My son.

So my son, the ODD and ADHD kid, who is nine years old, stole a book from the book fair at school. We made him take it back, and write a letter. We are going to talk to his counselor today after school, and he already has detention. We took him to the police station and the office told him nicely that he has to listen to us, and stop stealing, and that future encounters with the police might not be so friendly. He even showed my son the handcuffs. So I am wondering what spiritual aspects of this might be. Last night before bed, we went through Exodus Chapter 20, the 10 commandments. We are going to talk to the priest, and go to confession, which I hope my son confesses his stealing. The priest will already know about the stealing before confession, even though he can’t make someone confess something. We are even goint to talk to his neurologist to see if changes in medicine can help this. As a point of order, and not to excuse his behavior, but my wife requires attention for physical and medical issues, and I am also unemployed and looking for a job. I think he is both jealous and needful of attention, though these things can’t be helped.

Dude. You are over-reacting. He did something pretty normal for his age. You can explain to him that this is wrong without turning into an occasion of shame and fear. Taking him to the police station for taking a book from the book fair is just ridiculous. Personally, I would have had him return the book, given him a punishment, NOT “detention,” and moved on. The worse you make of this, the fewer things you can do if something bigger happens.

Are you spending ANY time with him, that is fun time, Dad and son time?

oh, and p.s. I am speaking from the POV of someone who made these kinds of mistakes with my own ADHD son. Out of fear that he was going down the wrong path, I pretty much painted him as a future inmate of a maximum security prison. Bad move.

This all seems like overkill to me. He made a mistake, he hadto face them, return it, and write a letter. That with a week of grounding would have been more than sufficient.

If he’s feeling jealous and needing attention thenit is your job as parents to find a way to help with that.

Blood is thicker than water…

Taking the book back with the apology note would have been sufficient. But involving the police, his counselor, a priest, and a neurologist? Really? A kid stealing a book is not that unusual, and you’re doing way more harm than good.

What’s done is done I suppose, with the police- but please don’t jump to the conclusion that he needs his medication adjusted because he did a fairly normal thing. And regarding the priest, I think telling him your son’s sins is inappropriate. Bringing him to confession is great, but it’s your son’s responsibility to confess his own sins, not yours.


I feel for you. It is hard to find that middle ground in parenting. Some will say you are too lenient; some will say you are too hard. I don’t have any advice for you, just know I can sympathize.

Hang in there. You have our prayers. Keep us posted! :hug1:

Your son was being a boy. Throwing him to the wolves is not the best cure for being a boy. If anything, this act of taking the book is a direct result of less than optimal parenting. If he stole something and their was a law suit, it would be you and your wife that would be the defendants.

Agree here. Making him write a letter of apology and return the book was enough, along with reminding him to confess. You might want to sit down and discover what the book meant to him because I suspect it was not that book specifically but something else was going on. Does he feel that he can come to you with anything?

I don’t have ADHD but I stole as a child and as a teen and got caught, and one time I did not get caught. My nephew did something different but to another student (actually some others did the acts and used his computer ID and wrote mean things to two students but he knew of it), and he’s a bit hyper and unfocused, but he had to go to the person’s home and offer the parents a letter of apology. No further incidents of computer bullying, either by him or by friends. The humiliation of having to face the parents and give them a letter was enough.

Now, I don’t know your son but not every behavior is attributable to ADHD. Some of this is what kids do – test the boundaries because they all have poor judgment about consequences at that age. Not that you should ignore it when discovered, but you must temper the punishment with some love and patience. I think going to the police station was too much and may have sent too harsh a message.

By the way, no further incidents with my nephew who generally is a good young man 99.9% of the time. He’s now in college, though his grades could have been better but I suspect his inability to focus makes college harder for him.

I am a former elementary school teacher and I have worked with a lot of kids. It is my opinon that ODD is not a real disorder. In each case I found either the parents were being too lenient, (thus not really meaning no, so why would a kid obey) or to harsh (thus the kids were trying to free themselves from over-controlling). We as parents all want the best for our children, and we all make plenty of mistakes-- so do our children.

Please do not think that the above posters are shrugging off stealing. They all realize it is sin, but part of the culpability of sin is intent. What was your son thinking at the time? He saw a book, he wanted it, he took it. He wasn’t trying to be rebellious or hating God or thinking about the commandments. 9 year olds are very impulsive. If you make a huge deal about it, he will not be able to come to you when he sins in the future. Yes he needs a consequence, but not the police.

I myself am very strange, and suffered a wide range of illnesses, some on par with ADHD, does it make me a bad person? No.

Your son is still young. He doesnt exactly know how things work, he does not yet know the full power and expectations of the law, and he probably doesn’t understand everything bible and church related either. I’m sure he’s a great boy, but children that age do things sometimes.

Sorry to say this, but I agree with the person who said you we’re overreacting. Just let it pass, hopefully this experience with the police and the confession will make him more serious concerning things like this. BUT for now, let it pass, he’s young. If he was 17 or 20 this whole thing would be a different story.

Indeed! How sad to post on a forum for advice and get judged so harshly. I will pray for your family and that your son learn his lesson.

The nice thing is that -acccording to many - it is easier to pray for children.

What you have done already is excellent IMHO. It does show you love him - I am sure he must percieve this on some level as children often act out to get attention and crave boundaries as you obviously know already.

My kid was severly OCD. She went to a Steubenville Satellite Campus College trip in San Diego. Went to the Adoration Room and found herself crying uncontrollably. Many of the kids had similar experience. A spiritual experience as she describes it. No more OCD. That was years ago. Adoration in Special places, and organizations have special blessings- like Lourdes - IMHO- perhaps.

Initially we had her on Stratera for ADD as well. For us this was a big mistake. The untoward side effects were ridiculous and caused her to stay up real late most nights.
Worse than the disease. **Never **again. I would advise you go to Parents forums that discuss medications as opposed to drug manufacturer sites. This can not be stressed enough.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. Consult your Physiciam.

IDK, trailius, I think you’re doing a good job, FWIW.

I get that he’s nine and all, but he knows, or is capable of knowing, that stealing is wrong, as I am sure trailius has imparted. Yes, kids are impulsive, etc., and he probably has a harder time than the average kid controlling that, but the fact is that in a very short time chronologically (but perhaps a greater time developmentally, if you take my meaning) it will not matter “why” he took something not his, only that he took it. I think the whole point is to try to get the child to mediate his impulses, and I bet OP’s little guy understands, clearly, that his parents do not take stealing lightly.

If this is the first time your son has stolen something, then your reaction seems way overboard…I would definitely not make such a big deal about it. The police was too much, in my opinion.

If, however, this is a pattern then I can understand the reaction.

Parenting is hard work…I commend you for taking it seriously and working hard to do the right thing by your son. Just remind him at the end of the day how much you love him!

You’re overreacting.

He has many issues. Yes, his counceller should know becuase of everything else going on. He has a mother who is a burdan and very selfish. He needs not only you to get over this quickly but to accept him and not harp on his mistake.

This poor kid has an enormous burdan. He is lucky between his neurological conditions and his mother and seeing the pressure you’re under he’s not in an institution full time.

I really wish you had come here and asked for advice BEFORE you put the hammer down on your son.


When my kids were younger, I was afraid that if I didn’t rid them off all bad behavior, they would grow up to be ne’er-do-well slugs living on public assistance.

As my wife pointed out, they were just acting their age. I would freak if, at 8, they didn’t do something correctly because “if they do that when they are 20 they will be on the road to failure”. My wife would just say, “Yeah, he/she is just eight - right where they should be. Go take them to the park.”

Your wife was wise. I was like that when mine were little, but then as they became teens, especially my younger one, I did over-react and get into the “wreckage of the future.” Nothing like telling a kid, “You’re headed for prison!” to inspire him to become a model citizen…:rolleyes:

Agreeing with TheRealJuliane and Pink Lemonade. This is much too much for punishment for the crime.

Two things stand out - first as Pink Lemonade says, you cannot confess someone else’s sin for them. You can certainly talk to your priest about your own concerns as a parent, but you can’t “prep” him for your son’s confession.

It is always a good idea to go to confession regularly whether you are concerned about your son’s behavior or not… We go as a family once a month. I never have made my kids go into the confessional though. When they were younger, I would read through a children’s examine (with NO commentary) and let them think for awhile before we got to the church. Then I would get in line and go to confession. If they also got in line and went, great. If they didn’t, they didn’t.

Second - you mentioned your wife’s health and your own unemployment. Your son will definately be affected by those things, but so are you. It sounds a bit like you feel out of control with everything going on, and so are over-reacting to your son’s very normal behavior. No, it isn’t good that he stole/took without permission. However, it does happen -and not just with ODD/ADD kids. Book fairs can be confusing - they are often held in the school library where you *do *take books without paying, and more than once a child thought a book had been paid for and took it innocently. I have worked book fairs in my children’s schools before! :wink:

I think a better plan is for you to take things a bit more slowly. Use this time while you are not working to spend some part of the day just hanging with your son - be the one who gets him from the school bus, take a walk through the park, play catch, help him with his homework.
Use this time to get deeper into prayer. Say morning prayer with your family before your son goes to school, take a rosary break after you’ve spent a set time job hunting. Can you and your wife get to daily Mass at least a few times a week?
It sounds like things are very difficult for you right now. Rely on God to take care of your whole family.

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