General Question

miketheawesome's avatar

Brother stole $600 from me. What do I do?

Asked by miketheawesome (77points) February 16th, 2013

I am currently 16 and my brother is 10. He has been stealing money from me for the past year and a half, and recently I finally caught him because I marked my bills. Over this time, he has stolen about $600 from me and I am very angry because I am not a wealthy kid and that was all of my money that I worked hard to get. He has already spent all of it and when I told my parents they talked to him and said that he would pay $200 back (because he is a child). He spent all of the money on food, shoes, and legos. Furthermore, I feel he has no remorse for this act, and I feel given the chance he will do it again. He also lies quite often and had lied for a while about this. I would very much like to teach him a lesson, but also get my money back because I need it and I feel that, even given he is a child, he should be paying back at least more than half of what he stole. Please post advice.

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40 Answers

fremen_warrior's avatar

The money’s gone. As for the kid, talk to your parents about this. Last resort: move out asap.

wakawaka36's avatar

Tell your brother that if he does it again you will hurt him.

ragingloli's avatar

A metal lockbox with only one key, that you carry with you at all times.

zensky's avatar

This would be a good time to teach him a couple of lessons, with the help of your parents.

It sounds like he needs both an allowance – and a lesson on respecting other people’s property.

He should get an allowance – if he still doesn’t. How much is up to your parents.
This should be in conjunction with some weekly chores; raking leaves, doing the dishes, etecetera.

The next few months he should do both his – and yours.

Slowly, over the next few months/years – he should pay you back – completely.

In addition – he should write a letter of apology and an I.O.U. explaining why he thinks he stole your money, how he intends to repay you and why this was wrong. To your satisfaction. If he doesn’t agree to this, and worse, explain to him that we choose our friends, not our family. You may always be brothers – but there will come a time (in the very near future) when he will want you to be his friend. Tell him you won’t be friends with thieves and liars who show no remorse.

miketheawesome's avatar

1. I have talked my parents, and they are very weak when it comes to parenting him
2. Threatening him will only me into trouble with my parents
3. I do not have the money for a lockbox, nor do I feel it would be necessary to get one if he learns his lesson
4. He already has an allowance, and his allowance is generally more than enough for a 10 year old to use
5. I like the idea of him doing all of my chores as punishment.
I also saw on a different question, with regards to less money, that the child has to give away their favorite items to charity, and the items that they bought with the stolen money belong to the person they stole the money from. Would anyone say this is helpful in my situation.

Coloma's avatar

There is really nothing you can do, sorry to say, except keep your money locked up and well hidden. This is a very unfortunate situation and I am sorry your parents are not taking a bigger stand.
The lying and stealing are symptoms of much deeper issues with your younger brother and I am surprised your parents are in denial about that. Your little brother should be put in counseling and if he were my child, along with getting outside help for his behavioral problems I would also have him work his little butt off to make restitution to you in FULL!

He should be doing ALL of your chores, ( if you have any ) and anything he earns from your parents or any other small jobs should be turned over to you.
I am so sorry you are having to deal with this. Keep your cash under lock and key, or better yet, open a bank acct. that he will have no ability to access.
A 10 year old with this degree of conduct disorder is a very serious thing. Make no mistake about it.

I would tell your parents that they are ignoring some very SERIOUS behavioral problems.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
SamandMax's avatar

I’m not so sure there aren’t underlying unseen reasons as to why your brother is doing this. There may be issues present that we know little or nothing about that need addressing – but seeing as we don’t know what those hidden, unwritten issues actually are, we can say nothing more about it on that front.

bookish1's avatar

Wow, that’s awful @miketheawesome. What do you mean when you say your parents are “very weak” in their parenting of your little brother? Do they have different standards for the two of you? Do they let him get away with BS like this because he’s the “baby”? Are they in denial that he has done anything wrong?? What the hell does a 10 year old need to buy food and shoes for, if he is being adequately provided for? It does sound like he has some serious behavioral problems.

It might teach him a lesson if he had to give away his belongings to charity, and if you could reclaim the things that he bought with the money he stole from you. But this comes down to discipline and who has authority in your household. Who’s going to force him to do either of these things if not your parents?

If you can’t afford a metal lockbox, I think the best solution is to get a bank account. It’s a good thing to learn how to do around your age anyway.

Welcome to Fluther.

CWOTUS's avatar

Welcome to Fluther.

I’m in the “not much you can do” crowd on this, as to the money that has been stolen. You’re not the parent, so matters of discipline and punishment are outside of your scope of responsibility. And you don’t want to get into retaliation and payback on your own, so don’t even think of that. (Except that you might channel some of your justifiable anger and hurt into creative ways, such as @ucme‘s elegant solution. Write a story about that. Paint a picture. In fact, if I were you I would find a nice accidentally-on-purpose oops-I-almost-didn’t-mean-to-do-that way to mention this story to my grandparents, who will surely recognize some of the bad elements of this story.)

One of the bad elements, I hate to say, is, “How are you taking care of $600 in cash as a 16-year-old and not aware of what is happening to that except after six months?” In other words, why did it take you so long to notice and investigate the theft? (It’s a rhetorical question. I’m not requesting that you answer it publicly or even privately, only that you think about it yourself.)

My final advice on the topic is that you not leave cash lying around for anyone to notice and pick up. Tell your folks that you want to start a checking account – you can probably find a free one at your age – and start to manage your money in a more adult way, which will necessarily keep it away from your light-fingered younger brother.

Ron_C's avatar

I think that your brother is deeply troubled. The $600 is nothing (even if you worked for it) compared to the idea that he feels no shame or remorse for the stealing. I would say that your brother is well on his way to becoming a sociopath and he needs help immediately.

In the meantime get a lock-box that can be attached to something solid like the floor or joists. Your parents should be deeply troubled by this, if they are not, they’re part of the problem.

I wish you luck because your home situation seems very bad and I would move out as soon as possible.

Coloma's avatar

I agree with @Ron_C
Also...@CWOTUS...I don’t think that @miketheawesome should have to take any responsibility for the kid brothers thieving ways. In healthy families one does not have to worry that their siblings are going to steal from them. Period.

Any kid can swipe a dollar or two, once or twice from a sibling or parents purse, but this is an extreme and ongoing issue. I stole a few extra quarters from my mothers purse for candy as a child, maybe 2 times and I felt terribly guilty.
@miketheawesome I would straight up tell your parents, and pose this scenario to them.
” Hey mom & dad….how are you going to feel in a few more years when I disown you as parents for failing to champion me in this situation?”
” If you don’t care about losing your good son forever, then fine. It’s up to you, either choose to DO SOMETHING about this or you have been warned.”

zensky's avatar

So, young @miketheawesome – what do you intend to do?

CWOTUS's avatar

Did I leave the impression that @miketheawesome should be responsible in any way for his brother’s theft, @Coloma? I certainly didn’t mean to. He’s not responsible for the theft or for stopping it or for punishing his brother, not at all. But I do think he has to be responsible for not noticing the theft for six months, and (to a lesser extent) for making it so easy by leaving so much cash ready for the taking.

Coloma's avatar

@CWOTUS Gotcha.’ :-)

miketheawesome's avatar

I already have enough problems with my parents so threatening them to leave is not wise because they will tell me to. Also, by weak parenting I meant that they let him go on with his BS and get whatever he wants, which is differently then they have ever treated me.
The reason I let it get so far is because I was never positive that it was him, so I still felt comfortable leaving money around my family. In a normal family, one should not have to worry about money being stolen by a member of that family.

Coloma's avatar

Maybe have your folks read this thread. Let them see that the majority of adults, and many of us parents, are saying your brother has big issues that need attention. You know best, but, do you think if they read this that it might be a wake up call? Probably not a good idea but…you never know.

miketheawesome's avatar

Unfortunately I doubt this will give them any “wakeup call”. They kind of have the opinion that they’re always right and they don’t care about how other people parent. I am just hoping some of you can help me come up with a plan of how to address this myself. I want to teach the lesson and get some of my money back.

zensky's avatar

@miketheawesome Many years ago, about the time of your inception, I discovered the internet and more specifically – chat.

This was right around the time when I was newly divorced and feeling quite sorry for myself, and lonely.

I chatted too much.

I also was the primary caregiver of my two young children.

I was chatting a lot – and not very caring nor giving.

I was also in complete denial of this – how much time I spent online and how much time I spent with them.

I received a three page letter from my very young daughter – complaining and explaining about this predicament and situation. It was a rude awakening – and effective.

Perhaps you could do the same, or, maybe share this thread with your parents.

Sometimes kids will assume things about their parents’ lack of caring or sensitivity to an issue – and they will be correct. Sometimes not. But doing nothing and assuming is wrong – for both. You deserve better – and they deserve the benefit of the doubt.

Try it – what’s the worst that could happen? You’re worth it. And, probably, so are they.

Good luck.


the100thmonkey's avatar

Punch him in the face.

Then take the $200.

Punch him in the face again later, and take more money from him.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Keep better track of your money. Live and learn.

How exactly does a 10-year-old spend $600 on food, clothes, and toys without his parents becoming suspicious about where he got the money?

CWOTUS's avatar

I think the answer to your questions is in the thread, @livelaughlove21: lax and permissive parenting as regards the younger sibling. It’s one of the many problems faced by the OP.

Sunny2's avatar

Open a bank savings account with the $200. Add to it as you can. At 16, that shouldn’t be a problem. Banks like people to start saving early.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@CWOTUS Still seems odd to me.

@Sunny2 I don’t know about all banks, but the banks I’m familiar with (including the kne I work for) only allow people under 18 to have a minor’s account with a parent as the primary account holder. Not sure that would do much good if the OP already has so many issues with the parents.

Kropotkin's avatar

Your little brother has the right traits for a promising career in banking and finance.

ragingloli's avatar

There is also no guarantee that your parents will not raid your savings account.
Mine did, repeatedly, leaving me with virtually nothing when I moved out.

Coloma's avatar

Well….it seems pretty obvious that the kid is probably stealing from the parents too if the opportunity arises. Clearly any money he can get his hands on is fair game in his screwed up little mind. The OP probably is just the easiest target. If the parents are so in the duh zone that they actually don;t think little Skippy would be stealing from them too….well…..pretty much Mr. & Mrs. Basket Case. lol

Sunny2's avatar

@livelaughlove21 You may be right. Times have changed. Perhaps he has a relative or trusted adult friend who could vouch for him.

Jeruba's avatar

Of course you should not need a lockbox for reasonable security in your own home. But if you do, your parents should provide it.

Don’t rely on a lockbox with a key. Use a combination lock that can’t be picked.

JLeslie's avatar

Since your parents don’t seem to be doing anything to really address the problem you are just going to need to protect your things and money better. You have to assume there is a theif in the house and lock everything up or don’t keep much money in the house. Can you get a debit card and not have much cash at all around? Don’t give him your PIN number, do not use your birthday or something obvious for your PIN. I had my own bank account from the age of 5 years old.

If I didn’t know better I would worry your brother is a drug addict, but since you know he is buying food, shoes, and legos, I guess that is what he is spending it on.

I think if your brother has no remorse that is a little scary.

It sounds like you all have a lot of money floating around for such young people. I agree with what a jelly said above, how does a 10 year old spend that much money and parents not wonder where the money is coming from?

wundayatta's avatar

The obvious solution is to put the money in a bank account. Once you get it, you can always change the password in order to keep your parents from accessing it.

If you can’t get a bank account, you can hide the money. There must be tons of places in the house that you can hide it. To me, $600 is a lot of money. I’m surprised you didn’t hide it even when you didn’t know it was your brother than stole it. Were there all kinds of outsiders coming around who could also have been the thieves? Did you think your parents might be taking it?

This all sounds very strange to me. Where is the money coming from? Who else was in the house who could have been taking it? Why did you not try to hide it sooner? Why don’t you have a bank account?

Pachy's avatar

Open a savings or checking account and get an ATM card.

bolwerk's avatar

I’m tempted to tell you to steal it back from your dick parents.

But yeah, at your age, a savings account probably makes sense.

zensky's avatar

Two wrongs don’t make a right.

JLeslie's avatar

I also was tempted to say steal from your brother and teach him what it is like, but really it is not good advice. Something will happen to him where he learns the lesson without the OP having to stoop to that level. If he doesn’t learn soon it isn’t ok to steal he will start losing friendships, relationships in general, endure shame, or get arrested. Since he is only 10, I prefer to think he will grow out of this quickly and nothing horrible will happen.

blueiiznh's avatar

He obviously has a problem with respecting other people and their things.
You have known this for quite some time. Lock it up, get it out of the house. Don’t enable him as he has to fix his issue.

bolwerk's avatar

Two wrongs don’t make a right, but not all stealing is wrong. Theft is wrong.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Tell him and your parents you will call the cops if he does it again. And if he does it again call them.

SamandMax's avatar

…because sometimes tough love is the best teacher.

CWOTUS's avatar

I like the subtlety of @bolwerk‘s response a lot.

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