Sebastian's picture

My almost 7 yr old shoplifted ... need advice

We, myself, almost 7 year old daughter and girlfriend) went to a really fancy hotel/casino.
DD's been there before.
Was very good the whole usual.
When we were''re checking out, my daughter and I went to a shop, picked out 2 gifts to give to my girlfriend (who made this vacation happen).

One of the items I asked dd if she wanted to give was what she stole. At the time she said "no"
and I went to pay for the purchases. She came over to me within seconds and now that I think
of it, she went back over to the things this item was amongst.

We stopped to eat on the way home and while they were in the restaurant ordering to go, I
found the "item" on the back floor. I felt like someone punched me in the heart.

I have talked to her about lying and still catch her doing that...silly little lies. I gave her a "break"
for a year after my divorce and went gentle on her but it seems since I've gotten more aware,she's doing more wrong things.

Or maybe she was doing the lying all along and I didn't realize it because of being in my own world.
Lying like : did you brush your teeth? "Yes, Mama" and she didn't....those kind of things.

But now...after I have told her about stealing/shoplifting and for crying out loud we even stopped somewhere that had a sign on it she read "A free ride in Sherriff XXXX's car if you shoplift from this store."

Yet....I have stolen crap in my pocket! :-(

I don't know what to do with her.
I don't know if I should call the gift shop or just take it back when we (NOT with DD) go back next month.
I know she needs to have enough punishment to get it thru her head that THIS IS WRONG.

Thanks in advance!

Sebastian's picture

it's 4 hours away and I found the trinket 20 minutes or so from home.
We only go as a family twice a year.
I was thinking about calling the gift shop, paying for it via credit card and the next time she goes (4 months) she will return it.

In the meantime I am trying to come up with a punishment since reasonable talking, discussion and logic has all failed me so far.

acitez's picture

If you really want to make an impression, take your next day off, drive all the way there, return the stolen item with your daughter speaking a very clear, planned out, rehearsed apology. (Call in advance, or the people will be so impressed they will faun on her which is NOT what you want!)
Do this matter-of-factly. When we steal, it is so important to make things right that we will deal with inconvenience and expense to fix it.

Don't lecture her all the way down, don't praise her at all, don't refer to it again, ever.

It would be especially nice, however, if you had to cancel some plans for the day off. :)
Pack your food (lots of fruit), don't buy anything but gas on the trip. Do stop for a potty/just walking around the car break about every hundred miles.

The Lincoln story (which ironically I don't know if it is true) about returning the book--if you can find that at your library, it would be a fun read after about 6 months.

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

I agree w/ acitez. Bite the bullet and drive back to the shop w/ your daughter. Have her give back the item w/ an explanation as to why she's doing so, and have her apologize. Do not buy the item over the phone, and don't just forget about the incident. Doing so teaches your daughter that this is no big deal. Even punishing her w/out returning the item is not fixing what she did. She still wld have the item. I think having your daughter return the item w/ a sincere apology is punishment enough. Also getting her to understand how serious shoplifting is is also important b/c you don't want it happening again.
I'm confused about one thing. You mentioned something about a sign that read "A free ride...if you shoplift from this store". Is that for real? If that's the case, and your daughter took the sign seriously, you can't really blame her as much. I'm not saying what she did wasn't wrong, but if after reading this sign she thought it was ok to shoplift in this store, that's messed up. Whoever put up that sign shld be held accountable. Your daughter is only 7. Yes, she shld've brought the sign to your attention, but again she's only 7. When and if you go back to the store, you need to address the severity of that sign and the impact it has on young people. Your daughter is a first hand example.

momtoangels's picture

I have the same sort of issue w/stepson, only he steals from the family and lies about silly things (like the tooth brushing). How do you handle the situation when it's family and he "doesn't remember" what he did with the stolen items?

2xstepmom's picture

Do you know for sure he took the missing items?

If so, state firmly that "I don't remember" is unacceptable and give him "time out" to refresh his memory. If that does not work, then a detailed discussion about trust is in order. When you go anywhere, he has to stay with an adult until his memory clears and all suspected stolen items are retured with a sincere apology. You should role play the apology with him beforehand.

Ask him how he would feel if any of his treasured things were stolen. What finally worked with my step-daughter was that we took one of her most treasured dolls, told her we did so and said we are going to pretend your doll was stolen. In less than 24 hours, she told us she would never steal again.

Hope some of this helps.

momtoangels's picture

Thank you. I do agree with what you said, and you have made me feel "justified". My main issue is that his mom (I am step-mom) and dad are not on board with me. I have asked to not let him alone in my room unsupervised, yet every time I turn around, dad is asking him to "do me a favor... go put this in our closet" or something.
I'll have to figure out what to do next.