by Nancy Thomas
Why do they steal?
Our children’s childhoods were ripped off. The diaper days of cooing and gooing were destroyed. The joyful days of the first three years were swiped.
Research shows over 80% of prisoners were repeatedly told they would end up in prison. When we continually plant seeds of a vision of a futile future the children plod down their path with trepidation and gloom–headed in the direction we have set before them. When we sow seeds for a successful future by saying, “If you keep doing that, you are going to end up the CEO of a company, in the Olympics, or finding a cure for cancer.” The child can look at their destiny with hope and excitement for positive success. We need to see our children with hope in our hearts and share our belief in them with our eyes.
How do you do that with a thief? Think about the positive aspects of a child who steals… They see everything. They know where everything is. They have resourcefulness and determination! We shape those virtues from destruction to construction so they can use them to become a fantastic crime scene investigator, scientist, archaeologist, or ??
A child with sticky fingers must make restitution by earning the money (sweat equity) and paying back double for the value of the item(s) stolen. Parents should become happy rather than angry – encouraging, rather than discouraging. Children with RAD often delight in pushing parents closer to the edge of anger. When we choose joy over anger, we win, and so do our children!
Try getting happy that you are being paid back double. Get happy that you have a child with eagle eyes because they know where your lost items are – like your car keys or TV remote! They can be very helpful. We want to shape the behavior so that virtues surrounding it grow. And, the actual stealing stops by having them make restitution, and get happy when they get more practice earning money. Don’t let them see you seething. Academy Award winners have nothing over an awesome Mom and Dad! We were trained by the best ‘hams’ on the planet – our kids!!
For more information on stopping stealing and other behaviors, read, When Love is Not Enough.