Finding the fact that the child takes on objects that do not belong to him can be disturbing for any parent. Automatically, in such circumstances, you come to doubt your ability to educate your child and you can blame the little one for his behavior. Before you endanger your relationship with your little one, find out what are the reasons that can cause a child to steal and what steps you can take to correct their behavior!
Why does the child steal?
The reasons why a child gets to steal from his parents or acquire items from shops, other children, etc. that do not belong to them varies according to their age.
By the age of 6, the notion of "theft" means nothing to the child, for the simple fact that he is not aware that there is a difference between what is his and what is of others.
Also, the child can steal because he is not able to control his impulse to acquire a certain object. When he discovers that he likes a toy, a candy, etc., the child feels the need to acquire the respective object. In the absence of the parents' judgment, to inform them that a deed is right or wrong, the child will not feel guilty for having taken an object that does not belong to them.
Around the age of 7, the child begins to learn the notions of "good" and "bad" and to understand that it is not good to steal. At this point, the acquisition of other people's objects could become a memory or turn into a more complex behavior.
Teach him to correct his mistake
Treat your child's theft seriously, especially when your child is at the age when he or she understands that he or she has adopted the wrong behavior. If you find out that he stole money from your wallet, pay attention to the wrong behavior and do not allow him to enjoy the amount he took.
If the chick has started to spend the stolen amount, find ways to "pay" your debt: take the garbage, clean it, wash the dishes, etc. It is essential to help him understand that such behavior is having negative consequences, to discourage him from repeating it.
It does not favor the tempting situations
If you have noticed that the child has a habit of owning objects that do not belong to them or that your puberty or teenager has stolen money from your home, try to eliminate situations in which he or she may feel tempted. For example, do not leave the family's money handy - or in the place where the child already knows he can find them - nor the valuables or of which you know that the child can feel attracted.
It eliminates the motivation behind the theft
When the child reaches the age he understands that it is wrong to steal, it is important to discover and eliminate the motivation behind his actions. As a rule, a child who continues to steal, even though he has been repeatedly told to adopt the wrong behavior, hides a strong motivation. It is possible that thefts are a way of expressing their anger and it is not excluded that this behavior is perpetuated by a low self-respect.
Also, consider the recent events in your family's life: the child may react to the stressful situations he or she was subjected to (divorce, moving) and try to take revenge by stealing. When the child gets to steal large amounts of money and possibly valuable items in the house, ask yourself if the motivation is an external one, such as drug use. Look for clues to suggest the reasons behind this type of behavior and, whatever the discovery, take drastic measures.
It does not eliminate from the equation the possibility that the thefts are triggered by kleptomania, a rare disease, but that can be behind the behavior of your child, when it is perpetuated despite your efforts.
Don't judge and label your child
Whatever the age of the child and the reasons behind his thefts, it is very important not to outline a negative image of him, as an "offender" or "bad person". If he comes to believe that he is a bad man, he will no longer make the necessary efforts to correct his wrong behavior, considering that he has no chance to get back on the right track.
Teach him to appreciate honesty
From a very young age, you can learn the chick that means honesty and what its benefits are. If, for example, your 5-year-old hands over someone's wallet to you, instead of taking his gesture as such and simply returning the rightful owner's object, you could say "Mommy thanks for bringing his wallet, now let's see who it is and give it back.I'm sure he / she will be glad you found it, just as you would be very happy if someone gave you a toy that you lost ".
By adopting an attitude of this type, without labeling it as "sincerity", you will inoculate the child with the idea that he has done correctly, exactly as you expected him to do, and will adopt the same type of behavior on another occasion.
Ask for specialized help
Repeated thefts of your child can hide serious problems that can be difficult to manage within the family. Moreover, when the thefts continue even after the child becomes perfectly aware that his actions are wrong, the behavior requires specialized external help.
Since the thefts can be caused by emotional traumas, feelings and emotions that the child does not know or cannot handle on his own, he does not hesitate to seek the help of a therapist. For example, the psychological counselor of the kindergarten or school where the child learns can be of real help. In more serious situations, the intervention of a doctor may be necessary. Ask for the advice of a family doctor who can guide you to a psychiatrist, for example.
Have you ever faced such a situation? Did your child ever steal from your home, from shops, from relatives or friends? Tell us your story in the comment section below.