If your child is caught stealing by you or by someone else, it is a very important issue to address. Kids of all ages can steal and while they may not have ill intentions behind the action, it still needs to be talked about and dealt with in a constructive manner so it does not happen again. Many parents feel shocked and overwhelmed when their kids steal something from someone else, a store or even from them. They are shocked in disbelief because they can’t imagine their amazing little child performing such a deceitful act. It is completely normal to feel this way and before you start thinking the unimaginable, you need to deal with the situation immediately and stop any future stealing in its tracks.
While these tips cannot guarantee it will never happen again, they can help a child understand that it is an unacceptable behavior, that society frowns upon and that it can lead to more troubles in life.
Confront Them About the Event
If you were cleaning your 7 year old room and came across a toy or item you have never seen before, or if you are looking for something in your teenagers backpack and come across some expensive makeup or clothing you know they cannot afford, you need to talk to them directly. It is very important that you sit down face to face and confront your child about the situation.
They may deny the item and say they don’t know where it came from. They may say they found it. They may say they were given it from a friend or are holding it for a friend. Kids usually lie if they are scared about how you will react if they have done something wrong. Let them know that you want to know the truth, that you will always love them, but lying and taking things that don’t belong to them is unacceptable behavior.
Take Action and Quickly
If you found a stolen item in your child’s room or elsewhere, and if they tell you the truth about where they got it from, tell them they must take it back and apologize. Go with your child and make sure they apologize to the store keeper and give the item back. Teach them to be responsible for their actions at all times.
Tell Them the Consequences of Stealing
If your child is caught stealing from a store and arrested, they are probably already feeling scared, ashamed and nervous about what will happen next. They may learn their lesson from this actual event of having a police officer or security officer escort them out of the store. But parents still need to talk to their kids after the event occurs. Let them know how a life of stealing can quickly turn into a life spending time in juvenile detention centers and then possibly serving prison time.