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Stealing Problems in Kids | Child Behaviour Problems

People take something that belongs to someone else without permission, that’s stealing. Some kids have lack of control, and start stealing their wants.

Surabhi Setiya Child Behaviour 18 Dec 2017
Stealing Problems in Kids | Child Behaviour Problems
5 Years Ago 1.7k Reads 5 min read

Stealing is a process in which people take something of someone without their permission. Younger children of 4 years of age cannot understand that they should not take things that are not related to them but by the time you are 5 or 6, you understand what is right and what is wrong. 

Most school-age children know that they have nothing to do without asking or without payment. Nevertheless, some children lack self-control, and they wish they could see something and take it. A healthy response from you can prevent your kid's theft from becoming a habit. If your child steals something, immediately intervene and use discipline strategies that teach your child to steal is wrong and prevent them from taking things that are not theirs. It is very common for children to take something that stimulates their interest. Parents are role models for their kids and they should teach their children about the rights of property and others' consideration. 

a black african -american family preparing dining table for dinner while their kid is stealing something

Why Kids Steal?

If your kids are stealing, then to deal with this behavior you should firstly know about the motivation behind the act. A few are the points for the stealing habit of kids:

1. Lack of Knowledge and Understanding

It is normal for preschool people to carry other people's goods because at this age they do not have a clear understanding of how stealing affects others and how it can be harmful. They can also take something from the store because they don't understand economics and the concept of buying. So you should teach them that stealing is wrong and this will help them to respect other people's property. 

2. Poor Impulse Control

Impulsive control is another reason for kids to steal because primary and middle-school-age children normally struggle with children. They can quickly put an object into their pockets without knowing the results so you should teach your child about controlling impulse control to prevent them from stealing.

3. Peer Pressure

Many kids steal money from the locker or take the item from the store because they can be pressured by their friends to do this. Sometimes they also steal something because they want to have good things that they couldn't afford in another way.

4. Mental Health

Reducing behavioural disorders or mental health problems can also put to behavior problems such as stealing. A child who struggles to cope with their parents' divorce can start acting but a child who struggles with depression may use robbery as a way of coping. 

Strategies to Discourage Stealing in Kids:

When your child steals something from the school claiming that it was a gift or from the store then it gives a sign that they will again steal. The following are the strategies that can discourage your child to steal:

parents teaching cycling to the daughter very carefully

1. Emphasize Honesty

You should have frequent honest conversations that can help your child to prevent stealing and lying. You should give less serious results when they tell the truth and give them lots of praise for being honest about stealing. 

2. Teach Respect for Property

You should make them responsible for their belongings and this will help your children to understand their own. You should talk to them about how to treat their toys and also tell them how they should take care of borrowed items and return them to their owner.

3. Return Stolen Goods

If your child steals something then you should insist them to return the stolen item immediately and apologize to them. You should also help your child write an apology letter or visit the store to return stolen items with your child. 

4. Provide Consequences

If a child continuously takes his or her sibling's favorite toys without permission, then they will benefit by lending their toys to siblings. Dismissing privileges can also be a logical result because an older child may have to work extra to earn the money that is needed to pay someone back for stolen goods. 

5. Problem-Solve Solutions

You should work with problem-solving strategies and remove the temptation that will reduce the stealing incidents of the future. You shouldn't allow your child to go with friends to the store and teach them the skills of self-control before they are ready for another stealing.

Recommended: Get Online Counselling help in India from the best Psychologists to stop your kid from stealing habits.

Finally, I can say that stealing stops as the child grows up, and taking appropriate measures taken by parents can also help in this. Stealing can have many results such as social, legal,  and emotional. If your discipline strategies don't work to stop the stealing habit of your child, then you should take a further step and seek professional help. They can help to identify the cause of stealing and sometimes they recognize that behavioural problems,  mental health concerns, and conduct disorders are the main cause of stealing in your child.

You should tell your children that stealing is the wrong thing and tell them that it is against the tradition of the family to make sure that the child doesn't get any benefit from the stealing.

  • Recommended

    Surabhi Setiya

    Clinical Psychologist

    Pune, India

    Available - Online

    Language: English, Hindi, Marathi

    Expertise: Couple Counseling, Self Improvement, Work Stress, Spirituality, TeenAge Problems, Psycho Therapies, Over Thinking

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