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6 year old taking money from purse

(3 Posts)
LowBumsMum Mon 24-Sep-12 11:10:58

My 6 year old takes money from my and my husbands wallets from time to time and hides it in his room. (He also takes things of mine like paper clips and cotton to make things into ie to use, despite being asked repeatedly not to and despite me putting a lock on my office door - he climbs up and opens it)
The first time he took some money he knew I had lost it and then told Daddy one evening that he had some paper money of his own now - when asked where he got it he said he'd found it in the street and only admitted taking it when pressed. He also asked Daddy not to tell me!
That was around a year ago. Since then he regularly, I suspect, pockets any coins lying around the house on high up shelves but has also taken notes again in the last few days.
He's a very bright generous little boy and likes to buy things for others and give presents - he is always making things to give to us. He's not particularly materialistic and doesn't ask for a lot of things. I told him it was wrong to take money from people and that it is stealing. I'm fairly sure he understands that. I told him I would talk to his teacher if he did it again and warn her that he steals things, but it seems a bit heavy handed.
What I really want to do is understand what his motivation is and tackle the situation based on this. I asked him why he took the money and he said that he only had coins that he knew weren't worth much and that the grown ups always had paper money. I asked him if he knew how we get money and he knows that you go to work for money. He also has a savings account with a bit of money that his uncle gave him and has bought himself a fishing rod and a magic book from that so he does have some freedom of choice.
My suspiscion is that it is about freedom and feeling grown up which is fine but it's NOT fine to take things without asking.
I'm at a loss how to address it - just telling him off doesn't seem to be working - he's doing it for a reason and I'd like to find out why and help him understand the reason is Ok but his actions are not.
Any ideas or experience with the same thing.

scaevola Mon 24-Sep-12 11:14:48

You are unlikely to find his motivation if he is unwilling or unable to describe it.

I suggest you remove the problem by finding a lockable place for money which he cannot break in to.

Is he still taking other items?

DystopianReality Mon 24-Sep-12 11:28:55

It is quite common for children of many ages to steal money, tho' he is quite young, it's normally slightly older children that do it. That might be in your favour; you can tackle it gently, as it looks as if you have and possibly nip it in the bud.

One point though that I'm wondering about. Why is it so wrong of him to take 'things of yours' like paper clips and cotton? Is it a bit draconian to have a lock on your office door? Harmless bits like paper clips and cotton 'to make things' sound as if they should be freely available and not be 'owned' as such.

Maybe some regular pocket money, rather than a 'virtual' account might help? My DH has always been a fan of an account (which you write up in a booklet) which he had as a child. I've always felt that it should be real money that children can handle and accumulate and count that is important, esp at a younger age.

If he is stealing to give, it might be worth looking at whether he feels inadequate in some way compared to his peers. Does he want to compete, is he buying friendship/popularity? He sounds a sweet little boy so I'd tread carefully and not threaten him with 'outings' to teacher.

I, by the way, regularly stole money for years from my parents, sometimes to give, sometimes to spend, often on things I knew I would NEVER be allowed (sweets etc..). I feel I'm pretty responsible with money now and would certainly never dream of stealing! So don't condemn him as a putuative robber!

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