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How do you stop a 7 yr old girl from stealing?

DSD went through a phase of stealing when she was 5. At that time my SO dealt with it and thought it was over, but about 3 or 4 months ago it started again. Now she not only steals from the family, she steals from kids at school. We've tried everything...talking to her about how stealing is wrong, taking away something of hers for punishment, having her give the item back and apologizing and she's still doing it. We are very concerned and don't know if we should seek professional help. Any thoughts?


Asked by Anonymous at 7:47 AM on Mar. 24, 2009 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

This question is closed.
Answers (14)
  • My son is 5 and had the same problem. I did everything that you mentioned in your post and it didn't work. Finally, I called our local police dept and asked if they could send someone over to have a "talk" with my son about stealing and the consequences. The police officer came over in uniform and talked to my son about stealing. He put handcuffs on him and rode in the back of the police car and visited the holding cell so that he could see that there aren't any night lights, toys, tv or games in jail. I'm happy to say, I haven't had a problem since. Honestly, you could try that or the next time you are out somewhere and see a police officer stop and ask them if they will "talk" to her about stealing and I'm sure they would be happy to.


    Answer by legalmommy101 at 3:40 PM on Mar. 24, 2009

  • Sounds like you have tried everything and maybe professional help would be good at this time. GL.


    Answer by Anonymous at 7:48 AM on Mar. 24, 2009

  • Embarrass her. Take her to school one morning, while holding her hand, and make her give a public apology to the whole class.


    Answer by Anonymous at 7:50 AM on Mar. 24, 2009

  • UM no. Embarrassing her is NOT going to help. Good grief. Talk to a professional hun.


    Answer by Anonymous at 7:50 AM on Mar. 24, 2009

  • Um it does work. When I was young I stole candy and my Mom drove all the way back to the store and made say sorry to the manager. I never stole again.

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:55 AM on Mar. 24, 2009

  • Did you read her post? She HAS taken her child back and even had her say sorry. Sounds like she has done all she can at this point and just needs some intervention. It's not a bad thing to seek a professional. They just may be able to get to the "root" of her problem and help with that situation. Embarrassing is a no no.


    Answer by Anonymous at 8:02 AM on Mar. 24, 2009

  • I agree with the apology post. I'd do it too.

    Answer by LaurenKaye29 at 8:59 AM on Mar. 24, 2009

  • I assume she knows then the consequences of continued behavior result in fees and jail time? Could it be peer pressure? I am sorry about your situation. Good luck maybe outside influences will help?

    Answer by kristalee83 at 10:54 AM on Mar. 24, 2009

  • I can say I have been through this and as a rule it is an attention getter, a cry as such: We attempt the communication method and discussed what the child was doing etc, in the end we payed a little visit to the local police station where the local constabulary were more than happy to assist in demonstrating what happens to thieves and petty criminals. this worked at treat.

    Answer by ElleinOz at 11:01 AM on Mar. 24, 2009

  • Tell her that in the Middle East, when someone is caught stealing, their hand is chopped off. Get her some professional help, there may be something else going on than she is talking about. Have a police officer talk to her, make her pay for replacement with her own money. For every item she steals get rid of one of her things (don't give it back, ever). Make her apologize in writing to the person she stole from. A visit to Juvenile Detention may help too.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 3:57 PM on Mar. 24, 2009