Fill up this form to notify us about any comment that you find to be objectionable or improper. Please also do provide us the reason for your objection.

In: home > Raising Children / Behavioral Problems / Stealing and Children

Stealing and Children

raising-children Behavioral Problems
Stealing, at different stages of growth,  has different meanings for the child. But if stealing is a recurrent behaviour, then the cause should be identified. Stealing can be as a means of getting attention or to overcome loneliness. A straight talk with the child help in solving the problem of stealing.

Jumping the gun

Parents often find that their children turn up with things that don't belong to them. A parent's instinctive reaction is to give the child a good dressing down so as to nip his career as a petty thief in the bud. To decide that a child is stealing is a moral judgement that parents tend to be trigger-happy about. The fact is that parents cannot apply adult standards of discipline, self-control and morality to the actions of little children.

The age of innocence

Small children aged from one to three years occasionally do take things that don't belong to them, but their intention is not to steal. They are too young to comprehend the concept of possession and that something could belong exclusively to someone. They still have to develop the concepts of 'yours' and 'mine' so when they see something they like, they feel it's all right to take it. So if a three-year-old has walked off with her playmate's doll, there's no need for her parents to overreact. They merely have to explain to her that the doll belongs to X and she would like to play with it so it would be best to give the doll back. They can also remind their child that she has plenty of dolls of her own to play with. 

Young children may also take things as part of their search for an identity. For instance, a child may take his father's watch or his elder brother's favourite video game just because it gives him a sense of belonging. It is not the object in itself that attracts him. He feels that by having something that belongs to his father or brother in some way makes him like them. He has not considered the right and wrong of taking these things. Guilt develops at a later stage. 

Older children and stealing

When children from the age of six to adolescence steal, they are definitely aware that what they are doing is not right. By this time, their conscience has developed, as similar behaviour in the past would have been met with parental censure and disapproval. Thus, when children in this age group take something that does not belong to them, they tend to be secretive and furtive. They will usually hide the object they have stolen and probably deny taking it when confronted. It is relatively easy to forgive a younger child for taking what does not belong to him on the grounds that he is unaware of what he is doing. However, parents confronted with children old enough to know the difference between right and wrong are dismayed by this 'criminal' behaviour. 

Often parents are perplexed because they find that the object that their child has 'stolen', is something that he already has. Therefore, the stealing is inexplicable. So where does the problem really lie? Loneliness could be one explanation. May be the child feels a lack of closeness in his relationship with his parents or has difficulty making friends. In that case, by stealing money he could attempt to buy the affection of his peers or attempt to satisfy his craving for attention and affection in this roundabout fashion. Stealing can also have its roots in feelings of fear, resentment, jealousy, etc. 

Sometimes an older child may steal an ashtray when he goes to a restaurant with his friends or swipe something from his parents. Such behaviour is usually the result of peer pressure and done in response to a dare. This behaviour may be misguided, but it rarely stems from maladjustment or represents the beginnings of criminality in the child. He is just doing it to be accepted by his peers. The way to deal with this is to reprimand the child firmly and to make sure that nothing that the parents have said or done in any way condones such behaviour. For instance, discussions about evading tax or paying household bills on company expense. 

Dealing with stealing

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. The parent can help the child out by accompanying him to the shop or to the person to which the object belongs when the child goes to apologize, return the object or pay for it if he has taken it from a shop. It is not necessary to humiliate the child, but at the same time parents must make it clear that such behaviour is unacceptable and is not to be repeated. 

Parents also need to clarify the difference between stealing and borrowing. They must explain to their children that they need to ask the other person before taking any of their belongings. If the other person refuses to lend his possessions and the child still takes it, it is not borrowing, but stealing. The fact that the child asks first makes no difference because the other person did not give his consent. In this way, parents teach their children to respect other people's possessions, to have the manners to ask before using or taking others' things and to delay self-gratification. 

If the stealing is a recurrent behaviour, parents should consider the root cause of the problem. If they feel the child steals to attract attention or as a result of loneliness or a lack of affection, they need to rectify the situation. If necessary, parents can consult a child psychologist or counsellor if the stealing is chronic.

Articles (66)

Videos related to this article (421)
Dancing toddlers
MAN go eater
Sleepy baby
Sleepy baby 2
Virtual Pets that can read your mind
My Tamagotchis
How to download and Use Free Virtual Pets
My webkinz Virtual pets and a Couple of My Rooms
Hare and Tortoise story
The thirsty crow story
Fox and grapes story
Bedtime story
Baby Talk
Baby talks on and on
Baby gives big talk
Baby talking on cell phone
Disciplining your child
What to do if your child back answers you?
How to discipline a child
Disciplining from early age
Let us stand against terrorism
Children learn self defense in terror attack
Children suffer due to terrorism
Children and terrorism
Terrorism in India
Views on Mumbai terror attack
Stop terrorism
How to communicate with a child
Mumbai terror attack
Children learn fire safety
First aid kit
World Trade Center attacks
What is speed reading?
A child who reads
Reading a story book
Reading aloud to children
Child of divorced parents
Divorce and its effects on children
Coping with divorce
Children and divorce
Making money through interesting competitions
Money and children
Coping with financial difficulties
Raising children
A child coping with speech delay
Coping with speech delay
Helping child to cope with speech delays
Problem of delayed speech
A person coping with food poisoning
Food poisoning
A symptom of poisoning
Symptoms of mercury poisoning
Phobia of water
Phobia of an insect
Children and grease phobia
Dangers of having a phobia
Kitchen safety tips
Lead Poisoning in children
Educating children about fire safety
Child learning kitchen safety
A new toy for baby
Playing with toys
Playing with toys - funny
Toy safety tests
Children and depression
Depression and loneliness
Depression and feelings
Causes of depression
Claymation video for kids on safety at the playground
Careful While Playing
How to be careful on a playground
Playground safety - Funny
The Loss of a Loved One
Helping Children Cope with Death
Young Boy gives Advice on How to Explain a Pet's Death
Losing a Parent
Dos and Don'ts while Driving
Funny Video on Safe Driving
What NOT to do while Driving
Safe Driving
Safe Social Networking
How Social Networks form
Importance of Social Networks
Social Networks
Parents Feeding Child
Baby playing with Beer Can
Letting a Baby Drive
Baby drinking Coke
Baby Sitting Boogie
Funny Baby
Hilarious Babysitting Session
Disciplining Kids
Kids and Discipline
Effective Discipline
Teaching Kids Discipline
Playing Truant
Bunking off School
Bunking Lectures
Civic Sense
A documentary about Civic Sense
Civic Sense and our City
Ignoring Civic Sense
Technology and Kids
CCTV to watch Babysitters
GPS Tracking
Multimedia and Education
Stay at Home Dad
Documentary on Stay-at-home Dads
Dad Makes a Mistake
Life as a Stay-at-Home Dad
Lonely Child
Misadventures of a Lonely Child
Children and Loneliness
Parents Dont Understand
Childrens Behaviour
Influence of TV
Influence of Movies or Wrestling on Kids
Does TV influence Kids?
Children and Chores
Getting Chores Done
Responsible Kids
Great Helper
Bad Parenting
Bad Parenting Skills
Six Signs of Bad Parenting
Social Awareness
Respect the Flag
Womens Rights
Child Labour
Father and Daughter
Father and Son
Funny Parenting
Parent Child Connection
Baby and Pet
Metalhead Baby
Super Cute Baby
Baby and Puppy
Cute Child having Conversation with Parents
Importance of Spending Time with Children
Spending Time with Children at Dinner
Cute Child Playing with Dog
Gingerbread Man Story
Telling a Story to Kindergarten Kids
Teacher Telling Children Story
Story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears
Speed Chess
Roll the Ball
Colorado Ice kids race
Small boy playing with toys
Reading and writing
Infant massage to stop a crying baby
Learning styles
Challenges faced by Young Parents
Don't touch me
Sibling Rivalry
Big sister and Little brother
Sibling Jealousy
Five ways to better sibling relationships
Sibling Relationships
Sibling Love
Complex sibling relationship
Children Dancing
How to keep children entertained
Marian entertaining the children
On the playground
Children Playing With a Dog
How to set and stick to your New Year resolutions
Getting Children to Eat Vegetables
Making Your Bed
Teaching children personal finance
Tips to save money
Importance of Saving
How to prepare a Financial Plan
How to invest in stocks for kids
Tips for Investing Money
Invest in Kids
Talk to your kids about Money
Cell phones dangerous for Child pedestrians
Children should not use cell phones
Dangers of kids using Cell Phones
Advice for parents of kids using cell phones
TV Harmful for Toddlers
Advertising to Kids
Psychological Tricks of Advertising
Helping Kids understand Toy Ads
Funny Scene from Cartoon
Are India Reality Shows Real?
Child Labour
Child Labour in India
Very Cute Baby Talk
Baby talking on Phone to Dad
Public Speaking Tips
Handwriting the Alphabet
Tips for Parents of Pre-Schoolers
Teaching Alphabets to Baby
Crawling Tips for Babies Funny
Parenting tips on how to pacify a crying baby
10 things you can do to help save the Earth
Environmental Sustainability
Environment Education for Kids
Save Water
How to stay safe
Funny kids and animals
Kids riding a bike
Kids swimming lessons
Talking to Children about Money
Innovative Money Banks for Kids
Teaching Kids to Save Money
Importance of Money
Childrens Talent Show
Identifying and Nurturing Talent in Children
Encouraging Talented Children
Talented Child
Encouraging Outdoor Sports
Popular Outdoor Sport in India
India's National Outdoor Sport
Health and Sports Day
India's Higher Education System
India's Primary Education System
Education in India
Educating Girls in India
Financial Advice
Importance of Financial Education
Financial Education Session
Financial Advice Animation
The Influence of TV programmes
The Influence of TV Media on Society
Influence of TV on Teenagers
Media Influence on Our Perception
A cute Girl talking about her Career
Career Advice
Career in Dance
Career in Classical Dance
How to become a Good Nanny - Funny
Cute Little Nanny
Baby in Day Care
Baby Having Good Time with Nanny
Misbehaviour in Children
Kids Misbehaving at Party
Child throwing Tantrums
Answering Childs Question
Sibling Relationship
Sibling Rivalry
Sibling Playing Together
Cute Siblings
Summer Camps Conducted in 1941
Keeping Children Occupied with Books
Children Occupied with Painting
Summer Vacation
Bad Effects of Fast Food
Improving Nutrition Programs for Children
Obesity and Fast Food
School Lunch
Solo Acting on the Concept called Angry Parents
Effect of Anger
How to Control Anger
Anger Management Technique
Parenting Tips
Communicating with Children
Tips for Healthy Children
About Shy Children
Effects of Divorce on Children
Effects of Single Parenting
Single Parenting and Marriage
Divorce from Childs Perspective
Siblings Fighting for Toys
What can Lead to Sibling Rivalry
Cute Siblings Fighting with Each Other
Baby fighting with her Sibling for Toys
Wholesome Development of Child
Beginning of Childs Development
Development of Child
A Group of Children Playing
How to Increase your Self Confidence
Quotes on Self Esteem and Confidence
Quotes for Building Confidence
How to Build Confidence in Your Children
How Parents can Help Children
Animated Video on Coping with Peer Pressure 1
Animated Video on Coping with Peer Pressure 2
What is Peer Pressure?
Importance of Cleanliness - Animation
Cleanliness Campaign by School Children
Encouraging Children to Keep Surroundings Clean
Cleanliness Awareness Campaign
Tips for Managing Anger and Being Patient
Consequences of Anger
How to Control your Child
Control your Childs Internet Usage
Kids Buying Clothes
A Play on Shopping for Kids
Little Baby Shopping in Supermarket
Buying Toys for Kids
A Funny Video on Buying Toys for Children
A Child Happily Playing with Wooden Blocks
Toys which You Should Avoid Buying
Some Children do not Need Toys Funny
Parenting Six Children
Father Spending Time with Daughter
Spending Time by Exercising with Kids
About Spending Quality Time with Kids
Parenting Tips for Changing Childs Behaviour
How to Change Childs Behaviour
Anger Management Tips
Tips on Talking to Teenagers
Pacifying Baby Girl
Parent and Child Sitting at Height
Girl Child Throwing Temper-Tantrums
Parenting Girl Child - Daddys Angel
How to Build Confidence in Child
How to Improve your Parenting Skills
Parenting Tips
Tips on Parenting and Raising Children
Toddler Reading a Book
3 Year Old Child Reads a Book
School Going Kids Reading Stories
Tips for Reading Stories for Children
Raising Intelligent Child
Raising Confident Children
The Intelligent Child
Parenting Happy and Self Confident Children
Raising a Boy Child
How to Teach a Boy to be a Man
Tips for Raising a Happy Child
Parenting Tips for Raising Children
Teaching Kids to Be Responsible
Child of Irresponsible Parents
Responsibility of Educating Children
Encourage Children to Save Trees
A Funny Video on Financial Planning
Parenting Tips
Child's Career Plan
How to Deal with Aggressive Children
Tips for Raising a Happy Child
Parenting Tips on Dental Care
Parenting Toddlers
How to Discipline Your Toddler
Tips for Travelling with Child
How to Discipline your Kids
Disciplining Your Child
Potty Training Experience
Tips for Raising an Honest Child
Bible Values of Honesty and Truthfulness
Honest Opinion Animated Story
Importance of Honesty
Kids' Favourite Things during Vacations
Scrapbooking during Vacations
Family Activities during Holidays
Organising Crafts Material during Holidays
Cute Siblings Fighting with Each Other
Sibling Rivalry - Animated Video
Kids Fighting with Each Other
Kids Fighting Over a Scooter
Girls Fighting For a Doll
Kids Fighting with Pillows
Cute Children Fighting
Fighting Twin Babies
A Kid who Lies
Kids Lie after Eating Chocolate
Child Who Likes his Mother Sometimes
Child Lying about His Age
Giving Visit to Great Grandparents
Bonding with Grandchildren
Spending Time with Grandparents
Playing with Grandparents
Experience of Parenting Twins
Fun with Twins
Twins Having Fun
Raising Twins by a Single Parent
Guide to Good Parenting
Tips to Be a Good Parent
Parenting a Teen
Parenting an Angry Teen
Avoid Parenting Mistakes
Mistakes in Parenting
Parenting Mistake
Tips To Be A Better Parent
Child Overcoming Fear
Fear of Dentist
How to Help Children Overcome Fear
Tips to Deal With Fears in Children
Effect of Television Viewing on Brain
Addicted To Television
Effects of Watching Television
Harmful Effects of TV Viewing
Monitoring Childs Online Activities
Online Safety Tips For Kids
Spending Time with Children
Monitoring Childs Calls and Texts
Getting Rid of Shyness
Helping Shy Children
Tips To Overcome Shyness
Shy Child
Rewards And Punishment Song
Benefit of Rewarding Kids
Rewarding Kid For Good Grades
Use Of Food As A Reward
Tips to Deal With Anxiety Disorders
Dealing With Anxiety Disorder
Tips To Overcome Anxiety Disorders
Effective Way to curb Anxiety
Testing For Emotional Development
Argument By a Baby
Throwing a Tantrum
Tips For Expressing Emotions
Rules for Raising a Confident Child
Reading a Book
Tips for Raising Confident children
Role of Parents for Building Confidence
Effective Parenting Tips
Parenting Style Assessment
Good Parenting
Effective Parenting Basics
Example of Bad Parenting
Bad Parenting
Bad Parent
Screaming Parent
Talking Twin Babies

You may also be interested in:

Nail biting is a habit disorder and it should not be overlooked, otherwise it will become an uncontrollable habit. Child..
Save Edit
Sort by Newest

Stutee.1 year ago
Stealing will become a regular habit, if children are not advised at the early stage itself. Early warning and corrective actions will make them realize that stealing is a bad habit and they should not repeat it for any reason. But, when parents fail to do it at early stage, then it might grow into a bigger habit and might take children to a different path.
betsy.6 years ago
why would a nine year old take another students paper and put their name on it
Descarte1.6 years ago
can someone tell me how to deal with the following? i am a foster parent of a 10 yr. old who has been in my care for 5 years. the plan at present is that she be with me till the age of majority. she has a history of abuse and neglect. she steals up to 3 times a day, only stealing things that she beleives to be exclusively mine. (pens, money,candy set aside for christmas, etc.) i have tried exploring feelings, giving time outs, having her pay for stolen articles,searching her belongings. please help!
Theresa.6 years ago
why? how do you pin point the reason a child of 12 who steals from family gets caught/lies/admits it/appologizes/then relpaces itmes?
Bob.6 years ago
is it true that children have often already established a pattern of stealing before they are caught for the first time?
Whatever.6 years ago
i don't care and i don't agree because i just don't i think all you people are retarted
CELESTE.6 years ago
pity for those children who steal. we as parent should help them 'coz its our responsibility to mold them into the a good person.for me we should continue to love them but also correct them
A single mom.6 years ago
too bad ther are negative comments to follow what can be a very difficult situation for some. i'm a christian single mom. my 11 yr. old son was adopted by me at 16 mos. of age. he has trouble w/lying and stealing. no one can believe he does it. he is a great student and is very helpful and compliant. we have been to a psychiatrist and he has fooled him , too. i can tell you this is not a simple issue and can be very hard for a family to handle. i hope when others read this article they will have more understanding comments and keep negative attitudes to themselves.
kvartiry m frunzenskaya kvartira snyat odnokomnatnaya ekaterinburg kvartiry kirovogradskaya 24 prodazha kvartir silikatnaya prodam kvartiru g lyubercy rynok kvartir sankt peterburg arenda kvartir g omsk gp kvartira ru pokupka kvartir g ufa
nedvizhimost sdayu tomsk nedvizhimost sdayu tomsk nedvizhimost sdayu tomsk nedvizhimost sdayu tomsk nedvizhimost sdayu tomsk nedvizhimost sdayu tomsk
load more comments
Raising Children Topics..

Parents Dont Understand Video
Discussion Forum - Recent Posts
Does your child steal things without thinking? What do you think makes him do this? Do you know how to nip this habit in the bud?
view more >>
Behavioural Problems
RE:When Kids Obsess About Their Looks
Hello Every one,
So when ever children are feeling obsess they need to b ...
- Munna    read >>

RE:behavioral problem
Hello Subbu,
So you are worried about your child that it he does not mak ...
- Myntra    read >>

RE:strange behaviour
Hi Nazima,
Some people will be stubborn only,they will try hard until th ...
- No Name    read >>

RE:Biting habit
Hi Simran,
It is the common problem in children as they grow they will o ...
- No Name    read >>

Effective Way to curb Anxiety Video...

All tips on Diet
You ever wanted in one place.
No need to go anywhere else. No spam.

*No spam only genuine emails
Argumentative Children
Nail Biting