Stealing can happen in all levels of society. From a piece of gum at the corner store to millions of taxpayer dollars on Wall Street, stealing is a dangerous habit to start and will never lead to positive ends. Make sure your child knows the real consequences of stealing from an early age with these five tips:
1. Consider Your Child’s Age First
Before you jump to discipline your child, you first have to consider whether or not they knew they were stealing in the first place. If your child is very young, they may not have been aware that taking a piece of candy without paying for it was not right. This child should be dealt with differently than a teenager who steals a shirt from a store in the mall.
2. Return the Stolen Item
The first thing to do is return the stolen item. Bring your child back to the store with the item in tow and ask to speak to the manager. Have your child tell the manager that they took the item, apologize, and give it back. If the item has already been open, used, or eaten, you will need to pay for it.
3. Make Your Child Work to Pay for the Item Whether or not you end up paying the store back for the stolen item, you child should still work to earn the amount of money that the item cost. Make him or her do household chores to work off the debt. Once they have raised enough money, they will need to give the money back to you for covering the cost of the stolen item or they can give the money away to a person or organization in need.
4. Talk about Consequences
Regardless of your child’s age, you must sit down and have a real talk with them about the consequences of stealing. Not only is it wrong, it can become and addictive behavior. Once you steal without getting caught, you feel as though you will be able to steal again. This type of behavior can land you in jail.
5. Call the Police
If you feel like you child needs a real wake up call, try not stepping in at all. Allow the store manager to call the police, and let your child go through the process of being handcuffed and taken to the police station. If you have to bail them out, make them work off the amount they owe you for doing so.
Author Bio: This is a guest post by Nadia Jones who blogs at accredited online colleges about education, college, student, teacher, money saving, movie related topics. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.