[Solved] My Step-Son Stole Money
I'm reaching out to seek advice in regards to a situation, in which I will outline below and I will also write about how I have been handling the situation so far and the effects it has been having.
The situation is, that on Friday 28th September, my wife and I found out that her 14-year old son, had been buying things in games on the PlayStation and his laptop, racking up over £1000 since July of this year, three months of going behind our backs, having manipulated his mother on, I believe, multiple occasions, to take her bank card and use it in the games (in case it's relevant, the games he has been playing are shooting games).
Once the schools finished in July, he elected to spend most of his summer holiday on these games, and hardly did anything else - except for a week whereby we went on holiday and another week whereby he went to Scotland with his grandmother, he didn't have access to the PlayStation or the Laptop, but he brought his DS with him.
Suffice to say, his mum wasn't very happy and we made the decision to sell the PlayStation at the end of the summer - the reason for this, was for him to focus on his GCSE's when he started back at school - we, at no point, said that he couldn't play, but advised him to make the best of his summer, hang out with friends, do something useful with his time.
From looking at the bank statements, the transactions date back to July (around the time the schools closed), right up until October 1st (there were pending transactions from 28th September that didn't go through until 1st October).
The way we have dealt with it, after the initial reaction of shock and anger, is to take away everything - his iPhone, DS, Games - we had sold the TV prior as we didn't want our little ones (5 and 2), growing up in front of the TV and on the whole, we have been working very hard to be okay with him to ensure that there wasn't a bad atmosphere in the house - we feel that we can't trust him and it will, understandably, take time for us to get over what he's done.
He was very apologetic at first and for a couple of days, had changed his ways - he was being very helpful, had cleaned the kitchen, did laundry, made his younger brother lunch for school - bare in mind that he never did anything like this before - being a typical teenager, he'd mostly spend his time in his bedroom, doing his own thing.
However, after two days of being sick with anxiety, he reverted back to his old ways, bad attitude, being rude, lazy, unhelpful - really, as if he hadn't done anything wrong.
When we initially questioned why he did this, his response was because we took the PlayStation away, but I dispute this being that we took it away at the beginning of September, and his theft started back in July.
We didn't call the police, we didn't punish him severely, not in the short term at least - but I just don't know what else to do - I beleive that we have handled things in a good way, but the trouble is, he hasn't changed his ways and is acting as though he is justified in what he did.
I think youve handled it with restraint, in a good way, but he's a teenager, he's had his main mode of communication with his peers taken away and he's not happy. He doesn't have the life experience to reflect with any seriousness about his actions, or the self awareness to make changes willingly.
I think it's important you stick to your guns and carry through with your punishment as it stands, giving in will send the wrong message, if he behaves badly then make him aware that it isn't acceptable and send him to his room for some time out and self reflection.
Try and get him involved in family activities and don't continually remind him of it, but just be constant and firm in a kind and measured way... hopefully he will realise that he has to answer for his wrongdoing and start to make things better.
Thank you Mojo, very helpful.
I have said to him, that if it was anyone else, I'd have called the police - but, doing so would take away his chance at having a good future.
It's a pivotal time for him, something that his mum and I have tried very hard to make him aware of - hence, warning him prior that his actions would lead to the PlayStation being taken away - of course, what he's done, in turn, forced our hand.
Another issue is my wife had tried for months to make arrangements for family therapy, however, I've told her that because of what her son did, I now have to work even harder to make that money back, so I can't be taking time off from work commitments.
As already said you've handled things well as far as I am concerned, I think making him aware that it could have gone to the police is good, it cements the seriousness of what he did.
As Mojo said, you have cut him off from his friends so he is going to lash out, hopefully that will calm down, he is probably getting stick from friends as he now isn't able to play online with them or message them.
I know my stepson is clued to his X-Box and when he isn't it's his phone, on Instagram or snapchat it seems to be the only things kids are interested in these days.