Kids stealing isn't as serious as it seems. If it's not yet a habit it can be handled very easily. First you need to know how your child perceives his act. Under 5 years-old, children don't know the concept of ownership but they can still learn that it's wrong to take something that's not theirs. School-aged kids on the other hand should know what stealing means but it can be difficult for them to control themselves. It's really important that when you're facing this situation for the first time you don't feel like your child will become a thief or is having a very bad attitude. Kids stealing are just making a mistake (even if they are stealing money) and your role is to teach that this is dishonest and wrong.
Your attitude toward this situation is crucial, that's why those 5 tips should help you solve your kid's stealing behavior:
1. Stay calm and don't overreact. Acting impulsively won't help.
2. Don't accuse your child if you don't catch him in the act. He needs to feel that you trust him. Plus, you might be wrong if your accusation is based on something you heard or guessed.
3. Explain why it's wrong very simply. Don't say to your child that he's bad or dishonest but that the act of stealing is. It's very different. Never label your child.
4. School-aged children should return the object to the owner and apologize. You need to have your child doing this and accompany him. If he stole from you, make him pay by giving you some help.
5. Ask questions and try to understand the emotional lack or whatever reason hides the act of stealing and fill that void. Maybe your child needs more attention. Don't neglect the cause.
Yes, kids stealing are not bad kids. Putting too much drama on it can have bad consequences but being firm and clear about why it's wrong will help your child.
Maybe your child is a teenager, maybe it has become a habit and you didn't react on time. I want you not to worry. Of course it's more alarming when kids stealing know it's wrong but keep doing it. It obviously hides another problem, often more important. But there are methods to help you with this. Nothing is a fatality and everything can be handled. Professional help isn't always easy to afford and convincing children to get that help isn't easy either. But easy-to-apply parenting methods exist and I do believe they are the best resources for parents seeking help. You need to settle a coherent parenting style and a method can definitely help you achieve this (see the resource on the author info box on the right).