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What to do if you catch your child stealing?

This can be a nightmare for parents. Child stealing is a momentary feeling to grab an item from the shelves probably out of denial from elders to buy the item for them.

There was a 6-year-old child who wanted a try out a new snack that was decked on the shelf when the same was denied by the parent citing health reasons. After a while, he casually slid it into his backpack when the parent was busy shopping.

The child was not aware of the misdeed, it’s just he wanted the item, the denial to own it led him to own it in his way.

If you catch your child stealing there could be a various reasons for his act. The first step is to understand the reason and find out why he or she did it. Parenting is the weapon with which you can rectify or shatter your child misdeed. Intervene at the right moment to reach out to them and preach the moral values, ethics consistently to drive away from the unwarranted thoughts.


What factors stimulate child stealing habit?

Stealing habit in kids may start as early as pre-school and may go unnoticed if not stopped at the right moment. There could be instances where a child pops in his peer’s attractive eraser in his own pencil case or quietly slides money from your purse.


Lack of knowledge

Most young children are unaware of the meaning of stealing. They are unaware of the fact that picking something from the racks without paying, or taking someone’s things without asking is denoted as stealing. As parents you have to acknowledge your child about right and wrong. They must be taught the ethics of being a responsible person.


Peer pressure

Kids behaviour has to be carefully monitored as there could be peer pressure to prove his capability to his friends. The child wants to be part of their community, to achieve that, they indulge in this sort of behaviour. Children like to own items to take pride while sharing it with their friends.


An array of disturbing events

The child can go haphazard when they happen to face disturbing events like arguments between parents or lack of attention on them. If they had seen any of their parents or elders stealing, then they may indulge in such actions.



The older Kid’s behaviour of stealing is out of not having control over the situation. This happens to display some kind of power with them. If the situation is overboard, seek out professional help.

The above-mentioned factors can be found out only by having a simple talk with your child. Instead of hurling abusive words or wrong belief about their action, just have a casual chat over to sit on the porch or while having their favourite snack.


Is it normal for a child to steal?

Your child stealing an object that fascinates him should not be a matter of great concern given the age and the number of attempts. Parenting is also about instilling some values, integrity in the young mind.

If the child is a pre-schooler, the child’s behaviour is out of instinct and can be altered by asking him to return another child’s possession. Moreover, we cannot construe as stealing.

If the child is three years and five years old, being stern and disapproval of the act is imperative. Significant attention has to be given otherwise the child may take it a sign of acceptance. If required, the child may write a small note saying sorry for his misdeed. This will foster a good relationship between the kids and at the same time, the morale of the child be improved.

If the kid’s behaviour is way out of control and couldn’t be controlled, then professional help has to be sought for. This could be because of leaving the child in his stride and attention from the parents were not enough.


How to cut down stealing habit in kids?

Firstly, positive parenting plays a primary role in correcting the child behaviour. It is the responsibility of the parent to attend to the basic needs of the child.

If a child stealing for the first time:

  • Your treatment toward it can be lenient and calm.
  • You may have to take some time off your schedule, dedicate some parent-child time and take them to cycle, play board games at home or sit on the couch for a movie and make him understand
  • To talk politely and speak more than ethical behaviour
  • Talk about the respect for other people’s belongings, about their hard-earned money, and their love for having that item.

You have to ask your child to return the item taken from another person and ask him to apologize.

As you know the child better you have to tweak and make him not to repeat the act.

Well, if this is not the first time you are seeing the act, you may have to make it sound a bit serious and the implications of stealing. You have to inculcate:

  • Integrity
  • Respect for other’s possessions
  • Implications of performing stealing


How positive parenting can nurture a child’s behaviour

Many human beings like talking, sharing the day-to-day activity with someone close to them. So are children, be it any age. They like to talk about what happened, how it happened, but not every child might like to do so. Parenting is not only a responsibility, but also a stupendous journey of the emotional state of mind.

Positive parenting is about being kind to the child, accepting, recognizing, and understanding them.

Above all, do not insult or hamper their esteem in front of their peers. Even if you are not kind enough as is expected, damaging their dignity amongst their community will shatter them to pieces.

As parents, you would have been happy to see them say their first word, take baby steps, recognize you, your sound, hence don’t deviate from the responsibility of leaving them in nature’s hands.

If you take enough care for your children, provide proper attention, and respect child stealing habit will never repeat.

According to many, Indian parenting requires a bit of maturity while handling kid’s behaviour. We are global in many aspects, be it work atmosphere, having friends and relatives overseas, why not treat your children more open-minded, leaving the bad experiences of your childhood down and instil in your children only what you are proud of.

  • They would consider them lucky if you are part and parcel of their everyday. Empathize with them.
  • If you see child stealing, please do not make it public and create haywire. Instead, keep your emotions in check and ask them to return and not to repeat it.
  • Children are fast learners, just a little push will make them achieve their dreams, yes their dreams. Do not trust them with your views, ideas, and dreams.
  • Play games to teach them best practices. You can play shopkeepers game where you playfully teach your child that you cannot take an item from the store without paying for it.
  • Support them, nurture them, become another child, and play with them, listen to them, they are far more mature than you may think.
  • You may have to move away from the traditional way of Indian parenting and allow them to make their own decisions. They become more responsible for their actions and benefit society in return.
  • Have an open conversation, discuss your confusion, tell what you did when you were their age, not as a piece of advice rather those falling-from-cycle-moments.



Someone said, Parenting is the easiest thing in the world to have an opinion about, but the hardest thing in the world to do.

As we start teaching them life skills, education, music, gently foster ethics, moral values, courage, and confidence along with nurturing them, providing food for the mind and body will go a long way eventually empowering a beautiful community around him.



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