Welcome to SPARC Forums. Please login or sign up.

Jul 18, 2024, 04:43:54 AM

Login with username, password and session length

Why do children steal?

Started by Dinkybug, Jan 04, 2004, 02:23:48 PM

Previous topic - Next topic


Dr. D, I'm curious as to why a child steals?  Is this simply an attention getting mechanism, or is it a sign of something more serious?  

Thanks in advance.

Dr. D

Dear Dinkybug,

The reason to ALL why question is "BECAUSE"

Because....they can
                they think it is cool
                they want attention (from friends or family)
                they want an item and haven't learned to work for it
                they want parents to get together and discuss it
                they feel it gives them power or control

The list goes on and on....What else is going on in this childs world?
Dr. D


>Dear Dinkybug,
>The reason to ALL why question is "BECAUSE"
>Because....they can
>                they think it is cool
>                they want attention (from friends or family)
>                they want an item and haven't learned to work
>for it
>                they want parents to get together and discuss
>                they feel it gives them power or control
>The list goes on and on....What else is going on in this
>childs world?
>Dr. D

Background info:  BioMom and I divorced when the children were toddlers.  Original custody order for reasonable visitation.  BM took children out of state without my knowledge or consent and I didn't know where they were for approximately a month.  They moved 5 states away.  Previously I had my children 3-4 nights per week and e/o weekend.  After move, I was allowed to see my children for 6 weeks per summer.  NO holidays.  Sporadic contact allowed by phone and email unless Mom got mad.  If Mom was mad, she would delete their email account and change phone number without giving the new number to me.  I went 7 years without having my children for Christmas and being at her mercy as to when I was allowed Summer visitation.  Two years ago Mom attempted to deny me visitation yet again and this time I had enough proof to take her back to court for contempt.  I requested and received a very specific visitation order from the courts.  (Previously the courts refused to do anything when she left the state and on other occasions of my being denied access and visitation.)  

My son is 11 yrs. old and was caught stealing from our home for the first time about two years ago.  It was the same year that I had to take his Mom back to court to modify our custody order due to her unwillingness to allow regular contact and visitation.  Neither I or my wife discussed this with him or his other siblings as we felt it was innappropriate to put them in the middle of adult disagreements.  However, his Mom has filled all of their heads with nonsense about how I was being mean to her by making things up and taking her to court.  That I don't really *want them, I don't love them, I don't do anything for them, etc.  Since the court date, I now have regular and consistent contact with the children.  My concern is that there are issues that need to be discussed and worked through with him and due to distance it's not happening.  I'm also concerned that this has been going on for quite some time and these are just the only two times that I've caught him.  

He was punished at his Mom's house since that's where he was when he was caught with things that didn't belong to him.  What do I do when he returns this summer?  Do we discuss the fact that he's broken my trust and sorely disappointed me?  Do I mede out additional punishment or let what was done at his Mom's be it?  Do I check his things from this point on to insure that he's not arriving or leaving with things that aren't his?  And most importantly how do I help him choose not to be this way in the future?  Thank you.

Dr. D

Dear Dinkybug,

I would forego any further punishment on the old issue.  I would (when the time is appropriate) let him know that once trust is broken he must rebuild it.  You might check his bags before returning to his mother's house. Be consistent about this.  Love and firm discipline is what most kids want.  Stealing your things may (in his mind) accomplish several things.  It forced communication with you after he returned home, he had something of yours at his home, it put you to the test (so he would know how you would react), etc.  Let him know you love him, but will not condon his stealing.
Dr. D