What should I do if my child has stolen some candy from a convenience store? How does one approach this situation?

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First, don't panic. Such things happen. Most of the time it's because they don't fully understand the concept of 'buying' and 'taking' yet. Little fingers tend to be sticky, allowing foreign objects to mysteriously find their way into little pockets. If you're still in the store, return the item, and show him that you're doing it. Then leave, and once you're home, sit your child down. Ask why he stole. If it was because he desperately wanted that candy, help him think of alternative ways to obtain it. (If you refuse even to consider a child's request for a toy and won t help him find a way of purchasing it, don t be surprised if he simply takes it.) If the item was too expensive for him to purchase with his usual allowance, find extra work around the house that he can do to help pay for it. If your child is a toddler, then don't take this too seriously. Toddlers have no concept of ownership. Everything belongs to a two-year-old. Of course, if you were stopped at the store, then it can get embarrassing. So the key thing to do is to always be around your toddler, watching what he's doing (well, as much as you can, especially when you're out). Lastly, praise honesty: Your 5-year-old finds somebody’s wallet and brings it to you. Praise him to the limit for his action!

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If you are still in the store, you can ask your child to put back into the stole. Avoid scolding or shaming him in public. Tell him that we cannot take anything out from the stole without paying and this action is known as thief. Young children do not understand we have to pay first before bringing back the items from store. If you only realise about it when you reach home, you can tell your child this is not acceptable and bring him back to the store to apologize together. Also, no scolding and shaming as it might be just an accident or children doesn't have the sense of paying money before getting the goods. If your child has been repeatedly stealing from stores, you should try to find out the reasons behind. E.g. are you too strict in restricting your child from taking candies or is it peer influences? After that, try to discuss a solution with your child, e.g. limit one week take how many candies, or tell him that he can ask mummy to buy if he wants to eat candy but cannot take candies out from store without paying.

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Although it's hard not to get angry if you see your child slip a candy into his pocket but that doesn't mean he is a bad kid or you are a bad parent. You should view your child's stealing as an opportunity to teach right from wrong. ("It's not right to take something without paying. You need to give it back and apologize") Another reason kids may steal is to fit in with their peers. They look around, see what other kids have, and feel bad if they don't have the same things. If you can't stop your little thief with repeated discussions; the stealing is occurring in conjunction with other antisocial behaviors, such as lying or cheating; or your child seems to be stealing in order to buy friendships, the problem may require help from a therapist.

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I would firstly take it back to the shop as soon as I know what happened. If it is only after I get home, then I will talk to my child first and explain the situation and that what he/she did isn't right. I will also explain to my child that she or she needs to ask me first if they need anything from a shop. And that nothing is free. We have to pay for whatever we get from the shop. Once at the shop I would explain the situation to the shopkeeper and offer to pay for it. Hoping they will accept and apology and not take any other measures. I will also be prepared to write an apology letter just for the record. Of course, I will take my child along when going to the shop so he or she understands the whole situation.

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You should probable develop a bit of hesitation in your child nature while he does that hence forth. Like Imagine a condition : A child knows he should finish his homework else teacher will scold him so he hesitates to anything else before completing his homework.. So you should be framed more as a teacher in those condition. And to achieve this explain twice but if he continuous you should scold NOT SAY but ONLY ONCE effective enough that he remembers. Probably scolding from dad will be more effective. Remember only once.

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