Most of you know I went through a really tough time with the boys before there was Internet or any support really. And I know I could have dealt with it better if there had been just one person who had understood. So let's help out this mom who left me a comment:
I am seeking some advice and wondering if you might have some to offer. I am struggling with our 8,almost 9 year old daughter stealing and lying to cover herself of course and not get into trouble. She has been doing this type thing since about 3 years old. She was adopted internationally at 2 yo and is the 6th of our 8 kids. Yesterday she was caught by another child stealing candy out of the teachers desk. A couple weeks before she stole candy from the outside fridge that was her brothers, talking her 5 yo brother into being a part of the stealing then left him hanging, blaming him. You wrote recently of Kaleb stealing. Why do you think children steal? Why do they steal food? In my daughter's case it is always treat type food. And how are you able to keep positive feelings for your children during these times? I also struggle for knowing what is a meaningful/helpful punishment for each situation. Nothing seems to help. I appreciate your reading this and any help you can offer.
I can only give my perspective which is that I took the boy's stealing really, really personally. And it felt that way. I couldn't set something down without them planning how to get it. Just because they had to have it. I was angry a lot.
With the twins it's not so premeditated, more of impulsive. And sometimes downright greed. They may have the same treat as the others but gobble their right down and then take another one that belong to someone who is saving it for later. One of my boys had much more serious attachment issues and I think stealing was just one way it came out. I really don't know what I would do if I were doing it over. For a while there was no joy in our house at all. The other basically outgrew it. Not that every choice is the best, but that he has a pretty good set of values and he's been able to overcome the past junk behaviors enough to take part in normal activities and hang out with friends.
Sometimes I just have to step back and look at it overall. They made a poor choice. The broke my trust and the trust of a sibling or in some cases a teacher. If they can't repay what they took, they do that persons' jobs for a week or so. And they can't be trusted to do any activities that aren't supervised by myself, Rick or one of the older kids.
I think we all want our children to make the right choice because it is the right choice, not because someone is watching. I've talked with Kayla about that a lot this week. She is an amazing child (and if you don't feel it, fake it : ) inside her and when she does the junk behavior--running out and stealing just because she can--she's keeping that person buried.
The thing I really watch for is that not every activity has to be earned. And that I include them even if I'm not feeling the love right at the time. And if anyone leaves a comment saying they feel complete love and acceptance toward their child even in the midst of the junk behavior, we'll watch for them to walk on water.
So, that's my thoughts. The rest of you chime in because I know there are at least ten readers who are going through this or similar issues right now.
And be sure to go to the last post for a cuteness fix.