Author: Alice O.
Kids stealing are not necessarily going to be thieves! Stealing is actually a pretty common mistake. First you need to be aware of the reasons of this behavior.
Know that children under 5 have no concepts of ownership. School-aged children may have difficulties controlling themselves. It’s also often the expression of an emotional lack or a basic need that isn’t met. In some other kids, they need to have control over their life. Knowing the root of kids stealing behavior is of course important. You need to try perceiving things with their eyes. But if the reasons vary, the way to react is constant and only depends on your child’s age.
Here’s what you can do:
• Stay calm. Don’t overact. You can’t teach anything by being angry or by yelling at your child and you can’t understand your child’s mistakes by reacting impulsively.
• Do not accuse your child if you didn’t see him stealing something. Until you catch him in the act, don’t judge, don’t accuse. It’s difficult but essential. First because you might be wrong, second because your child mustn’t see you don’t trust him.
• Very young kids stealing don’t know it’s wrong so explain it very simply. Be careful not to label your child as bad, dishonest, or a thief. Only the act of stealing is bad and dishonest. Labeling your child will only make him grow to fill that label. Don’t forget this.
• If your child is old enough to know that stealing is bad and if he stole from someone outside the family, have him return the object and apologize. Accompany him. He needs to see consequences and feel the shame that stealing brings. If he stole from you, make him pay by helping you.
• Understand his needs and the emotional lack he feels. If he needs attention, give him more of your time. Just never stop trusting your child.
Kids stealing is a mistake that can be easily handled and solved. But, when it has already become a habit or if your child is a teenager he might be influenced by other people. In that case, you need more help than just a few tips.
The good news is that some parents created very good parenting methods and I would recommend a very helpful and friendly website called www.YourParentingHelp.com. It has been created by a group of parents and they selected 4 parenting programs they tested. The reviews are very clear and help seeing how each program can help you. I’m glad to share this resource with you because it did help me. Parenting isn’t always easy but kids stealing compulsively is one of the problem that can be ended when you have the right communication tools, that I can assure you.
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