Why Children May Steal:
- Lack of self control.
- Peer pressure. Friends might dare a child to steal.
- To impress friends. A child might steal to give things to others in order to buy their friendship.
- Revenge. A child might take something of another child to get back at that child for various reasons.
- To get attention from parents. A child that feels neglected by a parent might steal in order to receive attention, even if it is negative attention.
- Boredom. If a child is bored, stealing would provide excitement.
- Lack of money.
- Environment. A child may live in an environment that condones stealing.
Tips for Dealing with Stealing:
- Model honest behavior. If a cashier gives you too much change, let your child go with you to return the excess.
- Communicate the importance of respecting others and their belongings. Show respect for your child and his belongings.
- Get to the root of the problem and deal with it quickly. For instance, if peer pressure is the cause, help your child find new trustworthy friends.
- Support your child in returning or paying for the stolen object.
- Explain that stealing affects many people. For instance, stealing from a store affects the store owners and their families as well as other consumers because the owners will raise prices to make up for their loss.
- Give the child a chance to manage money. A modest allowance could be helpful in teaching your child money management.
- Do not label your child as a thief. After all, this could be a one time offense.
If your child continues to steal after trying these suggestions, seek help from a professional counselor.