Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My neighbor is a thief

I think my 12 year-old neighbor kid is stealing my son's stuff. Every time he is over, something comes up missing in the next day or two. For example, this past Sunday he needed to come over to use our internet for some practice tests for school. My husband had taken the boys fishing so the only people in the house were me, the boy and Olivia. I had been on the front porch while Olivia was napping talking to my sister on the phone for about 30 minutes. When I came back in I saw him coming down the steps. I was immediately suspicious because there was absolutely no reason for him to be upstairs and he has taken things from Sam before. He said he was using the bathroom. I told him there's a bathroom downstairs. As a matter of fact, you have to walk right past the bathroom to even get to the stairs. He then laughed nervously and said,"Oh yeah, I keep forgetting that!" We all live in military housing, so for those of you who don't know....every single house is exactly the same. He didn't forget. So I casually walk myself up the stairs and start looking around Sam's room to see if I notice anything missing. The first thing that caught my eye were his Tech Decks. They're these little skateboard things that he likes to collect. There were three sitting on top of his bookshelf, but I couldn't remember if there were supposed to be four or not. I just could not really tell so I left it alone....until this morning.

Now, it's been a crazy week and the weather has been all yucky so there has not been a single kid upstairs since Sunday. The last kid in the house that went upstairs was the neighbor boy. Sam called down to me this morning asking where his fourth Tech Deck was. I immediately stopped and I knew instantly where it was. I told Sam I wasn't sure and promised to help him look later, but quickly shooed him off to the bus. Now that he's gone I'm steaming mad. I don't even know what to do about it! I can't just all of the sudden forbid the boy from my house. I can't run over telling his mom that she's got a klepto on her hands - I have no proof!! If I were in that position, I would want proof. What mom is gonna look at her own kid's sweet face and not believe him when he says, "I swear, MOM, I didn't take anything!!" This boy is not a little one anymore - he's 12 - he needs something to fill a void that has surfaced. Their family is new to the Army and their father is looking at his first deployment in a month or two. The boy's grades have been suffering and he's been fighting with his parents. Now I have to figure out a way to tell them that I think he's been taking Sam's stuff too! Oh my God what do I do? I'm so mad I can hardly see straight. What's worse is that I've given them all the advice I can without sounding obnoxious and they just look at me like I'm crazy! She tells me he's not finishing his homework, I tell her to have him sit down and do it as soon as he gets home from school. Pretty obvious, I think, but she looked at me and said, "He's 12, I should not have to sit down and make him do his work." The way she said it told me that she was not receptive to my idea so I just dropped it.

They've got a lot of issues over there and I don't want to make it worse. The things that have gone missing are not that expensive, but it's the principle of the matter and I, honestly, do NOT want him in my house anymore. What do I do?


Allie Bear said...

I wouldn't let him in my house anymore but then again I don't let most of my neighbors in my house to begin with. If he does come over again, I'd stay on him like white on rice, either that or I'd spy on him, put him in a situation where he can take something and catch him this time. At least then you'll have some evidence to give his parents and then they can't be upset at you.

Damama T said...

If you don't think you can talk to the parents, talk to the kid. He is 12. He is smart. He is crying out for somebody to take notice that he is hurting. His mom is treating him too much like an adult if she won't even take the effort to make him do his homework. HE IS ONLY 12! But he is old enough to know right from wrong.

The next time he comes over, ask him to come visit with you in the kitchen for a minute. Offer him a drink and a snack and sit down with him like you would a friend and explain your concerns. Let him know that he can talk to you and be honest with you. But also let him know that he can't take advantage of you and your son's friendship without there being some pretty serious consequences. Ask him, point blank, if he took Sam's stuff. Give him the chance to return it without anybody ever knowing what happened. And exact a promise from him to not take anything else. Ever again.

You have an opportunity to effect a change in this kid's life. I hope you can figure out a way to help him and yourself at the same time. Use some humor and love and you may be amazed at the results.