How to stop a Child from Stealing?
Kleptomaniac children tend to take things with little or no significance mostly like paper clips, pens, small toys, etc. This usually starts when they are of small age. They pick things as they are mentally unstable not with the intention of stealing. Child development experts have observed these common things in kleptomaniac children -
2–4 Years: Children of such small age cannot be thieves. They happen to take things of someone else because they haven’t yet learned the distinction of mine vs yours. They do not know that they have to ask before taking something and then return it.
5–8 Years: By this age, the children are aware of taking ownership of things. So if they are taking something that is not theirs, they will never agree that they did it when asked. In fact, they are at an age, where they want to know what happens if they are caught doing something wrong. It is a really tender age and they should be taught properly.
8 Years And Plus: If kids of this age are stealing, you should be worried about drug and drinking habits already. This is the age group where children do not stop stealing even after being corrected. They steal out of anger or anxiousness. They should be dealt with utmost care and taught the right thing.
How To Identify A Kleptomaniac Child?
They have disorders involving mood, impulse control, eating, etc. The kids with kleptomania also display no feeling of anger during stealing. This disorder makes them feel euphoric after getting the stolen object. The kids who have kleptomania usually also go through the inferiority complex.
Causes Of Kleptomania
Kleptomaniacs complain of lack of attention. The child starts stealing things as a method to draw parent’s attention because little attention is better than no attention at all. And once you have given the attention, the child will steal everytime they feel the lack of attention lurking inside them. Parents who are busy with work most of the time and do not get to spend time with their child also affects the basic psyche of a little kid. Therefore, the child ends up trying to get their parent’s time. Often times, the child feels unloved due to lack of emotional support provided to them. This is another cause that makes your child a kleptomaniac.
Kleptomaniac steals because they are jealous of a sibling. The child tends to impress you because according to them, the other sibling has done something to make you feel happy too. They just want an equal attention span as their siblings and steal to get your eyes on them. You might not be at fault here because you divide your attention according to the needs of every child. But the child feels ignored for a huge part of life and therefore acts out of guts.
Read More: Causes Of Kleptomania
How To Deal With A Kleptomaniac Child?
#1. Understand Stealing Behaviour
It is very important to know the reason why the child is stealing. Once you know the motive, the problem of stealing can be easily eradicated. Does the child feel an emotional high, the thrill, and excitement of doing something forbidden or does it for some other reason? Does the child feel thrilled before the theft and relieved after getting the object of desire? The child might be feeling different when they steal as if they are not themselves. It is essential to find out the motive of stealing repeatedly. In the motive lies the answer to curing kleptomania in your child.
#2. Make Apology
Find out from where your child stole that particular thing and make them understand the meaning of belongingness. Teach them that it is not good to take things from people prior their permission. Let them know that they should not be picking up something from the stores. About the things they have stolen, make them return it to the rightful owner and apology is crucial. Apologizing will make them understand that it is something wrong that they are doing here. Also going back to the owner with an apology is something that they will not like doing for a long time. This might motivate them to stop stealing altogether.