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Help with Stealing Behaviors


​​​​Outside of figuring out the reason why, do you have any ideas for a good way to deal with or give consequences to an 8-year-old boy who steals things in the house from others when he is angry or trying to take revenge? He is sensitive to correction.​



We are glad you are reaching out today. We can appreciate the concern and frustration regarding your son's stealing as a way to express his anger or get revenge on someone, or if it for some other reason. As adults, if we used stealing as a way to express our anger or get revenge, it would be self-defeating, because no matter how good or exciting it may feel at the time to take something, we would be simply creating a worse situation for ourselves. As parents, we want to educate our children so they understand that concept. Children need to know very clearly what the consequences are for stealing, and that there are greater consequences for repeated instances. Also, they need to learn that there is a significant loss of trust from stealing and that this impacts the times when trust is important. 

Our children need to know we are there for them and that we want to help them learn new, appropriate ways of expressing anger or dealing with times they are upset with someone. A suggestion is to do some role playing where you can be the one who is angry or upset with someone and go through the options of reactions and what the results would be. You would point out which reactions would be the best and most effective, and which ones would be self-defeating. It is best to wait and do role playing at a time when children are calm so they can absorb and engage more. 

Also, look at the Boys Town parenting website Here, you will find helpful guidance and information about issues like this. Also, the Nebraska Family Helpline is available 24/7 at 1-888-866-8660 to offer parenting support and assistance.

 Stay brave, keep reaching out.