Posted by: Zola | 2008/08/05

Stealing kids

Just venting:

My kids have the tendency to steal. They have been to therapy and the psychologist said it was just childish behaviour, I should just punish them as I would for any other thing. So if they steal at a shop I punish them by making them take what they stole back and apologise. That has worked coz they get embarassed, so they stopped.

Now they have started stealing money from my purse. They have been taking small change, coins  for which they got a good talking to and an ear pinch. But yesterday they took R200 each and I was notified by the school. They are 7 and 8 years old. So I told them that a person who steals goes to jail, so I took them to the police station and asked a policeman to talk to them and show them the cell where thieves are arrested. To my shock he took out his belt to whip them. I asked him not to beat them, just talk to them about consequences of stealing. Then all the police poeple said the reason my kids were misbehaved was because I was not beating them. They made it such a big thing - showing everyone that came in the little thieves who stole R400. The police woman said to me " you are lucky you did not give them to me I was going to bloody bliksum them"  (however bliksum is spelled). I just wanted to show them that stealing is actually a crime and now I am feeling so bad for subjecting them to this.

Please guys don' t crucify me, I feel bad enough.

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Our expert says:
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OK. Firstly, I'm relieved to discover, despite the title, that nobody is stealing kids.
Sounds like the psychologist may have underplayed the issue of your kids stealing, though your methods as regards stealing from shops is widely used and seems to have worked.
What you tried to do at the police station does indeed sometimes work --- but isn't it frightening to think that the people who are supposed to include Child Protection amongst their duties, were so eager to beat your children and to urge you to do likewise. Don't blame yourself because you ran into badly trained and crude policemen. As Curious says, it is now a crime for antyone to beat children, so you found policement eager to commit crimes and to encourage others to do so !
I suspect the kids are more troubled than the first unefective psychologist seems to have recognized, and probably would benefit from seeing a different child psychologist, to advise them and you after a more careful assessment

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Our users say:
Posted by: Would have done the same | 2008/08/05

It is very good that you are taking their stealing seriously and at this age they may not know what value R200 has, but they do know taking something without asking is wrong. You have not ignored their behaviour and you are trying to deal with it. Well done. I think your idea of going to the police staion was good. I think the police went to far in how they handled it. But after all is said and done - eventhough the experience was more traumatic than you planned, it will most likely stay with them and be a deterrant to further stealing.

Keep up the good work of teaching your children right from wrong.

Reply to Would have done the same
Posted by: Curious | 2008/08/05

I think you had the right idea it is just unfortunate that the police were so awful. Don' t they know that it is now a crime to beat children?
I don' t know the answer to your problem, hopefully the visit to the police station will have scared the hell out of them.
Good luck.

Reply to Curious

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