Why does your child steal? Your reaction may increase this behavior

Help the child understand the meaning of ownership and make him responsible for his property.

We may have a lot of differences between parenting, but we agree that stealing and lying go against the moral rules we hope to instill in our children, and violence makes theft more likely to happen again, so if we approach the behavior calmly, we show our children that they can come to us for help. In solving dilemmas rather than resorting to theft, the response to behavior depends mainly on the child’s age and level of development.

Stealing and lying are normal behaviors in childhood, and psychologist Emily Edelin explains how parents react and when they should feel anxious, in her article Via the Parents website.

Children under the age of 3 do not even understand the abstract concept of a lie, and although children between the ages of 3 and 7 have begun to understand truth versus lies, they still confuse truth and fiction, and may tell elaborate stories that have no basis in reality. Therefore, stealing is not a criminal act at this age. If your face is angry, children will feel fear of punishment, but if you can show that you are not angry and there will be no punishment, they will confess without distress.

Don’t allow your 13-year-old to be robbed with his friends in stores without supervision (Shutterstock)

Although children between the ages of 8 and 12 have a better understanding of stealing and lying as wrong, they may be manipulated, at this age these behaviors can be just an experience and nothing criminal in them.

Don’t look at theft behavior on an ethical scale. Perhaps his friend wished for a new toy, and your cute child wanted to buy it for him with money from your wallet, knowing that the behavior is not a sign that you failed to teach morals.

If your child is at this older age, it’s a good idea to have a more in-depth discussion about how stealing and lying hurt others, and create more problems for those who do it as they get older.

Stealing in 8-12 year olds can be an experience rather than a criminal behavior (Shutterstock)

Why do children steal?

If your child steals, you will need to determine the motive behind the act before developing a plan to deal with this behavior. Here are some common reasons why children steal, explained by the Family Education website (Familyeducation)، The most prominent of these is poor impulse control, when someone else has something unique that he wants, or when he wants something he needs, and he doesn’t have enough money, and you can’t save it either, children enjoy taking risks.

The Very Well Family website states:VerywellfamilyOther reasons and motives for theft:

It is common for preschool children to take other people’s belongings, at this age they lack a clear understanding of how stealing affects others, they may take something from a store just because they don’t understand what it means to buy something, so this is a great time to start teaching your child that stealing wrong order.

  • impulse control

Elementary and middle school age children often struggle with impulse control, they may quickly put something they want in their pocket without thinking of the consequences, so teach your child impulse control to prevent theft.

Talk to your child about values ​​and morals in a short time, not in a Shutterstock lecture.

How do you treat theft?

Whether your child brings something from school home and claims it is a gift, or if you catch him taking something from a store, the way you address the problem will affect the possibility that he will steal again, and here is the need to talk with the child and try to determine The reason for the theft Without scolding, ridicule or embarrassment.

Talk about values ​​and morals, in a short time not in a lecture, but just a reminder, and tell him that you are watching his behavior, that you have lost some confidence in him and need to gain it again.

The Very Well Family website (Verywellfamily) to the need to have frequent honest conversations, and to meet your child with less serious consequences when he tells the truth and with more praise when he is honest.

Help the child understand the meaning of ownership and make him responsible for his possessions. For example, talk about the importance of treating toys with kindness. Set rules about respect by asking before borrowing things. Discuss the importance of taking good care of borrowed things and returning them to their owner.

If you catch your child’s stolen items, insist that they be returned immediately and apologize to the victim, or accompany your child to the store to return the stolen items.

And don’t allow your 13-year-old to be with his friends in stores without supervision.

When do you seek medical help?

Stealing can have many legal, social and emotional consequences for a child, including expulsion from nursery school or school and criminal charges for teens. If theft becomes an ongoing problem, you may need to seek professional help that determines the underlying causes of theft.

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