Parenting - values | 3-12 yrs

Dealing With Children Who Steal

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Stealing is an undesirable behaviour that affects many children. Most of the time, young children take things because they do not understand the difference between what belongs to them and what is not theirs. Young children may also take things that attract them. Children slowly outgrow this habit as they begin to understand and respect the concept of possession. But if children aged six years or older indulge in stealing, it should be a cause for concern. Children who are unable to overcome their habit of stealing may also steal outside the home as well.

To deal with the habit of stealing, parents must look into the reasons that makes the child steal. Some of the reasons why children steal are peer pressure, low self-esteem, and to try and buy friends as they feel lonely.

Once parents understand why their child steals, they will need to find out ways of correcting his habit. According to the article ‘Stealing and Children’ in, ‘Parents should walk a fine line between discipline and humiliation. It doesn't help to make a big issue and treat the child as if he has committed a major offence. This will only serve to frighten the child and put his back up. If a parent is absolutely sure that his child has stolen something, he must inform the child that he is aware that the object does not belong to the child. He should then question the child as to where he got the object from and then insist that he restore it to the rightful owner’.

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