My daughter has been stealing money from my purse. What should I do?
You don't say how old your daughter is but I'll do my best to give you some options that will hopefully cover all ages.
I imagine you're possibly feeling quite angry and disappointed in her and I'm sure no-one could blame you for feeling this way. When your emotions are not running so high, and there's a relaxed time between you, talk to her.
If she's young, it could be that she doesn't yet have the maturity and knowledge to understand that taking money from your purse is actually theft. If this is the case, it could be that she's seeing the money as an appealing way of getting nice things and simply doesn't identify that it's not hers. You could use her toys to act out a simple scene showing theft and focus on the inappropriateness of this action. You could then go on to demonstrate the toys being tempted to steal, but showing her how they manage these feelings and refrain from doing so.
If your daughter is older and therefore well aware that she's stealing, try to get to the root of why she does this. Talk to her, but emphasise your aim is to identify her motive and what goes through her mind when this happens. If she thinks she's likely to get reprimanded, she may not feel able to speak openly and honestly so try to put your own anger and disappointment aside.
Try and find out what she does with the money she steals, and why she feels the need to do this. Is she unhappy with the amount of money she receives, trying to "keep up" with friends, or doing this for her own gain or for someone else?
Having spoken to her and hopefully found out the reasons behind her stealing, perhaps you could think about the possibility of her finding ways to pay back some or the whole amount as a consequence. This will of course depend on her age and resources available.
For more advice and support with parenting issues visit Family Lives.
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