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Is this a phase or indications of a bigger problem?

My SD7 has a habit of taking things that don't belong to her. She been doing it on and off for the past year. About 2 months ago her teacher caught her twice and she does it at home a lot. We've explained that this is wrong and she will ask permission sometimes, but if the person says no she will find a way to steal it anyway. The other day we went to a 3D movie and she wanted to take the glasses home but the theater asked that everyone return them so she hid hers in her jacket and tried to sneak it out of the theater. My SO thinks its a 'phase' but I'm concerned this may develop into a bigger problem if we don't nip it in the bud right now. What do you think?


Asked by Anonymous at 10:32 AM on Mar. 9, 2009 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

This question is closed.
Answers (6)
  • SS never went through this, but he is 7 now, so I guess it could still happen. I would make sure that she knows that it is not acceptable. You expect her to apologize and return things she takes, and if she takes from you or anyone else in the family and it isn't returnable (got broken or used or whatever) she is expected to work off the debt. She will grow out of it, but only if she knows that it will be punished. I remember my dad taking my sister back to the store because she stole a pack of gum. He made her give it to the cashier, apologize for stealing it, and she wasn't allowed in the store with anyone for two weeks. She never did it again after that.

    Answer by Mom1Stepmom1 at 10:45 AM on Mar. 9, 2009

  • Nip.

    She needs to learn about "mine" and "not mine" - maybe you could take some toys and she could earn them back?

    Seven is old enough to know better - my DD is 6 and has had impulse control problems and we just SIT ON HER..............that's the way to do it, imo.

    It's not some big pyschological issue (in most cases) - it's just the standard kid I want what I want when I want it now. Well, that's not the way life happens and the earlier they learn it, the better.\

    Good luck - I wouldn't let it take over your life but I would be concerned.

    Answer by Wimsey at 10:35 AM on Mar. 9, 2009

  • I think it's both: It's a phase, but you do need to nip it in the bud before it becomes a habit. My kids both went thru a very short-lived phase with it, but it didn't last long b/c I made sure they understood from that point forward that the rule is if you don't own it, you don't touch it; if you can't pay to afford it, you don't touch it.
    One way to curb it, and I know some will disagree with me, but embarassment may get her to stop. She takes something that doesn't belong to her, make her return it to the person she took it from and tell them, "I stole this from you. I'm sorry." I did this with my 5 yr old a couple of months ago when he took something from someone at school; has not happened again.

    Answer by tropicalmama at 10:38 AM on Mar. 9, 2009

  • whoops.."can't pay to afford it" should have been "can't pay to OWN it". Sorry

    Answer by tropicalmama at 10:40 AM on Mar. 9, 2009

  • Thankfully she is old enough to understand well the consequences that go along with stealing. Don't just tell her what can happen, show her! Do you have a local jail nearby? My almost 6 year old knows where ours is and if I ever threatened to take him to jail for stealing he'd probably pass out in the parking lot from his temper tantrum.

    Answer by ReneeK3 at 10:41 AM on Mar. 9, 2009

  • Yes, its a phase but it is developing into a habit and it does need to be nipped in the bud b/f it grows into a serious issue. Most serious issues start little.

    Answer by MamiJaAyla at 2:11 PM on Mar. 9, 2009