Child theft: causes and methods of struggle
A trifle began to disappear from your pocket, among children's little things no, no, and someone else's toy will appear, or did you find that the child stole a chocolate bar in a supermarket? Child theft is a very common occurrence, and almost all parents had to go through it. We tell you how to respond to a child’s misconduct so that he no longer wants to take someone else’s
Reasons for child theft
Of course, if we are talking about children 2-4 years old, then a typewriter played with a friend or a baby doll can hardly be called stolen in the conventional sense. Often at this age, children simply do not divide things into “friends” and “strangers” and do not realize why one toy can be safely played, and to take another, you need to ask permission.
However, if your child already has certain ideas about property and knows that every thing has a master, his act can be identified precisely as theft. Already at 4-6 years old, the vast majority of children clearly understand that they are taking someone else's, and, as a rule, they realize that they will not be thanked for this. However, even at the risk of being disclosed, they still go for it. Why? Psychologists identify three main causes of child theft.
- Children's impulsivity. It happens that a thing, for one reason or another, amazes the imagination of a child and the only thought that captures his whole being is: “This must be mine!” The kid can understand that he is doing wrong, but as soon as the opportunity arises, he will steal the desired object anyway. Also, a child can steal money if he sees a toy of his dreams in a store.
- The need to adapt to the new team. So the baby is trying to win the intended position for himself. For example, he can steal money from home to buy sweets for friends and thereby achieve their sympathy and condescension. In this case, theft should be considered as a signal to the fact that the child does not know how to communicate, to defend their positions and cannot find their place among their peers.
- Lack of attention in the family. Perhaps, having stolen a thing dear to you, the child wants to show that he needs attention and affection. He is even ready to accept the punishment, if only to become the central figure in your life at least for a while. Therefore, it is not surprising that cases of theft are especially frequent in those periods when family life changes dramatically (divorce, moving, death of loved ones) and adults simply have no time to deal with the baby's problems.
By the way: the reason for child theft may be too strict upbringing, when parents very tightly restrict the purchase of inexpensive, but status for the child things - chewing gum, chips with chips in it or kinder surprises with toys of the fashion series.
What to do when the crime is solved
So, you have discovered the loss and the thief is no longer unlocked from the deed. What's next? Psychology can’t do without punishment. But do not rush to knock on the pope.
Find out from the child what is the reason for his act. If someone else’s toy was amassed among his things, it’s quite possible that he simply exchanged it from his friend for his own. And he pulled the money to make you the same gift for some holiday. But even if it turns out that, pulling a bill out of the wallet, the baby knew that he was doing badly, try to find out what he was going to spend it on.
By the way: if you want to achieve maximum frankness, during the conversation your eyes should be on the same level with the eyes of the child so that he can feel on an equal footing. In this case, you are more likely to hear the true reason instead of a clumsy legend.
Try to explain to the child why he will have to correct what he has done and why he will be punished. Only then will the punishment prove effective and take effect. Otherwise, the child will not learn the lesson, but will quickly learn to get out and disguise himself.
Punishment must be proportionate to misconduct. First, you need to understand if the child feels shame and remorse. Secondly, weigh how serious the misconduct was and whether it was easy to fix. In some cases, the correction process itself is already a good punishment: for example, returning the stolen toy yourself and apologizing to a friend is a rather humiliating procedure. After it, as a rule, no additional punishment is required: a small person will learn so much that stealing is not good.
When discussing what happened with the child, do not hang tags on him and do not go too far in a diatribeotherwise, he will hide from you any action that he considers shameful. And immediately after the guilty person is punished and receives an “official” forgiveness, forget about what happened and never remember this in quarrels. Otherwise, the whole effect will come to naught - the baby will think that he has forever lost your trust, and in return will take away his own.
Theft Prevention and Parental Experience
How to make your child never steal
This question is asked by many parents. Of course, with a one hundred percent guarantee it is impossible to prevent child theft, but preventive measures certainly exist.
Do not provoke! Many fathers and mothers leave money and valuables in sight, being sure that their child will definitely not take anything without permission. But he still has little control over himself and the impulse is stronger than the fear of punishment. Most likely, the baby will succumb to the temptation and with a high degree of probability will take what itself goes into his hands. The conclusion is obvious: everything that should be hidden from children's eyes should be hidden.
Talk about money. A child may not know the price of money and the real value of things simply because he did not have to deal with this directly. That is, you never trusted him to make a small purchase in your presence - a chocolate bar or a balloon. Maybe you are too strict with him and he is afraid to ask you for some thing that he already dreams at night. Or, on the contrary, you buy him everything he wants, without explaining that money is given to you by labor, and not falling from heaven. Talk with your child about it. If possible, take it at least once to work and show what you do there. Tell us what you are going to spend money on - on vacation, on new boots for you or a bicycle for his birthday.
By the way: if the baby dreams of some thing, do not make him wait for this thing for too long, even if, in your opinion, all the gifts should be “dreamy”.
Develop a sense of ownership. It happens that a child does not know how to differentiate things according to the principle of “mine” and “alien”, because he does not have his own personal things. The family has everything in common, and even he is not allowed to play with toys at his own discretion: they warn him all the time so that he does not break, does not stain him. Allow the child to dispose of personal things as he sees fit. Over time, this will teach the baby to cherish his property, and he will understand why people get upset when something disappears.
Baby theft figures
- 95% of children stole at least once in their life
- 75% of them did it only 1 time
- 20% shoplifting occurs impulsively
- 5% shoplifting - an attempt to attract attention
- 3% of thieves in childhood become real thieves
Rita, 30 years old, financial analyst:
“Already before the school in the kindergarten they gave us gifts in paper bags, with all kinds of sweets and tangerines. And in addition to my own package, I was also given a package of a sick classmate with a request to transfer it to her (we lived on the same floor). I walked quietly home and cracked chocolates from one bag along the way. Having reached the house, I went to the neighbors and handed over exactly the bag from which I ate all the delicious sweets, and brought mine, whole, home. Naturally, the neighbor’s parents then asked in the kindergarten: “And what is this such a poor present this year, some caramels?” And of course, they were told that there were chocolates too. The next day I was publicly scolded in front of the whole group. Since then, I haven’t! I'm afraid
Irina, 43 years old, civil servant:
“In the first grade, I had a girlfriend, Irka. At school, breakfast was for money, and Irka was from a low-income family, and money was returned to her. And my sincere girlfriend says to me: “Here our mothers carry such heavy bags, and if we had a horse, she would carry these sums ... I won’t give the money to my parents, but I’ll save on the horse.” But no one returned the money to me - it wasn’t allowed. But I also wanted to make my contribution! So she pulled out a sum from her mother’s salary and gave it to Irka - for a horse ... After some time, Irka was burned with money, she split, and my mother was immediately called to school. And the story of how I was going to buy a horse, entered the annals of our family ... "
Igor, 30 years old, musician:
“We lived at a military base, and dad went hunting quite often. Gunpowder was not available, and his father pulled him out of simple building cartridges. I pulled them, while dad once again ran through the woods, - stole 10,000 (!) Pieces. Father simply became brutal when he discovered the loss. He put me on a stool and put out my brain for two hours, but I couldn’t help him: by then all the cartridges had been burned at a local dump for a long time. When dad found out this too, he put me on a sewing machine and yelled already in my face. And I remembered how the cartridges clicked, and I thought that when he left the next time, I would steal even more. ”