What To Do When Your Foster Child Steals Something From You

Foster children steal things for a variety of reasons. If they were deprived of nice things in the past, they may think stealing is an appropriate way to get valuable items. They also may be acting out, and testing their boundaries. The best way to handle this situation is by staying calm and talking it out. Vocalizing problems can open up opportunities for your child to bring up any issues they my have.

Ask them why they took the item: And then listen to their explanation. Maybe they really liked it, and wanted one for themselves. Maybe they didn't want you to have it because they were mad. Maybe they wanted to sell it because they don't have any money. Don't judge their reasoning. Just listen.

Ask them what they like about it: Ask them why they chose the item they did. What did they like about that item? Was it cool? Was it something they thought was worth a lot of money? Was it something that meant a lot to you? Once again- listen. Don't interrupt or lecture quite yet.

Explain how they can acquire one of their own (or if they sold it- how to get money): Now, prior to lecturing, explain to your child how they can get their own item. If it was a piece of jewelry- they could make one. And you'd like to get the supplies to! If it was something of yours they didn't want you to have- explain that physical things don't mean anything to you. Things like laughter and love mean more- and they can't take those things away (they only give those things to you!). If they sold it, explain how they can do chores for money. Or they can work together to save up money for the item they want to have.

Now You Can Lecture: NOW after all of those things, you can lecture your child on why stealing is not okay. It hurts peoples feelings. It breaks trust. It is not very nice. And there are other ways they can get the item they wanted- they don't need to steal.

Talk about how they can come to you when they need/want something: If your child feels as though they need money or a certain item- let them know that they can always come to you. And even if you may not be able to afford it right now, you both can work out a budget to save for the item so it can be bought in the future. You're not here to deprive your child of good things- and you want them to have things they want! Sometimes those things need to be earned- and stealing will not achieve that goal. So let them know you will work with them to get the things they want. You want them to have nice things too!

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