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How do I stop them from stealing?

My seven-year-old and my six-year-old are stealing food. For example: this morning they ate an entire box of cereal between the two of them and said they were full. Not five minutes later they were caught hiding in their closet with another full box of cereal that they stole from the shelf and opened. I do not limit them at meals. If they want seconds or thirds they get it. (And before anyone says anything my children not obese or even close to being overweight). They even steal from their younger siblings' plates. My husband and I have tried every form of discipline we can think of to no avail. Has anybody been here? Any suggestions or ideas? Bashing and judging will be ignored thanks.


Asked by Anonymous at 7:48 PM on May. 28, 2011 in General Parenting

This question is closed.
Answers (14)
  • Lots of carbs like that can be addictive. In other words, if a child eats the carbs, especially without milk, it stimulates them to eat more, thus the extra cereal eaten in the closet. I went through this in my 20's and finally had to stop buying cereal because for me I would start eating handfuls and before I knew it, the whole box would be gone. A lot of people binge eat on things like cheerios for the same reason. Once they start, they can't seem to stop. I think you may want to get something different yet still simple for breakfast, like toast and eggs or some of those biscuits that already come prepared in the bakery section of grocery stores with some melted cheese. Another idea would be peanut butter or cream cheese on a whole wheat English muffin or bagel. The idea is to combine protein with the carb to stop the carb overload that in turn causes more cravings for the carbs.

    Answer by lilangilyn at 7:55 PM on May. 28, 2011

  • I have not dealt with this. What did they say when you asked why? Is this new behavior?

    Answer by meooma at 8:12 PM on May. 28, 2011

  • Put a lock on the pantry.

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:23 PM on May. 28, 2011

  • I agree with the first poster. I also want to encourage you to make an appt. with their Dr. My cousins 8 yr old did exactly the same thing. He was rail thin and ate constatly. It turned out he has a malabsorption disease.

    Answer by GrnEyedGrandma at 8:25 PM on May. 28, 2011

  • If my children were sneaking food from the pantry, I would let them know that if they are hungry to just ask. I would not consider them stealing food since the food is in their home. I have twins who are seven when they are hungry they don't even need to ask my permission to have a snack.  I have a drawer in the refrigerator with string cheese, yogurt, fruit cups, fresh fruit my boys know if they want a snack those are what they are allowed to have between meals. 


    Answer by mommiedear at 8:14 PM on May. 28, 2011

  • I've had to put certain items on the top shelves in my garage for that very reason. I'm the same way...if you want more, all you have to do is ask, don't just take.

    Answer by hopeandglory53 at 8:14 PM on May. 28, 2011

  • They say because they wanted it. They started a few weeks ago with canned goods, and once they figured out which food they could open themselves they started taking it. Cheese, fruits, anything they know they can open and can get their hands on, even if they have to climp into the cupboards to reach it.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 8:21 PM on May. 28, 2011

  • They take whatever they can from their siblings' plates as well when they think no one is looking.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 8:22 PM on May. 28, 2011

  • If my kids try stealing food off a plate at the table they get a handful of fork tine, or a sharp rap across the knuckles for taking without asking.

    Answer by Rosehawk at 8:44 PM on May. 28, 2011

  • Ya I just heard this story about carbs and how our body has no need for them, cuz we produce it naturally so then by giving our body some we keep craving more..Im trying to cut out carbs in my house now, since IM noticing my daughter eating more carbs then other things she should be, even tho she is diversified eater usually.

    Answer by Angelgurl13 at 9:35 PM on May. 28, 2011