"Is Our Son a Kleptomaniac?"
Nancy and Mark say their 18-year-old son, Chris, regularly steals from family, neighbors and department stores, and they fear he’s a kleptomaniac. Chris admits he gets a rush from stealing and says he can’t be left alone — or else it’s bound to happen. What’s at the root of Chris’ behavior?
A History of StealingNancy and Mark say Chris has been a thief and a liar for most of his life, and after taking him to dozens of doctors and holding him accountable for his actions, nothing has helped. They say Chris regularly steals items such as DVDs, candy, watches and money and shows no remorse for his actions. “Chris has been stealing compulsively for the last 10 to 12 years,” Nancy says, adding that her son pilfers two to three times a week. “We are afraid our son is a kleptomaniac.”
Chris says he has stolen so much, he can't even keep track. “I mostly steal because I don’t have the materials I need.” He says the only other thing in life that gives him a similar rush to stealing is playing video games.
Chris’ 21-year-old sister, Meredith, says she resents having to “babysit” her brother and put her life on hold just to keep him on track. She also has to guard her own belongings, and she locks her door on a daily basis. “I keep most of my valuables completely outside of the house,” she says. “I do not trust my brother.”