7 Tips On What To Do When You Discover A Child Stealing

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1. Have a quiet, unemotional "conference" with both pa­rents and grandparents, if they are being together. Con­solidate your forces and try to see the problem from an objective point of view.

Make them understand that the problem is not yet serious, but it could develop into real delinquency if not attended to right away. Blaming you or giving ex­cuses will not help. Your task is to help the boy shake off the habit.

2. Accept the possibility that the boy may be unhappy or perplexed about Ids life. There are conflicts existing around him. He is not insulated against them. He feels these as acutely as you do.

3. The ideal arrangement would be for you to share the same roof with them — without the grandparents. But if this is not possible, you just try to make yourself more available to the kids and to spend more time with them. Take them out for the day shopping, going to the movies, taking in a show, so that they will get to know you better.

4. Don't punish or scold your son for pilfering. Wide ex­perience has shown that severe punishment or even strong disapproval does not necessarily stop a child from committing the same acts. Make him know that what he has done is wrong but you know that in time he will learn to do right.

5. Return the objects he has taken to their owner. If it is easier for you to go along, you would be wise to do so. He will learn that one does not take or keep things belonging to others and his mother is willing to go with him to return the article. This act on your part will assure him that he still belongs among those who are good and fovable, and that he is not doomed to becoming a thief.

6. Stealing or pilfering may also be caused by feelings of inadequacy. A boy or girl who steals is sometimes hav­ing trouble making friends and is trying to get attention or by popularity. He needs help in overcoming this feeling, in having some experience of success or recog­nition, specially from his parents.

7. It is not easy to discover the source of the child's un-happiness, but if you are agreeable, you could, seek the help of a professional guidance counselor who has had experience with many children.

In general, although the precise set of causes that lead to a child's stealing may not be known, it often happens that with more attention and expressed affec­tion from his parents, more shared recreation or useful work with them, perhaps the development of a hobby or collection or other interests, his need to steal tapers off and stops by itself.

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