sabrina.sco... asks:

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



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

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