treasure77 asks:

What do I do about my 9 yr old son who was caught stealing and then lied about it.

To make matters worse it wasn't even our money. His dad is an axillary police officer and was doing fund raising for them. He had the money counted and banded up and in the donation jar ready to give to the axillary police at the next meeting.
He noticed earlier in the evening that the money wasn't in the rubber band anymore and asked us if we had messed with it. We said no and my husband was headed out the door when he noticed so he didn't bother checking.  
That following morning he was getting ready to leave and decided to put a new rubber band on it and noticed that there was over 100 dollars missing.
My husband confronted my son about the money. He admitted to taking it but when asked where it was he wouldn't tell his dad. I went upstairs and he then tried to say he didn't take it so he didn't know where it was. I told him to give me his wallet and piggy bank and I found the money.
To make it even worse I found only half of it and my son let me believe that was all of it until I gave it to my husband who proceeded to tell me it wasn't all there. My son had the rest hidden in a pouch behind his bed. So not only did he steal and lie, he didn't even come clean when confronted with the evidence of his guilt.
I told him he was grounded for a month no friends no TV or video games. Is that too harsh? We will be removing both from his room today. I don't know what else to do. I want my son to be a moral upstanding person and this has made me fear that he won't be.
In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago



Hand in Hand
Aug 4, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Dear Treasure77,

I hope listening to this audio by Hand in Hand Founder, Patty Wipfler, on "Lying, Cheating and Stealing: When Good Kids Behave Badly" will be helpful while you're thinking about this situation with your son.

Juli Idleman
Hand in Hand Parenting
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Additional Answers (1)

A990 writes:
Dear treasure77,

 there are many REASONS as in to why  a kids steals and (in general) they are: 1) cause they CAN'T CONTROL themselves. 2) THRILL of doing so. 3) PEER PRESSURE. 4) child's basic NEEDS are not met. 5) needs more ATTENTION. steal to gain a sense of CONTROL or to REBEL.

what should you do when you SUSPECT your child is lying: 1) stay CALM/ don't overreact for it is considered as mistake and not as the child is going to be a thief. 2) do NOT take it personally they steal to get attention. 3) do NOT accuse or confront your child before you have hard evidence. 4) DON'T judge from hearing it from a third party cause the child will deny it and the child will know that the parents don't trust the child. 5) make sure that your child KNOWS what she did is wrong.

now when you CATCH your child stealing, 1 ) don't ask for expctations. merely STATE what he did is wrong and that she is NOT allowed to take things from other people. do not moralize. just use simple EXPLANATIONS. for example "stealing is wrong. you would not want anyone to take your toy. so it's wrong for you take his toy." 2) NEVER imply your child is bad, stealing is bad. DON'T call your child a thief, a liar, dishonest...when you give your child a label, she will grow to fullfil this label.

CORRECTING THE WRONG:if he stole from somone outside the family, then see that he RETURNS the object, APOLOGIZE and say that he'll NEVER do it again. you should ACCOMPANY her to make it easier to correct the damage.if he stole money from you, estimate what he took and make it clear that he must PAY YOU BACK by forexample helping around the house. you should pay him enough that he pays of the debt in about a month. say to him that you realize that he needs more money and give him an allowance or an increase on his allowance.

Lastly figure out WHY he stole and make sure he gets what he needs.

as for the LYING, the Reasons (in general) are either to avoid punishment, impress others, boost their self-esteem, get something they want, protect others, and because they hear their parents lie.

HOW TO TELL when lying, facial expressions, clearness of statement, spontaneity of answers(unrehearsed).

WHAT CAN YOU DO: explain/ discuss why telling the truth is important. Model truthfulness. discipline for lying, be cinsitent in treatment for lying ( come up with rules about lying and stick to them (ex: deduct allowance)). make sure lying is not rewarded for children. don't shame her for lying just let him know that you're dissapointed and avoid sending the message that they are bad people. don't set him up. figure out why and look for solution, praise truthfullness. seek professional help for persistent lying.
> 60 days ago

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