Advice for a 5 year old shoplifting?

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Posted 12/4/2012 by Kinley-pea in NSBR Board
 

Kinley-pea
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Posted: 12/4/2012 10:04:01 AM
I have a friend whose 5 year old DD has taken up shoplifting. They went to the store the other day and her 5 year old DD had a purse with her----before they went in---- her DD asked if she could get in trouble for taking things. Friend said yes, a lot of trouble. They come out of the store and get home and her DD comes up and shows her all this candy she got from a "friend". My friend was shocked, took her back to the store, made her tell them what she did and returned all the items ----NINE items! Then the same night she did it again from another store.

I am babysitting her now and just found her digging in my purse. I sat her in time out and explained stealing is wrong and we don't take things from other people.

Friend doesn't know what to do. Any advice?








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obliolait
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Posted: 12/4/2012 10:07:45 AM
uh maybe supervise the child at the store...

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Posted: 12/4/2012 10:12:20 AM
Perhaps turning the table on her would help. Go into her room and shoplift from her. Then, show her all the cool things you "found". See if that makes a dent.



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Kinley-pea
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Posted: 12/4/2012 10:16:48 AM

Perhaps turning the table on her would help. Go into her room and shoplift from her. Then, show her all the cool things you "found". See if that makes a dent.


I am not sure that would work, but worth a shot. Or take some items away for a week. Maybe having a police friend "scare" the little girl?

I don't know, I never had this problem with my kids. They never took anything from stores and if they wanted something from my purse, they always asked first.








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Posted: 12/4/2012 10:17:15 AM

uh maybe supervise the child at the store...


Uh... yeah.

I'd sit her in the shopping cart seat like a baby. Make her sit there for a while and that'll get a point across. "because girls that are grown up wouldn't steal" 5 year olds hate being a "baby"


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Posted: 12/4/2012 10:22:21 AM
One of my grand daughters did this for years. From the time she was younger than your friends DD. As she got a little older and was in 1st or 2nd she took a piece of gum from the teachers desk, they suspended her. This wasn't the first infraction at school, but it was the one that helped make their decision. Her mother finally had to put her in counseling because no matter what she did the behavior continued to the point that she was not welcome in any of her little friends houses.


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Posted: 12/4/2012 10:24:54 AM
I stole an item I REALLY wanted and my mom made me go back, pay for it out of my allowance, give the ring back, confess my sin to the assistant manager and I blubbered through the entire thing. I am now SUPER sensitive to anyone even THINKING I have taken something. I brought my own People magazine to the doctor once and showed the receptionist it was mine (with the mailing info on the front cover) and she looked at me like I was a bit cuckoo, but I was not going to have her think I had lifted a waiting room mag!

I did the same thing when my own child stole when he was that age and the manager said not to worry and he could just have the gum and I about tore him a new one after asking my son to step outside for a moment! I asked him how he would react when my son came back in a few years and ripped him off for larger items and that he better act like it was a big deal now or he'd be sorry later and that manager had my son do 'work' organizing the gum and candy at unmanned checkout aisles to pay for what he'd done.

My other son never stole anything and knows not to, but for me and one son, it was something nipped in the bud!



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Kinley-pea
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Posted: 12/4/2012 10:25:29 AM

Uh... yeah.

I'd sit her in the shopping cart seat like a baby. Make her sit there for a while and that'll get a point across. "because girls that are grown up wouldn't steal" 5 year olds hate being a "baby"



Yes, this is what "I" would do as a parent. I have never let my kids run off in the store, I make them stay with me. They are older now so it's a non issue but I just never allowed them to run free at 5. My friend is a very flighty and high stress, single parent. I know she is trying her best but I don't think she is firm enough with her girls. They walk all over her and she doesn't discipline them well. I love her but she needs to get firm with them.









Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Posted: 12/4/2012 10:40:05 AM
My sister and I got in trouble for taking candy from a store when we were little, mom found out and made us march back in with said candy tell the clerk what we did, give candy back and appologize. It worked!


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Posted: 12/4/2012 10:46:14 AM
One of my 6 yr old triplets had this problem last year. He stole 3 packs of gum in 2 days. Each time I made him get money out of his piggy bank, go back to the store pay for it and apologize to the manager. I even went as far as going to the police station to see if I could bring him up there to have a chat. They said to keep doing what I was doing and he would hopefully grow out of it. They didn't want me to bring him up there because they didn't want him to be afraid of the police if he ever needed real help.

He only did it a couple of more times and that was the end of it.

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Posted: 12/4/2012 10:49:50 AM

My friend was shocked, took her back to the store, made her tell them what she did and returned all the items ----NINE items! Then the same night she did it again from another store.


We were taught as kids not to touch anything at the store. Clearly, your friend wasn't supervising her child - both times.

The fact the 5 year old did it again, even after being corrected indicates there is a bigger problem than this one particular issue.

I think having a police friend "scare" the little girl is over reaching.

I am not sure how you teach and adult how to be a good parent. I think it is a problem with our society.

Kinley-pea
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Posted: 12/4/2012 10:50:29 AM
Hmmm, she hasn't made her pay out of her own money but I don't think the little girl has a piggy bank. On the police thing, you may be right. Don't want her scared of police. She has done this 3 times now and it doesn't seem to be sinking in.








Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Posted: 12/4/2012 10:51:49 AM
I would call the police dept. Explain to them what repeatedly occurred and tell them that I'd like to bring my child in for a UNIFORMED officer to talk to her.

My sister stole from a store at a MAJOR mall when she was a teen. My parents were called. I was at the mall so, I had to go to the store where security held her and take her home. As far as I know that was the only incident, but boy did that security team scare the crud out of her.


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Kinley-pea
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Posted: 12/4/2012 10:56:36 AM

We were taught as kids not to touch anything at the store. Clearly, your friend wasn't supervising her child - both times.

The fact the 5 year old did it again, even after being corrected indicates there is a bigger problem than this one particular issue.

I think having a police friend "scare" the little girl is over reaching.

I am not sure how you teach and adult how to be a good parent. I think it is a problem with our society.


Unfortunately I agree with you, I love my friend dearly but a lot of her parenting choices just really aren't good. I have a lot of issues with her parenting actually. Her ex husband did too.

I try to give her advice on what to do but she doesn't take it.

The other night my DSS had a play, she brought her kids. Her 5 year old was running up and down the aisles and distracting everyone, then ran out of the auditorium etc.... my friend didn't go after her, I couldn't believe it. I was trying to watch my son and she is letting her child run free, because she didn't want to miss play. If that were me. I would have made the child sit right next to me and not move and if she couldn't behave we would be walking out of there and having a talk.

But these are just other issues that only upset me when I think about them. There is nothing I can do about her parenting. I know she loves her children. I just think she is overwhelmed.








Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Posted: 12/4/2012 10:58:52 AM
As the wife of a LEO, I'm asking you to please, PLEASE not to use a police officer to "scare" a child. I know my DH and many other officers try very hard to be friendly to children so as not to instill a fear of law enforcement in them. I've seen my DH, in his full uniform with gunbelt and all, get down on one knee to speak to a small child so he could be on their level. He absolutely refuses to try to scare small children "straight".

As for your friend, I would agree with the suggestion she make her DD ride in the basket like a baby.



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Posted: 12/4/2012 11:05:49 AM
since this is your friend's child, and she obviously is non-parenting her kid, there's really nothing you can do unless she's in your care. Come down on her hard if you catch her stealing in your house.

Sounds to me like she's got a mom that doesn't give her enough attention and so she's trying to get some any way she can. Today, candy. Tomorrow, boys. After all that, drugs. Do what you gotta do to get your parents to look after you.

Your friend needs counseling. I'd probably tell her that.


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Posted: 12/4/2012 11:05:54 AM
Obviously, just returning the stuff isn't working - AND the parent needs to supervise the kid more closely.

Bottom line, the consequences for stealing need to be WORSE than the reward she's getting from taking stuff.

In addition to returning and apologizing for stealing, she could also be made to sweep the sidewalk in front of the store (or some such chore related to the place she stole from).

Ground her from stores for a period of time (because you can't be trusted to not steal there.)

Ground her from visiting other people's homes (because you can't be trusted to not steal from them as in the purse incident).

Honestly, if this were one of my daughters, I would consider it serious enough to stay home from work for a week or two, and keep the child at.my.side 100% of the time for several days. "If we can't trust you to not steal, you have to be where Mom can see you all day long." Go to the bathroom? Child sits on the floor outside and waits till you are done.

It would be a pain and huge inconvenience to the Mom/parents, but honestly, if the child is this unrepentant about stealing so young, taking a few days off to address this SERIOUSLY will be much easier now than spending days in and out of courts, or bailing this child out of jail as a teen.

And if the stick-to-a-parents' side thing didn't work, we'd be in counseling to get help.

My dh works in corrections, and trust me, I'd do ANYTHING to get the message through to my child and keep my kid from going down that road!

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Posted: 12/4/2012 11:08:19 AM
I agree with the others that she needs better supervision. Kids at this age may know right from wrong but they often lack impulse control...and it doesn't seem that her parents are doing much to teach her that. I wouldn't be prepared to mark her a hardened criminal just yet but she will be if her parents don't step up.




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Posted: 12/4/2012 11:10:24 AM
Very common at that age, but yes, better supervision and a strong message are needed. I think having her ride in the cart like a "baby" is a good idea, and agree with what her mother did re: having her return the items and apologize. I would also not allow the child to take any kind of purse/bag into a store and would make a show of checking her hands and pockets before leaving, every time. If she objects, point out that she's shown she can't be trusted.

When something turns up missing in my classroom, I can usually find it by asking the kindergarten teacher whose class visited my room that day to do a backpack check. Very common at that age!




KatieBPea
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Posted: 12/4/2012 11:11:53 AM
I agree with those who say that it comes down to supervision.



Zella
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Posted: 12/4/2012 11:11:54 AM
I agree with treating her "like a baby" until this issue is solved. And absolutely no purse in the store. I'd be checking pockets and such as well prior to leaving stores, play dates etc.

I don't agree with involving police at this point for reasons already mentioned here.

I'm not sure "stealing" from this child would either a)sink in or send the right message.

Firm, constant reiteration of what stealing is and that it is wrong. Zero tolerance. Time out for things such as going into your purse. I'd also leave her behind for shopping trips when feasible and state why in simple terms.



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Kinley-pea
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Posted: 12/4/2012 11:17:18 AM
I literally just caught her stealing Christmas presents from under my tree and putting them in her backpack. I walked outside to feed my dog and caught her!








Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Free~Bird
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Posted: 12/4/2012 11:20:39 AM
she obviously can't be left alone, so stop doing it.

Now come down hard on her.
Have a high chair? Make her eat her lunch in it.
Make her stand in a corner.
Make her write a letter to santa and tell him she's a theif.

Come on mom, you can come up with some good ones.


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Kinley-pea
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Posted: 12/4/2012 11:27:01 AM

she obviously can't be left alone, so stop doing it.

Now come down hard on her.
Have a high chair? Make her eat her lunch in it.
Make her stand in a corner.
Make her write a letter to santa and tell him she's a theif.

Come on mom, you can come up with some good ones.



Woah! I didn't leave her alone. I had my door open when I fed dog I caught her within 5 seconds of her doing it. I came down hard on her, she is in time out right now. She can't read or write yet, so I sat her down and told her she is too think about what she has done. I am sitting in the same room as her and watching her like a hawk. I have always been a close supervisor of my children and children in my home. Don't have a highchair but will make her sit next to me at lunch. She goes to school at 12.








Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

CeeScraps
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Posted: 12/4/2012 5:00:37 PM
An officer does not need to scare her........just speak to her. I totally realize they don't want to scare a child. However, this child needs more than what mom is currently doing.

Oh, how long during the day is the child at school? Why do I ask? The mom may want to consider social work so her child learns appropriate behavior within her peer group.


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Posted: 12/4/2012 5:18:11 PM
I always taught my children that if they stole, not only would they have to return the items and apologize, but they would also lose 3x the value of whatever was stolen. It would either come from their allowance or from their room. My choice. It was a pretty good deterrent.




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Posted: 12/4/2012 5:27:44 PM

My friend is a very flighty and high stress, single parent. I know she is trying her best but I don't think she is firm enough with her girls. They walk all over her and she doesn't discipline them well. I love her but she needs to get firm with them.


You've really got two problems here: the child stealing and the mom's lack of parenting/supervision.

First, you need to have a serious heart to heart with your friend. I agree with whoever said she needs counseling. Your friend can get some help from the school guidance counselor or social worker.

Second, that child needs have the boom lowered on her. She needs intense supervision, and she needs to understand how serious stealing is. I disagree with those who are claiming that a police officer talking with her could scare her and scar her for life. As long as the officer is kind and non-threatening, the kid will be fine. That kid needs to understand how serious stealing is. Grown ups who steal go to jail. Kids and teenagers who steal can get in big trouble. This kid obviously needs to hear that.

Both the kid and the mom need a serious wake up call. I honestly wonder if the kid isn't doing this as a way to get some attention from adults. That kind of OTT stealing whenever and wherever she goes is a HUGE cry for help/attention.



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Posted: 12/4/2012 5:39:33 PM
If it were my kid, she'd have a pre-store pat down to make sure she wasn't carrying anything, she'd be sitting in the cart like a baby or holding my hand the entire time (I don't think I could even GET my 5-year-old in a cart, she's super tall!) and I'd be patting her down when we were in the check out line. No purses, bags, whatever allowed until I can trust her again.

"Stealing" is a word/concept most 5 year olds aren't going to get. Try more basic terms like "taking things that aren't yours" or whatever. If she were riffling through my purse, I'd ask her what she was looking for, and explain that that is my private stuff and not for her, If she needs a tissue or something, she should ask. And she'd be in time out for it, after the shoplifting incident.

Is the child in school at all? I'd think Mom needs to be running errands without the child for a while. Being a store is too great of a temptation for this little one, apparently.
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