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10 yr old stole money at school

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10 yr old stole money at school

Casual scribe

10 yr old stole money at school


I got a call from the school this morning. They found out this morning that my 10 yr old son had taken another child's lunch order money yesterday. The child didn't get their lunch and told the teacher. They were able to deduce who it might have been and that's when my son fessed up and returned the money. So he was going to spend it if he'd gotten away with it. This morning he was sent to the Principal's office and they had a word with him about how disappointed they were etc. They asked him more information, he didn't say why he did it but he said he took the order, pocketed the money and threw out the paper bag.


He's usually quiet at school and known to be friendly and kind, the teacher had expressed this to be uncharacteristic of him and as such the discipline handed out was detention and removal from class responsibilities/jobs particularly anything involving money. Unfortunately, as his parents we know otherwise - he has taken money from us before (never from others) last year he took some money from my husband's wallet and it's always because he wants to spend it at the canteen and buy his friends and himself some treats. We thought it was over and he had grown out of it/matured and learnt to do the right thing. We thought he'd learnt that buying popularity/friends will lead to disappointment and pain and that stealing is wrong, he's not entitled to what he took.


I've been crying my eyes out feeling like I've failed him and am so ashamed. I'm in fear of what judgements will be made against him and our family and I especially worry about the impact it may have on his younger brother at the same school by other kids and parents. I'm not sure how to approach him to get him to talk to me and how to discipline him. I'm catastrophising and need to calm down - being blindsided and put on the spot by the principal is very intimidating! I just really feel torn between being upset with my son and being protective, wanting to ensure my boys are ok and they learn from this...

Prolific scribe

Re: 10 yr old stole money at school

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Hey there @Tazzie and welcome to the forums


I'm sorry to hear about what happened recently. It can be really hard when people we love fall back into bad habits, it doesn't mean that it's your fault. Have you had a chance to speak to either of your sons yet? 


I was also wondering, have you had a chance to speak to anyone else about the situation? A great place to contact if you're unsure or don't want to reach out to friends or family is ParentLine 1300 30 1300, if you're interested.


We're here to listen Smiley Happy

Parent/Carer Community Champion

Re: 10 yr old stole money at school

hi @Tazzie 



Looking at this from the outside..


First... your son is 10 and that is an age when you are still working out how the world works.


Second... It is natural to want to protect our children but sometimes protecting them can not be best for them in the long run to let them face the consequences of their actions.  


In this case .. It is probably best your son got caught and as a result got to understand there are negative consequences for some actions.  Goodness knows I got plenty of them at his age (and older) courtesy of school discipline system.


It's a big positive that his teacher had expressed this to be uncharacteristic of him which means he this is not what he is normally like.  


If your son is already feeling the impact of the detention and removal from class responsibilities I would avoid additional action.  You want him focused on what he did not resenting double punishments.

I would also be focusing on holding him accountable for what he does moving forward.  With both positive rewards as well and punishments if required for his action .


Everyone is entitled to learn from a few bad decisions, the key is to making sure he is learning and it sounds like that is well in hand.



Casual scribe

Re: 10 yr old stole money at school

Thank you so much, I did end up calling parentline and was such a great help to me. It forced me to look deeper into the emotional and behavioural aspects of what happened/why it happened and to look at it more from my son's perspective.

I definitely felt more confident about talking to him about it and helping mediate between him and my husband as I knew he'd also want to talk about it when he got home from work.

Thanks again!
Casual scribe

Re: 10 yr old stole money at school

So true. He shows maturity much of the time I forget he's only 10 and will make mistakes navigating life - I still am!

My son was extremely sheepish and clearly ashamed at his actions when he got home. He was told they'd ring me. It took my questioning and prompting to get the full details out of him and we had a good discussion about stealing and how lucky he was at the way the other child has reacted to him.

I'm still not sure if this is the last time we'll have to deal with him taking something I definitely feel he got the message, is remorseful and am very grateful he not only got caught but fessed up and returned the money.

I tried to make it easier next time he was faced with that sort of temptation by explaining "if it's a choice between doing the right thing and doing what you really want, choose the right thing" might not be clear all the time but it's a good start.

Thank you so much for your response, it gave me a lot of comfort and food for thought!

Since the day we've moved on and tried to not bring it up/rub salt in the wound. I do check on him every so often just to make sure he's not copping drama or flack from his peers but they seem to be fine - most kids haven't said anything or indicated they know what he did.

He's very lucky but also showed courage and good conscience when confronted by the child and the teacher. It takes guts to admit your poor judgement and fortitude to follow through by returning the money and apologising to them.

Thank you 😁
Star contributor

Re: 10 yr old stole money at school

Hi @Tazzie,

It sounds like you have really made the most of the learning opportunity with your son and helped him understand both the seriousness of actions, but also importance of responsibility for actions. His owning up to the actions and returning the money is a really brave and positive step.

Reflecting back on the experience, what are the top few tips you have for other parents who may be dealing with similar situations?

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