4 year old thief!

June 26, 2009 11:29am CST
When I was at work monday, we had a customer in with her 4 year old kid and she left and came back about an hour later and handed me a load of stock, she said that the kid had put it under the buggy! I was really on the ball because I didn't notice! But when she told the kid to apologise, she said "no" and the mum just said "okay" WTF She did not punish the kid or even make it apologise. What would you have done?
4 people like this
18 responses
• India
26 Jun 09
It is kind of practice that parent should tell the kids what should and shouldn't do at public places. In your case, the parents didn't tell the kid not to behave like this. It is the mistake of parents, but you should be very careful whether it is kid or person. I will tell the kid not to do like this again(with kindness). If he doesn't response good, then I will (with permission of parent)tell the kid something that bring fear when he do thing like this(with rudeness).
2 people like this
26 Jun 09
The thing is, you dont know what she did to that child once she got it home...some people will deal out nasty punishments in their own home instead of in public :( Sometimes when my kids where around that age, they would be cheeky to take something from a shop...usually from the pick and mix sweeties and sometimes I wouldnt notice until i got home and was hanging up their coats...sometimes the best punishment at that age is to tell them how bad it was and then make them watch as you destroy whatever it is that they coveted. What did you want the mother to do? Work a shift in payment for the goods? Physically abuse the child (oh sorry people call it discipline these days) in front of you? Most children of that age push boundaries but dont deserve nasty punishments...but they do need to know that it is wrong and have that principle reinforced.
1 person likes this
26 Jun 09
dont be facetious, she could have made the child apologise, told it what it did was wrong, anything
1 person likes this
• Malaysia
26 Jun 09
The little child didn't know the true meaning of 'stealing', so the mum should straighten that out to her child. If she reacted like it's no big deal, then the child will probably do the same mistakes until she grows up because no one close to her point out that what she does is wrong.
1 person likes this
26 Jun 09
kind of a big deal, she'll be a thief!
1 person likes this
@catdla1 (6005)
• United States
26 Jun 09
I would have looked at the mother and said something like, "Thank you for doing the right thing. It's very appreciated. I'm sorry that your son/daughter would not appologize for his/her actions, but your honesty in this situation is thank you enough."
1 person likes this
26 Jun 09
I did thank her for bringing the stuff back, but I was quite cross that the kid wasn't punished.
1 person likes this
@diamania (7034)
• Netherlands
26 Jun 09
Depends on the goods stolen. I work in a shop and if I see someone stealing something I am instructed to chase the one and apply civil arrest. Whereupon I must hand over the suspect to police. The age and the behavior of the kiddo influences the action I would take though. If you got further questions don't hesitate but ask them. :)
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Jun 09
I have had to deal with this when my kids were little and I have also had to deal with this now with one of my grandchildren. In both cases I didn't know that they had taken anything until we were back in the car. When I found out that they had stolen something I talked to them and made them go back in the store with me and give it back and apologize. I think that's the only way that a child's going to learn that its wrong to take something without paying for it.
26 Jun 09
precisely, they need to be told that!
@jules67 (2790)
• Philippines
27 Jun 09
I would have to explain to the kid that what he or she did was wrong and need to apologize for what happened. Perhaps, the kid thought that you can just get something out from the store. The parent has to explain to the kid what the store is and how it operates so that the kid will fully understand. The next time they visit the store, he or she has a better understanding of how a kid should behave in public.
@check23 (448)
• Philippines
27 Jun 09
What kind of mother is that?! Tolerating what her daughter's wrong doings but maybe she only don't want others to see her punish her child.
@irishidid (8725)
• United States
27 Jun 09
My oldest daughter lifted something when she was about a year old. I was shopping at this small shop and had walked half way home when I look down at her stroller to see her holding this little plastic truck. I had to walk back to return it. My son tried it when he was six. It was one of those gummy watches. His sister (the truck nabber) caught him. He had put it down his shorts and it hung way past the bottom of them. He got scolded by me, his sister and the store clerk. Okay, it was pretty funny seeing the gummy watch hanging way past his shorts with his skinny legs but stealing is not funny. As for your incident I'm not going to assume the kid didn't get punished later on. I never punished my kids in front of people. I would have told my kids to apologize though and there would have been consequences if they didn't. I consider 4 years old still on the edge of not knowing better but they are old enough to learn a lesson.
@sid556 (31000)
• United States
27 Jun 09
I caught my daughter stealing when she was six. She stole a bracelet from a store. She had wanted it and I had told her "no" and on the way home I caught sight of her showing her sister in the rear view. I did a turn around. Thankfully the clerk reprimanded her and warned her. If this lady doesn't do something about this now...she is sending us yet another juvenile deliquent to make our lives interesting because that is what these kids turn into if not corrected really young.
@Ruby722 (797)
• China
27 Jun 09
It's awful. I think that the mum should let the kid appologize.Even she is 4 years old.But when she grow up.She might think this thing is not a big deal. She might stole more improtant stuff.When i was a kid. My mother told me 'Not yours.Don't get'I still remember this sentence
@bhabytart (1116)
• Philippines
27 Jun 09
maybe the kid doesn't really understand what she/he did.i think the mother should have explained to the child about his/her action.but i didn't like what the mother did, she didn't even bother to explain to the child what just happen.the mother should take full responsibility about the child action. if i were the mother i would ask the child why did he/she do that kind of action. i would also explain to the kid that his/her action is wrong and should not be repeated.hmm.... and a punishment would be enough for the kid. have nice day...
• United States
27 Jun 09
AHHH! I hate when that happens! I work in retail also, and it happens ALL THE TIME. My initial response is to think that the mom did it, thought she may get caught, so brought it back and blamed her child. That is what happens the most to me actually. One time I had a mother who we witnessed give her children merchandise to "stash" in one of their own bags. She then had them wait at the door while she went to pull the card forward. Security stopped the children going out, and she went ballistic, saying that her kids wouldn't do that. We then brought them all back to give them no trespassing paperwork. I wasn't going to have the police come down for a 6 and 7 year old, and I couldn't arrest the mother because she didn't have the items in her possession. Smart lady, kind of. The sad thing is, the kids are being taught it's okay, and that you won't get in trouble for it. What can you do? I picked my 7 year old up from daycare today and she had some body glitter that I know I didn't buy her. She said "a friend" gave it to her, but it just didn't seem right. I made her take it back inside and turn it in to lost and found. I know they will probably just throw it away, but I wanted her to know that you don't take things that don't belong to you, and that even if you "find" something that isn't yours, you can't just put it in your pocket and take it home. The sad thing is, we can only do that for our own children. The other small kids, like the one you described, will grow up into big shoplifters, or worse.
@cbjones (1156)
• United States
26 Jun 09
What would I have done to the little four year old prince of thieves? Something that would have caused the parent to get angry, and yell at me for a few good minutes. Don't read too much into that statement. My reaction would really hurt the kid in any way. I'm not about physical punishment...that's my story, and I'm sticking to it. I would have looking at the kid, then explained to stealing would end up getting them in big trouble. I'd lighten the mood by saying that stealing bases was perfectly fine, but everything else was off limits. I figure this attempt at trying to raise someone else kid in from of them would really rile up any parent. If they don't even make an attempt to to do it though, I don't see the problem in stepping in and preventing the kid from growing up and becoming a hoodlum. If I tried that "no" crap when I was a kid, I wouldn't be able to sit for a week or so. Also, I'd get a long and drawn out lecture from the entire family for that week as well(brother and sister included.) I learned early that talking back to your parents was a big "no-no!"
• United States
26 Jun 09
Maybe she didnt want to cause a big ordeal in the store. I know it is rude to not apologise but it would have been worse to cause a complete melt down. She might have just wanted to discipline at home where the problems wouldnt effect others.
@Rollo1 (16685)
• Boston, Massachusetts
26 Jun 09
I had a similar problem with my son when he was very young. I had to stop letting him wear pants with pockets. When I say young, I mean really young so that it started before he could even figure out what stealing meant. The only way to deal with it is to make the kid return the stuff, mommy doing it let's the kid off the hook. Thankfully, I no longer have to check his pockets and underwear after we leave a store, but if they get away with it, it will continue. When that kid is a teen, shoplifting from a department store, they won't get away with it so easily.
@lynnemg (4538)
• United States
26 Jun 09
About 6 months ago, my daughter stole some lip gloss from a local store. I only realized that she did this when she came out of her bedroom later that evening with her "New" stuff. Of course, I knew that she didn't buy it and neither did I, so, I made her tell me where she got it and admit that she stole it. My daughter was 6 at the time, and my husband and I both agreed immediately that we were making her take it back to the store, give it back, and apologize. When we got to the store, my husband went inside to talk to the manager befrore we even got her out of the car. The manager came outside and escorted my daughter into the building. He told her that he did not appreciate her stealing from him and if it ever happened again, he would call the police. Of course, he and my husband had already spoken and we wanted the manager to scare her enough that she would never even think aboutit again. It worked, now when we go into a store, she will hardly even touch anything because she doesn't want us to even think that she may be trying to steal. Personally, I think that if more parents took this sort of proactive approach with kids when they try to steal, we would have less of the problem. I have always taught my kids, from the time that they were very young, that stealing is wrong and there are consequences to face if they do steal. Now, they know without a doubt that I was not joking about it at all and I doubt that I will have the problem again.
@lelin1123 (15639)
• Puerto Rico
26 Jun 09
The child didn't aplogize I as the mom would have said you will be punished when you get home. You see yes I would have brought the stuff back but even if she did not apologize she would still be punished when she got home for a week. Her punishment would have been something she loves to do. Such as playing with her toys, playing outside or watching cartoons. If she lets her get away with this at 4 years old could you imagine what she will be going thru when the child is 10.