What Is Stealing?
is the act of taking something that does not belong to you without permission.
An example is removing an object from a store without paying for it (this is
does not have to be a physical act. It is also possible to steal another
person’s thoughts or ideas.
stealing is an inappropriate behavior, it is relatively common in children. It
often occurs before a child understands why it is wrong. Most children simply
outgrow this behavior. In other cases, stealing can be a sign of more serious
problems and a precursor to other delinquency in a child or teen.
is a crime that can lead to punishments such as fines or jail time.
What Leads to Stealing?
becomes an issue when the person doing the stealing is old enough to know
better. Sometimes children under the age of five take objects that interest
them, not yet understanding that stealing is wrong. They might not have enough
self-control to resist taking something they want.
those old enough to know better, there are several reasons for stealing.
Stealing may be caused by jealousy, low self-esteem, or peer-pressure. Social
issues like feeling excluded or overlooked can also cause stealing. People may
steal to prove their independence, to act out against family or friends, or
because they do not respect others or themselves,
stealing is a compulsive disorder. This is called kleptomania. In other cases,
a person may have come to believe that stealing is socially acceptable. Some
people steal as a means to survive due to economic hardship. Others simply
enjoy the rush of stealing, or steal to fill an emotional or physical void in
What Are the Effects of Stealing?
affects the people who steal, the people in their lives, and the victims of
who steal often suffer from guilt, shame, or embarrassment after stealing
something. They might be afraid to tell anyone out of fear of punishment. If
caught, they may be punished for their crime. Punishment depends on the item
stolen, whether the person has been caught stealing before, and the wishes of
the person who was stolen from.
of theft can be angry, feel disrespected, and be afraid of future theft. Replacing
the stolen item may be costly.
of theft often feel less safe, are less trusting, and are worried about repeat
theft. These feelings can cause paranoia or violent behavior.
Preventing Your Child From Stealing
a primary role in preventing stealing. They must teach their children about
property rights and respect for others, and they must model good behavior as
positive role models.
child steals, he or she must first be taught that theft is wrong. Understanding
the child’s motivation will help determine whether other actions are necessary.
Sometimes a child will steal to get an adult’s attention or out of anger or
jealousy. In such cases, an adult should find out how to work through such challenges.
child should not benefit in any way from stealing. Parents should discuss how the
child will pay for the item or return it to the owner. That stealing is not
acceptable behavior must be made clear.
Getting Help for Persistent Stealing
is repetitive or is done without any remorse, guilt, or understanding of the
impact, it can be a sign of other problems. These can include family trouble,
mental health issues, or delinquency. Children who steal often have trouble
making and keeping friends, have poor relationships with adults, or have issues
emotional or mental health issues could be the reason for stealing, a child
might benefit from seeing a therapist or mental health professional.
adults, stealing is a punishable crime. If persistent stealing is a symptom of
a mental health issue such as kleptomania, psychological care may be helpful.