Stealing is the act of taking others’ things without their notice. It is a behavioral problem that arises in almost all children at some age. This kind of behavior in children can make parents quite upsetting.
Why do children steal things?
The reasons why do children steal things are several and the most common causes are as follows.
Lack of proper understanding: Children aged 4 or younger do not understand the concepts of ownership, private property and stealing and consider others things to be their own and take along with them without knowing it as a wrong act.
Lack of self-control: Some children steal things without self-control. They often steal when they get attracted to something new and fascinating item without considering the consequences of stealing.
Jealousy or desire: It is the most common cause of stealing in children at school age. Children at this age often steal when they find others’ things to be more attractive and desire to have similar one that they cannot get or by seeing someone showing precious desired item.
Angry or revenge: Children usually find stealing to be the best way to take revenge on others or make them feel angry. This passive-aggressive stealing behavior usually develops in children with a feeling of powerlessness.
Get attention: Children steal things and return them back to their parents as a way to get closer attention and good impression on them. They also steal things to impress peers or others.
Feeling of excitement: Some children find stealing to be an exciting and daring act and try to steal things without getting caught by others.
How to prevent your child from stealing behavior?
Handling the behavioral problem of stealing in children is fairly a difficult task. Whenever you find that your child is stealing, try to follow some of these simple ideas to prevent your child from stealing:
- Stay calm and don’t get exaggerate, as it is a good idea when tackling a child who has stolen. Consider that it is no different than any other mistakes that your child makes.
- Always be aware of where your children are and what your children are doing. Also, be friendly with your child, talk to him or her closely and clearly explain what exactly stealing is and what its consequences are.
- Instruct your child strictly not to touch others’ property without their permission.
- Never consider stealing personally. Often children steal things to get your attention and if you consider your children stealing from you as a personal attack, it means you are supporting the reason your children steal.
- Avoid blaming and punishing your child. Doing this, can make your child to hide the reasons why he or she has stolen. Make your child understand what is right and what is wrong. Once if your child realizes and confirms that his/her behavior was wrong, then give your child a chance to make a fresh start.
- Also, teach your child that you will get the desired item in the near future. This makes your child learn patience and delayed fulfillment.
So, prevent and cope with the stealing behavior in your child by ensuring your child that you are not upset with him/her, but only with his/her behavior.