What to do when your child steals? Little kids steal a lot – because of poor impulse control. Child development experts say that it is just one of the child’s development stages. Older kids steal too – that poor kid is not evil or destined to end up in prison for the rest of their lives. Of course, it is embarrassing, and not acceptable. We’ll talk about this issue in detail, but we need to understand the reasons behind your kid steals. Below are some reasons –
• To act cool and impress his/her friends
• Poor impulse control
• When parents refuse to buy them the things they want.
• When someone else has it and your kid also wants it. (Inferiority complex)
• When your child is afraid to ask you for it but steals
• Kids do enjoy taking risks and stealing objects gives them a thrill
Why do kids steal?
Stealing other’s possessions is a common habit among kids. At their age, they do not have a clear understanding of what is right or wrong. At times, they pick up something from the store not knowing that it isn’t the right thing to do or why stealing is wrong. They simply don’t understand the concept of purchasing.
It is high time to teach your preschooler kids about why stealing is wrong so that your child starts respecting other people’s property. You can discipline your child by making small conversations, and educating them about the importance of not to touch other people’s belongings.
Like said earlier, that the reasons behind why my child steals can be several. There can be peer pressured, or they steal because they cannot afford, a depression, or there can be underlying mental as well as behavioral health problems.
Addressing this issue is a must thing which can help overcome the “Stealing problem” completely or your child may at an elder age be able to face some serious legal allegations.
What to do when your child steals? When to worry?
It’s a matter of concern for any parent of finding out their child stealing. In elder kids, they can land up in serious a legal issue which is very embarrassing.
Denying or giving excuses for their wrongdoings is their most usual way of covering up their truth and the primary reason behind getting your kid into trouble. You are probably angrier about the lie than about knowing that your child has been stealing.
Parents have reason to worry because their kids don’t seem to have any regard for truth. It’s because they overheard, mommy getting sick and not going to work when she wasn’t, or they heard you making a false excuse of which is the reason they have been lying for stealing.
If you hear your child telling you stories which has lots of fake reasoning behind and look too bogus to accept, it may be the time you make it clear why truth matters and why it is important to always tell truth. Make your child differentiate between the right and wrong and stealing is wrong.
How to stop a child from stealing?
1. Emphasize honesty:
Avoid lying in front of kids. Have more conversations and discussion emphasizing on honesty. Praise your kid when you find him/her being honest. Educate on why honesty is of utmost importance and how it helps developing them in a better human being.
2. Teach your child to respect property:
Educate your child about taking good care of someone else’s toys, or borrowed items and returning them exactly how it has been brought. Teach your children the concept of “ownership” and “responsibility” to take care of their own things.
Educate them about respecting other people’s belonging and to ask before they borrow.
3. Return stolen goods:
To steal is a spur of the moment think – it’s a temptation that a child gives into. When you catch your child taking somebody’s stuff without their knowledge, explain to your kids that it is not the right thing to do and make them apologize for their behavior and explain them to not repeat it again.
4. Provide consequences for stealing:
You can teach your child about the consequences of stealing or who is constantly in a habit to take away the things without permission. Let them know that it can land you in trouble, and put you in an extremely embarrassing situation in front of others.
5. Change your parenting style:
Practice attachment parenting style with your kids. Studies have shown that children who are closely connected to their parents are more sensitive, and they are able to understand and respect the rights of others. Furthermore, it is easier to teach about valuing other people’s stuff and let them know the consequences of stealing. Due to the close child-parent connection, your child is more likely to agree with what you are saying and accept your given advice and values.
What to do when your child steals at school?
- Explain to your child that taking things without permission is stealing. Stealing is considered as a crime.
- Make it clear that when a person takes something without asking and does not pay for it, someone will not like and might get hurt. For example, if your friend takes away the crayon, then you will be unable to complete the picture without that color which you wouldn’t like.
- Teaching them the concept of what ownership means and how others will feel when you have stolen the stuff from others.
- Teachers/counselor should be consistent in teaching the concepts of honesty lessons through examples. School can also arrange for the law enforcement/police officers to take up the basic session about stealing and explaining the consequences of the same.
- Understand if your child stealing can be a pattern or it happens for once. Figure out this and be in touch with your child’s teacher to know his/her behavioral patterns etc.
When to seek professional help?
Stealing more than once is not a good sign. The habit is tough to quit and with the age, it becomes intense resulting in activities like shoplifting, pickpocketing, etc Your child might face serious issues when he/she continues to steal. If still, you find that nothing is working in your favor and situations are getting worse, seek help from a counselor or a self-help group. Stealing can have many social, legal or emotional consequences. A professional counselor or a parenting advice expert can help you to know the underlying causes of stealing.