Help, my 8 year old is a thief.


New Member
She has been in trouble so many times for taking things. I am so angry at her. I am making her pack all of her things up right now and going to throw them away. I know I am over reacting. But nothing seems to phase her.

What should I do??????????


Well-Known Member
Hi there. Before anyone can give advice, can you give us some history on your child, maybe do a signature like I have below? Has she ever seen a Child Psychiatrist (with the MD) or a neuropsychologist? Is she on any medication? Does she have a diagnosis? How was her early development? How are her social skills? Do you have any psychiatric disorders on either side of the family tree? Substance abuse?
Others will come along soon. Welcome.


Mom? What's a difficult child?
Hi and welcome Newbie-
I am sorry you are struggling. What is going on with your daughter... tell us a little more so we can maybe help you or offer some advice or a shoulder.


New Member
There is no history or medical diags. She just Steals when she sees something she takes it. Then she lies.

I am up against a wall. I am going to have her see a shrink. She needs to do that.

What should I do now that all her stuff is in bags on the porch. I don't really want to throw it away, but I was so angry.

She gets everything she wantsS
I would suggest holding her stuff for her, and allowing her to earn it back. Maybe for every so many days she either does not steal and/or does this or that chore, she can earn back a toy or something...? Just an idea, I'm sure others will be along with theirs.


New Member
Thats a great Idea. You just saved me from having to throw it all away, I am at the end of my rope.

I am going to find her some body to talk to, something is goig on and I have to get to the bottom of it.

This is not the first time!!!!



New Member

She got in trouble for stealing at daycare a few weeks ago. I made her write I will not steal or lie to anyone ever again. 350 times. She lost her privleges and has been doing so well. Now today, I caught her with a toy in her room that I saw a little girl playing with yesterday. She took it from her.

I stole a piece of candy when I was 7 or 8 and got in trouble, learned my lesson and never did it again. Why is it so hard for her. She lies about inconciquential stuff all the time.

I ask her why and she says she doesn't know. I think its time to call a professional..

But right now, what do I say to her right now. I am speechless. Her stuff is sitting in bags out on the porch!


New Member
My daughter was a thief at that age. Nothing worked. Nothing stopped her. I did learn that it was a lack of impulse control that caused the theft rather than a conscious decision to steal. The lying was the knowledge that she had done something wrong, that she would be punished and, more importantly, that I was disappointed in her behavior. I don't know if that helps you, but it did make it more bearable to me.

Finally, I sewed up all pockets so that nothing could be placed in them. Her packback and purses were all clear plastic. There would be a search in the bathroom before we left any place -- she hid things in her underwear for awhile. It didn't entirely stop the theft, but it did slow it down.

She finally quit stealing when she was about 18. I have no idea what was the trigger to get her to stop, but stop she did. Sadly, there had been so many years of theft and lying that even today if I can't find something my first thought is that she took it.


New Member
Thank you both.

I totally overreacted and now I am facing the fact that I used the words LIAR and THIEF to her. I just read that they become what you label them. UGH.

I told her that lieing and stealing is unacceptable and all the things I have told her before.

What baffles me is she is the center of my world, gets almost every thing she could want... And :censored2: every bit of attention she can get from me. Really, she needs a lot of attention and its just me and her and she has my attention fullly.

I don't understand. I will take her to s shrink and see one myself.

I love her so much and I don't want her to do it again. Tonight she is very sorry, I told her I would also take her Guinia pig away if it happens again and I think that got her attention.

Thanks for the advice and the links!!

Sad mommy!!!!


New Member
Our easy child has gone through a couple of periods of times where I said she had "sticky fingers". Once, when she was about 5 or 6, I found a lipstick in her coat pocket. She said it was open on a shelf in the toy department and she just took it. Couldn't tell me why - it's not as if it was something she could actually use.

She hasn't done it in quite a long time, although this past school year, she brought an old cell phone home that her teacher had put in with the toys in their play kitchen area in the classroom. She tried to tell me that it 'accidentally' fell into her backpack. Yeah, right. Next morning, I drove her to school and walked with her to her classroom - asked the teacher to come out in the hallway and made easy child tell her that she took the phone home and apologize. She cried, but she did it. The teacher told her she accepted her apology, etc. and talked to me after easy child went into the classrom. She said it was no big deal, but respected the way I handled it. I don't think easy child has taken anything since - not even 'accidentally'.

Good luck.


New Member
One thing I learned was to not threaten to take things away. It killed me when she did X again and I had to follow through. The reality was she couldn't not take something she liked. There was no way she could stop herself any more than you or I could stop ourselves from running in front of the bus to save our daughters.

Rather than give my daughter a chance to lie about how she got something, I would simply tell her we had to take it back and we would. She would apologize to whomever and write a note of apology. That would be the end of it until the next event.

It did take a therapist to help me understand that my daughter wasn't being willful and that her acts weren't really those of a thief but rather a child who just couldn't stop herself no matter how hard she tried and no matter how much she wanted to be good. I know how hard this is to accept. There was no punishment that worked. There was no reward that would stop the taking. All there was a little girl who saw something she liked and couldn't stop herself from taking them no matter how much she tried.

I wish I could go back in time and take back the hateful things I said, the unintentional cruelty I inflicted on my daughter because of my lack of understanding but I can't. Hopefully, you will be able to learn more quickly and a lot earlier than I did.


Well-Known Member
Hon, if she's stealing and lying, you need to take her for an evaluation. I highly recommend going straight to a Child Psychiatrist (the guy who is the doctor) as he has more training or a neuropsychologist because they do intensive testing. Even in a great environment, sometimes relatives have mental health concerns and they are very hereditary. The family history is important--aunts, cousins, grandparents. Any bipolar? Alcoholism? Odd people who maybe needed help, but never got it? A second cousin who never seemed right and is now in jail? Does the child throw tantrums? Any other behavioral concerns? How is school?
I wouldn't wait to get an evaulation by a top professional. The longer it goes on, the harder it is. If the Psychiatrist feels that therapy is the way to go, he'll refer you to somebody. Same with a neuropsychologist. The first step, in my opinion, is to see what may be causing the behavior...if it's a psychiatric or neurological disorder which affects her behavior. Obvioiusly, you know something isn't right. You are a wonderful parent, but sometimes that just isn't enough. If a child has a disorder, she may act out anyways and she needs medical attention. I recommend talk therapy for you while she goes for her evaluation. Maybe you can get help on how to speak to her when something happens rather than namecalling. It's always a family issue--a difficult c hild affects the others. (((Hugs))).


New Member
yea gads!! that sounds so familer. our difficult child has been doing that for so long i can't recall a time when she didn't. we ended up having to put locks on our bedroom door as well as our son's.
it never seemed to bother her either to have her room cleaned out. ( it still don't) don't even try to go that route anymore.
her stealing finally got her put on probation. she don't seem to care much about that either. don't really have any advice for you. still searching for what works myself. just hang in there.


New Member
YOu guys are so GREAT. I am lucky I found this forum. This morning we marched into the daycare and Lauren had to tell the daycare super what happened. It was early, and the person who owned the toy wasn't there yet.

As I explained it to the super, I told her that my girl is not to recieve anything, no prizes for good behavior or games without a note to me to tell me it is in fact something she earned or won. I started crying when I was talking to the super and my daughter saw this and she started crying.

I am going to have her evaluated. What worries me is that this is not the first time! I asked her this morning if she knew why it was bad and she just said because "you get into trouble". She has no idea that it is wrong to take what doesn't belong to you. No compassion. I asked her what if someone took our car and we couldn't get around? Still blank Stare. I think I am going to have to show her what it feels like by having her skateboard disappear and she find it gone! She might then know what it feels like to have something stolen.

I don't know. In the meantime, I will make an appointment. And I can't thank you enough!

Sad Mommy Still! ;-(


Active Member
We have trouble with our difficult child taking things - and I'm sure he really can't help himself. He is VERY impulusive - gets suspended from school all the time because he can't stop himself from getting in arguments and saying mean, mean things to other kids or pushing them.

In the past, we have made him pick out his most favorite item and then give it to whoever he stole from. I've taken away all his stuff before and put it in a box, he didn't seem to care. I've made him return the item and apologize, and he didn't seem to care. If I take something from him and give it to the other person, he didn't seem to care. But when he picked his favorite thing and had to give it away himself, I think it really made an impact. May not change his behavior right now but I'm hoping with maturity and with us being consistent all the time with not accepting this behavior, he will learn.

I also talk to him about people's perceptions. I asked him if he wants people to think he's a thief and a liar. I ask him if he saw a friend stealing something from the store what would he think of them. What if he saw them doing it, told them he saw it, and they still denied it. I asked them if he would trust them the next time they went to the store or if they would keep an eye on them to see if they stole again. My difficult child gives all the right answers so I know he knows what's right and wrong. I know he wants to do what is right. He just has to learn to stop himself, and with our help, and the right treatment and therapy, we have hope that he will some day.

I'm not sure you overreacted. If you let her earn stuff back with honesty and not stealing, then maybe that will be a lesson that will stick with her and help her learn the right way to do things eventually.



New Member
Thank you BBK!
You have your hands full too! I send you big hugs back!

Life does not turn out the way we expected it too when we were 6 or 8 years old did it?

Wow, what a rude awakening, strange trip its been! ;-)

thank you for your support. I am glad I found you mommies in the trenches with me!

Where do I find what the easy child and difficult child and all those acronyms mean?



New Member
Thanks Linda,

I hope I didn't overreact, it sure felt like it. I was speechless and dumbfounded.

I guess kids can do that to you!

thanks so much for your support.


New Member
Can't say you overreacted. Finding out your child is a thief :censored2:. PERIOD. It is hard to not react to that. It is even harder to have to face the world knowing your child takes things without permission.

I think the trick is deciding how to react when this happens in the future. As I said, it helped me to understand that this was pure lack of impulse control in my daughter. The thefts were never planned.

If yours is like mine, she only gets that she will get in trouble rather than it is a wrong thing to do because she would happily give the world anything of hers that they wanted. Mine really doesn't get the concept of "yours" or "mine." Rather, it is more the Middle Eastern concept of if you want it, it is yours. Or the Native American version of it is mine for now, yours when you express a desire for it and mine when I need it back.

by the way -- No matter how much you give your child of your time, things, etc., if the need is great enough, you will never be able to give enough. Learn now to keep time for you. Don't sacrifice everything for your child. In the long run, it makes no difference and all you do is end up resenting all you have lost and your child takes it for granted that the world will give her what she wants. I did my daughter a huge disservice by giving too much and not teaching her enough that the world expected her to earn her own way.