kids and stealing

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  1. jfay2011 profile image62
    jfay2011posted 7 years ago

    I have recently written some hubs on stealing.  It seems like kids are always trying to do it.  how do you get them to stop?
    I recently had my daughters little friend steal from me and the parents didn't handle it very well.  Both parents were very disrespectful to me.

    I hope I never find my kids doing it.

    1. wilderness profile image98
      wildernessposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      I hope you DO find your kids doing it.  Most very small children have only a very limited concept of ownership and will take whatever they find the same way they will give away anything in their hand if asked. 

      Only by constant guidance and reminders will they come to understand that theft is not OK.

      1. jfay2011 profile image62
        jfay2011posted 7 years agoin reply to this

        Actually my kids haven't done it.  I started teaching them that it's not okay to steal things from other people when they were very little.  i used to talk to them about it on more than several occasions.  They know that it's wrong.  They have talked about people going to jail when they were younger so we have had lots of discussions about that.  Many children have been taught when they are little that it's not okay to do a lot of things.  I am a very nurturing kind of mother and have been home with them for twelve years.  I have a partime job and am able to be home with them all when they come home from school.  So I am there everyday to give them good guidance.  And I came from a family that taught us right from wrong about everything at an early age.  I'm not saying that we never got grounded.  I think my sister, brother and I have all been grounded at one point or another.  never for stealing, but for other stupid things.  Being caught going somewhere we weren't supposed to.  But we were at least disaplined and my kids have been disaplined too.  But not for stealing.

  2. profile image0
    Emile Rposted 7 years ago

    I feel your pain. Parents are terrible sometimes, when they can't admit their little darlings are fallible.

    I think it is important to make kids own up to the act, make retribution and apologize. Sweeping it under the carpet and pretending it didn't happen doesn't allow them to learn the lesson.

    1. jfay2011 profile image62
      jfay2011posted 7 years agoin reply to this

      that's right.  I have gotten nasty letters from both the mother and father since then, saying that their daughter didn't steal nothing.  Yet I called the father about it and said, 'What bag of nail polish were you holding in your red hot hand when you had to hand the stolen bag over to the cops?"  I mean really.  I'm sure the little girl will go right on stealing.  At least she won't be coming over when I am there, which is every afternoon after my kids get home from school.  If my kids father lets her come over during the weekends, he is not very smart and will show that he doesn't seem to care if our kids learn bad behavior from her.  I'm going to tell my ex we need to start introducing some new kids into their home.

      1. profile image0
        Emile Rposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        Actually, I don't know that I would not allow my children to continue the friendship. I always told my son he could choose his friends, as long as he made his own decisions and didn't show a tendency to follow the crowd.

        He had friends that, around the age of fourteen began to smoke. I knew there was nothing I could do to change that, but I wanted him to think it through, so I sat him down to talk. I asked him to think about what they were doing and how he thought they were accomplishing it. I explained to him that they couldn't possibly be buying the cigarettes and that if he was in the store, in the company of a thief, he would be viewed as one also. I left it at that. He was over at one of their houses the next weekend, and called me mid day for a ride. When I picked him up, I asked him what was up. He said they were going to the store and he chose to come home.

        Kids have to learn that they live by their own morals and their own convictions. You won't always get to choose their friends.

        1. jfay2011 profile image62
          jfay2011posted 7 years agoin reply to this

          that's true.  That's good that your son came home.  When i was in college i used to go to parties with my boyfriend at the time.  He used to drag me to all of them because he was a partier.  I had wine coolers too, so I also partied to be part of the crowd.  But there were many parties where many of the people smoked pot or cocaine sometimes and they would always ask me to do it too.  i said no every time and to this day i have chosen not even to ever try smoking a cigarette.

          You're right, you don't always get to choose their friends.  When i was in high school and college I had one friend that my parents didn't care for as much, but she was my friend and I liked to go places with her.  I think once they become teenagers, that's when our control over who they play with disappears.  But when they are younger like 9 and ten like my girls are, i feel that I can have some control over that.  They will have to find a new friend for now.  But I can't control if my ex decides to let her come over on some weekends.  In my mind, I don't think he should let her come over.  But at this point she has been the only kid coming over to play, so I can see why he still wants her to come over.  But I can help to make it not so much and offer some phone numbers over other friends, so he can start to introduce new friends to them too.  That was a suggestion one of my good friends had for me.  That's right, when they are older, they choose their own morals, but it's our job when they are little to help them decide what morals are taught to them.  Some parents don't have any morals and their children probably don't learn them very well unless if they are influenced by someone else that has good morals and values.
          My parents did a great job raising me and my siblings.  My mother stayed home with us when we were little and I had my grandparents nearby to always be around us.  I grew up in a very old fashioned family.  My grammy was from the old world thoughts.  We couldn't even say "darn" when we were around her.  We were taught not to swear, and everything else.  I've had a very close knit family.  My mother was my icon and I chose to raise my children the same way that she did.

  3. profile image0
    Home Girlposted 7 years ago

    I agree with wilderness. Kids live in a moment. They want something right now, they take it. And if they don't want it, they just throw it away or give it to you gladly, if you ask. I stole berries,flowers,pancakes(!), that's only what I remember. I almost gave away my mom's sewing machine, just because some gypsy guy asked for it. I was glad I didn't. And I had plenty of berries, flowers and pancakes at home! In my old country at that time people never complaned if a child did something minor wrong, so my mom never knew. "It's just a child, you know, what can you do?" - that was general opinion. People were kinder and more forgiving around children.

    1. jfay2011 profile image62
      jfay2011posted 7 years agoin reply to this

      that's fine.  I just was brought up that when someone steals, even a child.  She was nine going on ten.  She knew better.  I never stole as a kid, so it doesn't apply to every kid.  If we had a kid growing up, my mother and father wouldn't have had that kid come over anymore.  I'm brought up the same way.  That's my belief.  That's fine.  That's your opinion.  You have a right to your opinion just as I do to mine.  I bet the pancakes tasted good, huh?  I haven't had pancakes in a long time.  One of these days, I will probably make some.  I bet your mom was glad you give away the sewing machine.  I've trusted my daughter to bring my underwater camera to school today for a field trip.  She said she wouldn't drop it.  i told her more than that, don't leave it somewhere and lose it on me.  Praying that it comes back in one piece.  I trust my son to bring my expensive camera to school but he is sixteen and he is always good with it and takes good care of it.  He's been taking photography this year.  I've got a cool hub that has lots of perfume in soap recipes in it.  I'm starting to make some soap.  it's fun

    2. jfay2011 profile image62
      jfay2011posted 7 years agoin reply to this

      I'm just not forgiving when it comes to stealing.  if she were maybe four or five years old, I might have been a little more forgiving.  She's had a good amount of years to have been taught that it's not okay to steal.  I've taught my kids about it at a really young age.

  4. Lisa HW profile image65
    Lisa HWposted 7 years ago

    It's one thing if it the friends are, say, teens who shoplift.  That's not something "all kids" (or at least a lot of kids) do.  With younger kids (especially kids around 5/6, I think, but maybe even with some a little older in some cases), it's a different thing.

    Young kids can be raised to know what's right and wrong, and they can very much want to do what's right.  What they run into can be temptation that's more than they're emotionally ready to be able to resist.  They know "in their head" that stealing is wrong.  (That's why a lot of them are very clever at making sure nobody ever discovers that they've taken something.) It's not something that absolutely "every" kid does as a little kid, but it's something a whole lot of kids do (and even if for some, it's nothing more than a candy bar once or twice).  There's something awfully appealing about something like a candy-bar rack, and resisting that urge (especially if kids know their parent won't buy it) can be hard for - like - a five-year-old.  Their brains are developed enough for them to be able to think up "deceit" and a "plan" and a "cover-up", but emotionally they're not always able to resist the urge to take what they want.

    ABC's John Stossel did a thing on what's called "frustration tolerance point", and it was found that the more kids did without something, the more likely it would be that they'd hit their frustration toleration point and be unable to resist temptation.

    It's not just stuff like candy, though.  Little kids may see something that appeals to them, like shiny coins, other "shiny objects".  Kids who have plenty of the kind of thing that catches their eye aren't as likely to have that frustration tolerance point as kids who never really have the kind of thing they find appealing for reason or another.

    It gets the best of them.  They take something here or there.  Some take more than one thing here or there.  They feel horrible about what they did (if they're normal, rather than if they're just "little sociopaths", which most little kids are not).  Eventually (and in generally not in all that many years at all), most outgrow even having the urge to steal at all and/or they at least become emotionally mature enough to be able to control the urge to steal if it happens they get such an urge.  Most just outgrown even seeing (if only for a moment) stealing as an option, no matter how much they want something.

    Young children of the "best parents in the world" have been known to "lift" something at one time or another, or even over a period of time when they were in that "around five" (or so) age range.
    Here's the American Academy of Child/Adolescent Psychiatry's take on the matter: … who_steal.

    1. jfay2011 profile image62
      jfay2011posted 7 years agoin reply to this

      That's so true.   I remember working at a Marshalls in maine years ago and a little girl stole something small.  That mother marched her right back in to give it back and apoligize.  I remember that she was crying and she knew right off the bat that she did something wrong.  But the mother wanted her to learn a valuable lesson.  She probably was four or five.  This girl that stole from me was nine or ten and she has had quite a few years to know that it's not okay to steal.  And the father is denying that she stole even though he was holding the bag of stolen nailpolish in his hands when the cops came.  I'm sure she probably didn't get talked to by the parents.  At first I felt that the officer should have talked to the girl to just scare her.  They would learn better from an authority figure.  A friend told me that they can't talk to a kid about it if their under 12 without a parents consent.   I didn't realize that.These parents tend to send her right over for a playdate the very next day, so she apparently doesn't get grounded at all.  That's fine.  She's not my child.  She may be a little girl that will someday get caught when she is older and will learn a harsher lesson.
      most children stop after they have done it once and get caught.  She has stolen from us once before too.  And she has always been really mean to one of my girls and excludes her in the playdate.  She thinks the other little girl is mean.  i don't blame her.  She doesn't care to play with her anymore, but my other daughter still wants to play with her.  I can't control when I'm not there, but everyday after school that little girl isn't coming over at all.  I think they might be moving to Mississippi next year.  I'm hoping that is true.  If not, I won't be able to control once they are teenagers.  By then, they will have their own morals and even though the other girl thinks its okay to steal, my girls will know that it's wrong.

      1. Lisa HW profile image65
        Lisa HWposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        I knew a little girl who had been abused in her first two and a half years.  Then she was placed in a foster home and was considered "hard to place" because she'd always been a troubled little girl.  It was said, but she was a kind of awful kind who didn't get along with anyone, stole, seemed to say nothing that wasn't a complete lie, etc. etc.  She'd also have temper rages (throughout childhood - not just when she was two or three). 

        People would say to her mother how she ought to "just slap her", but the foster mother's feeling was that this little girl had been "slapped" (and a whole lot worse) too much in the past. She cared about the little girl, and she was heartbroken to know that the other kids in school or the neighborhood didn't like her.  So, she was often reluctant to just out-and-out discuss things the girl had been accused of because 1) she didn't want to just believe anyone who said something bad about the kid because she wondered if they were automatically jumping to conclusions because they knew the kid was a problem, 2) she didn't want an already very isolated and alone-feeling little girl to feel as if nobody at all would kind of step in and speak on her behalf (that kind of thing), and 3) the kid was such a skillful liar and manipulator, her mother sometimes just didn't know what to believe; and so wanted to err on the side of not accusing the kid falsely. 

        Kids that troubled (or at least with such issues) usually don't stay friends with other kids for too long. 

        I think if the kid were my child's friend I might do something like tell them both "we don't want any more of these understandings" and "because this happened we don't even want to take a chance that anyone would wrongly accuse 'Susie' so, for now, maybe it's better if the two of you just play in the yard, walk back and forth to the school bus together, eat lunch together (etc.), but no going into people's houses or going into stores for awhile."

        "Un-supervised" kids tend not to want to hang around too long if someone (like your child) can only hang out with them on limited terms.  It's too much for them.  They aren't used to that type of thing.  I think the other kid might likely go find someone else to go get into trouble with.

        Maybe a casual discussion (rather than a lecture) between you and the girls could send the message, "Everyone knows kids make mistakes, and sometimes adults don't really know who to believe or not to believe.  But, for now, and since this incident has happened; we have to pay attention to where you both hang out now - at least for awhile."

  5. profile image0
    Home Girlposted 7 years ago

    Well, I cannot explain my behavior as a kid. May be growing in a small town among people who know you and your parents, you do not think about others like they are different, not your family, etc. In you family you don't ask, if you need something, you just go and take it from the fridge, garden, etc. So I did not think about that like a stealing, I don't know. I should probably add that I never did that as a teenager,I never do that as an adult, because it's wrong,it hurts, and I do not like to hurt people; and I tried to explain to my kids very early in life the difference between what's yours and what's not. And that, actually, generosity and giving make you feel much better...
    My point is that you should not punish your small kids if they've done something like that, but you have to sit and talk to them very seriously about it.
    Yes, and those pancakes were very good. big_smile

    1. jfay2011 profile image62
      jfay2011posted 7 years agoin reply to this

      true, but when your a victim of stealing you tend to look at things in a different perspective.  I honestly don't think those parents talked to her about it.  She'll keep on doing it.  I've been stolen from a bunch of times.  Last year someone broke into my car and stole my pocketbook and racked up my debit card and credit cards in one day.  She got caught and had to go to court.  This little girl has stolen from us several times.  Then just recently I was in an accident where it wasn't my fault.  She cut in front of me.  Put a big dent on the front of my car.  She asked to borrow my cell phone to make a call.  Neither one of us had insurance, so she said if I could back up, I could be free to go.  We didn't want to report it to the cops.  At the time, I was just concentrating on not getting a ticket and got out of there.  Then I realized that she still had my phone when I got home.  I didn't have her name or address, but she knew where I worked.  She hasn't returned my phone to either my work, home or verizon.  She could have done all three.  Luckily I grabbed an old phone my little daughter was playing with and got it activated so i didn't have to pay for a new phone.  So I've had quite my share of being stolen from.  Not fun.

  6. kirsib profile image70
    kirsibposted 7 years ago

    Stealing is unacceptable and there is no excuse for it unless you are starving and  would go hungry without stealing food. And hopefully today in US nobody is facing that. I don't want to hear any excuse for it, I've seen it and my kids friends have done it. I agree for many it is just a way to try to get attention they are looking for. Still not allowed and anyone who steals should face severe penalty for it, not just a warning or a slap on a wrist. Kid or an adult. I cannot stand thiefs at all!

    1. jfay2011 profile image62
      jfay2011posted 7 years agoin reply to this

      that's right.  Although, because I vented about it, I got a lot of nasty comments for venting and people thought I was childish.  I had a right to vent for a little bit though.  I don't like anyone who steals.  I have deleted those hubs though as it's done and over with and I'm tired of seeing nasty comments about me.  I bet a lot of people were people that the family knew


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