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6 year old ds stealing!

 
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amother




OP
 

Post  Thu, Oct 01 2020, 1:53 pm
Our 6 year old ds has taken to stealing money. I don't know how to handle it.
Today our local grocery called dh and asked if we sent ds with a 50 shekel note to buy sweets.
We had not, of course. I was at work at the time. When ds came home and dh questioned him, he said that I had given him the money in the morning. Dh asked him if he should call me to check and ds then admitted to taking the money from a shelf in the bedroom and he put it back there grumpily.
Tonight, ds told me casually that he had also tried to take money out of the tzedaka boxes in shul one time but not succeeded because a man came in and disturbed him.
2 or 3 months ago he had a phase where he would repeatedly bring other children's bicycles into our garden and claim that he "found" them and they belonged to nobody (they did). That has thankfully stopped.
But the money thing upsets me.
I also had a feeling for some time that money was vanishing from my wallet though ds denies that.

Already during the bicycle phase I tried to explain to ds the concept of his vs other's property. And that stealing is an avera and that Hashem sees him even if other people don't. But I feel that I'm talking to a wall. Even if he nods and says he understands. He nods and says okay to get rid of me. Our other children are not like that. They know right from wrong. He doesn't or doesn't want to.
He's an impulsive child, always challenging and teasing his siblings and dh and me. Whenever he doesn't get his will, he gets very aggressive.

How does one teach a child like that not to steal?
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FranticFrummie




 
 
 
 

Post  Thu, Oct 01 2020, 2:03 pm
6 is the exact stage when most kids start doing this. DD was the same, and very impulsive as well.

When I found out that she was stealing small trinkets from the houses of people she would play by, I made her go back to every single house, return the object, and apologize. I also told her that I would not trust her at anyone else's house if she took things from them - and that I would tell the family why she was not allowed to come over. She was embarrassed enough to stop doing that.

As for money, you have to remove the temptation. 6 is not old enough to have the control to stop, if he's an impulsive kid. "Don't put a stumbling block before the blind."

You need to find a hiding place for all of your money, or a lock box for purses and wallets. If you have a hiding place, make sure that he is not ever in the room when you need to get to it. If you have a lock box, it's OK to tell him that all the money goes in there because you don't trust him.

Tell him that when he is a big boy and can make honest decisions, he can have some spending money for nosh. You can also have him earn money by helping out with chores. Right now, he doesn't even really get the concept of what "money" is. It's like an endless supply of paper that gets you what you want.
==========================================

When DD was 6, she called me from the next room and asked me what "a CCV number was." I was like "What?" She had gone online to Ebay, and picked out a bunch of toys. She was at the check out basket, and had the credit card from my purse. She had everything filled out, even the address and phone number. All she needed before she submitted the order, was the security code on the back of the card.

Surprised Oy, what a smart little monkey. She was literally 3 digits away from ordering hundreds of dollars worth of toys!

I still can't believe she figured all of that out, just from watching me order something from Ebay. She just didn't understand that when you use a card, it takes money out of the bank, and then we wouldn't have any money for rent or food.
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behappy2




 
 
 
 

Post  Thu, Oct 01 2020, 2:05 pm
I never dealt with this. That said, it is fairly age appropriate. I used to steal money from my parents (under a few dollars) up until around 12 years old. Another thing is that for some reason I have seen a lot of Israeli kids steal from stores under their parents nose, so it could also be cultural.

Things you can do are:

Say stories by the shabbos seueda with the theme of stealing is wrong (subtle)

Make him pay back. If he can't he can earn money through chores.

Give him the empathic side (you took money from me, now I can't buy myself shoes)

Alternatively, don't buy him something you were planning to get him (value of what he took)

Don't lecture. It rarely works. And remember, gam zeh yaavor
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Success10




 
 
 
 

Post  Thu, Oct 01 2020, 2:19 pm
I also think that to some extent this is normal behavior for the age, and not indicative of a major problem. I would do as above posters said and try your hardest to remove temptations from him. In all likeliness, it will pass soon.
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oneofakind




 
 
 
 

Post  Thu, Oct 01 2020, 2:29 pm
All of the above and I would make sure he doesn't feel deprived of attention or material things.
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amother




Violet
 

Post  Thu, Oct 01 2020, 2:31 pm
My daughter is the sweetest. She is really such a good girl who always aims to please. That’s why I was so shocked when I discovered she was stealing! She was also 6.

DD was taking sticky notes, index cards, stickers, etc. - she loves this stuff. When I realized she had taken some things from me, I then discovered she had taken stacks of supplies from her teacher. She even brought home her friend’s markers. She really insisted and insisted that she didn’t take from others, even crying about it. But eventually she realized she was caught and admitted it. We had a discussion about how serious this is, and how sad her friend felt, and how I know she is a very good girl. She quickly stopped.

Your son might be a little different, due to his impulsive nature. I just wanted to let you know that it can be very age appropriate. I think children of that age truly don’t understand the seriousness of what they’re doing. Maybe try to impress upon your son how wrong it is, and how bad he is making others feel when he takes their things.
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amother




Olive
 

Post  Thu, Oct 01 2020, 2:36 pm
I used to steal when I was young, and it came from feeling really deprived. I saw other kids having things that my parents restricted (mostly nosh) and I craved those things.

I stopped when I was old enough to feel self-control. Also, when I got older I was able to babysit and get for myself some of the things I felt I needed.

Just explaining the mindset. I really believe this is what makes some kids steal.

Find a way to give him the things he craves, or let him earn them.
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Rappel




 
 
 
 

Post  Thu, Oct 01 2020, 2:39 pm
When he started "finding" bikes, did you buy him a bike? That would be my first bandaid for the situation.

If he wants something like candy, or a toy, etc., is there a reasonable way he can get it? Does he know he can ask you for it? Does he earn it through chores?

In short - does he have a pathway which empowers him to get what he wants in a good way, or is his only resource to steal (which may not seem terribly wrong in the eyes of a 6 year old, but I have no tricks for teaching him that.)
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amother




Aqua
 

Post  Thu, Oct 01 2020, 2:44 pm
Like the previous posters wrote, this is developmentally appropriate. I spoke to the director of my son’s preschool when he was taking little toys from school. She told me that if it really persists after speaking about it a few times and natural consequences (like having to return the items), that it can be more about looking for control and something deeper can be going on. Rather than just wanting something and impulsively pocketing it....
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amother




OP
 

Post  Thu, Oct 01 2020, 4:02 pm
Rappel wrote:
When he started "finding" bikes, did you buy him a bike? That would be my first bandaid for the situation.

If he wants something like candy, or a toy, etc., is there a reasonable way he can get it? Does he know he can ask you for it? Does he earn it through chores?

In short - does he have a pathway which empowers him to get what he wants in a good way, or is his only resource to steal (which may not seem terribly wrong in the eyes of a 6 year old, but I have no tricks for teaching him that.)


1) thanks to all for the answers. In a way, I'm relieved that it is not something unheard of but does occur at that age

2) things he wants - sweets of course, all the time, but our children get already more than is good for them, they have permission to buy sweets for a certain amount twice a week and in addition they each get a mixed sweets bag on Shabbat.
Toys usually get broken or lost within 2 days, so I'm not keen to buy him new stuff.
A bicycle I do not want to buy for him at this stage. He's so impulsive and a daredevil who goes off on his own even without permission - he's simply not traffic-safe.
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Rappel




 
 
 
 

Post  Thu, Oct 01 2020, 4:38 pm
amother [ OP ] wrote:
1) thanks to all for the answers. In a way, I'm relieved that it is not something unheard of but does occur at that age

2) things he wants - sweets of course, all the time, but our children get already more than is good for them, they have permission to buy sweets for a certain amount twice a week and in addition they each get a mixed sweets bag on Shabbat.
Toys usually get broken or lost within 2 days, so I'm not keen to buy him new stuff.
A bicycle I do not want to buy for him at this stage. He's so impulsive and a daredevil who goes off on his own even without permission - he's simply not traffic-safe.


Hmmm... Maybe he needs direction for all that drive+intelligence+energy , and without it he becomes a "daredevil" and a rule-pusher? Does that ring a bell? What happens when you give him responsibilities you'd normally reserve for an older, mature kid? Does he rise to the challenge, or does he shrug it off?

What do you think of giving him a job, something which gives him purpose in his day?
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NotLazySusan




 
 
 
 

Post  Thu, Oct 01 2020, 5:13 pm
Rappel wrote:
When he started "finding" bikes, did you buy him a bike? That would be my first bandaid for the situation.

If he wants something like candy, or a toy, etc., is there a reasonable way he can get it? Does he know he can ask you for it? Does he earn it through chores?

In short - does he have a pathway which empowers him to get what he wants in a good way, or is his only resource to steal (which may not seem terribly wrong in the eyes of a 6 year old, but I have no tricks for teaching him that.)


Yes, this!
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Mama Bear




 
 
 
 

Post  Thu, Oct 01 2020, 10:51 pm
I had this with my son in the summer. He is 7.
He loves playing with play money so he really doenst understnd the value of money. he took a $50 bill from my purse, bought a few useless trinkets, and told the boy to keep the change.
the other mothers made me aware of it. I was so horrified I cried.
Even after a lecture by me, he did the same thing the next day with a $10 bill.
Then he'd go to the grocery store and buy $40 worth of nosh and put it on our account.
The only way to combat this was by hiding my money in a hiding place he couldnt access, asking the grocery store not to let him put things on my account, and he had to pay me back part of the money in some way (I didnt buy him ice cream the next time the ice cream truck came, for example).
BH the problem did go away after the summer. I will have to keep a closer eye on him next summer - that's when the boys get together than sell things to each other for real money.
in cheder they sell things for play money.
I think he just doent understand the real value of money and just wants to be independent to buy whatever he wants.
It's a very painful thing to go through. But very normal.
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