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What would you do if you caught your 3 yr old stealing?

Today at the check out my 3 yr old DD Stole some candy, I found out when we got home. I took the candy, spanked her, and made her sit in her room. I can't believe she did this. Do you think I made her do the right thing? What would you have done?

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 8:11 PM on Oct. 25, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Answers (9)
  • I don't agree with what you did. She did not understand why what she did was wrong. Simply taking a trip back to the store and having her either pay for or give them back to a store worker would have been more insightful for her as to why we don't take things without paying for them. now she probably has some fear in her. Instead of fear of consequences why don't we teach why it's wrong? Why can't you believe she did this?
    All kids do this! It's our jobs as parents to teach them as it comes.

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:16 PM on Oct. 25, 2009

  • When my son was four/five he tried to steal some little books from a store. I made him take them up to the cashier and apologize. He was so tramatized by it, he's never stolen from a store again.

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:17 PM on Oct. 25, 2009

  • I would have scolded her for doing it and explain the reason why then I would have gone back to the store and have her return it and apologize for taking it. She will remember this forever.

    Answer by older at 8:19 PM on Oct. 25, 2009

  • She's still little and learning from it so forgive her and move on. They don't really get "stealing" or "fibbing/ lying" yet but are learning.

    Answer by TXdanielly at 8:35 PM on Oct. 25, 2009

  • I agree with first poster, at her age IF you have not talked to her about it she did not know she did anything wrong... If you have not spoken to her about it, you need too !!! They dont know if we dont teach them.. Forgive her and yourself and move on. Next time she does something, make sure she understands what she did and that it was wrong before you punish...

    I always explained to mine that they can not take anything with out paying for it, then I took them back in the store to return the item to the manager or pay for it after saying I am sorry I took this without paying for it...

    Answer by midnightmoma at 9:01 PM on Oct. 25, 2009

  • I do NOT agree with what you did. She is 3, does she even understand what stealing means? Does she understand that she did something wrong? DId you even bother to talk to her or did you just spank her and then banish her to her room? Kids are not little adults that know everything, as parents, we need to teach them. Instead of spankng and banishing, you should have talked to her about what she did being a poor choice and what stealing means and then you should have left it at that. Your choice of punishment was not developmentally appropriate. Your daughter did not learn that what she did was wrong, just that she was hurt and sent to her room. Not a good way to teach right from wrong.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 11:04 PM on Oct. 25, 2009

  • While I do think spanking is an effective learning tool in some situations, I do not beleive it would be effective in this one. I would have expalined as simply as possible that we do not take what is not ours, taken her back to the store hand explained to the clerk what happend and had her pay for the candy but not given it to her afterwards. Then help her do some chores around the house and let her "earn" ehough to by a peice of candy and next time let her buy a peice. She needs to learn that stealing in wrong, but she also needs to learn that there is effort behind money, and you mustpay for soemthing before it is yours. SHe may not "getj" it right away, but keep up with it and you will start laying a foundation of the understanding of how this whole crazy money thing goes.

    Don't take the spanking thing too hard though. She made a mistake, you made a mistake, learn from it and move on.

    Answer by daughteroftruth at 11:22 AM on Oct. 26, 2009

  • i agree 100% with what you did. I would do the same damn thing. we are firm believers in spanking for serious crimes so to speak. stealing is a crime. and is wrong no matter what age the child is. My dd is 3 as well and know its wrong not to take shit without asking. she is smart enough to know to stay out of the poison cabnet and she is smart enough to under stand the meaning of cleaning her room. she speaks clearly now and knows when she does bad.
    If your child is like mine. then u did right. they know exactly what they did if u talked to them as well as spanking them. explain why they are being punshed.

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:58 PM on Oct. 26, 2009

  • I'm with most of the PP's, unless this was something you have discussed with her, she doesn't know what she did was wrong.

    My DD did this last year. She was 3, and we were traveling across the country and we had stopped at a gas station. She took a pack of gum. I made her take it back in and apologize, and then I made her pay for it, but I wouldn't let her have it. She was very embarassed. She now knows that things have to be paid for before the leave the store.


    Answer by Cavalrybaby02 at 5:29 PM on Oct. 26, 2009

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