My child is stealing!

I have for sometime been noticing that my small change goes missing from my bed side and for a while I have been trying to investigate only to find that it is actually my 10-year-old son doing this. I have talked to him about it but I would like to hear from you as well.  Djamilah, Nyamirambo.

I have for sometime been noticing that my small change goes missing from my bed side and for a while I have been trying to investigate only to find that it is actually my 10-year-old son doing this. I have talked to him about it but I would like to hear from you as well.  Djamilah, Nyamirambo.

Dear Djamilah,


It is unfortunate that your child has developed this habit but do not despair. Children sometimes take things they want without bothering to ask or worrying about consequences of their action. Sometimes it is because they lack self-control or a habit they are picking from their peers.

Whatever the reason for stealing, parents need to find out the root of the behaviour and address other underlying problems, like drug abuse, that may surface.

When a child is caught stealing, a parent’s reaction should depend on whether it’s the first time or there’s a pattern of stealing.

With young children, you need to help them understand that stealing is wrong–that when you take something without asking or paying for it, it hurts someone else.

Physical punishment, is unnecessary and could make the child angry and more likely to engage in even worse behaviour. It’s important, however, that a parent not bait the child by leaving out money in the hope of catching the child in the act. That could damage the sense of trust between a parent and child.

It’s also important to routinely monitor your child’s behaviour, keep them away from situations in which stealing is a temptation, and establish reasonable consequences for stealing if it does occur.

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