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Q. How to stop my daughter's habit of stealing?

Answered by
Dr. K. V. Anand
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on May 11, 2016 and last reviewed on: Oct 09, 2018

Hi doctor,

My daughter has just turned seven. She has a strange habit of stealing. She steals at school, grocery stores and home. She is not allowed to go to friend's house because I am afraid she will steal there too. She steals stupid things like candy bars, gum, erasers, pencils and lip gloss. She will go through other kid's desk while they are doing activities to steal things. When caught she will call the other student a liar and say that the item belongs to her. She blames her little sister for thefts at home. I have tried everything from buying her extra stuff to grounding. It is so embarrassing and I am very afraid if I do not help her now she will do it throughout her life. Please help me. I do not know what to do at this point.

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Hi,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

Please do not worry.

  • Many children at your daughter's age bracket steals. For those children they do not know that the act is called stealing and it should not be done or it is socially embarrassing, etc.
  • For them they are taking something which they liked, of course, without asking anyone.
  • This act is mostly voluntary. In very rare cases it could become involuntary and then it is called impulse disorder.
  • In your daughter's case, the issue is a simple behavior disorder.
  • Now, you have to teach her that the issue is bad, forbidden and should not be repeated. Children learn from parents. Teach her using methods like punishments and rewards.
  • If you catch her stealing then make her keep the thing back and say apologies. If you caught her later then ask her from where she stole and make her return.
  • Give her some small punishment and ask her to say apologies. Four or five such punishments should change her behavior. Take care.

For further information consult a psychologist counsellor online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/psychologist-counsellor


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