You may have a pickpocket on your hands if you catch your child taking some sweets from a shop or stealthily hiding a toy sibling in his jacket. It can be an upsetting experience for you as a parent to find out that your child steals. But there are some ways to deal with a child’s stealing habit and make sure your child does not have this problem in the future.
Why Do Children Steal?
Children will steal from classmates, sisters, family, or even shoplifting. Here are a couple of reasons why children steal:
1. Peer Pressure
If your child has a bad company in class, i.e. if he has friends who are used to stealing he can even grow this habit of stealing from others. He may hesitate at first, but later, he can also grow this habit by seeing his friends do it regularly.
2. Lack of Attention
If your child feels that he or she doesn’t receive adequate attention at school, he may use stealing to gain his or her attention.
3. For Fun
Your child may feel an adrenaline rush to steal and may do it just for fun.
Ways To Deal With Child’s Stealing Habit?
Do not yell at him if you see your child steal many times since it will not help. Remain calm and patient, so you can make your child give away this habit. It may not be the correct solution to punish a child for stealing money or anything else. You have to teach a kid a lesson about stealing in a non-aggressive manner. Here are some ways you can deal with a child’s stealing habit and eventually get rid of it:
1. Find the root of the issue
Dig a little to figure out the root cause of the stealing issue of your child. Speak to your teachers to find out if your child is in the wrong school company Observing the peers of your child is the first sign of such behaviors.
2. Be Patient
Do not hit it or yell at it if you see your child stealing something. Keep quiet and make him realize it’s wrong, without forcing him to say sorry. Forcing him to say sorry is not going to do any good. He may agree out of fear for the moment, but later he will continue to steal. So, be patient and speak with him in a soft tone.
3. Make him realize that stealing is wrong
You must let your child know that it’s wrong with such actions. Make him realize that stealing is wrong and may in the future land him in prison. Tell him the long-term consequences of it, and he’ll understand it’s an unacceptable act.
4. Steer him out of tempting situations
Once you’ve seen your child steal once, make sure that you’re not getting into situations that might tempt him to do that again. Hide your bag, for instance, keep locked your money and other expensive items.
5. Forgive your child
You need to forgive your child and give him a hug and kiss, even though it might be hard. If he gets that extra attention and forgiveness from you, this can help the child’s stealing habit.
6. Ask your child to correct the mistake
Ask him to apologize once you catch your child stealing and return the item to the person from whom he stole it. This can humiliate your child and cause him to stop stealing. You can accompany him to apologize or help him write a letter of apology to the person concerned.
When To Worry About Child’s Stealing Habit
In children, the habit of stealing may start small, but it must be curbed before it becomes big. In the beginning, you can let it go with a warning, but if it persists, you need to know when to play a larger role in coping with your child’s stealing habits. It may be due to a recent change in your life that makes you pay less attention to him. Like a new sibling or a divorce or a new job. Your child may also have a rare kleptomania disorder that makes him steal compulsively. If you notice that your child is stealing over and over again, then perhaps it is time to consider the following options:
- Consult with a family therapist or counselor.
- Visit your family doctor who can guide you in the direction of a successful therapist.
- If these incidents occur in class, speak to the counselor of the school.
- There are several online forums that support kleptomaniacs and shoplifters.
- With your child, you can consider joining them.
Definitely, a qualified therapist will help you speak to your child and recommend strategies to help him to stop stealing habit. These can be in the form of events or seminars that you can participate in as well. This will help to strengthen your relationship with your child. If you’re paying attention to your kid, he’ll listen to you and know what you’re saying is right because you just want the best for him.