buy it himself or give one as a gift then allow a set amount of time with it. This reminds me of when I was a preteen and I kept stealing makeup because my mom refused to allow me to have any. After awhile she gave me some of her makeup and allowed me to buy some of my own. It was great and I want hog wild with it for a week or two then I lost interest. I had been obsessed with wearing makeup for a couple years prior to this. </p>
 

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<p>Those things are expensive.  Is he returning them to the kid he stole it from?  Obviously, you aren't letting him keep them, but what are his consequences at school or from the victim?  Honestly, if he stole our DS, and I knew this was such a problem, I might call the police.  (I'm not sure if I really would... it just seems like a good idea right now)</p>
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<p>I think there needs to be some major consequences.   This isn't just stealing pencils.  He's stealing $150 or more.  (assuming he's also taking the game)</p>
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<p>At eight, he can probably earn the money to buy himself his own game.  I don't know if that's any kind of answer to the problem, but he'll understand how much money it costs to have a ds.   Then, when he does get one... STEAL it!!!  <--just kidding.. don't really do that.</p>
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<p>You might need to let the school deal with this.  If he's stealing at school, he should be held accountable at school too.  I also wouldn't let him ride the bus if possible.  He obviously can't control his impulses on the bus, so he shouldn't be in that kind of setting.</p>
 

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<p>What do you do when you find one?</p>
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<p>My 8 year old loves video games.  I do limit them somewhat because he has a hard time turning them off sometimes.  So I would allow some to make it less of a forbidden item he has to take.  But put limits on it from the start.  I'd  also make him return the DS he's taken.</p>
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<p>BTW, this is why I've never allowed my son to take his to school.  Why do they need them at school anyways?</p>
 

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<p>We used to allow him to earn time to play video games. There were several problems with that though. The main one was that he was still stealing DS's and games even while allowed video game time at home. He would also constantly steal OUR DS no matter where me or my husband would hide it. The other problem was that was literally ALL he cared about doing. He would spend every moment begging me for it to be his time to play. Then he would get extremely mean and rude when I would tell him his time was up. It would always end with him going to his room and sulking for the rest of the day. It's for all of those reasons that I am hesitant to let him play video games. </p>
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<p>All stolen items have always been returned to their owners, thank goodness. He does get disciplined at school as well as at home. Here are some of the things that we have tried doing at home:</p>
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<p>Writing apology letter to the child he stole the item from</p>
<p>Returning the item to the child and apologizing in person</p>
<p>Loss of video game time (back when we still allowed it)</p>
<p>Loss of TV time</p>
<p>Loss of allowance money</p>
<p>Loss of favorite toy(s)</p>
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<p>The school does stuff like make him spend the day in the principal's office to do his work. My son is also supervised while getting his coat and backpack since he was mostly stealing the DS's from other children's backpacks. Keeping him off the school bus is not really an option at this time. He's already sitting in an assigned seat on the school bus due to fighting with other children.</p>
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<p>I'm really at my wits end. I've tried discussing things with him and explaining how it must make someone really sad that he stole their DS. I feel horrible that he does this and horrible that he has the reputation as the kid that steals. :(<br>
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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Lauren82</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280605/my-8-year-old-son-keeps-stealing-help#post_16059769"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><p> </p>
<p>Writing apology letter to the child he stole the item from</p>
<p>Returning the item to the child and apologizing in person</p>
<p>Loss of video game time (back when we still allowed it)</p>
<p>Loss of TV time</p>
<p>Loss of allowance money</p>
<p>Loss of favorite toy(s)</p>
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<p>The school does stuff like make him spend the day in the principal's office to do his work. My son is also supervised while getting his coat and backpack since he was mostly stealing the DS's from other children's backpacks. Keeping him off the school bus is not really an option at this time. He's already sitting in an assigned seat on the school bus due to fighting with other children.</p>
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<br><br><p>It all sounds really good.  He's obviously very clever.  Now if he'd just use that talent for something good he could make a fortune off of his ability.   </p>
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<p>I'm sorry.. I bet it's very frustrating.</p>
 

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<p>OK, this is where I'd call in a professional and seek a counselor. This is not typical 6-8 year old behavior, IMO. Sure, stealing a DS once or twice might be typical behavior as they're trying it out and not really thinking of the long term consequences.</p>
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<p>But you've got a child who is <em>supervised while putting on his coat</em> because he cannot resist the impulse to steal a DS from another child. When he did have access to a DS, that's all he wanted to focus on. What's up with that? It sounds to me like he's obsessed with the DS and cannot control himself. That doesn't mean he should be allowed to steal them or play them incessently, but it does mean that he might need something more than the ordinary techniques to help him. You've done all the 'right' things and he's still doing it. The consequences at school are pretty severe, and he's still doing it.</p>
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<p>I'm certainly out of my depth even thinking about it and I can't imagine being in your shoes. Having an outside perspective from someone who's trained to work with kids might help everyone.</p>
 
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<p>Has he been evaluated for his obsessive behavior? That's pretty excessive for a neurotypical child. I would suspect something is going on and get him checked out by a neurodevelopmental pediatrician and a child psychologist. It really sounds like you've tried everything and he's incredibly focused on this one thing. It may be time to investigate a bit deeper.</p>
 

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<p>You showed that you made him apologize because it's wrong which is good and I'm not assuming you haven't but have you explained to him that this is not just wrong it is ILLEGAL, meaning that if he continues this behavior someone MAY at some point call the police on him?  I hate using this line on kids because it is so much of a fear tactic and too many parents overuse it, but in this case it also happens to be very true.</p>
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<p>I completely agree that he needs to see a counselor as Lynn and Earthmama said.  This is extreme behavior and if it doesn't stop or heaven forbid gets to be about more EXPENSIVE items then it could lead to legal issues later on. </p>
 

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<p>This sounds like it could be an Asperger's obsession?  You have not mentioned any other possible criteria for AS so forgive me is I am way off.  If it could be an AS obsession-- and you may not like my recommendation-- it would be to give him access to his obsession without limitation as long as he does his other duties (homework, chores, time with family).  Still punish him if he continues to steal but in ways other than depriving him of his obsession.</p>
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<p>My son has PDD-NOS (the same thing as AS pretty much but with a language impairment/ delay) and his obsession is with PCs and VGs.  I gave up limiting his access a long time ago.  As long as he does his schoolwork, chores, and helps out when I ask, doesn't look at/ play inappropriate stuff (extreme violence or sexual content) he is allowed unrestricted access to the computer and VGs.  He earns money and works hard for a kid his age, and saves to finance his obsession himself.  (He is 14 now but his obsession with PCs started when he was 4.)</p>
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<p>When he has access to his obsession he is much calmer, able to be reasoned with.  When you remove his obsession he becomes anxious, depressed, and angry.  If we tried limiting or removing VGs and PCs altogether he probably would be stealing or trying to-- when the obsession is Asperger's-strength they cannot control it.  Here and there in the news you will hear some wild story about an AS person doing something totally outrageous to get access to an obsessive interest.  It's not unusual.</p>
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<p>Again I may be WAY off here and if I am forgive me.  But generally speaking it is a very bad idea to remove access to an obsession when dealing with an AS/ PDD-NOS child.</p>
 

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<div style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:5px;padding-right:5px;padding-bottom:5px;padding-left:5px;font:normal normal normal 13px/1.231 arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif;background-color:rgb(255,255,255);color:rgb(0,0,0);text-align:left;font-family:Times;line-height:normal;font-size:medium;">
<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:0px;padding-left:0px;"><span style="font-size:16px;"><span style="color:rgb(0,0,205);">My son is 6 and was just diagnosed with PDD-NOS two weeks ago. Obsessions, perseverating, deceptive behavior, lying, stealing and hitting are just a few symptoms that are prevalent.  There were OCD and anxiety signs as far back as when he was 2 1/2.  At the age of 3 1/2 my DH and I started seeing a child psych to learn how to parent our "spirited" child. The fact that he was, and is, academically advanced didn't help in raising red flags to his teachers.  Red flags are only raised when the child's learning is being impeded.  We were always putting out fires.  This past summer he started having facial and auditory/verbal tics.  They moved in stages.  His obsessions are in stages too.  A few days, weeks or months, then he moves on to the next obsession.  Ignorance is bliss, but in our case we were judged as lackadaisical parents and our child was always "misbehaving".  He has little self-control and is extremely impulsive.  We finally have a diagnosis and will begin all of the therapies that will help him.  Some phases are just that, but look it up to be sure.  There are different intensity levels for each phase and bundled with other "phases" (symptoms) makes a difference.  Education is freedom.  I felt like a prisoner before, now I am free.  Seek help immediately before your child is labeled the "bad kid".  My son has been in his elem school for only K and half of 1st grade and already has a reputation.  I'm optimistic that this will change as soon as the behaviors change.  Good luck.</span></span></p>
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<p>I am invariably slow to tell parents they need professional help addressing discipline issues but based on your original post and your follow up clarification of what you tried so far-I urge you to find a well recommended child development expert who can give you first person professional feedback about your child. I won't try and guess at underlying issues but the behavior seems extraordinarily persistent and resistant to any and all attempts to help the child gain some control--and because he is at risk for real legal and social problems with this stealing habit--I think professional help is absolutely a good idea.</p>
 

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<p>I agree that a professional assessment would be where I'd go for a next step.  As someone else said, at this age and with you being pro-active this can be seen as a behavior that is indicating something more may be going on, and he needs help controlling his actions.  From the description of the bus, it sounds like he may be struggling with some other behaviors as well, to a lesser extent.  I'd write up a list of what concerns you, what you've tried and the school has tried, and go to his pediatrician for a referral. </p>
 
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