JolynVance
JolynVance asks:
Q:

What consequences do I give my 8 year old for stealing and lying?

I appreciate the professional's answer given to acstump, but I want to ask for more details of what consequences we should give our 8 yr old. Our son has stolen money, but is obsessed with stealing candy and snacks. We have done everything we can think of. He just does not seem to care about any consequences of stealing and lying. It's like he thinks his desire to have sweets is more important than any punishment that he will have to take. Maybe he gets a thrill from stealing. We can't figure out what is going on in his mind.
We have made him give things back and say sorry to the owners. We have taken him to the police station to talk to a cop when he stole from a video store. We have made him talk to Walmart security manager when he stole from there. We have told his teacher to not be easy on him when he stole from he and she made him stay in from recess for a week. We have taken candy from him when he earned it from his Sunday school teacher and ate it in front of him to let him know how it feels to be the one that has been stolen from. We have tried spanking him, taking away his stuff, grounding him from all electronics, not let him have any free time to himself and have lectured him. Nothing has done any good.
We are now making him do hard labor cleaning last years leaves out of the rock bed. It is hard! He has to move all the rocks to clean the leaves
We are thinking a mock-arrest is the next step. Maybe being interrogated by the cops will get through to him?!
In Topics: Parenting / Our Family, Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Jun 11, 2013
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What the Expert Says:

Whenever our children demonstrate behaviors that we do not like, it helps to figure out what he gets out of doing it and why it continues.  To figure that out, it helps to ask yourself the 5 W's;  
Who, who is he stealing from, who is around when he steals?
What, what happens as a result of his stealing?
When, when does this happen, during the week, day time, night time, recess?
Where, where is this happening, only at school, in public, at home?
Why, why does he want these things, why is he taking them?

Analyzing this information carefully may give you some insight on what is going on.
Is he stealing snacks and/or candy because he doesn't have access to them at home?  If sugary treats are enticing him to this extent, you may want to talk to your pediatrician for some testing to see if there is a physical reason for this craving. Getting a handle on this behavior while he is young will be important his physical healt and to prevent more serious issue in the future.
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Additional Answers (8)

JULIA123UBE
JULIA123UBE writes:
Well i think you should just sit down with your child and talk to her or him and tell him or her "listen i don't want you stealing if you want something just ask me don't go steal''.Your question was answerd
> 60 days ago

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kgoose
kgoose writes:
I have an 8 year old too.

My first impression is that he needs your loving care and attention. You care enough to explain the consequences of his behavior. Maybe focus more on his good achievements and praise him for that.

One of the books that helps me, is a book I read by Jeannie St John Taylor, called Culture-Proof Kids: Building Character in Your Children.

I found it on amazon.

It is a Christian based book and proved to be really valuable to me.
> 60 days ago

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J's#1fan
J's#1fan writes:
Hi I would like to say i'm sorry that your family has to go through this. I'm sure it's frustrating!! In my opinion no amount of meds are gonna keep him from making these disrespectful choices. Medicate what needs to be medicated but other than that he knows what he is doing is wrong  and continues to keep doing it weather it be for thrill or attention its still a negative way to get either or. Don't forget that its disrespectful to you guys as parents as well. If i were in your position with my son i would ask if they would do a mock arrest with interrogation and let him stay the night in jail for 1-3 nights .... only because you have already tried everything!!Hopefully this will teach him this type of behavior has real concequences  !! No physical Contact with ppl who love him like family n friends,no freedom,no comfy bed to sleep in... he needs to know this is the path he's choosing and u as parents are trying everything in your power to keep him away from that lifestyle. I hope this works for him and for u guys as well... im not an expert its jus my opinion :) good luck!!
> 60 days ago

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wendylars
wendylars writes:
I read this and it got my attention because this child doesn't seem to be getting the message.  Usually, kids learn not to steal after being disciplined once or twice.  It also concerns me that this child is only eight years old.

As a mother and an educator (fourth grade teacher) I am familiar with this age group.  What I am hearing is not normal and concerns me a great deal.

I would obtain some kind of counseling or professional intervention.  I think I would also explore the child's diet at home.  Are you too reluctant to give desserts or treats?  Do you give too many?  I might consider a medical evaluation where you just have some blood work done and you look at the child's overall body chemistry.  What is your relationship with your spouse like?  Is this there a great deal of conflict?  Is it a very normal relationship. Is this a divorce or stepparent situation?

I hear your frustration, but I think its sad you can't handle this without calling the police.  This is something parents ought to be able to deal with on their own--even if serious punishment and consequences are required.

In the world I grew up in, there is no way, no how this would be tolerated. My parents weren't beyond a serious spanking for serious misbehavior.  That would include the misbehaving child having to pull down their pants and bend over a knee for a spanking in their underpants with either a hand or a small paddle.  You said you had tried spanking, but in a situation like this a spanking should be a big deal with both mom and dad present giving an explanation as well as punishment that results in some tears.

The best advice I can give you is straighten this problem out NOW.  It can only get worse.
> 60 days ago

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1kem
1kem writes:
It sounds to me that you have done all the right things and you have looked at all the rationale for his behavior.  Just one more thing I thought you might try and it does sound a little unorthodox.  Buy him the biggest bag of candy you can find and let him have all of it.  It will make him sick, he will have the tummy ache of his life.  My mother did this to my brother.  He vomited all night, and she cleaned and never said a word.  To this day he can't even look at a small candy and crave it.  It will hurt his teeth so brush them well after.  It will keep you up at night but you are probably worrying and not sleeping well anyway.  He may even need a "refresher" every once in awhile, but it does work for some people.
> 60 days ago

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yaga
yaga writes:
I think the best treatment to a child that steals is to ask the child, which of the hand do he/she use to steal, then you as a father you have to use razor and cut the finger that use to steal.
58 days ago

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pixelboi78
pixelboi78 writes:
you say you have tried spanking him but have you tried really spanking him, I mean a proper spanking, my son is 8 and still gets spanked from time to time, but at this age if it has to go as far as a proper spanking then we are not simply talking about a few smacks over his clothes, the trousers and undies come down and he gets his bare bottom spanked, the results are always a red bum and plenty of tears

lying and stealing are things we don't have issues with any more, maybe due in part to being seriously punished for those things when he did them as a younger kid, he stole from a shop twice in his life, at 5 years old, the first time I made him take it back and apologize, then had a serious chat with him about it at home and warned him that he would get a spanking if he did it again, 2 weeks later he did, this time I made him take it back again and when we got home we had another talk, this time with the addition of a bare bottom spanking and he has not done it since.

these days I keep spankings for the most serious of bad behaviour, outright defiance and disobedience, issues of safety, serious lies ( if they happen ;) ), etc, and tbh they hardly ever need to happen anymore, it does still happen sometimes though, he got one last week for repeatedly being disobedient at bedtime, it seems to have worked as things have been much smoother at night since then

tl:dr - spankings work, if done properly(bare bum, stingy and enough times to result in real tears and a red bum), the behaviour you describe from your kid would earn mine a serious spanking, maybe you should try it if you are still having trouble
30 days ago

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