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What to Do If Your Child Steals

Many parents become shocked and angry when they discover their child has stolen something. It is important that parents do not instinctively react in an angry manner to what their child has done. It is best if parents are calm and sensitive when confronting a child who has stolen. If a child is confronted harshly, he or she may not open up to the reasons why he or she has stolen.


If the child is very young, he or she may not have the understanding to grasp that just because they want something they cannot take it. Talk to your child about right and wrong and honesty. Have your child return the object they have taken and apologize.

If your child is older and has been caught stealing, try to uncover the reason behind your child’s stealing. Is it because he or she does not have spending money? Was he pressured to steal by another friend?

If the child claims that he or she does not have enough spending money, ask yourself if that is the case. If it is, you may want to consider giving your child more money. However, if you feel your child has adequate spending money but they spend it on frivolous items, you may want to sit down and work out a spending plan for your child. Children must be taught that they cannot have everything they want. If your child is wanting something expensive, find ways for him or her to earn the money they need to purchase the item.

If your child is hanging out with a set of friends who steals, try to keep your child from spending time with them. Help your child make other friends and do everything you can to make his or her new friends feel welcome in your home.

A child should be taught that stealing is wrong. They should also be disciplined for stealing. Find a way for your child to make up for what he or she has stolen. Make sure your child understands that you are not upset with him, but at his behavior. Make sure your child knows that you love him or her unconditionally.

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