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Stealing, Violent, Play with Poop, Eating Problems, Manipulative

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My 8 year old step son has been ground for almost a year now, he will not behave for more than 2 days.
He steals whatever he can constantly, food, money, screws, lighters and just other random things.
He is very destructive, he has torn up a whole wall in his room and writes on his walls and put holes in his walls. Is very violent when he does not want to do something, kicking slapping, biting.
He also will eat things that are not food, pencils, pens, paper, wood, and clothes.
We have heard him multiple times talking to himself in different voices that were so odd we though some one else was in his room. He says that he wasn’t talking to anyone and did not even say anything.
He is not hygienic, he plays with his poop, smears it on the walls and on the toilet and has peed on the walls in the bathroom. He is not a competent talker, he either talks like a 3 year old or cannot really speak and says things like ummm ummm ummm when trying to tell someone a story or something that he had did, or even what he ate and keeps starting from the beginning and repeating himself.
He is extremely manipulative to try and get what he wants, to anyone.
He shows no feelings for other people, but is overly emotional when it comes to himself.
He is very bossy and mean to people who are mentally challenged, younger, or smaller, he also does this to pets. He does not have these problems in school and the teachers have never said a bad things about him.

We had taken him to a therapist and he has said that all of this is normal, a therapist was our last resort because we figured if everything that we have tried didn’t work it must be mental. The therapist is having us try things over and it is not working but he is insists that everything he is doing is normal and only focuses on the stealing. When talking to my step son he always says that “doesn’t know why” he did it or “because I’m bored” or “because life isn’t fair” I wanted to know if there was possibly something wrong with him and if we really need to switch therapist.

Stealing, Violent, Play with Poop, Eating Problems, Manipulative

Answered by on -


It is clearly time for a second opinion. I would not recommend leaving your therapist, but I would highly recommend getting a second opinion from someone who specializes in child’s psychology or child psychiatry. The collection of behaviors that you have described fall outside the range of what would be considered acceptable. A second opinion would be warranted.

I would also recommend having a discussion with your pediatrician. He or she may be able to point you in the right direction.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Stealing, Violent, Play with Poop, Eating Problems, Manipulative

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Stealing, Violent, Play with Poop, Eating Problems, Manipulative. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 3, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 19 Apr 2014)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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