My 14-year-old son is constantly stealing his sister’s money. When we find out, we always talk to him about it. Sometimes it ends up with an apology and his giving the money back but other times he spends the money before we notice it is missing. One of the last times it happened he had an argument with this older sister about it, yet he stole more money afterwards. Please let me know what to do to control this behaviour.
There are 3 steps to help your son:
- The consequences of your son stealing money is that some of the time he gets to spend it. He is being rewarded for his theft. If you want to help him stop stealing, every time he steals, he must return the money and pay a penalty. It is important that this occur every time, even if he has spent the money. So, if he steals $6 from his sister, he should have to pay back $9 ($6 to his sister and $3 to the family).
- His sister, and everyone in the family, has to take some responsibility. Make it impossible for him to steal money. Why is money being left around for him to steal?
- Long discussions or arguments won’t help him. He needs consequences not conversation about what he already knows is wrong. Be tough on stealing but be warm and caring in encouraging his positive behavior when it occurs.