Children are naturally curious. They tend to get very interested in a specific thing and take it with them without asking permission from the owner of the item. For children ages 3 to 5 years old, such act is excusable. But kids who are already at their right age to know what is appropriate or not, this action is not acceptable.
The Parents’ Role
It is true that parents can’t be with their children 24/7 to monitor their behavior. But you can still implant ethical values in your child.
Be a Role Model.
First, you have to be a role model to your child. Be careful about what you say or how you act because your child will mimic it. Show him or her the right attitude and behavior, and the child will eventually follow you, adopt it and own it.
You can also teach them the right values. Emphasize more on honesty and consideration of others so that it would be instilled into their minds that stealing is not good at all.
Take note of your child’s things. Make it a habit to check their bags after school, and if you find something that doesn’t belong to them, call his or her attention at once.
Reasons why children steal.
Children steal for some reasons. But as parents, you have to open your heart and still try to understand even if it is difficult. But again, appropriate actions must be imposed.
Some kids steal things from their siblings just to mess with them. Jealousy and envy is the root of such actions.
Your child may steal to show their friends that they are tough and can do anything. They just want to belong, be accepted and considered by the people they call their “peers.”
False independence and freedom
Some kids steal things just to have it on their own. They usually get tired asking permission to borrow something, the solution they see is to take the item for good and have it on their own.
Precautionary measures when you find your child stealing.
Tell your child about stealing.
You can start by telling your child that stealing is a big mistake. It is a disrespectful act and completely inconsiderate of other people’s feelings.
Bring or pay it back as a consequence to your child.
Once you found out that your child has stolen something, you should help them get the item back or pay for it. Your child must also be responsible for such action, for example, being grounded or a soft punishment.
Your child must not “like” the idea of stealing.
Make sure that your child will not find any advantage in the act of stealing. If he or she does, then, your child may tend to repeat it.
No nagging or making your child feel bad.
You can talk to your child, but don’t scold or nag him or her repeatedly. And telling them that they are the worst person you know will not help the situation. Instead of making them realize their mistake, they will now have the reason to take it against you and be more rebellious.
Tell your child that this is unacceptable.
Make it clear to him or her that, what he or she did is unacceptable and would be a substantial lousy mark of her in the society.
Instead of prosecuting the child immediately, it is best to do some soul-searching. Ask them why they did such act, assess what would be the best intervention and put an act on it. Remember that you love your child, it is just the act of stealing that you don’t approve. If there are issues that you can’t talk with your child, you can always turn to BetterHelp for support.