Home > Ask Our Experts > Why Does My 12 Year Old Keep Stealing?

Why Does My 12 Year Old Keep Stealing?

By: Sarah Edwards - Updated: 30 Apr 2015 | comments*Discuss
 
Why Does My 12 Year Old Keep Stealing?

Q.

My 12 year-old son has been found stealing things from family members in the house, not least money, foodstuffs, DVDs, games etc. We have tried to discourage this in a variety of methods, all without success and he carries on stealing from us at every opportunity he can.

When we have challenged him about the stealing, he either denies it or, when confronted with incontrovertible evidence, simply says he doesn't know why he does it.

Do you have any suggestions about ways we can manage this behaviour? Should I be consulting with our GP with a view to treatment? I am concerned that this will progress to stealing outside the house.

(D.F, 4 February 2009)

A.

Children steal for a number of reasons, sometimes because their friends have dared them to do it and they want to appear grown up and part of the 'in crowd', sometimes because they genuinely want something and don't have the money to pay for it, or sometimes because they want attention.

Often teens and pre-teens steal because of peer pressure, to either be a rebel, or to get things that their friends have got. If a child is being teased about not having the latest trainers, they may well go and try to steal them. In this case, because your son is stealing from family members, he might be under pressure from his friends to do it, because they are doing the same. Perhaps your child is stealing to sell the items and get money for whatever it is he wants.

The best way to handle a pre-teen who is stealing money from a parent is to give them options for paying back the money. For example, you could ask your son to do extra chores around the house. It is also important to find out why he is doing this and if he is unhappy or angry about something that is happening in his life.

If stealing from you is becoming a habit with your son, think about talking to his school, or your GP to try and find a reason for this change in behaviour. If necessary, your doctor will be able to refer you to a specialist counsellor for more help and advice. It's also important to keep a closer eye on your child's behaviour, and keep him away from situations in which stealing is a temptation. He also needs to know that what he is doing is wrong and that he will get into serious trouble if he continues.

The last thing you want to do is push your son away from you, though, so try to stay clam and rational so that you can get to the bottom of whatever it is that has changed in his life and is making him behave in this way. The last thing you want is for your son to end up in court on a shoplifting charge, so this needs to be nipped in the bud – before it's too late.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • MaryN
    Re: Questionnaire: Does Your Child Have ADHD?
    My three year old doesn’t sleep at night till 3 or 5 am, he has no sense of danger, he get distracted very…
    23 May 2019
  • Sez
    Re: Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
    My 7yr old daughter is well behaved in school and for friends parents but the second she walks into our home or is with…
    8 May 2019
  • Samantha cole
    Re: Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
    Woody, my 12 year old is exactly the same. He has just gone for me agoer I asked him to take a shower and has blamed me…
    23 April 2019
  • Miss Sunshine
    Re: Children and Pinching
    My brother is a pincher. He's 42. He pinches my 6 year old son if he doesn't follow rules. I told him to stop. He said it was nothing.
    21 April 2019
  • Ryerye
    Re: Children and Body Rocking
    I have the same problem me reading this helped much understand a lot more I am 12 and I hate the feel of paper and dry objects I still…
    5 April 2019
  • Divamum
    Re: Positive and Negative Reinforcement for Good Behaviour
    I think this article is unfounded and poorly written. Since when do parents have ‘job…
    4 April 2019
  • Ann
    Re: Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
    My son is 8years old he has always been different i had a emergancie section with hm i cat even sit with him he pnches me…
    4 April 2019
  • Marian
    Re: Children and Pinching
    I know a girl who pinches at 15 what can I do ? I was thinking cutting limbs off but I thought that was unethical.
    29 March 2019
  • Sookie
    Re: Children and Body Rocking
    I rocked a lot until I was 18 years old. It was so soothing. I rocked so hard my mother had to tell me to stop. I thought I had a…
    29 March 2019
  • Jacko
    Re: Children and Hitting
    My soon to be 7 year old son hits class mates been reading up on his behaviour an "symptoms" of his behaviour dont really count in his case…
    6 March 2019