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Question
Posted by: What must I do? | 2010/02/16

6 YEAR OLD STEALING

I have a 6 year old ADHD daughter. I recently discovered that she took money from my purse. Tonight I found my purse under the kitchen table and the money scattered around the purse.She scratches in all the drawers and takes stuff she knows very well she' s not allowed to take. She has been on Ritalin for approx 6 months. I' m a single parent and her father is totally absent in her life. She already goes for speech and occupational therapy, i can not afford a psychologist as well. Plse help

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Well, it could be useful to discuss this with the OT who is already being paid to help, although I'm not altogether convinced that OT is entirely usful in ADHD.
Otherwise you'll need to discus this calmly with the child. THe ADHD is probably misleading here, as theft and similar misbehaviour is not a part of that syndrome.
As Purple says, she's still forming a reliable sense of right and wrong, and such discussions will help her think more clearly on such issues.
And as she says, kids around this age teach us thatg the actual concept of Money / value / working tom earn money, etc., is far more complex than we recognize.

Like Maia, I also believe very much in the value of a very MODEST amount of pocket money, supplemented by small sums earned by doing chores - to help yeach the value of money and the fact that it has to be earned. So when she takes some moeny from your purse, it's not just a note, but she's taking hours of work you did to earn that.
And the Time Out system does seem to work, so long as the rules and consequences are clearly spelled out and applied uniformly and predicatably

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Our users say:
Posted by: Purple | 2010/02/17

I don' t think that a proper and complete sense of right and wrong is fully developed until around age 7. Though as she' s six, I' m sure she shuld have some understanding.

My son is 6 and he is only just starting to grasp the concept of money (embarassingly, when my parents gave him his birthday present he said " thank you, this is so nice, did you pay a lot of money for it?" )

If she' s hiding your purse away, then she probably does know that what she is doing is wrong.
Tell her that you are disappointed in her and remove a star from her chart, or take a favourite toy away for the week.
Also, ask her why she is taking things, she might not really know, but it' s worth asking anyway. Maybe she just wants things of yours to feel close to you.

I don' t think that at this age you need to rush her off to a psychologist for taking something from your purse, but it is an ideal opportunity for you to teach her that one shouldn' t dig in handbags or take things that aren' t yours.
Ask her how she would feel if a friend came to play and took one of her toys home with her?

I' m giving my sone R6 pocket money each Friday. He just puts it into his piggy bank. He still thinks five rand can buy him an electronic jeep that costs R2 000 so we' re a long way from a true concept of money, but we' re getting there. I don' t think her taking from your bag is likely to be for that reason though, unless she has been asking for something special lately and you' ve been telling her you don' t have any money, so she thought she' d just help herself.

Reply to Purple
Posted by: Maria | 2010/02/17

Does your daughter get pocket money? Try giving her some, doesn' t have to be much, she can buy something at the tuck shop or cafe. You could build in a system where if she does extra chores you will pay her as well. This will give her control over money of her own.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Maria | 2010/02/17

Many kids go through a phase where they steal. Last year my daugther, who was then 6, also took money off my desk and from my purse. We then put her " in jail"  so that she can feel what it' s like. I removed everything she could play with from the bathroom, gave her a pilow and blanket, and told her to go and sit there and not talk to me. Then I completely ignored her. The first time I did it for 30 minutes, next time for 2 hours. No problems since then. Yes it' s a harsh punishment perhaps, but especially for your child that is ADHD you need to invoke a consequence that the child experiences, not just talk or shout at them. Good luck, and remember your child is not unique in doing this.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/02/17

Well, it could be useful to discuss this with the OT who is already being paid to help, although I'm not altogether convinced that OT is entirely usful in ADHD.
Otherwise you'll need to discus this calmly with the child. THe ADHD is probably misleading here, as theft and similar misbehaviour is not a part of that syndrome.
As Purple says, she's still forming a reliable sense of right and wrong, and such discussions will help her think more clearly on such issues.
And as she says, kids around this age teach us thatg the actual concept of Money / value / working tom earn money, etc., is far more complex than we recognize.

Like Maia, I also believe very much in the value of a very MODEST amount of pocket money, supplemented by small sums earned by doing chores - to help yeach the value of money and the fact that it has to be earned. So when she takes some moeny from your purse, it's not just a note, but she's taking hours of work you did to earn that.
And the Time Out system does seem to work, so long as the rules and consequences are clearly spelled out and applied uniformly and predicatably

Reply to cybershrink

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