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How do you punish a 6 year old child that stole over $500 from my sister and then denied it and tried to give it away?

My 6 year old stole money from my sister while visiting her and she lied to us. then we found out she tried to give it away to her friends. What should we do. I am devistated, ashamed and very angry. I don't know what to do. How do I punish her and for how long. I don't believe in corporal punishment, I was severely abused as a child, for that was how my parents punished us. Please help me,


Asked by cardinal58 at 1:34 PM on Jan. 27, 2011 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 9 (336 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (21)
  • I agree with the fact that the aunt shouldn't have left money out like that. Our money is always up, things we don't want our kids in, are up where they can't get into them. Also the aunt should have been watching her. How does a 6 year old walk away with that and no one notice? Did she have a bag or something? I wouldn't have her work off the money, just take the time she is normally able to watch tv or play and make her help you. Just one or two days. Tell her, aunt so and so worked hard for her money, and so she needs to work hard to get it back. I assume you got the money back from the kids she was giving it to... Make your daughter return it to your sister, and apologize. As for the lying, what's your punishment for lying? Timeouts, something taking away, early bedtime?? Whatever it is, I would punish her like that. She needs to know, that no matter how big the lie is, the punishment is the same.

    Answer by BabyBugsmama at 2:23 PM on Jan. 27, 2011

  • Why not use this as a teaching experience. I don't think the child had the malicious intent to steal. It was there. She took it and shared it. Tell her it was nice that she shared but she can't take what is not her's to give away. I wouldn't punish. I'd teach. I took some of my mom's quarters at that age and shared with with a friend and my mom beat the crap out of me with a belt. All she had to do was tell me not to do it again. I would have listened and learned. The only thing she taught me by the beating is to fear her and hate her.

    Answer by admckenzie at 1:38 PM on Jan. 27, 2011

  • A 6 year old knows better than to take what isn't theirs. The fact that she lied is (to me) as bad as her taking the money in the first place. I would 1) make my daughter call my sister, admit what she did and tell her how sorry she is, and then 2) make her work off at least a portion of the money. The point isn't to give the money back (although she should), it's to teach her the value of the money and also to make her think twice before stealing again.

    Answer by missanc at 1:46 PM on Jan. 27, 2011

  • I don't know. I think I'd make her work it off. Make her work every weekend for a certain number of weekends to show her what's involved in paying back that kind of money. Scrubbing floors, helping fold laundry, sweeping, helping to rake leaves. Whatever it takes that she's capable of I think.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:37 PM on Jan. 27, 2011

  • A 6 year old should KNOW not to take things that don't belong to them, period. And then she tried to give it to her friends? What if she took something from a store? Should the store owners put all their merchandise way up on a high shelf so little kids can't reach it?

    Answer by Bethsunshine at 2:05 PM on Jan. 27, 2011

  • I stole a piece of candy when I was her age. My mom made me go to the store and apologize to everyone there for an hour. I have never stole anything again. As for the lieing aspect, well she should have to face some sort of consequence like no TV for a week and no special treats as well. She needs to learn that trust is earned and she has lost it.

    Answer by bus_driver_mom at 2:20 PM on Jan. 27, 2011

  • IT doesnt matter if it was 5 bucks or 500. At 6 most children know that they shouldnt take money that doesnt belong to them. But, she is 6 we dont know how mature she is and what she realizes only you do. I think the punishment should fit the crime. Have her apologize to your sister. Let her know that her behavior really hurt your feelings and that for now she has to earn your trust back. I would also have her have some kind of grounding appropriate for her age. If this is something new I would chalk it up to a learning lesson. Kids do impulsive things. She knew she was wrong because she lied.

    Answer by mistynights234 at 5:00 PM on Jan. 27, 2011

  • Work it off? Why? Just get the money back from the kids (or their parents) and give it back to your sister then tell sis to keep her money up from little kids' hands. Why would an adult carry that much money around anyway then keep it down so kids, or anyone, can get it? Sis was just as much to blame on that one

    Wow, way to teach the kid NO responsibility for their actions!!!! You should be able to leave your money and valuables anywhere you want to IN YOUR OWN HOUSE without worrying about someone stealing them, especially a child who should know better.

    Make her work it off. She can do chores for your sister until the money is paid off.

    Answer by Bethsunshine at 1:46 PM on Jan. 27, 2011

  • If it were my child I would have her get the money back, and then give it back to Aunt AND I would make her apoligize to Aunt. My child would also get a talking to about what she did (getting into others things (like Aunt's purse), stealing and lying). I would also give "consequences" and in this case I would put my child to work doing extra chores. If the Aunt lived nearby I would ask her if she had any chores for the child to do and the child would 'work' for her until she felt the debt was paid.

    Answer by MizLee at 2:10 PM on Jan. 27, 2011

  • Tough one. I know kids aren't really supposed to know right from wrong until 7 or 8 years old so I wouldn't be too harsh on her. A similar thing happened to me when I was growing up. I stole $5 from my Grandma to give to my mom for her birthday. I didn't really know what I was doing, I just saw the money and took it (I was 5 or 6 years old). My grandparents made me write "I will not steal" 500 times. It sucked and I can still remember it - but it didn't work. As I got older, I continued to steal and the amounts were larger. I was dealing with a lot of family issues and I think that could have contributed. I stopped stealing around age 17. Anyhow, that's just my experience with it. (cont.)


    Answer by banana-bear at 2:49 PM on Jan. 27, 2011