During the first years of life, children pick up everything that interests them without understanding that what they are doing is wrong or right. It is around 5 years when children have the concept of property and begin to understand what it means to steal. What reasons can lead children to appropriate something that is not theirs? If you discover that your child has stolen from you or someone else, how should you act to correct this misconduct?
Thefts committed by children from preschool through adolescence are rarely about greed, poverty or values. These children know the difference between good and bad. They know about consequences but still continue to commit them. So why are they tempted to steal:
- Self-control problems
Children know that they should not take things without paying, but many, not having enough control over themselves, cannot avoid taking what does not belong to them.
- Call for attention
The child feels angry because he does not get all the attention he demands.
Children steal out of a simple defiance of rules and limits.
- Be autonomous
Children believe that in this way they can demonstrate independence from their parents and that they can do something autonomously.
- Identity search
With the robbery, courage is shown before their peers and belonging to a group is found.
It seeks to replace the lack of emotional affection with material affection.
We must also bear in mind that values sometimes come into play. The child learns from one of the parents that stealing or blackmailing is good, so it is impossible for the other member of the couple to teach values with this bad example in front of them. With this, the value of loyalty, of consideration for others is eliminated.
It is up to the parents to give the child enough recognition so that he feels like an important member of the family and does not develop feelings that lead him to commit harmful attitudes such as stealing. If the parents take the appropriate measures, in most cases the action of stealing will cease as the child grows. Some recommendations for taking appropriate action are as follows:
Make him feel like he is an active part of the family. Add it to household chores, in the preparation of a birthday party, etc.
Show interest in the activities you do. What is he studying, what has he played with friends, what does he want to eat ...
Sit down with the child and ask him why he steals and what is his purpose.
- Question it
Ask him what the point of stealing is for the child and explain that this action harms other people.
Making the child see that stealing erodes the trust of family and friends.
Do not bring up the incident all the time and keep the matter confidential in the family.
- Not judge
No labels, no insults, keep calm. Don't crucify your son.
If after taking these measures the thefts continue persistently, it may be due to a greater problem in the child's emotional development. Therefore, it is advisable to weigh the idea of going to a child psychologist or psychiatrist. With professional help you can diagnose the real reasons why the little one needs to steal and will plan appropriate treatment such as learning to establish a relationship of trust.
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