17 year old Step Son continues to steal - FamilyEducation
17 year old Step Son continues to steal
04/11/2008 at 13:20 PM

My 17 year old step son continues to steal  from me in addition to being arrested and charged for drugs, alcohol,and sexual assault .  His father has taken away his cell phone and his x-box for extended periods of time but this seems to have no impact.  Once again he has stolen from me - he took my car keys while I was sitting right there in the room, unlocked my car and took a pack of cigarettes.  He of course denied the theft.  I am wanting to take his dog away - I have a very loving home for her.  His father says that it is cruel punishment and I should consider taking his x-box and selling it instead.  This child was welcomed into my home almost 2 years ago when his mother basically abandoned him.....and I want him to know that he can not continue to treat me in this manner.  I do not believe this punishment is excessive and would appreciate any comments.

If you are planning to rehabilitate him then don't take his dog. I agree with your husband that you should sell the xbox and take the money as restitution for the thefts. Taking his pet does not reflect the crime. If you don't like the dog in your home or something like that I could see why you would select this as a punishment, but I don't think it is fitting. I have a really bad 17 year old son and he not only took the keys, but he took the car too!! He also uses pot and alcohol and steals from my purse. I did sell his xbox and kept the money. I was given advice by a psychologist who told me to give him no grace and force him to make restitution for his crimes. Taking his dog will not help anyone he has hurt. Make him apologize, pay back money, clean up his mess, mend any damage... that is restitution, he must restore whatever he effects to the condition it was before he wronged it. I hope that makes sense!!

Thank you for your input. It surely did make sense. There are some issues with the dog - she was bought against my wishes (we already had 3 dogs) and he was told that he would have to be responsible for her. He has not done that - he has not housetrained her and does not pick her "deposits" up. He expects us to feed her and make sure she has water and he has not taken care of her necessary medical needs. But I do see that taking her away would not necessarily make amends for the crime.

However, taking her away would make amends for the crime of not taking care of her. In light of your last post, I am thinking if your step-son can not take responsibility for his pet then having her is not best for him, her or the family. I would make it clear that if he does not take responsibility for her (in a reasonable amount of time "over the next month') then she will go to the family that can take care of her. But your husband should agree and then follow through. Good luck!! I have never had a more difficult situation than with my 17 year old... One more year!!

Tough love is the only way to deal with this kind of behavior, all these methods might work on a 10 year old but we are talking about a 17 year old here, practically an adult. demand a total change, or else cut him off completely, maybe if we stop coddling our kids we wouldn't have to deal with this kind of thing so late in their lives. this kid is heading for jail or worse if he keeps to this course.

I agree w SaHDaddy. You have to get control of this situation now. Right now. Does your Step Son work? He's plenty old enough for a job and it may do him some good. Good luck.

Thank you all for your comments. He does not work and part of the issue is his dad who is not great about enforcing rules and/or punishment. He has learned that he can get around his father. I have stated the obvious-he needs a job-so many times I feel like a broken record. So far this has yet to happen. I want him to know that I am the adult, I make the rules and that he is the child and he follows the rules. And one of my rules is you do not steal from me!

It's time to forgive him. When you forgive someone, part of the process is to make it impossible for them to victimize you again. Either keep every one of your personal items locked up all the time (which would drive me nuts), or move out. You will feel better in an environment where you are safe. And don't threaten to move out. Just pack up and go.

Thanks Gail but that poses a problem. His dad and I have only been married 1 year next month and the house was mine before we were married. I accepted him into my home and this is how I am repayed! I do keep my valuables locked up and I check the house every evening to be sure nothing of importance is missing. I hate it.

OK, hire a divorce lawyer. This is what lawyers are for. If this was the good old days, I'd say throw all their stuff out on the sidewalk and lock the brand-new dead bolts but you better dot your i's and cross your t's.