i have a problem with my daughter she has been stealing since before she could walk and she wont stop, as a baby she would put things behind her in her pushchair in shops or putting things in her pockets, then at 2-3yrs she started stealing money from me aswell and hiding it in her room.i fond a ten pound note under her bed once. last week she was playn out the front wen she went into my neighbours car stole the air fresheners then hid them in my draw. now her teacher are pulling me sayn its a big problem at school and ther constantly having to check pockets and bag, i have tryed everything but she wont stop.


3495 days ago
Maybe shes seen it on tv or someone do it.. Like social learning theory.. idk.. take her to a psychiatrist and they can help

3495 days ago
I too, think you should take her to a doctor or a therapist to see what they would think. She has had to have seen it some where, or heard about it, and feels that it is okay.

Think back: do you know of any place that she has heard of this or has seen it happen? If so, did those people involved feel some sort of joy from doing the act?

It may be a bit misguided idea for attention from you too. I would discuss this with her in the kindest, most gentle words you could get her to understand. Also, allow her to understand that there are rewards and punishments to things.

Set her up a thing where she knows that she needs not to steal, for the next time she steals, something--paddling (which I am not condoning or endorsing), punishment of some kind, or some thing else that will not be a reward will take place.

How do you deal with her now when she steals?



3495 days ago
mavin when a child first begins to take things that aren't theirs, I wouldn't call it stealing, because they don't know better. How that action is handled by the adult plays a big part in whether the behavior continues. By the time they are 4 years old, they know that taking things that aren't theirs is wrong, however they still don't understand their feelings about it. As a 4 year old they think that taking what they want will make them feel happy. If that doesn't happen, they don't understand it.

Some children take when they need something else but can't vocalize it, they don't know what they need. Often it is attention. Later, they will take things because even attention for the bad behavior is more than they receive otherwise for any behavior.

Your 4 year old does need a lot of attention at this point, positive regard, praise and reward for doing what is right, and not so much disdain when doing something wrong such as taking things that aren't theirs.

Don't take this wrong, she does need countering action if she steals, but not outbursts or high emotional reactions. If there's one set result for each thing she takes of someone elses, then reminding her of that and following through is enough. Once the flurry of attention is reduced, so some of the desire to steal will reduce. (I recommend that for each time she takes something, she has to personally give it back, with an apology, and she loses something of her own for a period of time. It could also be that she might need to have to give that person something of hers forever, along with what she took from them.)

She's gaining something when she steals. Once you find out what that gain is for her, and mediate it, the negative behavior will stop.

If you find you can't reach her with the standard stories such as how would she feel if someone took her favorite toy and that's how others feel when she takes their things, then do find professional help for both of you to get through this tough time.

If you can have fun and talk about how she feels when she does this, and if she knows why (she might!) she does it, you might be able to work this out together. Since it's been going on for such a long time, though, she probably isn't going to believe you without someone backing you up with support on how to reach her.

Good wishes.