Suitable punishment for a greedy thief

For problems with your children, of any age...
Forum rules
NEW USERS HAVE TO WAIT FOR THEIR FIRST POSTS TO BE APPROVED BY AN ADMINISTRATOR. Rules | Essential Information | FAQ | Support | Twitter
Post Reply
User avatar
whoopsie
Familiar Face
Familiar Face
Posts: 499
Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 7:13 pm
Gender: Female
Location: Surrey

Suitable punishment for a greedy thief

Post by whoopsie » Fri Aug 07, 2009 11:22 pm

Over the last couple of months, my boyfriends daughter has taken to sneaking up in the morning and stealing food. Before waking him, she will eat any food that has been left out. The first time, she took 7 yogurts from the fridge and didn't tell us. It was only when i saw the pots in the bin that we realised what she had done. The next were a stale naan bread that we'd left out from the previous nights dinner, the remainder of a tin of pringles, some poppadums that she hid in her room, half a big bag of skittles that i'd missed when putting food away so she wouldn't steal it, and most recently, some of his mums chocolates. She gets caught everytime and says it's an accident and that her conscience told her to do it. The most recent time was when we were on holiday and he made her lay on her bed while we went back to bed which i think may have taught her. We'll see. Mostly we just take pudding away from her. We were talking about the best way to punish her as it keeps happening. We had joked about covering something in chilli powder, but i don't want to make her ill. I was wondering if anyone had any ideas of the best way to stop this. It's annoying and rude. Plus i can't get my boyfriend to see it as stealing. Any advice?
=^..^=

User avatar
snail
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 4488
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2007 8:59 pm
Gender: Female
Location: Your guess is as good as mine.

Re: Suitable punishment for a greedy thief

Post by snail » Sat Aug 08, 2009 12:13 am

I should say that I don't have children and I don't have any experience of bringing one up, but I have done exactly the same thing myself as a child. I can see why you decided to punish her by taking her pudding away, but you really, really, mustn't tackle it that way. This is a child who's using food and stealing food to serve an emotional/psychological purpose. You respond - by using food for an emotional/psychological purpose! (i.e. punishment). It's crucial that you don't do this, you are strongly reinforcing her behaviour. It's like saying to a bulimic, "If you're good and get over your bulimia, you can have some chocolate cake". You must let her meals and treats continue as normal.

I can't get in touch enough with my childhood feelings to understand exactly why I used to do it - I know that food was a comforter, but I can't fully understand why stealing it (taking it secretly) was important, although I know it was. From things you've said in your other posts, this little girl has had a rather chaotic and upsetting life, and it's not a huge surprise she's showing signs of being troubled. I think rather than reacting like she's been naughty, I would ask her, in a kind and sympathetic way, why she does it, and is she hungry (I'm sure she isn't hungry, but it will help to get her to talk about it I think). If you don't make a big deal of it, you will hopefully find this behaviour fades away by itself. If the situation doesn't resolve itself or gets worse, you might consider family counselling - where I live a lot of places do this for children at reduced rates or at cost. In the meantime, you could perhaps get a lockable box for foods she might target, although I wouldn't make a big deal out of this - again, locking away food will reinforce her view of it as important.
These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.

Najwa Zebian

User avatar
Skarlet
Permanent Fixture
Permanent Fixture
Posts: 1082
Joined: Tue Dec 09, 2008 3:41 pm
Gender: Female

Re: Suitable punishment for a greedy thief

Post by Skarlet » Sat Aug 08, 2009 12:33 pm

I agree with snail, you should be trying to understand why she is taking the food rather then punishing her. She is a little girl, and it is worrying that she is getting this fixation on food. Have you sought help from a doctor?

User avatar
dipsydoodlenoodle
Long Term Lodger
Long Term Lodger
Posts: 3928
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2008 3:24 pm
Gender: Female
Location: England

Re: Suitable punishment for a greedy thief

Post by dipsydoodlenoodle » Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:36 am

I agree with Snail and ask her if she is hungry, tell her it's naughty to take food without asking first but if she comes and asks you then that is ok, and make a big show of how good it is that she has asked for it. Maybe don't have pudding often, but have it once or twice a week as a treat?

Skarlet wrote:Have you sought help from a doctor?


I think this is a good idea; without trying to worry you, I read a book on someone with eating disorders and they said they always remembered stealing food and getting up in the middle of the night to eat...it's better to catch it now and sort it than have it going on all the time.
A hug is a great gift, one size fits all.

User avatar
Bel Bel
Fully Fledged Flatmate
Fully Fledged Flatmate
Posts: 6758
Joined: Thu May 10, 2007 1:58 pm
Gender: Female
Location: Hertfordshire

Re: Suitable punishment for a greedy thief

Post by Bel Bel » Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:59 am

My sister used to do this and she had pyscological issus. I think getting her to a therapist would be the best thing.
Life is for living so live it to the fullest

Cheap Pandora Charms UK


User avatar
whoopsie
Familiar Face
Familiar Face
Posts: 499
Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 7:13 pm
Gender: Female
Location: Surrey

Re: Suitable punishment for a greedy thief

Post by whoopsie » Mon Aug 10, 2009 12:22 pm

We talked to her about it yesterday. She didn't give a reason as to why she is taking food but we told her we would leave fruit out for her to help herself if she's hungry. My boyfriends mum is a gp so perhaps we'll talk to her. She has a really healthy appetite tho. She could eat all day which makes us wonder if it is her just being greedy.
=^..^=

User avatar
dipsydoodlenoodle
Long Term Lodger
Long Term Lodger
Posts: 3928
Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2008 3:24 pm
Gender: Female
Location: England

Re: Suitable punishment for a greedy thief

Post by dipsydoodlenoodle » Mon Aug 10, 2009 12:26 pm

Oh definately speak to yuor boyfriends mam. She can advise and she'll also have the daughters best interests at heart, rather than her being "just another patient".
A hug is a great gift, one size fits all.

User avatar
Bel Bel
Fully Fledged Flatmate
Fully Fledged Flatmate
Posts: 6758
Joined: Thu May 10, 2007 1:58 pm
Gender: Female
Location: Hertfordshire

Re: Suitable punishment for a greedy thief

Post by Bel Bel » Mon Aug 10, 2009 3:45 pm

are you sure she doean't have "worms" if she can eat all day?
Life is for living so live it to the fullest

Cheap Pandora Charms UK


User avatar
saphire
One of the Crowd
One of the Crowd
Posts: 97
Joined: Tue May 03, 2005 11:26 am
Location: iom

Re: Suitable punishment for a greedy thief

Post by saphire » Tue Aug 11, 2009 1:41 pm

Hi Hun,

Can I ask is she over wieght??

I am a step mum myself and personally our house is alot more relaxed than yours (everyones different i guess)

I try to encourage the kids to help themselves to watever they want and by doing so they dont feel the need to sneak and i am forever telling them its their home too and they dont need to ask. Because they can - they dont particuarly raid the kitchen as such but know there are treats there for when they want them.

I have the opposite prob to you with my step daughter - her mum for as long as ive known her hs been on and off diets and complaining of 'her big fat thighs' and now L has started to mimic her even though she is a very slight child and has gone from a healthy appetite to picking at her food (Her mum caught this on - feels very guilty and imformed me)

So now i rather than bang on at her ask my hubby in front of her intentionally ' do I look too skinny in this?' or i think im loosing my curves - i might need to make my portions a bit bigger?' (im a size 8 )

Either way - i would get your BF's mum to check her out for worms and have a chat with her - but my advice to you is if shes well physically and not over wieght - maybe relax with her instead of seeing it as stealing let her feel more relaxed and at home and she may open up to you about the problems that may lie underneath.

Just a different perspective for you to consider - nobody ever tells you how to be a parent - but it is 10 times harder being a step parent thats for sure ! and as one to another you have my biggest respect chick! xxx

Post Reply