It does not matter if your child is 5 or 15 years old, if you realize that your child is stolen, you cannot be indifferent. An isolated incident of theft doesn’t have to mean anything bad, with firm and consistent discipline you can prevent theft from becoming a bad habit.
WHY DO SOME CHILDREN STEAL?
It is not uncommon for a 3- to 6-year-old to pick up other people’s belongings. Children at this age lack a clear understanding of how stealing affects others and how harmful stealing is in society. From the age of 5 or 6 it is necessary to teach children about empathy and why theft is wrong, so they will learn to respect other people’s property.
Children from 6 years old and even into adolescence, often have problems with controlling their impulses. They can take an object they want without considering the consequences, in this sense it is also very important to teach children about impulse control to avoid theft.
Teenagers can steal because they like to feel the adrenaline of doing so or because they feel pressured by their peers to do so and do it to feel accepted within a group. It may also be that teenagers steal because they cannot pay for the objects they like or even because it is a way of rebelling against authority. This behavior can cause them to get in trouble with the law.
Underlying emotional or mental health problems can also contribute to behavioral problems like stealing. A child who struggles to understand his emotions over his parents’ divorce may begin to act out. Or a child who is struggling with depression may use stealing as a way to deal with his emotions. The disorders of conduct can also make a child or adolescent has impulsiveness and lack of remorse or misconduct be associated with the robbery.
HOW TO ADDRESS THIS BEHAVIOR
Whether your child has brought home suspicious items from school or elsewhere and claims it is a gift or that you caught him stealing from a mall, how you address the problem will directly influence the likelihood that to steal again or not. It is imperative that you do not embarrass your child because this could get worse. In order to tackle this problem, keep the following tips in mind:
-Power honesty. Frequent conversations about honesty can go a long way toward avoiding lying and theft. Always apply a less serious consequence to the behavior as long as it is telling the truth and provide praise whenever your child is being honest.
-Return what has been stolen. When you realize that your child has objects that are not his and that have been stolen, it is necessary to return it and apologize to the victims. Help your child write a letter of apology or accompany him to return what he has stolen. For some children, simply admitting that they have stolen and returning it is the most effective consequence.
-Logical consequences for stealing. Returning items is not always a big enough consequence for some children, so if, for example, a child always takes away his sibling’s toys without permission it could be an effective consequence to take away their toys until he returns what he took away first.
-Think about the future. It is necessary that you work together with your children to solve the problems and that the theft does not happen again in the future. This way you can reduce the probability of new thefts. You can start by eliminating temptations for a time, such as having your teenager unsupervised in a store.
If you consider that the theft is becoming a more serious problem than something that has happened in a specific way, then it will be necessary for ships to help a professional to identify the underlying causes of the theft and help all of you to have sufficient strategies to stop this. bad habit. You need to act early and address the problem before it gets worse.