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Ten-year-old stealing from family and friends

Question:

I have a 10-year-old who steals money from family and friends. It can be as little as a few dollars up to $100. She knows it is wrong and that she will get into trouble, yet she continues.

 

Answer:

Your daughter definitely needs to stop this behavior or she will find herself with charges on her juvenile record. What kind of trouble has she gotten into when she has stolen money in the past? There must be negative consequences as a result of her behavior or she will not change. If what she gains by stealing outweighs the personal cost to her if she is caught, then she will continue to steal.  

Currently, she has lost your trust and the trust of those around her. She will have to earn that trust back by performing many honest actions.

An appropriate negative consequence for an infraction like stealing is closer monitoring and never being out of an adult’s sight. She must ask permission to go into another room, and she must report her whereabouts frequently. Loss of privileges, such as playing at a friend’s home, spending time in her room and having access to electronics, is also appropriate. She should also do extra chores. She must repay those from whom she has taken money in both monetary terms and chores. We suggest that she work the number of hours it would take to earn the amount she has stolen.  

At 10, she has sadly earned the reputation of being dishonest, and that will stay with her for a long time. Every time someone is missing money, she will be suspected. Help her change her reputation by changing her negative behavior.  

If these suggestions are already in place and her behavior is continuing, then you may want to seek professional counseling.

 

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