What to do about a child who constantly steals?

Anybody have any ideas for a child who is CONSTANTLY stealing, and I mean every day…. Ice cream; candy, electronics, ordering expensive things on adults Amazon account, stealing electronics to watch not age appropriate things on YouTube just stupid stuff that they WANT but don’t need… I’ve tried taking things away, talking calmly, threatening to call the police, trying to have store manangers speak with said child, tried showing scared straight videos on YouTube… grounding the kid for a day or two… like what else can I do? This is really getting out of hand… he’s almost 9 and doesn’t care about any type of consequence.I’m at a compete loss and it’s causing a lot of tension.

58 Likes

Help a mama out and respond anonymously on our forum. What to do about a child who constantly steals?

Call the non urgent police line and speak to an officer get them to come to your house to speak to him about stealing and where he could go away from mum and dad to where the big grown ups go if he doesn’t stop, more of a nice scare tactic

11 Likes

Treat him like a prisoner…

1 Like

Summer Boot camp? Not sure where u live. But may be an option.

2 Likes

First try counseling. Secondly, non emergency police. Third give the kid the real consequences, with some it’ll be the only way they learn. Hate to say it, but it’s true. By 9 years old if the child has no disability they understand right from wrong, the longer the child gets away with it the more they will do for the attention and sheer thrill of it til it bite them on the behind in many cases.

5 Likes

Follow through on your punishments if you’re not.
Seek out a councilor/behavioral therapist.

1 Like

Grounding for a day or two? You’re joking ae

6 Likes

Depending on state, he may be eligible for a legit scared straight experience. Tricky, because it’s that age between authority being mad is an actual corrective measure and literally having to pay the price for the actions.

1 Like

Put him on line of sight as much as possible. Limit his opportunities to steal to start with. Then work on the whys. If this is something new,try to figure out what’s going on. I had a teenage foster son who stole, but we were able to create a safe place for him to talk about what he was thinking when he took things that didn’t belong to him. His was trauma based taking. We created an amnesty table to have him put things on each day that came into his possession without permission or payment it took time, but he eventually was able to admit to taking things (we created a rule where if I found something after asking him to check for anything that he acquired that wasn’t his, he had to pay back double the costs of the item plus return it if possible. If he admitted to it and could return it, there was no repayment needed. If it couldn’t be returned, he had to repay for the item. There wasn’t any grounding or anything involved as we were working on connection.)

1 Like

Don’t threaten calling the police…Do it today!!!

3 Likes

You become a parent …… and not there friend … show them what happens on the real world if they steal

6 Likes

My parents set up a jail tour to “scare” me. I never did it again

3 Likes

We had to let my stepdaughter get arrested before it got better

3 Likes

Come down hard cos if this continues he’s heading for serious trouble. Does he say why he steals things even knowing it’s wrong? Is it for attention? I’d definitely make the punishment more severe like grounding for a week then longer if it continues. And zero access to electronics or adult accounts. It may be a more serious issue like kleptomania that needs further intervention.

9 Likes

Make them stand in the corner with their arms out. Worked wonders for both of my kids!!

1 Like

Honestly, I’d send him to maybe a kids psych ward.

2 Likes

Follow through with your threats…

3 Likes

Seeking help from a trained professional— psychiatrist-,therapist In New Jersey call Perform care.

School camp or something coming up he can miss out on? No recreational activities for the fortnight… my sister had to wait hours for Mum to collect her after being caught & taken to Police Station. I like the Jail/Juvy tour idea above

1 Like

Strip him of EVERYTHING. Clothes and bed thats it in his room. No tv. No nothing BUT THAT. Also longer then a day or two. You can decide how he earns things back. Chores. Not stealing. Things like that.

5 Likes

Belting’s with electric cords or big stick. Each and every time caught stealing. Only way

9 Likes

Sounds like he’s trying to get attention. Negative attention is still attention. Here’s a blog on a similar topic that might help - not stealing, lying, but both are dishonest behaviours, so the content in this blog might help. What To Do When Your Child Lies To You | Happy Families

1 Like

Oh and then take them to return goods

1 Like

Not just threaten calling the police. Actually follow through!

2 Likes

Or take them into police

1 Like

I’d try getting him into therapy and also instead of threatening calling the police actually do it then see what he does I bet it’ll scare him

2 Likes

Some type of counseling And strict consequences when he does that crap.

2 Likes

Juvenile probation!!!

no more threats to call the police, actually do it. get a police officer to come and speak with him, he can tell him about prison and scare him that way.

2 Likes

Take away his access to these things. Lock them away. Nothing is unsupervised. He can’t go into stores even with an adult. And a visit to a psychiatrist. He steals he will have legal repercussions right now he’s young and people are more willing to look the other way. But in like 2 years that may be different.

4 Likes

Take all electronics away… go back to basics
And don’t just say you’re going to go to the shops - actually do it.

2 Likes

Some children just want attention; good or bad. Maybe he likes your reaction to him stealing.

NO electronics to do those things. Cannot use appropriately, cannot use at all.

I had this with my then 14year old just before Christmas so I rang the police myself and we got social services and early help out in place and last week he started counselling , we’re still a way off but the support has been amazing and I’m slowly getting my son back x

Doctor and a guided visit to a prison will help

I’m a a mum who believes in gentle parenting. But I also believe in pulling out the big guns when that parenting doesn’t work. Stop threatening police and actually take the child to the police. Maybe call ahead first and when you get there they can work the magic of doing police work and scaring the kid. Yes, some may say I’m cruel and a horrible person/parent for saying to do this. But when all else fails, this needs to be done.

3 Likes

It’s a hard one my son was doing this not along ago. The police are absolutely useless, my son broke into my house why I was out and robbed my telly and the police told me there was nothing they could do about it as it was his home (right in front of his face) so basically they gave him a free pass to do it again. Bearing in mind he is only 14 :pensive:. I haven’t got any advice because I tried everything myself and nothing worked but thankfully my son has grew out of it now and fingers crossed the same happens for you

You’d best deal with it before
the law enforcement/judicial/incarceration for profit system deals with it FOR you. :face_with_monocle:

He’s 9. Could actually be deeper issues going on… is there many other siblings or busy parents? He could feel the only attention he’s getting is by being ‘bad’ or there could be an actual issue going on mentally and he’s getting a rush from the theft. My step brother had a major head trauma as a child and had similar issues due to how the brain was functioning.

Where are you when he’s doinh these things?

2 Likes

I agree with the attention thing. Attention is attention, whether it be bad or good, the child is still getting a reaction and the attention they are craving. Also, maybe try taking his or her things without asking when you know he or she will notice and then ask them how it felt? Sometimes it takes showing them the emotions people feel when they are doing something like that. And instead of anger, try sharing that it hurts your feelings and that it makes you super sad instead of angry and irrate…

Possibly has something going on like adhd add sounds like a ocd of some sort

1 Like

As painful as it is, call the police

His trying to tell you something…needs help

2 Likes

Remove all cards from accounts, use locks, and follow thru. Let whoever he steals from next, call the cops. Put him thru the system. Maybe ACTUALLY going thru the system will make him realize it’s not cool or nbd. But I’m a bit of an extremist on things…so yea.

3 Likes

I have the same issue with my 7 year old so Any advice helps

1 Like

I would take him down to the police station and get them to have a talk to him about it

6 Likes

Could be a psychological/ behavioural issue that he cannot fully control himself. I would have a chat with your family doctor or your child’s pediatrician about it. They may be able to refer you to a behavioural specialist to asses him

Perhaps he needs more attention from you. Take him out more, do more things he enjoys. Have mother/son days 1 on 1

I think wanting to watch age unappropraite stuff is a red flag. Sexual abuse come to mind for me😔

1 Like

Why does he have access to all these things to be able to do it? Passwords etc?

7 Likes

My now 26 yr old tried it once at 15. He used my credit card while I was asleep and bought almost a grand worth of stuff. I didn’t know till after he had gone to school. I called my local police station. Explained I want him to know what real consequences will be . And a plan was created. The officers were happy to have a parent call to help teach a child about the real consequences of breaking the law. I picked my son up . All I.said was I know what you did. Got to the police station. He was taken in for questioning. I was there of course . After that he was put in a holding cell alone. I was asked if I wanted to bail him out. I said I have to talk to his dad and I left and sat just away from where he could see me. Left him there half hour before I went back in and said you can come home but if you break the law again it’ll be out of my hands. He never did it again. Now as an adult he laughs and says you know how to make a point mum :rofl::rofl:

8 Likes

Pray for him before it’s too late :alarm_clock:

Don’t threaten to call the police,DO IT and have them put that child in some cuffs and see if they wanna steal again

4 Likes

Get real help before he gets any older. It needs to be dealt with as a medical problem. Kids aren’t born bad so something started this along the line in 9 years. He needs help. Start with your family doctors. Schools and school counselors just label the kids as trouble makers and your son falls through the cracks and some day ends up in prison. You need to get help now and stand by your child.

2 Likes

Take him to a therapist. Sounds like an emotional issue.

5 Likes

Get into therapy asap

I would prob try to find a good child therapist- there’s a reason this is happening and they might be able to get to the root of the issue and help him deal with whatever the actual issue is.

Aside from that I’d maybe call the non emergency police line, explain the situation, and ask if an officer could come by to talk to him & maybe cuff him and put him in the back of a cop car for a bit. That said, if you think there’s any possible chance of him trying to fight, run, or do anything other than just being compliant then I would prob avoid it.

I’m sorry you’re going through this! Good luck.

1 Like

You have to get him into therapy. To call the police at this point could tranatize him! Please dont call them. Trust me. I was that nine year old boy! Police are for making children feel safe and to look up to. The earlier you use them to enforce the law on your child, the earlier they stop feeling safe and start running from them and hating them. Please dont make that misteak. If you involve them at all, at such a young age it should be educational, not penile.

2 Likes

Find a child psychologist. Its going to take time but at the end of the day iy can help. Encourage him to speak to the psychologist and to be open. I came from a very abusive household so my mom was more intrested in hiding her own behaviour rhen actually getting me help so she made it us vs. Them and told me to keep all her secrets so for me, I didnt get as much out of it as I should of and actually opened me up to being taken advantage of by the child psychologist. So be wary. At the end of the day its a process. Find your child the help he is crying out for.

1 Like

I would make him apologize to whomever he is stealing from. Then have him do community service so he can see how fortunate he is. Sometimes you have to slap them in the face with reality and make them humble themselves.
I’d seek therapy for sure, if he’s getting progressively worse behaviors

3 Likes

I don’t understand how kids buy things using their parents accounts. My kids have phones, tablets & Chromebooks. None of which have my credit card info available to them.

  1. put parental control on his devises. Don’t let him use your accounts.
  2. take everything away from him. All he needs is a bed & clothes. He can earn money by doing chores & having good behavior to buy his stuff back.
  3. counseling
4 Likes

Put in room and turn all power off and no snacks or good food tell him you are in so much debt you can’t afford power, internet, food, etc. And take all accounts away no access to credit period, put child safety features on he shouldn’t have access to inappropriate things anyways

l get paid over $130 per hour working from home. l never thought I’d be able to do it but my buddy makes over $18468 a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The possibility with this is endless.

Info Here >>> https://homeworkjobz10.neocities.org/

Turn in all his stolen items and send to juvenile hall

2 Likes

How about really.call the police and have them take his little ass

Recently has this and in the same boat. I made him sir and write in any spare time he had. I will not steal I will not lie

1 Like

Stop taking him anywhere with you except school. Change your guys WiFi password and don’t give it to him. Stop threatening to call the police if you aren’t going to do it cause he knows you’re lying about calling them so that threat itself doesn’t bother him whatsoever.

Do not let him have any type of electronic that can order anything and if you have to take all credit cards/debit cards off the account and fill them in when you have to pay for them. Now if he’s going to get the credit/debit cards then I suggest putting every adults wallets etc into a lockbox and put it your room and put an actual knob that locks onto your door and lock it.

You also need to get a psychological test done on him and go from there with whatever diagnose they give him and get him into a child therapist

Also if he steals again you need to make good on your threat on calling the police and have him charged like seriously because if you don’t nip it in the butt now your kid going to be out there stealing stuff when he’s older and someone else going to have to call and have him charged.

Go to Police station , have them pay a visit to your house , very intimately and scary it be may scare him straight, and get councilling on Kleptomania , it’s a rare but serious mental health disorder

2 Likes

Here in Georgia they put a sign on the child/ teen that steals and have them stand on a street cover! The judges order it.

1 Like

I’m in the exact same situation! My kid is 16 and has pervasive developmental disorder and it is extremely hard to explain to him its bad and can cause major problems but he just don’t understand.

1 Like

My famous saying”I broken them, they fix them” this in not in your pay grade to fix time for professional help.

3 Likes

I believe you need to have a chat with the police and see if they will talk to him if he carries on he will become a thief when he is in his teens also get him some therapy

3 Likes

Grounded for a day or two :joy: how about stripped down room and grounded for a month or so

7 Likes

Take all the bank info of Amazon and as far as stores don’t let him go anymore maybe shop while he is in school or see if someone can watch him tell him he is not aloud in stores till he stops stealing. Have a police officer speak to him

Take them to a police officer and see if you can set up a visit to an empty jail cell to the child

2 Likes

About the Amazon. Remove your payment information and keep your credit cards hidden. Easy fix. The other he loses all his things. He can work to earn it back and will learn you have to work to earn things.

1 Like

My son was doing this. What finally made him stop was a teacher thought he stole her pen (for once he didnt. It was his pen) and she took it from him. He was PISSED. He came home and raged out. When I finally calmed him down I explained if he didnt constantly steal then the teacher would have believed him. He was LIVID someone took his stuff. We talked about how he felt and how everyone he steals from must feel. He quit after that. So maybe you steal his stuff. Or take something away everytime he steals

4 Likes

I stole some candy from our local convenience store as a child. My parents whooped my ass and made me go apologize to the owners… I never stole anything again :rofl:

My daughter is gonna be 9 next month, a day or 2 grounding is laughable. She gets grounded for 1 or 2 weeks depending on what she did. A few weeks ago I took every single thing out of her room except heavy furniture/clothing/bedding and she just recently earned all her stuff back but got her door removed yesterday for slamming it. Stop treating an older child like a toddler

4 Likes

Grounded from doing what at age 9 for one day or two? That is not going to stop this!

2 Likes

Pit him in detention home have police talk to if him have learn hard way if you can’t get control I haven’t been in your place personally well kinda was ill just say been there seen that and tough love.

1 Like

I certainly wouldn’t be doing any of these crazy punishments without first ruling out what could all be happening. It could also be a cry for attention or this rare condition too: Kleptomania - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic Since you say the stuff is of little value and “pointless” essentially, I’d talk to his doctor about the possibility of Kleptomania. If your child is suffering from a serious mental health condition that makes it literally almost impossible to not steal things and you are punishing and threatening, you are damaging your child. I’d talk to the doctor before going to the police station…

6 Likes

He needs a therapist. He might have a condition like adhd or conduct disorder. Other people just saying ground him or punish some way, that’s OK if it’s the first or 2nd time but this is an ongoing problem, the consequences will get more serious as he gets older so fix it now.

4 Likes

Sounds like it’s time for an at home scared straight episode.

All he needs in the bedroom is a bed & clothes for that night and the next day.

3 meals, 30 mins of TV time (obviously not of his choosing, prolly GSN at 5pm)
And some sort of community service - take him to a retirement home or local shelter /home and he’s gotta do 3 hours a week for 6 weeks.

Also. He’s 9.
Almost teenager - it’s time to tell him that he’s not going to be seen as a little kid much longer, they’ll see him as a Young Man in just a couple short years - what he doesn’t want, is people to see him as a little boy acting one way and assuming he’s still the same as a young man.
Only HE can control what people assume of him, and he’s only got a 2 year window to “undo”all that he’s done.
It’s hard & without him being old enough / self aware enough you’ll never know the real reason he does it to be able to fully stop it. It’s on him. Or he needs to figure out how to articulate his reasoning.
And don’t hesitate to fall back on the good ol’ “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should” & go into a conversation about that “you can do it, nobody’s looking” voice and what all it can come up with, like that voice is only there to fuck you up (our granny’s called it the devil) and it’s your job to tell it “not today we can’t” because for the next however long you’re alive it’s gonna be alive.

Get him into a therapist ASAP

2 Likes

Call your local police department and see if they can help you to show the child what would happen if they get arrested. The horrors they would face and how it would effect their life forever. Maybe even having the police do a mock arrest and tack them to jail and show what could happen.

4 Likes

He needs a therapist! You can call child’s Peditrician or school counselor for recommendations of where to go. Praying for you and him

2 Likes

Call a cop over to your house my mom used to do that with me it helps!!! Haha

At this point I would stop threatening & actually call the police on them & raise the consequences of their actions. That’s the only thing that’s going to matter to him to make him stop. Make him answer to a higher authority

4 Likes

He needs professional help. He’s acting out for a reason figure out why sooner than later.

2 Likes

I would “steal” everything from his room besides clothes while he was sleeping or at school and make him earn it back one by one by doing chores or helping me in some way and explain that everything has to be bought that people work hard for the things they buy.

2 Likes

Call the damn police. What u mean what do u do. U call the damn police. My brother pulled tht shit my mom called the poloce my niece done this my sister didnt callcthe police next thing u know she was breaking into the neighbors and ran off from her home all the way to cadiz ky. She live up in indiana

Personally I would talk to your child’s doctor. The first step here should be to rule out conditions like ADHD.
While I’m not a fan of using ADHD as an excuse for poor behavior, you also have to understand that typical discipline tactics that work for neurotypical children will not work well for a child with ADHD.
The lack of impulse control, lack of working memory, and lack of executive function…make things like being grounded for a week completely ineffective.

Something’s you can try whether he is or isn’t neurotypical:
*Use a token economy system. Good behavior gets him tokens. He buys privileges (like tv ECT) and rewards (which would cost more than privileges) with his tokens. If he misbehaves then make him pay you tokens.
He either goes without the privilege he can’t afford or he could do extra chores to re-earn the tokens.

Don’t make threats you won’t follow through with. If you tell him if he does x you’ll do Y.
Then follow through.

Have structured conversations. Ask him what he did wrong. Ask him why it was wrong. Ask him how he would feel. Ask him what he can do differently.
Wait for him to answer. Don’t answer for him.
The point here is to help him… recognize his behavior and it’s effects on others. Then re-route his impulses into more appropriate behavior.

1 Like

First off Kid needs to know True consequences of what happens to people that steal. I recommend calling the police over to talk to him and/or letting him tour the jail. And/or letting the cop put him in his car. With true consequences for his actions maybe he will change his ways.

Grounded for a day or two? :woozy_face:

4 Likes

My sons friend had a problem with stealing. They are only 9 as well. Once he brought back something he stole, I looked at him and simply stated “I do not allow this type of behavior around my children or in my home, if you ever steal from my kids again you will no longer be invited over, around my kids or go anywhere with us” after that I never heard about his stealing anymore and he didn’t do it to my son, his friend, anymore. Maybe have someone who is not you let him know that no one will want him around if he is going to steal from them.

2 Likes

Take him back to the store you think he may have taken the item from to confess & return. Even if it’s not the right store (he may end up telling you the truth of which store) maybe this level of accountability will do the trick.

1 Like

You can have him arrested and spend the night in juvenile court lockup. If that doesn’t scare him straight, boot camps and alternative schools are an option.