Have you ever caught your young child stealing?

United States
February 17, 2007 7:12am CST
Either from you or from a store? What did you do about it and how did you handle the situation?
2 people like this
4 responses
@classy56 (2884)
• United States
17 Feb 07
i caught my son stealing when he was 6 years old.he stole from a grocery store,{he stole a a pack of chewing gum}.i made him go to the store manager an tell him he was sorry.{of course i was with him}.the store manager scare him a little about strealing.he he never stole anything again..that was 25 years ago..that was best thing i ever did was to make him face what he did was wrong.
2 people like this
• United States
18 Feb 07
i did the same thing. my oldest, he was about 5, stole a candy bar from a store, i didn't know it until we got home. We went right back to the store and i made him tell the manager what he did. The manager did the same..scared him a little, and that was it. He didn't get a spanking, having to go back to the store and do that was worse punishment. Thank you for sharing that
@TriciaW (2442)
• United States
19 Feb 07
When my daughter was little she took a candy bar in a store and opened it and was about to take a bite when I caught her. She knew she had not behaved in the store so she wasn't going to get a treat. I made her tell the clerk what she did and tell her she was sorry. Since it was open I bought it but ate it in front of her. She cried after telling the clerk she was sorry but cried more as mommy got to eat it because mommy paid for it. She is 22 now and still remembers it. Happy to say she never took anything again without paying for it first.
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Feb 07
yep, my son had the lecture and the embarrassment, and in the end, didn't get to eat the candy bar...THAT hurt, too...lol...good for you..thanks for sharing that.
• Nigeria
18 Feb 07
When a child is caught stealing, you have a great chance to teach them a lesson. This might get painful for you, but it will help them understand that what they did is wrong. Some children under six really can’t tell the difference between right and wrong simply because they don’t understand the concept as clearly as older children do. Young children sometimes don’t understand how money works. I know for quite a while I thought checks were just free money. You wrote a check and they item was yours. I didn’t understand that money had to be in a bank to cover that check. Along the same lines, children may not understand that if they take something without paying, someone else will have to pay for it, or will lose money on it. What they can understand is that they have done something wrong, and it’s never OK to steal anything. When you explain this to your child, don’t go overboard trying to explain how money is made when something is purchased or how a store keeps track of merchandise. All they need to understand is that they took something that does not belong to them, and that is never OK to do. My brother, clutching his pack of gum, was marched back into the grocery store. My mother made him hand the gum back to the cashier, admit that he stole it, and he then had to apologize. My mother then explained to him that if someone else had caught him stealing that gum, the police might have been called. Now, you and I both know that most likely, that’s not going to happen when a five year old is caught stealing a pack of gum, but it will happen when they get older. As far as I know, my brother learned his lesson. Some parents make the mistake of trying to deal with this on their own. When they catch their child stealing, they punish the child but don’t make them go back into the store. Even a small five-cent item should be returned to the store by the child, so they can see for themselves that they have done something wrong to someone else. Even worse, some parents choose to ignore the situation all together. Even if you are having a tough time economically, there is never an excuse to steal. Failing to punish the crime, as small as it may seem in your eyes, only reinforces the notion that it is OK to take something that does not belong to them if you can’t afford to buy it.
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Feb 07
very good points. ...I think the thing that my son remembered the most is the fact that he had to stand in front of the manager and get the lecture from him. I could have lectured him for hours, but the 3 minutes with that manager really hit home. It was embarassing for him, someone else was doing the lecturing, and that sunk in far more than any other punishment. I'm really glad to know that most people I've asked about this have done the same thing I did....thank you for the wonderful tips that hopefully will help some newer mothers understand the importance of teaching lessons early in life.
• United States
17 Feb 07
When my son was three he took a pack of gum at the grocery store and slipped it into his pocket. When we got out to the car he showed it to us and I took him back into the store and straight to the store manager for him to tell on himself. The store manager took him to his office and lectured him for about ten minutes. As far as I know my son didn't take anything that didn't belong to him after that day.
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Feb 07
yes, that is a punishment that really works on them, doesn't it? funny how they can try things so young and get such a valuable lesson, isn't it? thank you so much.