How do you stop a child stealing?

Ideas please.

1 to 20 of 32 messages
09/06/2011 at 21:24

For the past few months it has become very apparent that my elven year old brother-in-law has been stealing...usual story it starts with small amounts of money, gets bigger, is always sorry, doesn't know why he does it etc....Always gets what he wants and does not want for anything. So no real reason.

His mother, my wife (his sister) and me have had several talks, tried the disappointed line, banning him from doing things, removed toys, computers etc..but he toes the line for a few weeks and then it starts again. He's even had the tour of the local nick.

Any ideas team.


09/06/2011 at 22:15
It's a bugger, isn't it. Sometimes they just don't fit the textbook.

Don't stop with all the stuff you've tried - keep applying it for consistency's sake. Eventually, we can only hope, it will either mean something to him - or he'll just get bored with it all and stop.

Good luck.
09/06/2011 at 22:27

Without implying anything here but....could it be this is an underlying symptom of something else?  Is he doing it for attention?  Is it an outlet for stress/anxiety? Is he being bullied and being made to do it? Is he being bullied for the money?

Just a thought starter, nothing else.......

09/06/2011 at 22:43
Beat him very severely then do it again 
09/06/2011 at 23:32
I'm with Schmunks on this. Not had an issue with either of my kids, but I think it's a sign of insecurity and him wanting attention. Any attention as far as he's concerned. I think you need to make him feel like he's more important, more 'part of the family' and part of your future. Plus you have to be absolutely consistent about how both of you treat him and reward him. He needs to feel valued and given responsibility. What makes him tick? If he's denied that, or encouraged, will it make a difference?
Good luck! Parenting is so f-in hard and no one gives you a manual how to do it because there are so many variables!
seren nos    pirate
10/06/2011 at 06:44

with JJ.just try keep on with consistency........

a lot of kids go through the stage,..............but as we all know some come out of the stage and some just get worse...........horrible situtaion to handle.....

yes check for underlying things..........

my eldest has gone/ going through it but it has always been minor.....packets of crisps , biscuits etc............and maybe the odd pound................

its horrible to think you can't leave money or your purse anywhere around in your own home

Good luck.........

10/06/2011 at 08:41

+ 1 for what the others have said (particularly about it being a symptom of some other problem he can't articulate), bar JohhnyBike's suggestion, but to add another thought:

if he "toes the line" for a few weeks, then it escalates, could you make some sort of "arrangement" to talk to him each week, to see how he's getting on.  Whether you make it on a formal or informal basis, perhaps if he knows that someone is keeping that close an eye on him (not, I'm sure that you aren't in other ways), maybe it would be enough to break the cycle.

It sounds as if there's more to it, so perhaps this too would be a way of getting to the bottom of it.

But as seren said, perseverance will really help.

Good luck and for taking it on.

10/06/2011 at 08:52
I'm only just a parent so my advice may be complete b*ll*cks but here goes anyway...... you say that he gets what he wants and does not want for anything.  Does that means he's spoilt?  Maybe this is his rebellion against over-indulgent parents?  Kids need to learn that stuff doesn't just arrive when you ask.  Sometimes it has to be worked for.  If he is spoilt then maybe a little more tough love is required.
10/06/2011 at 09:09
I think most of my schoolmates nicked something from somewhere at some point in their young lives. It's something a lot of kids do. Not sure where that gets you, but I'm not sure he's a budding burglar yet.
10/06/2011 at 09:17

It definitely comes across as an attention thing. Apart from your wife, does he have any other siblings, particulary of a similar age?

10/06/2011 at 09:17
JohnnyBike wrote (see)
Beat him very severely then do it again 


Most of my childhood friends have done jail time, (for dealing illigal substances and violence towards people who owed them money)
I was simply a vile child, teenager, young man (but I never stole) although I was shown much love, and made to feel special by my family.
I never had disapline, I never ever knew where that line was and how crossing it would effect me personally.

My parents used to talk to me, tell me they were disapointed, even had a tour of the local nick when I first started getting in trouble, I believe this was supposed to scare me. The fact remains none of this effect me personally.
I honestly believe if I was given a much needed slap as a consequence of my actions when I started going off the rails I would have become a far better and nicer person earlier in my life.

It was only getting consequence in my life which changed things, I met my OH who made it clear my lifestyle and the things I was doing made a relationship not viable.. I had a choice to make and made the correct one.

Some Kids can be told that a fire is hot and not to touch it, other Kids need to get burnt to understand that touching it is a bad thing to do.. The question you have to decide is do you burn them if they do not listen or keep telling them the same thing until they set themselves on fire. As JohnnyBike wrote I was the kind of kid who needed to be beaten perhaps others do also.
Edited: 10/06/2011 at 09:18
10/06/2011 at 09:35
On the other hand, I think the lesson kids learn from being hit is that it's ok for bigger people to hit smaller ones, which I don't see as a good lesson, personally.
10/06/2011 at 09:50

You can set boundaries, use discipline without resorting to hitting / beating / smacking someone.  I've never used physical punishment with my two, have never needed to nor do I understand it as a concept.

10/06/2011 at 09:53
Quite. I've FELT like hitting them, mind...
10/06/2011 at 10:22
Peter Collins wrote (see)
Quite. I've FELT like hitting them, mind...

Who hasn't?!    IMHO, though, hitting etc is more about the parent losing control than the parent wishing or attempting to discipline the child.

10/06/2011 at 10:28
I wholeheartedly agree.
10/06/2011 at 10:42
Is he just stealing from family or third parties?  If you've done the local nick tour I take it you've also explained he's no longer a child and can be arrested- etc. 
10/06/2011 at 10:49

what's all this namby pamby political correctness about disciplining children, setting boundaries etc?

 just beat them senseless. that's what happened in my day.

 never did us any harm.

10/06/2011 at 11:10

Yet another insightful response from Skotty there.  Or possibly an attempt at inciteful.... 

Doesn't matter how many possesions some kids have,if they crave attention they'll find a way to garner it.  He may well get plenty of attention, love and support already but he's 11 which means he has a chip on his shoulder by default.  He steals, you react, he gets his reaction, everything calms down again, he craves that attnetion - good or bad.  Unfortunately there's no easy answer as every kid is different. 

Maybe you could consider talking to him and making a deal whereby he forfeits something substantial but also has to do something for a volunteer led group for a month - working in a charity shop or old folks home visiting for instance.  At 11 this will be his idea of hell but may also teach him the virtues of compassion rather than the punishments due him through expected bad behaviour of the future.

Gyraffe    pirate
10/06/2011 at 11:16
Sorry if this is a can of worms but does he have a Dad?
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