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How to discipline a shoplifting kid?

Last year during Christmas I was out with my nephew and SIL, and my 6y.o. nephew grabbed an item off the shelf and tried to stuff it into the front pocket of my sweatshirt. I immediately took it out and put it back on the shelf and told him we aren't supposed to take things from stores without paying for them, because you can get in trouble and it's wrong. His mother chose to ignore the situation and didn't intervene. Again, as we were leaving the store, he picked up another item and tried to put it in his pants pocket, and I did the same thing as earlier. My question is, what would anyone else have done in this situation? Would you just let it go after telling the boy not to shoplift, or would you try to get the mother to tell her child it was wrong too? Or would you do something more drastic, like take him to the cashier and have him tell the cashier he was going to take the item without paying?

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Asked by Amanda_Jeanne at 10:48 PM on Jan. 8, 2009 in General Parenting

Level 2 (8 Credits)
Answers (15)
  • I'd do exactly what my mother did to my sister the time she stole a pack of Tic Tacs! She marched her right back in the store, had them get the manager, and made her tell him what she did. The manager handled it perfectly too! He made her think he was gonna call the police and everything. Needless to say, shoplifting was never much of an issue with my mom's kids! We were all scared to death to try it after that!

    Answer by Mishelly728 at 10:51 PM on Jan. 8, 2009

  • Tell the mother that she should take that step in making the child go tell the cashier he was going to take the item without paying...

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:52 PM on Jan. 8, 2009

  • Maybe she didn't intervene because you did and she thought you did a good job of it. If my child made it through the door to steal something I'd bring him right back in and give it to the manager and make him apologize. If she didn't see the 2nd time, I'd bring it up to her and if she doesn't seem to care...maybe bring it up to your brother. If they both don't care...I'm sorry but I don't know what else you can's not your child. The only thing I can tell you is to enforce your rules when he's with you so he knows what he can't get away with when he's with you.

    Answer by britni11 at 10:52 PM on Jan. 8, 2009

  • If it were my son I'd take him to the police station and have them show him how they make an arrest and booking and where he would be locked up if he were in REAL trouble. Local police departments are happy to share this experience with young children in the hopes that they won't be back!

    Answer by happy2bme7 at 10:53 PM on Jan. 8, 2009

  • I find fear of trouble is not a good motivator for kids if they think there is ANY chance they can get away with it. You are absolutely right in intervening you may be the one who saves him from Juvie down teh road. I would take it from a more compassionate stand point. I would explain that when we take things that dont belong to us it hurts others. Perhaps the store owner who lost money because your nephew stole wont be able to buy his little boy a nice christmas present. Thats not a nice thing to do. I would go at it form that angle. As far as the SIL thing goes I would NOT step on her toes seeing as your inlaws that can cause major trouble. But I would say "So, does he do that often?" And try to start a convo. from there

    Answer by humaniterian87 at 10:54 PM on Jan. 8, 2009

  • well, since he's not your child, disciplining him isn't your place really.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:55 PM on Jan. 8, 2009

  • My son tried to steal a pack of gum once and actually made it out the store with it. I marched his little butt right back into the store and made him tell the cashier guy what he did. He was absolutely horrified and has never done it again. That consequence made a huge impression on him=) Sometimes drastic measures is what it takes.

    Answer by krusecat22 at 10:58 PM on Jan. 8, 2009

  • I would probably take his little hiney up to the cashier and ask for the manager....Maybe the manager could tell him in situations like this they call the cops....Scare his little butt!!

    Answer by calaid at 11:02 PM on Jan. 8, 2009

  • Thankfully, we never had this problem! Not of as yet anyway. We were walking out of the Dollar Tree and my son was holding on to his toy. When we got out side he said "MOM! Ught OH! The lady didnt scan my toy so we can pay for it!" So we went back in and appologized for not paying closer attention and paid for the toy. I was at a CVS when a man brought his little boy back in the store after stealing a candy bar. He made the little boy tell the cashier and appologized. The man bought the candy bar and told the little boy that he will not be getting the candy bar. The little boy couldnt have been more than 2. But I'm sure he knew what he did was wrong.

    Answer by angieluv at 11:22 PM on Jan. 8, 2009

  • Are you sure he didn't LEARN it from his mother? ..Why else would she not even say anything about it?

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:45 PM on Jan. 8, 2009

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