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Old 04-09-2009, 01:10 PM
 
Location: Tucson!
415 posts, read 1,076,943 times
Reputation: 214
Default What is the appropriate punishment for my child that stole from me?

I am trying to be rational here, because otherwise I will ground him until he is 18.

A bit of background: Back in February, when I got my desperately needed tax refund, I loaded my debit card info into my son's XBox so he could buy points to download an add-on for a game. That was the end of it. At some point in early March, over the course of 2 or 3 days, I had multiple charges for downloaded content on XBox, iTunes, and our PS3. (I previously had my debit info on the other machines for my use.)

By the time it was done he had "stolen" $124.25 from me via my debit card. I grounded him for 2 weeks from playing any electronic device that was connected to the internet. Re-payment issues still need to be resolved.

Well this morning I got up and he is playing a game on his XBox, online, and I heard him talking to his friends about a download that was released today. He asked me 2 days ago if I would get it for him and my response was that I would think about it. He apparently went ahead and downloaded it. I checked my bank account and sure enough, there's a debit from Microsoft.

He will be 11 in July and I am sure he knows better. He absolutely knew it was wrong but did it anyway.

What would you do and what do you think is appropriate punishment?

(No need to tell me to remove my bank info from the XBox - I've learned my lesson)
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Old 04-09-2009, 01:14 PM
 
Location: I'm around here someplace :)
1,667 posts, read 1,970,327 times
Reputation: 945
first, take his favorite items away from him-- make sure they're not accessible, even if you have to lock them in a closet (the items, not the boy!!);

second, give him some actual work to do to "pay off" the money.

the first teaches "it's not cool to have something that rightfully belongs to you taken by someone else;
the second teaches "work is where money comes from."

tough + fair.
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Old 04-09-2009, 01:25 PM
 
Location: Aurora, Colorado
2,212 posts, read 3,066,126 times
Reputation: 2318
Here's the advice I am keeping handy for the day we inevitably have to deal with something more serious (like your situation).

Dr Phil said that all kids need is a place to sleep, a blanket, a pillow, clean clothes and food. Everything else is extra. If I were you, I'd start taking away his extras. For each charge he made without your permission, he can say goodbye to his X-Box, his I-Pod and just to make sure he understands how money for games isn't automatic, I'd make him sell his newest game. Either he can sell it to his friends or you can take him to the video game consignment store. You decide how long to take the other stuff away for but it's got to be long enough to make him really hate his bad decision. If he continues to do stuff like this, start taking away more stuff. His favorite shoes (assuming he's got at least another pair that fits), his favorite shirt (ditto about having at least something else to wear)...stuff that will really affect him.

If that doesn't work...he gets to go to school and come home. No after school sports, no hanging out with friends, nada.

If your son is anything like I think my daughter is going to be, it's going to be a battle of wills. The nice thing is that you are the adult (and if you're like me, tried everything under the sun to get away with) and we've all got to get away from trying to be the "cool mom" or our kids "friends." You can be the supporter, the cheerleader, the mentor, etc, but you are the one who has to set rules for him to follow so that when he becomes an adult, he's not going to go out and make stupid decisions. Your job is to guide him and prepare him for the responsibility of adulthood. Adulthood means you can't just get what you want when you want it. You have to have money to buy stuff....not steal from others to get what you want.
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Old 04-09-2009, 01:26 PM
 
2,465 posts, read 3,007,183 times
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If my grandmaother was responding to this she would say, "I would have him go outside and start digging a hole that is at least 3 feet deep, by 8 feet wide by 8 feet wide. Then after he got it dug, I'd have him fill it back in."

No seriously though, If he gets an allowance I would cut it off until the amount he charged up on your CC was paid back. He would lose all privilages with any electronic device until the amount was paid back. If he does not get an allowance, then he would be doing various chores around the house with each chore being assigned a certain amount like $1.00 to take out the trash, $5.00 to wash all of the windows in the house...etc. Again he would lose all privilages with the elctronics until he has worked off his debt. He needs to find out just how hard it is to earn money and why it should never be foolishly spent or stolen.
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Old 04-09-2009, 01:32 PM
 
Location: In My Own Little World. . .
3,238 posts, read 5,683,323 times
Reputation: 1557
Quote:
Originally Posted by twojulybabies View Post
I am trying to be rational here, because otherwise I will ground him until he is 18.

A bit of background: Back in February, when I got my desperately needed tax refund, I loaded my debit card info into my son's XBox so he could buy points to download an add-on for a game. That was the end of it. At some point in early March, over the course of 2 or 3 days, I had multiple charges for downloaded content on XBox, iTunes, and our PS3. (I previously had my debit info on the other machines for my use.)

By the time it was done he had "stolen" $124.25 from me via my debit card. I grounded him for 2 weeks from playing any electronic device that was connected to the internet. Re-payment issues still need to be resolved.

Well this morning I got up and he is playing a game on his XBox, online, and I heard him talking to his friends about a download that was released today. He asked me 2 days ago if I would get it for him and my response was that I would think about it. He apparently went ahead and downloaded it. I checked my bank account and sure enough, there's a debit from Microsoft.

He will be 11 in July and I am sure he knows better. He absolutely knew it was wrong but did it anyway.

What would you do and what do you think is appropriate punishment?

(No need to tell me to remove my bank info from the XBox - I've learned my lesson)
Sell the x-box and use the money to repay you. Let him work off the rest by doing chores.
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Old 04-09-2009, 01:34 PM
 
7,782 posts, read 7,793,780 times
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Okay I have two grown sons and your first mistake was allowing him access to your info . I would take all the electronic gear and lock it up and never allow him to have access to the keys . then you sit him down and explain to him that he stole from you , plain and simple and I would let him start mowing the lawn , taking out the trash , feeding the dog and any other chores you have that he can do and decide on a payment plan by the week so that when the money is paid back then he can be allowed access to his privledges . Let him understand that those games and things are priviledges and not rights !!! also remind him that people who steal end up in jail and then show him what jail is like . remove all of his goodies from his room and lock them in another room and leave just his clothes , his bed with a sheet and a blanket . Remind him that this is what jail is like and if he does not like it he had better stop stealing !!! Make it a very rough time for him so that the unhappier he is the more he will appreciate . It wont kill him it will make him stronger . I am sort of from the old school way of doing things it worked for my kids and most likely it will work for him be strong and dont let him con you out of punishment . good luck .
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Old 04-09-2009, 01:36 PM
 
Location: Alaska
5,154 posts, read 9,052,078 times
Reputation: 3483
Get a new debit card number. He may have it written down. As an added security not, you shouldn't use a debit card for online transactions. Your giving direct access to your checking account should someone hack into the system. A credit card gives you fraud protection and limits your losses.

I'd physically disconnect all gaming devices and lock them away. Give no time limit and definitely do not bring them out before his bill is paid. I'd also cut off his TV time. If you have cable, block him from watching everything, except the educational channel.

If you give him an allowance, pay him and then have him give it back to you. If there is something that costs money at school that he wants to do, don't pay for it. Instead, give him something like $0.10 on a dollar to be put towards his bill. Birthday coming up? Cancel the party and give him a reduced or no credit towards his bill. The idea is to make it hurt hard enough so the lesson sinks in.
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Old 04-09-2009, 01:37 PM
 
3,425 posts, read 6,219,918 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colleeng47 View Post
Sell the x-box and use the money to repay you. Let him work off the rest by doing chores.
ooh I like this. I was thinking "take away the xbox" but that kills two birds with one stone.

GameStop buys used game consoles, don't they?
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Old 04-09-2009, 01:50 PM
 
1,986 posts, read 2,415,328 times
Reputation: 1251
I'd sell not only the xbox, I'd sell every other electronic he has and make him find old fashioned ways to entertain himself. Replace them only at Christmas or birthdays over time, not all at once.

And that advice about changing your debit card number is good, solid advice. Debit is way different than credit, and you could lose everything you ever put in your checking account. Call your bank and insist they change your number. I had to do the same thing when AOL wouldn't stop charging my account after I cancelled their service. Once that number is out there, anything goes as far as some are concerned.
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Old 04-09-2009, 01:50 PM
 
2,753 posts, read 3,409,232 times
Reputation: 1706
When a kid steals he is telling you that he's not getting enough of something, love, attention, guidance, stability, nurturing...

Search your conscience, try to find some objectivity, and ask yourself, If this is in fact a cry for help, what is this kid, my kid deprived of? Err on the side of understanding, on his side. He is after all, part of you.

To add a response to everybody that is telling you to take this and that, to cut this and that privilege, I would suggest that the opposite may be true. How 'bout a radical cure: Shower him with things, gifts both tangible and intangible.
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