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sabrina.scott23261759
sabrina.sco... asks:
Q:

My 8 year old daughter steals constantly, and even with consequences she still does it. Help!

She has been seeing a therapist for about six months now, and she was diagnosed with ODD. She is extreamly stubborn and places blame on everyone for her wrong doings. (a common thing with ODD I assume) When my daughter steals though, it doesnt matter where it comes from or what it is-I think she does it simply just to do it because she takes the most random things, some of which she cannot/doesnt know how to use. She refuses to appologize or say why she stole what she did. Im to the point of bringing in the police to try and scare her straight, but her therapist says thats a little extreme. Im at a loss on what to do.
In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Oct 20, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

We are glad your daughter is in therapy and we hope you continue this.  We think that you should work with your therapist and perhaps get in touch with other parent support groups as best you can.  This is a tricky situation and with the ODD in the picture, the situation becomes even more complicated.

Try to limit the opportunities for her to steal if she continues to do so.  Try to keep her out of stores, not going to those places with friends and even perhaps let her know you will have her check in with a security guard before the she leaves anyway if you are with her.  

We aren't a believer in scaring kids straight, it isn't healthy or effective technique.  Using fear as a way to control somebody is dangerous.  Try instead to simply educate her.  Let her know the consequences for stealing and if she does steal, report it to the authorities.  Don't do this as a scare tactic, but instead as a way to teach your daughter that your actions have consequences.  And be sure to tell her in advance, if you steal again, we will be letting the police know.  If she continues to steal, it isn't a matter of if she gets caught, but when.  Before taking this route, however, ask her therapist about it.  It will be good to continue to work with your daughter's therapist as they will be able to address further measures of consequence.

Also do your best to praise your daugther for the things she does well.  This encouragement could be helpful and if you get her involved in healthy activities at school and surround her with positive influences, it will likely change many of these behaviors.

Please also call our hotline at anytime!  We speak to parents all the time and would be happy to hear from you.  We are available 24 hours a day and the call is free.  Please take care!

Counselor, Dominic
Boys Town National Hotline-A resource for parents and teens
1-800-448-3000
www.parenting.org

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Additional Answers (2)

malugasmom
malugasmom writes:
Not only do kids need to know that there are consequences for their actions but that sometimes those actions can hurt others.  Empathy can be difficult to teach to children, but it may help in your situation.  Ask her how she would feel if someone stole something of hers that she valued or had earned.  Maybe play that situation out at home with some of her things.  Ask questions and try to get her talk about how she felt when her things were missing.  Also give her the chance to earn the things that she might would steal or has stolen in the past.  Sometimes just letting them know that they have done something to EARN what they would like to have is a big deal.  Also follow through is SO important! If taking something means missing a sleepover, or loss of privileges, then stick to your guns NO MATTER WHAT!!! Keep consequences simple so that they don't become a way of getting attention.  Let her know that your disappointed in her behavior but never belittle or embarrass her, this will only cause mistrust.Praise her for her good behavior but never combine the goodness of a person's being with their efforts, i.e., "You're a good girl for asking instead of stealing."  Instead use something like, "Thank you for asking instead of stealing.  You did a great job!" or if she wants something and asks say something like "How about we let you earn the money by washing the dog and come back tomorrow and you may buy it with the money that you have earned."   Praising children for what they do right instead of scolding them for what they do wrong can encourage a change in their behavior.
> 60 days ago

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mommybee22
mommybee22 writes:
I am having this same exact thing right now. My daughter is 8 and has seen a counsler and that didn't help. She stole from a book fair last year from school with another girl and this year she has taken money from me and also stole a bike from school. She lies about doing any of it and says she don't know how it happened or where it went.
I really don't know what to do anymore. I have tried grounding and that doesn't seem to work. She lets it go through one ear and out the other.
I would like some suggestions to because I am lost at this point!
> 60 days ago

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