6 Easy Steps To Take If You Find Your Child Stealing
If your child steals something, how you act in such a situation matters. What are some things you can when you find your child stealing?
1. Understand why your child may be stealing.
What causes a child to steal? There are several reasons why children steal. Was it because they were curious? Did they think it was theirs? Were they just playing with it?
Children may steal because they don’t understand ownership – that an object may belong to someone and that we cannot simply take it. They might think, “I like it, I take it. No biggie.”
Or, they may steal because they don’t understand the difference between borrowing and stealing. “My brother took my pencil to school the other day. That means I can take Ahmad’s pencil home.”
Or it may be because your child is feeling deprived of things that his peers have. “Abdullaah has such a fancy eraser. I’ve never had anything like that. I too want fancy stuff.”
Or, they may be trying out new behaviours to gain your attention. “Mommy is always busy with work. Will she look at me more if I do this?”
You could also ask them how they feel about taking something that belongs to someone else.
If this is an issue of a child stealing AND lying about it, you may also have to find out why they’re lying. Are they afraid of punishment? In the past, did someone punish them for speaking the truth?
2. Keep calm and educate your child privately.
Keep calm and don’t humiliate them. See this situation as a positive opportunity to educate your child. It is better to handle such a situation now than later in life.
Advise your child privately:
- Remind them of the Islamic ruling on stealing and that it is wrong.
- Remind them that Allaah is watching even if it is done in secret.
- Explain that they must never take anything that belongs to another person unless they are given permission to do so.
- Remind them that they are responsible for their actions and that they need to obey the rules at school and at home.
- Tell them to come to you first if he needs or wants something.
- Tell them that you know they’re a wonderful person of good character and that they wouldn’t do it again.
- Ask them how they would feel if someone stole something that’s theirs.
If necessary, you could also confiscate their iPad or some other privilege for a few days, if you think it will help.
3. Make them return the stolen object and apologize.
Make sure they returns the object immediately and seek forgiveness for their mistake. This will teach them how uncomfortable it is to take responsibility and deal with such actions. Hopefully, this will deter them from stealing again.
This step might be embarrassing and difficult for them. So, be as gentle and supportive as you can.
4. Supervise and keep an eye on them.
Keep an eye on your child until they display trustworthiness. They need a watchful eye to protect them from bad habits until them can control themselves (themself?). Not learning self-control early in life can make life harder for them later on.
Guide them to replace thoughts about stealing with the sweetness of giving by teaching them to share.
5. Don’t bring it up again.
Once this phase is over, don’t bring it up again. And never discuss their misdeeds with other relatives, neighbors, teachers and others, unless it’s necessary. Nobody needs to know.
6. Make duaa.
In this parenting journey, even if it feels like all hope is lost, it isn’t. Sometimes, children who misbehave grow up to become some of the most well-behaved children. Keep making dua for the guidance of your children and never get tired of it. Allah answers all duas in the best way. Never give up.
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