All parents have experienced that at some stage their child has taken away a toy, a candy or money belonging to someone else. A small child may not understand the concept of stealing. He is likely to think that he has the right to take anything from anywhere.
You go to a friend’s house. Your two year old son is fascinated by the toy car in the house. When you reach home you realise that he has brought the car with him. You must take immediate action. You must tell the child politely that the toy belongs to the child, from where he brought it. He must see that you have returned the object to the other child’s parents. A two year old may not understand the concept of stealing, but can feel it is not proper.
As the child grows he may be able to distinguish between good and bad. A four year old who brings home a pencil or a toy from another child’s bag must be told that it is a bad habit to take someone’s things without his knowledge. You must make him understand that it is stealing. Some parents just ignore such actions. They simply say,”It is just a passing phase.” The child must understand that to possess other person’s things is not right and make him return the object back to the owner and to say sorry to him. You may question your child if someone else takes away his toys/books, how he would feel. If the correct reply comes from the child, you can be sure that you have achieved success. When the child himself realises that it it is not fair to take away others’ things stealthily, your purpose is solved. But also keep in mind that petty stealing and making the child understand that it is wrong, paves the way for better understanding. A child must himself realise to control his emotions and respect the values of honesty as far as property of others is concerned. The parents understand their children very well. They can make out from their body language and actions whether they are indulging in any undesirable activity or not.
If the habit of stealing continues till the teens, it must be taken seriously. Sometimes the children steal money from the wallet of the parents or take their credit cards for online shopping. You must tell the child that it is a crime to commit theft. Some parents tend to ignore the habit of stealing of their children. Once I brought to the mother’s notice that her son was involved in many cases of theft. Her reply left me dumb. Instead of saying that she would talk to her son or she would take some action. Her reply was,”What can I do? I have no control on him”. With such an approach, the son is sure to become a criminal. It is important to get to the bottom of this act. If the problem behind chronic stealing is left unresolved, it tends to snowball. The teenager convinces himself that stealing is not wrong and he desentisizes himself to his own conscience.
Parents must take control of the situation and put their foot down! They must not be weak in the presence of their offsprings! Prevent them from going astray and help them to choose the path of righteousness, honesty and truthfulness.
Usha Menon, a 77-years-old retired educationist, who has four sweet, adorable grandchildren. Last year she wrote a book,”Reverse Gear.” This book is a sort of analogy between her professional and personal life, depicting the travails, ups and downs faced by an average working woman. As a retired person, She is leading a contented life with a loving husband, devoted son, daughter-in-law and two grand daughters. Her doting daughter, son-in-law, and two grand sons, who are very affectionate, look after her and her husband. She is grateful to God that He has, in His grace, given her an opportunity to live a life of peaceful contentment.