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annalease
annalease asks:
Q:

My 9 year old daughter won't stop stealing

It all started when she was just 5 years old when her teacher called me in to have a word. A girl in the same class had noticed her doll had been taken so the teacher asked the class if anyone had taken it and to own up but nobody did so they searched everyone's draws and it was in my daughters.
Since then she's taken more things out of other kids coat pockets etc, and, has also taken money from family members, again from purses and pockets. Recently we had to take her to our local chemist to show him all the things I had found hidden away under her bed that she admitted to taking from his shop. She says she has no idea why she does it, she just wants them. We're at our wits end and very worried for her future if she continues to behave like this. I dread letting her go to friends houses for fear of what she'll steal! She is always very upset and sorry when caught but she still continues.
In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Dr.Monika
Jan 12, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

Some people steal out of compulsion, and this mental disorder is called kleptomania.  You should take your daughter for an evaluation by a pediatric therapist as soon as possible.

Suggested reading:

Kleptomania

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/kleptomania/DS01034

Best regards.
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Additional Answers (14)

Answerer
Answerer writes:
Well, I think you should talk to your daughter first, before taking her to a child psychiatric. Does she have any siblings that might cause her to do this? Maybe she is doing this to try and impress her friends at school. And also, she may be lying about being sorry and pretends to be upset. Try and talk to her first, and if this doesn't help, these may be the signs of your daughter being kleptomaniac. I'm sorry that you have to deal with this, and please try these suggestions.
> 60 days ago

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zoe23
zoe23 writes:
steal her stuff then ask her how dose that feel and she might stop
> 60 days ago

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annalease
annalease writes:
Yes she hates it when her siblings take her stuff without asking and I tell her that's how people feel when she takes their stuff but it doesn't seem to stop her!
> 60 days ago

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blueroses-3
blueroses-3 , Parent writes:
you should take her stuff and put it away where she cant find it..do this everytime she steals something..when she asks about it tell her it was stolen..dont return it to her.. eventually she will not have anything left and will wonder why...this might not solve the problem but it should help her be aware of it..
> 60 days ago

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mase
mase writes:
This shows that the parent from home are not friendly to this child and she feels lonely and they usually dont communicate with her positive issues that affects life.  They are totaly not related to their own child. their concern is just to buy goodies and nieceties to this child without proper discussion (family discussions) or even check child school work. Probably both parents did not go to school and ended up at a lower grades and thus unable to educate their own child. Charity begins at home.  Family history goes a long way.  Both parents and child do no go to church because hopefully when the pastor read 10ten commandments the child could have get used to that.
> 60 days ago

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annalease
annalease writes:
In reply to the last answer I have never heard such rubbish.  My daughter is very much loved and cared for which she knows.  Both my husband and I make sure we sit and help with her homework and always attend parent consultations at school with her teacher.  We're very respectable law abiding people who left school with very good grades.  As for the religious side of things neither of us believe in god but we never say this to any of our four children as it's up to them to decide,  but my daughter who steals talks to her nan about god who is very religious.
> 60 days ago

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Jesnikki2002
Jesnikki2002 writes:
I would have to say that making a comment toward the parent saying it is their fault.Is wrong of you. When in reality it is not. Kids have to go through emotional issues. And learning everything in life. You have to make mistakes to actually learn from what is right and wrong. You are never going to actually truely ever be able to control your child. Even if you have done everything you can possibly do to help your child. It is still not her fault. She is being a Mother and doing what she thinks is right and what she thinks she can do to help her child. Kids do things there not suppose to do weather they keep doing it over and over . But eventually they will grow out of it. Yes most of the time they do all of things for the attention if they are not shown it. But that is where she has stepped in to figure out what is going. The only way to ever figure out what is going on your childs head. Is to be there for them to care to love. That is the main key. Try giving all the attention you can...And never give up always have faith that it will turn the other way. But for someone to say that it is the parents fault it only is if you dont care about them and show them no attention purposly and just not love them. but who could not love their child should be ashamed
> 60 days ago

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A.L.Pearson
A.L.Pearson writes:
@ Annalease This sounds just like my 9 years old daughter. I dont know what to do with her I just cry because I know I have taught her better and I dont steal. Me and her father are married and have been for 9 years. My husband works and I am a stay at home mother. ( I even homeschooled our girls last year) We spend all our time together as a family. Our kids dont go to daycare,babysitter,grandparents. So I know they are not lacking attention. They are certainly not lacking things either. We give them everything they want. My daughter does go to a theropist. She was recently diagnosed with ADHD and attatchment disorder. I have spoke to the theropist about her stealing a little. But,today she stole again so I will be bringing it up again. But I dont know what to do. I have read peoples response and I dont know that I agree at all :? 1- how is stealing from her teaching her not to steal? I dont think it is, that goes back to my theory in spanking a child(dont hit while your hitting them) 2-the person that said its family issues doesnt have a clue, and is obviously NOT a parent. My friends keep telling me to call the police and ask them to come talk to her. I havent yet but I think that is my next option. I dont know where to go with this and I really dont want it to get worse as she gets older. Can you please tell me if you found something that worked for your daughter? Im sorry that your going through this I know its heart breaking.
> 60 days ago

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Paulylb1
Paulylb1 writes:
It is very interesting to see the different answers as to why Annalease's Daughter is stealing. None of which are helping out.

Annalease, children will steal because of various reasons, although they have learned that theft is wrong, older children or teenagers steal for various reasons.  A youngster may steal to make things equal if a brother or sister seems to be favored with affection or gifts.  Sometimes, a child may steal as a show of bravery to friends, or to give presents to family or friends or to be more accepted by peers. Children may also steal out of a fear of dependency; they don't want to depend on anyone, so they take what they need.

Parents should consider whether the child has stolen out of a need for more attention. In these cases, the child may be expressing anger or trying to "get even" with his or her parents; the stolen object may become a substitute for love or affection. The parents should make an effort to give more recognition to the child as an important family member.

If parents take the proper measures, in most cases the stealing stops as the child grows older. Child/Adolescent psychiatrists recommend that when parents find out their child has stolen, they:

1. Tell the child that stealing is wrong, help the youngster to pay for or return the stolen object. Often by having them work to replace the item in some manner, if the child has a piggy bank where they save money have them use their own money to pay for the item.

2. Make sure that the child does not benefit from the theft in any way and avoid lecturing, predicting future bad behavior, or saying that they now consider the child to be a thief or a bad person
make clear that this behavior is totally unacceptable within the family tradition and the community.

3. When the child has paid for or returned the stolen merchandise, the matter should not be brought up again by the parents, so that the child can begin again with a "clean slate."

4. If stealing is persistent or accompanied by other problem behaviors or symptoms, the stealing may be a sign of more serious problems in the child's emotional development or problems in the family.

Children who repeatedly steal may also have difficulty trusting others and forming close relationships.  Rather than feeling guilty, they may blame the behavior on others, arguing that, "Since they refuse to give me what I need, I will take it." These children would benefit from an evaluation by a child and adolescent psychiatrist.

When, treating a child who steals persistently, a child/adolescent psychiatrist will evaluate the underlying reasons for the child's need to steal, and develop a plan of treatment.  Important aspects of treatment are helping the child learn to establish trusting relationships and helping the family to support the child in changing to a more healthy path of development.

Don't be discourage though keep being persistent. When, my daughter who is now 10 years old, would take thing we would pat her down and her belonging before we left the store and or people's house. I know it sounds harsh but we would do it in plain site of other's soon she stopped taking thing because, as she grew older it would embarrass her that we where frisking her in front of people.  She still has her moments when she'll take things and when she does it's because she's angry about something either someone in the family has done to her. In these cases we make sure that she is disciplined and that she make amends for what she has done.

Hang in there it does get better!
> 60 days ago

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Paulylb1
Paulylb1 writes:
Annalease, even though most of these people are well intended I have a problem with their suggestions.

It is very important that children understand that theft is wrong, older children or teenagers steal for various reasons.  A youngster may steal to make things equal if a brother or sister seems to be favored with affection or gifts.  Sometimes, a child may steal as a show of bravery to friends, or to give presents to family or friends or to be more accepted by peers. Children may also steal out of a fear of dependency; they don't want to depend on anyone, so they take what they need.

Parents should consider whether the child has stolen out of a need for more attention. In these cases, the child may be expressing anger or trying to "get even" with his or her parents; the stolen object may become a substitute for love or affection. The parents should make an effort to give more recognition to the child as an important family member.

As a parent it is important to take proper measures, in most cases the stealing stops as the child grows older. Child/Adolescent psychiatrists recommend that when parents find out their child has stolen, they:

1. Tell the child that stealing is wrong. If the child has a piggy bank have them take out money from it or their bank account if they have one.
2. Return the stolen object make sure that the child does not benefit from the theft in any way avoid lecturing, predicting future bad behavior, or saying that they now consider the child to be a thief or a bad person make clear that this behavior is totally unacceptable within the family tradition and the community.

3.  When the child has paid for or returned the stolen merchandise, the matter should not be brought up again by the parents, so that the child can begin again with a "clean slate."

If stealing is persistent or accompanied by other problem behaviors or symptoms, the stealing may be a sign of more serious problems in the child's emotional development or problems in the family. Children who repeatedly steal may also have difficulty trusting others and forming close relationships.  Rather than feeling guilty, they may blame the behavior on others, arguing that, "Since they refuse to give me what I need, I will take it." These children would benefit from an evaluation by a child and adolescent psychiatrist.

In treating a child who steals persistently, a Child/Adolescent psychiatrist will evaluate the underlying reasons for the child's need to steal, and develop a plan of treatment.  Important aspects of treatment are helping the child learn to establish trusting relationships and helping the family to support the child in changing to a more healthy path of development.

One thing I've done with my own daughter when she was younger was that my husband and I would check her pockets and her belongings when ever we went out with her to the store or to friends and family's homes. This was done in the presence of the homeowner or before waking out of the store. She got to the point that as the older she got the more embarrassed she became and the stealing got to be less and less. Children also, steal out of anger my daughter tends to take things still when she's upset with someone. She does this in order to hurt the other person. We often have to explain to her that this is not what we do when we are angry that she must talk to us about her feelings. Just know that in time she will grow out of it.  Good Luck!
> 60 days ago

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Paulylb1
Paulylb1 writes:
Annalease, even though most of these people are well intended I have a problem with their suggestions.

It is very important that children understand that theft is wrong, older children or teenagers steal for various reasons.  A youngster may steal to make things equal if a brother or sister seems to be favored with affection or gifts.  Sometimes, a child may steal as a show of bravery to friends, or to give presents to family or friends or to be more accepted by peers. Children may also steal out of a fear of dependency; they don't want to depend on anyone, so they take what they need.

Parents should consider whether the child has stolen out of a need for more attention. In these cases, the child may be expressing anger or trying to "get even" with his or her parents; the stolen object may become a substitute for love or affection. The parents should make an effort to give more recognition to the child as an important family member.

As a parent it is important to take proper measures, in most cases the stealing stops as the child grows older. Child/Adolescent psychiatrists recommend that when parents find out their child has stolen, they:

1. Tell the child that stealing is wrong. If the child has a piggy bank have them take out money from it or their bank account if they have one.
2. Return the stolen object make sure that the child does not benefit from the theft in any way avoid lecturing, predicting future bad behavior, or saying that they now consider the child to be a thief or a bad person make clear that this behavior is totally unacceptable within the family tradition and the community.

3.  When the child has paid for or returned the stolen merchandise, the matter should not be brought up again by the parents, so that the child can begin again with a "clean slate."

If stealing is persistent or accompanied by other problem behaviors or symptoms, the stealing may be a sign of more serious problems in the child's emotional development or problems in the family. Children who repeatedly steal may also have difficulty trusting others and forming close relationships.  Rather than feeling guilty, they may blame the behavior on others, arguing that, "Since they refuse to give me what I need, I will take it." These children would benefit from an evaluation by a child and adolescent psychiatrist.

In treating a child who steals persistently, a Child/Adolescent psychiatrist will evaluate the underlying reasons for the child's need to steal, and develop a plan of treatment.  Important aspects of treatment are helping the child learn to establish trusting relationships and helping the family to support the child in changing to a more healthy path of development.

One thing I've done with my own daughter when she was younger was that my husband and I would check her pockets and her belongings when ever we went out with her to the store or to friends and family's homes. This was done in the presence of the homeowner or before waking out of the store. She got to the point that as the older she got the more embarrassed she became and the stealing got to be less and less. Children also, steal out of anger my daughter tends to take things still when she's upset with someone. She does this in order to hurt the other person. We often have to explain to her that this is not what we do when we are angry that she must talk to us about her feelings. Just know that in time she will grow out of it.  Good Luck!
> 60 days ago

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Tammy2013
Tammy2013 writes:
Im really sorry to hear that u are going through this ...i myself am going through the same thing with my 9 year old daughter and dont know what to do, she also has ADHD and is on medacation for her ADHD i thought being on meds that it would help but its not helping at all what can i do..?
> 60 days ago

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Tammy2013
Tammy2013 writes:
I also have sit downs with her all most every day to try and explain to her that what she is doing is wrong and ask her why she is stealing so much she just answers me with because i want the stuff i steal because i dont have it ...i have told her that if she wants nice stuff she needs to look after the things she dose have and that she needs to show me and the adults around her that she deserves them i think that is the right thing to do .....i really need help ....
> 60 days ago

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princetonwifey
princetonwi... , Student writes:
Have any of you guys had a child that couldnât stop taking things? How did you handle it? Do you think itâs a maturity/self control issue that she will grow out of? Do you think sheâs looking for attention for another reason? What is an appropriate punishment for stealing? Should this mom âscareâ the child straight or is there something deeper going on?

Letâs give this mom a lot of ideas. She sounds like sheâs not sure what to do next

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