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How can I make my 6 year old understand that it is wrong to take things that don't belong to him?

I've been having a problem for the last few months that my son will take things that do not belong to him. It hasn't been anything serious: gum, cookies, candy, etc...the treats that he doesn't get to eat every day. I've tried everything from grounding him to his room, to spankings. He says he knows it's wrong, but he does it anyway.Lately, each time it happens, I make him apologize to whoever he took it from, and he does not get dessert for 1 week. I guess I have two questions...1, am I causing him to do it more by taking dessert away from him? 2, what can I do to make him understand that it is not okay to take things that don't belong to him? I'm worried that eventually it's not going to be as simple as stealing gum from his uncle, that it will turn into something bigger. What can I do to prevent this from happening in the future, and to make him understand the seriousness of this situation and his actions??

Please help!

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Asked by Stinababalina at 5:52 PM on Mar. 7, 2010 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 3 (14 Credits)
Answers (4)
  • The dessert thing is fine, but he needs a more scary punishment, and he needs to understand that stealing is not only not nice but it is illegal and eventually he could go to jail. That right there will usually scare the crap out of a kid his age and he won't do it again.

    Answer by truealaskanmom at 5:56 PM on Mar. 7, 2010

  • if it's from a store I'd figure out a way to punish him other than having him take it back- I'm getting this straight from store workers because so many places have 'no tolorance' policies and they have to call the police even if they don't want to -

    how long are you trying one punishment?

    some people do have problems with this sort of thing- maybe he should see a counselor-

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:27 AM on Mar. 8, 2010

  • my six year old did exactly the same thing. I just kept making him take the things back and apologise. It is becoming less of an issue now, you just have to keep on top of it. He will get it sooner or later. You are doing everything right, he does not need to see a counsellor!

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:52 PM on Mar. 8, 2010

  • Take something he likes away from him and see how that makes him feel and then explain why you did it. Ask him why he took those things maybe. Sorry if this doesn't help!

    Answer by alishak at 6:28 AM on Mar. 9, 2010

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