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
  • Always Rocked
    Re: Children and Body Rocking
    This is such a relief that there are many others like me. My mom told me that I used to rock myself to sleep in my crib. From a young…
    19 February 2018
  • Sookie
    Re: Children and Body Rocking
    I rocked back and forth alot during my chid hood until about age 19. I force myself to stop because I did not want people to think I…
    19 February 2018
  • Tonya
    Re: Children and Body Rocking
    My son is now 8 years old and has rocked since he was a baby. He also humms or says words repeatedly. like a mantra. He does have…
    16 February 2018
  • Vick
    Re: Questionnaire: Does Your Child Have ADHD?
    My son is 7 he hits out at me is very nasty to his sister perfect at school doesn't listen to me at all climbs…
    15 February 2018
  • Rocker
    Re: Children and Body Rocking
    I’m 60 yrs old - I’ve rocked my entire life. I’m intelligent, productive, successful and I love to rock – perhaps the reason I love…
    15 February 2018
  • Tb8791
    Re: Children and Body Rocking
    My 4yo does this and says choice words over and over. At first it was just “mamma, daddy” but now it’s any 2 or 3 word phrase on her…
    11 February 2018
  • Tippy
    Re: Child Anxiety Disorders
    My son aged 4 attends nursery and hits other children almost daily, he can be quite aggressive towards his siblings and his Dad and l, he…
    7 February 2018
  • car
    Re: Children and Body Rocking
    Both my twin Daughters did this rocking all of there childhood up to adult hood. They both ended up with schizophrenia in there late…
    3 February 2018
  • Gammy
    Re: Children and Whining
    Hi Angie, My daughter and her two kids are living with us until my daughter finishes up her Masters degree. My granddaughter is 5 years…
    26 January 2018
  • Laura
    Re: Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
    My 10-year -old son goes beserk if I ask him to do simple things , he hits and bites himself , goes in his upstairs…
    22 January 2018
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the KidsBehaviour website. Please read our Disclaimer.