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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Stealing And Lying


Stealing – often indicates emotional disturbance after 10 years. Indicates sometimes that something is lacking in child’s life, parental affection, attention – often, starts after one parent has left home.


  • Bolster their self esteem, exhibit stolen goods to others to prove their toughness, manhood, competence or enjoy excitement, adventure.
  • Getting even with the parent unconsciously - getting caught and embarrassing the parent
  • Sign of internal stress – e.g. depression, jealousy of new baby.  The child tries to establish a comfortable feeling inside by stealing.

What to do about stealing

Develop a close relationship, to talk about things openly, they need to be able to come and talk to you about things especially as they move into adolescence, reassure if need money, talk to you about it.  Need not to disappoint you - D.T.?

  • remove the temptation, understand, confront.
  • take immediate action understand, confront.  Correct this behaviour.
  • Correct - make a monetary payment to replace money stolen. Don't  pauperize child. Immediately take away privileges for a time period - consistently. Child has to take responsibility for correcting the misdeed.
  • verbally confront child (when calmed down) about the seriousness of behaviour - unfairness of act - right of people to private property, examine the feelings people have towards those that steal.  Show child that understand motive for act - "it looked tempting …." End confrontation on a  positive note, affection, appreciation positive expectation for future or " can come and chat to me about it - talk about it to you"

Encourage empathetic responses

How would you feel if someone took something you valued?

In a situation where you were suspicious - "I'm not sure you took money from my purse but if you did because you felt you needed it and if you can give it back, I'd feel very proud of you.  More important than me being proud of you, is for you to be proud of yourself.  You have to be proud of yourself and this is hard to do if you're not honest and fair with other people”.

Try to understand the motive for stealing

Often children lack the sophistication to answer "why" they state something.  Some of the reasons for stealing include:

  • Economic deprivation not enough money to meet their needs.  Solution:  Provide more material sources of income.
  • Emotional deprivation: Feel deprived of love, affection and caring, steal to fill the empty feeling inside.  Solution:  Effort of parents to love, like, spend time with children.
  • Excitement - macho prestige.  Steal to win approval of peers credit to get "thrill of it".  Solution:  provide guidance as to alternatives for excitements.

React and self control.  Parents need to control their emotional responses.  Often stealing episodes and children as they're egocentric.  These episodes are not indicative of a personal failure.  Express disapproval in firm way without unnecessary yelling.  Avoid exaggerating or making the child feel like a criminal.  Too an intense reaction from parent may convince a child that making amends may never undo the crime, may stir up uncontrollable guilt or shame and may seriously impair your relationship with child.

Don't demand a confession.  When sure he took money, "I saw you took money from purse, probably you really needed something and you didn't know how else to get it.  In future when you want something, please come and ask me and we'll discuss it".  Open mind, see all facts, both sides of story, try to understand causes, motives behind incident.



  1. Self-defense to escape parental disapproval or punishment.
  2. Denial - way of handling painful, memories, feelings.
  3. Ego - boasting to receive attention / admiration
  4. Gain - to get something for self.


  1. Don't demand a confession.  Get info from other sources and base decision on evidence.  If unsure avoid issue and forego discipline rather than force child to confess.If you know he did poorly on exam don't ask "did you fail?".  Rather "your teacher phoned to tell us you failed your exam, we're worried and wonder how we can help you."
  2. Establish honesty.
  3. Discuss moral issues interestingly.
  4. Avoid scare punishment as this promotes lying as self-protection.  Use a lot of praise and appreciation so that they will be able to admit mistakes to you securely.

What to do

  1. Penalise.  Show children that lying works to their disadvantage.  Being honest will reduce their punishment.  Lying to cover up an act - punished - act that prompted the lie and lie itself, e.g. not homework book at school - last it. 1 discipline  another discipline. Washed face  -  lied about it.         l           l  I discipline   I discipline. Establish trust - tell you truth, can help you. Reassure them that you're on their side and they don't have to be afraid of truth.
  2. Moral Values:  How important he is to you.  There to help him.  Dishonesty - immoral and destructive to others and self. Mutual respect and trust is based on honesty in their relationship.  Their word is important to be able to trust them.  Boy who cried wolf.
  3. Promote self-awareness: Talk to them about what happened.  Recognise "maybe scared of punishment" - if scared come and chat to me about it again. Reassure there to help.
  4. Look for underlying causes:  Avoid punishment, guilt or embarrassment.  _____ - Be less severe set reasonable penalty for lying and make honesty more rewarding. Fear of disapproval for failing - expect less.