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Kids stealing from each other

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Posted

My daughter has a little friend, aged 8, who appears to have stolen a few items from her in the distant past and again yesterday. The first time we asked for the items to be returned - after several "reminders" she stumped up half. As they were very small we let it drop.

Yesterday, the circumstantial evidence (things there before she left, gone after she left - she had been left alone for a few minutes unsupervised) points to her having sticky fingers again. I have instructed my lo to ASK her IF she has taken them, not to accuse her outright, and to return the stuff if she confesses. However, I expect the girl to deny theft and not return the stuff based on her past behaviour. At what point do I step in and speak to the mother? I am a firm believer that you should let your kids sort out their own issues and not involve the parents. The things are not valuable but the principle really bothers me.

Any experience with this sort of thing? How common is it?

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Posted

Be careful how you go about it though, you dont want your daughter losing any of her friends over this. Speak to the parents in a nice and mature way, and stress how much you like the child but dont find this behaivour acceptable.

Good luck!

I wouldn't approach the parents without confirmation that it was her.

I wouldn't say anything along the lines of "finding it unacceptable" or be judgmental in any way; it is very common and some kids might do it a bit more or less, but most all kids do it at least once.

My son has a friend who is often in need of guidance, and the mother is easily embarrassed and flips out on the kids. I usually approach her with a knowing wink and say, "I know you're a good parent who likes to stay on top of these things, and I'd want you to warn me too, you might want to have a talk with your kids about [insert topic of the week here]." I refuse to say which kid I'm talking about, or what incident prompted the conversation. Since I have close contact with both of her kids, and they confide in me often enough, she's just happy to have the insight to stuff they wouldn't bring up with her. She also doesn't flip out because she only has a general idea of the topic, and doesn't know which kid to flip out at.

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Posted

Thanks for the input. Would you speak to the girl or leave it to the kids to sort it out?

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Posted

Is she stealing things at your home or at school?

Would you invite an adult to your home who had stolen from you before?

Thinking out loud here.

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Posted

It's home. I do not want this to spoil a friendship. My daughter has suffered some exclusion from the peer group and I am glad if someone comes to play at our home - although not at any price, obviously.

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Posted

When I was 8 years old my father beat the hell out of me for stealing a mini chocolate bar from the supermarket. That is the best school against children turning to criminals one day.

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Posted

Are you suggesting that she beat this kid, who isn't even her own, not that that would make it any better?

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Posted

highly illegal in Germany, stormwatch

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Posted

Stormwatch clearly isnt suggesting that she should beat this stealing child i think that is pretty obvious

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Posted

Then you must have read a different post. It seems pretty clear what he's advocating.

That is the best school against children turning to criminals one day.

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Posted

highly illegal in Germany, stormwatch

This is the point where we have to got deeper into an more serious issue. What a coincidence, this afternoon I was waiting for a Bus at the Adenauerplatz and saw an grandfather hitting the little girl, the reason he'd hit her was that she was not quiet enough and of course he wants a complete silence between the crowds. Of course, I stopped the man because all the other passengers waiting just turned their highly moral faces the other side and besides some rough language coming from his side everything was OK. Now, I'm completely against this "highly illegal" things in Germany, especially in the centre of Berlin. Also I'm against 8 years old kids stealing other peoples stuff and not being punished. Nowadays wannabe parents do not understand that when there is no authority, there is no order either.

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Posted

My sister's best friend was stealing things from my room at about that age, I was pretty sure. When my life savings disappeared [$35 USD, IIRC], I confronted the little clepto. Things stopped disappearing. Oh, and this same little girl was cutting my cat's whiskers. I told her they're like their fingers, and how would she like it if I cut hers off? Cat's whiskers were never lopped off again. [i'm sure my sis was involved in these shenanigans.]

I was caught stealing gum while at the supermarket with my mother. The manager confronted us as we exited, saying it was all on camera. I was mortified, my mother even worse.

Moral of the stories: I think you should confront the kid, not necessarily her parents. Tell her she won't be invited over any longer if the stealing continues. Natural consequences!

edit: Plus, the parents will probably just deny it anyway... "Oh, not my little Princess, NEVER!"

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Posted

And I'm against punishing kids for the negligence and incapability of their parents.

Children don't have an innate set of values and need to be instructed about so many things, among them about " mine, yours, not mine, not yours." This usually should take place at around 4 years, definitively not later. I bet in this cases nothing the like has been done.

If parent miss to talk about this subject and explain it with examples in daily life children are left with insecurity. Sooner or later they run into trouble, get scalded , get called a "bad child" etc. "You should have known better, you bring blame on your parents, you are a miserable kid".

In the OP's case I think the best would be to keep the childs parents out. For the sake of the child. Take the job and try to explain to the child the negative consequences of stealing, like losing the confidence of friends. Children have the right to make mistakes and have the right to be tought to do better and get a second chance.

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Posted

One way to approach the child is to talk as if you know she stole the items. Not "Did you steal them? but please return the items, now and wait for them. Generally, they confess because they assume that you already know. If they protest a lot, it usually means they didn't do it. It's a technique that I have used with my kids. More "why did you do this? instead of "did you do this?" Not done with a raised voice, just a firm no nonsense tone.

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Posted

We once had a similar situation, my daughter was on a one week trip with the local Musikschule when her 20€ bill got stolen from her drawer. Only the other girl in the room had seen where she had put it but she denied that she had taken it. My daugher was too shy to tell the teachers and would have ended up very hungry (the money was meant for buying snacks) had it not been for all her new friends who supported her with their biscuits. Afterwards I put up the courage to phone the other mum. I felt really awkward, but if my kids had done something similar I would very much appreciate being told about it, so I went ahead. The mum was very glad I phoned, she was quite upset as this had happened before and next day she came to bring back the money and a few pens that were also missing (the girl was crying so hard she stayed in the car). The mum was also glad that my daughter promised not to tell about the incident in school so as to make "normal life" possible for the little girl.

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Posted

...the parents will probably just deny it anyway... "Oh, not my little Princess, NEVER!"

I just had this conversation with the mother who was coming out of the school as the partial handover was occurring. She was immediately defensive, not to say aggressive and totally excluded the possibility of her little angel being capable of stealing anything. The girl says my lo gave her the things, which in view of my daughter's reaction when she realised the stuff had gone is not credible... the mother was highly emotional - read bordering on the hysterical. We have a date at school leaving time for Round 2. I have taken a Baldrian tablet.

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Posted

You've done fine, in that you've stood up for your child. In my experience our children never wanted us to do anything ( we resorted to ringing parents a couple of times when something bad had happened) but were quite grateful when we had. They feared retaliation, which never happened.

Do something nice with your child, take a few deep breaths, feel good about yourself.

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Posted

Mother calmer. Long talk. More arguing. Kid confessed - after a loooooooonnnnnnggggggg time. Kid apologized. We accepted apology and left quickly. Why do I feel so rotten now?

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Posted

I'm sure the kid's mother feels worse.

You had expectations for that kid and you probably have some for your own. That will bite you in the ass every time.

Hugs

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Posted

I am not a mother and therefore I have no experience in this but when i was 8 years old, I stole a necklace from a shop and when my mother found out she forced me to take it back to the shop and apologise infront of my parents. I was so embarrased it stayed with me forever and now i am totally against any kind of stealing.

I had the same experience. When I was in elementary school I stole a candy bar from a supermarket. I hid it in my toy chest at home. It sat there for three days before I told my mother about it. She didn't get mad or yell at me but I got a long talk about why stealing is wrong. I was then made to go back to the supermarket and return the still uneaten candybar and apologize. I never stole anything again... other than kisses and the occasional glass or spoon while in university. B)

For the OP, I don't have kids yet but it may depend on how well you know the other family and what you want to teach your daughter. If you know (even as an acquaintance) the other parents, I would talk to them about it in a friendly way of kids will be kids. The other mother should not be upset but grateful that you came to her with this so she can help her own daughter as that is what parents are for. As I am still pretty new to Germany I don't know if it would go exactly like this and the other mother may become defensive about their child. It is not up to you to raise other peoples kids but if they are a friend of the family you can help them by letting them know what is going on.

my2cents.

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Posted

Yeah, the mother was embarrassed and I was embarrassed for the mother. That's why we left. I still feel like we have some talking to do.

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Posted

Mother calmer. Long talk. More arguing. Kid confessed - after a loooooooonnnnnnggggggg time. Kid apologized. We accepted apology and left quickly. Why do I feel so rotten now?

I'm sure you're a little anxious that - through doing the right thing - you could have ruined your kid's potential friendship with this other girl. Just don't let it happen. Be sure to meet the mother on Monday morning (or before if you have her contact details), tell her some nice things about her daughter and how you really hope she will come over to play again at the next possible time.

Plenty of posters above have described experiences where kids learn from getting caught. Assume the friend will change her ways and do your best to make sure their friendship can still blossom.

And bear in mind how you might react if somebody else's parent approached you out of the blue and accused your daughter of stealing/fighting/cheating or any other thing you hope she knows better than to do. First response of a parent should be to protect their own, so give this other mother due respect for actually spending the time to talk it out with you. And as the last poster said, the other mother is surely feeling more rotten than you! Make the first move and keep the friendship alive.

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Posted

Thanks, I shall speak to the mother tomorrow but what is causing me some angst is that I made very sure I did NOT accuse the daughter. I was in a situation where I had to ASK if she had taken stuff so she was under suspicion but not accused. The thing went downhill because the mother - not the brightest button in the drawer - felt accused before I'd even opened my mouth and was very aggressive. Sigh.

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