What parent should do if they catch their children stealing

Tenzin Pema    22 Apr 2019    2360

As parents we all have seen children take things that do not belong to them. It isn't uncommon to see kids take these things as they still lack the clear understanding of how stealing can affect the other person. Whether it is pocket change, toys or food, if it is not dealt with immediately it can have dire effects as they grow older.  There are a multitude of reasons why children might steal, and it is paramount that the parents realize why to properly address the conflict. 

The most common reasons for stealing I have seen from my experience as a mother is that the child steals because he/she lacks attention from their parents, peer pressure to think that stealing is "cool," or because of jealousy.  It is important for the parents to distinguish the cause. The most effective method is to enforce disciplinary action as soon as possible.

It can be very daunting of a task to deal with, but has to be done as soon as it happens.  You ask yourself " How do we handle this?" "Is this indicative of my child's character?" or "Are we not doing our jobs as parents?" According to many studies, this happens way more than you might think for children between the ages of 2 and 5. Children have not yet developed a sense of morality and often do not realize that whay they have done is wrong.

Some methods to mitigate this include"

  1. Teach children the importance of Honesty - Talk to your children about honesty as often as possible.Try to give a less serious consequence and praise them whenever they are honest about any misdeeds they might have done. Children who do not feel comfortable talking to their parents about anything can lead to more serious behavioral issues in the future. It is important to create an environment where a child feels free to talk about anything and everything. 
  2. Teach children to respect the properties of others - When children are young they might have trouble realizing between what is right and what is wrong. Parents should always teach their children ethical values and to respect others. Create rules about taking care of their own toys and to always ask to borrow anything. 
  3. Return stolen items- If you do catch your child stealing, it is vital that you make the child return the item and apologize to the victim. Not only will this make the victim happy, it will also enforce the notion of how upset someone can be if their belongings are stolen from them. 

I also have to mention that it is also important to discuss everything to you doctor. If it becomes a serious issue, therapy can be of great aid.