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Mental Health

My Son Steals Money?

10/19/2010

Question:

My son is 9yrs old and been stealing money for about 2years, i hide my money and he searches every where for it, he is stealing of me at least twice a week and not little amounts he has took up to forty pound at one time, i ask him what he does with the money he tells me he throws it in the bin,garden,flushed down the toilet. He has had behaviour sessions at school I have even been to my doctors for help im at my wits end i dont know what to do or where to turn to help me. Please give me advice.

Answer:

I am sorry to hear about your son's struggles. It is hard to speculate on what is going on based on the information you have provided.
 
This pattern of stealing is not typically seen in isolation and is usually accompanied by other emotional or behavioral issues. I urge you to contact his pediatrician and ask for a referral to a mental health specialist. A thorough evaluation will determine whether your son's stealing may be a manifestation or symptom of a mental health condition such as ADHD, Conduct Disorder, Mood disorder...or possibly be an attention seeking strategy related to some other difficulties or struggles in his life. The assessment would hopefully help you understand what is causing your son's behavior and will provide you with recommendations on how to further proceed. Best wishes.

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Response by:

Ghada N Lteif, MD Ghada N Lteif, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University