Stealing

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    • #185849
      Liz Ewart
      Participant

      My son is 17 years. He generally manages his ADHD well now after many years of learning to understand it and coaching him through the difficult times thanks in a large part to ADDITUDE. He isn’t on medication although has used it in the past but since leaving school he’s disengaged from it. It helped with concentration but his behaviour has been better managed with coaching. There is just one thing that we don’t seem to have got a hold on at all and that is that he keeps taking my bank card and making purchases on it. He knows he will get found out because it appears on my bank statement and often as an email confirmation and this has happened so many times that he has experienced it. I know that with a learning difficulty that this does not mean he will learn that quickly though! He generally feels a strong need for something and with ADHD I know delayed gratification is a struggle but he has managed to save money for a shopping trip to the city before although in general he collects designer goods which he can liquidate when he does need money as a way he manages his need for money. He has a part time job and experience that means he can find work fairly easily and I fund his student accomodation and direct living costs and travel. He is very likeable so is good at sales and building rapport as often ADHD kids are and copes really well with the risk of being scammed which he has been a few times and seems to suit him in this respect whereas I couldn’t cope with that side of things and would rather have a pot of savings. I just wondered if anyone has any advice for this habit of his that might help? I’ve tried expressing my feelings about it and in general keep getting my bank card stopped and replaced in a way to manage the boundary. His most recent purchase I have said will have to be his early Christmas present because he promised to pay it back within a few days having liquidated some clothing but the excuses seem to come thick and fast and I don’t have any sign of the money appearing probably because he’s spent it on something else or repaid a debt to someone or similar. In total he owes me about £2500.00 through this and other various holes he has got himself into like crashing the car because he couldn’t wait until he was old enough to drive and needing to buy a birthday present for his girlfriend when she’d lavished him with gifts on his birthday, and he’d spent all his money on himself. I was happy to let him take the consequences but felt sorry for his girlfriend on that occasion. I do wonder if I am rescuing him too much but have said he does need to pay it back. My worries in the past are that if he feels too much guilt and shame and need to pay it back he’ll turn to illegal activities to do so being quick. I think as he’s got older he has realised it’s not worth that having had some close scrapes on both sides of the law. I’m not sure if he feels guilt at all or is a master manipulator but I think in the moment he genuinely thinks he’ll pay it back one day but that day never comes. That is the worst part the feeling of being used and treated with no respect. With the underlying ADHD I am caught in a conflict of knowing whether its a lack of boundaries or something he really cannot help. Am I enabling a shopping addiction and a sense of entitlement or does he need support and understanding? I’d love to hear views from people who understand and have experienced ADHD.

    • #185896
      Penny Williams
      Keymaster

      This is often a compulsion and a coping mechanism. It’s really hard to stop it. A good therapist trained in addiction seems most helpful.

      Penny
      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Coach, Podcaster & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #185927
      Gazettechan
      Participant

      That might be a part of his coping mechanism.

    • #186130
      katherine4
      Participant

      In addition to the idea of therapy mentioned by the previous poster, it sounds as though this child needs firmer boundaries. What he doesn’t need is emotional pleas and rational discussions. Instead, focus on taking action. First of all, make sure that he can’t get his hands on your credit cards. But if he does, as soon as you get word that he has made a purchase, you should immediately find him and force him to return it. Right away. If it can’t be done right away, then he needs to surrender the merchandise to you right away. Also, if you are paying for his cellphone or any other extras that aren’t really necessary, then those privileges should be stripped away. Teach him how to treat you (and others) through action, not lectures. Remain calm when discussing misbehaviors. You’re human, so you don’t have to act cheerful when you’re upset, but keep your emotional reaction with him to a minimum. It distracts his attention away from the behavior that you’re trying to help him change.

      Aside from that, give him lots of love and positive attention when you can. Good luck to you!

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