How to punish a child for stealing money
Sometimes your child will pick up an item belonging to another person and forget to give it back to the owner. The above scenario is different from when a child deliberately takes something that doesn’t belong to them with the intention of keeping it. The latter is called stealing. It might be disheartening to learn that your child steals, and this could make you desperate to find out how to punish a child for stealingmoney and other things.
If you want to put an end to this behaviour, this article has highlighted the practical steps to take if you want to know how to punish a child for stealingmoney.
What is stealing?
According to Leah Davies, M.Ed., stealing is when a child takes something that belongs to others without seeking permission first. Most times, the child desires the object and seeks to own it by just taking it.
From the age of 5 -7, a child knows that this act is wrong, and that’s why they’ll lie about it or make sure no one catches them in the act.
Why do children steal?
When it comes to stealing in children, the motive might differ from child to child. But some of the reasons why children take things that aren’t theirs are:
• They’ve seen adults do it
Before you start to research on how to punish a child for stealingmoney, you should first of all make sure no one in the family or close to the family is doing the same thing. Children love to model their behaviour after that of the adults around them. So, if the parents or guardians are coming home with office supplies, the child will learn that it is okay to take whatever they want.
• They enjoy the rush that stealing gives them
Stealing without getting caught comes with an adrenaline rush, which can become addictive. Once the child gets used to this thrill, it might worsen the problem to the point where they take things not for the purpose of using the items but for the sole purpose of getting that exciting high.
• Children steal when they need money to buy things parents won’t give them
Some children will sneakily take money from their parents’ purses if they have been refused money for new game consoles, bicycles, and other things. They desire to whatever they need by all means will make them bypass the ‘no’ and try to get money to buy it ‘on their own.”
• Some children steal money to punish whoever they are stealing from
Revenge is a popular stealing motive. You will not adequately understand how to punish a child for stealingif you don’t understand that a child can decide to hurt an adult by taking something the adult in question values.
• Their friends steal too
There’s no discounting peer pressure as a possible reason some young children steal. If the child’s friends are shoplifters, then they too will come to think that stealing is okay.
• Abuse and neglect
An abusive environment can trigger stealing in children. This may or may not come with feelings of anxiety, rejection and pain. Also, when a child is neglected to a point where their basic needs aren’t met, then they could see stealing as a way of fighting back.
• Some children steal for the attention
Once a child knows that misbehaving will catch your attention, they could try stealing as a means of getting you to notice them.
How to punish a child for stealing money and other things
No matter what the motive, stealing is wrong and you should sit down and have a heart-to-heart talk with the child. It is important to make them see the error of their ways. As a parent or guardian, you should try not to blame yourself too much for their behaviour. Here are some steps you can take to address this problem:
1. Identify their motive for stealing
The conversation suggested earlier will reveal why the child did what they did. Once you know this, you can correct the situation and make sure it doesn’t happen again in future.
2. Make the child return whatever they took
If you are serious about learning how to punish a child for stealingmoney, you will have to swallow the embarrassment of going with your child to return what they took. You should make them give back the money or the merchandise.
3. Make them work for it
In the case where they have already spent the money, you can make them work for it by doing chores around the house for a stipulated length of time.
4. Watch and see if they repeat the behavior
Some kids will stop stealing after you catch them the first time. Unfortunately, there are children for whom this will become a pattern. If you watch the child and notice that they can’t help but continue, you should seek professional help.
It is normal to feel disappointed when your child steals. Thankfully, you can correct the behaviour by following these tips.