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When children steal and lie
Dr. Marisa van Niekerk

Many children take things that don’t belong to them at some point.  This happens because: 

Very young children don’t understand that

Older children know what ownership means and may have reasons why they are stealing.

Reasons for stealing may include some of the following: 

1. Peer pressure

Children want to be “in” and have the coolest clothes and latest mobile phone. 

2. A cry for help

Children who are hurting inside and feel sad and depressed try to fill a “hole” inside themselves. They’ll draw attention to themselves, even if it’s negative attention. 

3. Just for fun

Some children seek excitement and some want to see if they can get away with stealing and / or lying.

What should parents do?

Have you as a parent, ever thought of the following as dishonest, disobeying behaviour and stealing?

By doing this you sow the seed for your child to do the same, as children usually do what you do. 

How do children justify stealing and lying?

What parents shouldn’t do

Your child should see and experience the consequences of lying and stealing

Stealing and lying that don’t stop can indicate deeper psychological problems. 

With therapy children who steal and lie get the opportunity to: 

Dr. Marisa van Niekerk, Educational Psychologist, 0740410081.



A child’s world: Infancy through adolescence. 2004. Papalia, Olds and Feldman.





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