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Children Stealing

Every parent dreads hearing that their child has committed a crime. Young kids in elementary school may engage in shoplifting. While it may make your heart sink, it is a common problem with young kids, and one that you can usually successfully address. Many kids this age simply take things because they have a hard time controlling themselves. Still, you'll want to put a stop to this behavior right away to avoid future problems.

When kids see something they want, and don't have the money for it, they may just take it. This may happen in a store or even at school. Many young kids just don't yet have an idea of how serious shoplifting or other crimes can be.

If your child has committed a crime, especially shoplifting, consider these tips:

  • Discuss crimes and shoplifting with your child. He needs to know why it is an important issue and why it needs to be avoided. Find out why he did it as well. No matter what his reason, it is a good idea to have him explain why.
  • Go with him to take the item back, speak with the store manager, and have your child apologize for shoplifting. Discuss with your child how shoplifting hurts the store, the manufacturers, and other shoppers who end up having to pay more to make up for shoplifting losses.
  • Help your child learn responsible ways to get the things he wants, like earning money. Perhaps you can set up an allowance chart and give him chores to do around the house. This way he can earn money to purchase those small items he would like to have.
  • Have a police officer talk to your child about crimes and shoplifting. Many officers are usually willing to do so, and a short talk can have a big impact on your child's behavior.
  • Never ignore any crimes or shoplifting that they may do. It is important to consistently address it and let them know it will not be tolerated. Even if it is a small item, it needs to be addressed.
  • Seek the advice of a counselor, therapist, or physician if stealing remains an ongoing and consistent problem.

Although discovering that your child has been shoplifting can be shocking, parents can usually successfully address it by taking action immediately. When issues of shoplifting are addressed at a young age, children will be more likely to respect the law. The sooner the issue is addressed, the better!