How to Stop my Child from Stealing

Stealing is never an appropriate behavior for any child. However, just because a child makes mistake of stealing does not mean that they have a life of crime ahead of them. Finding out the motivations for your child’s behavior is the most important thing that you can do in this situation. Younger children do not have the ability to understand that they cannot always follow their impulses. When children reach the elementary school age, they start to become conscious of not having everything they want. This can make them more impulsive than they intend to be.

Many children also start stealing because they are lacking in attention. They cannot understand that behaving in negative ways is not the proper way to express themselves. Many times children steal because they feel they have been wronged in some fashion and are trying to take revenge over what they feel is not right. Dealing with each situation is going to require a different approach depending on your child’s reasoning for the behavior. One thing is very clear, immediate action is required before it becomes a habit.

It is important to remain in control of your emotions when you speak to and discipline your child for this behavior. Otherwise, the child might trade one negative behavior in the form of stealing in for another in the form of not properly handling anger. Furthermore you cannot be able to be a proper role model if your behavior is not under control. Instead, your child learns to fear your reaction to them.  They need to start learning what they did in stealing was not the proper behavior.

If you’re going to accuse your child of stealing, be sure to have a credible witness. In the ideal situation you would have witnessed the behavior yourself. However, sometimes there are other adults that catch your child stealing and bring it to you’re attention. You should not rely on the testimony of children, or people that you do not know well. Falsely accusing your child of stealing can do permanent damage to your relationship. It your child does not think you trust them; they will be less likely to communicate with you about serious issues in the future.

Where extremely young children are concerned, it is important to keep the explanation of why stealing is wrong very simple. Remember, that you may have to explain the reasons on more than one occasion. Be sure to take any apology that your child offers seriously, and try to be supportive of their attempt to behave better in the future. Making children apologize for stealing at any age is appropriate. This teaches them that there are consequences for dishonest behavior. It also helps them understand in very simple terms about building a reputation.

If the stealing becomes a problem, unfortunately you can no longer blindly trust your child. You must intensify the punishment every time there is a new offense. You also cannot be lenient with punishment otherwise the child will not understand the serious nature of stealing. If necessary, consider getting your child professional counseling to figure out if there is another reason behind the negative behavior. This may seem extreme; however, prevention is the best solution to any problem.