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What do you do about stealing?

58 replies

WLTMEET · 24/07/2015 13:19

My dd (9) has a crazy sweet tooth, and a generally large appetite which I work to moderate. She's healthy etc.
She keeps however, taking stuff from the kitchen that I've not said is ok, such as biscuits and chocolate. Yesterday's offence was that she opened a box of chocolates that were given to me as a gift and then lied and lied and lied about it until I stupidly offered her an amnesty if she confessed! I know some people (my mum for eg) will say you shouldn't leave treats under a kids nose but I am of the belief that you shouldn't need to hide things in obscure places in order to avoid them being taken. She has before now, totally stuffed herself with huge amounts of sweet stuff before breakfast, and then in order to avoid getting called on, sat down to her usual breakfast.

What do you do if kids take things and then lie about it? I've tried removing things, taking away privileges etc but she seems to weigh those up against the instant gratification of a chocolate bar and decide it's worth it. It's happening far too often:/

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TheHouseOnBellSt · 24/07/2015 13:41

Has she got enough access to normal food such as fruit? Is she drinking enough?

My DD is 10 and can eat an enormous amount....if she hasn't had enough breakfast then she seeks out crap...I make sure she has porridge or eggs in the morning and then she's good until about 11.00...when she knows she can get fruit of all kinds from the kitchen or a cracker with cheese or some nuts....the same after lunch.


Gymbob · 24/07/2015 13:45

that's an offence? I did march my DD to the police station for a talking to, but that was for stealing £80.

as for the sweets, I had to resort to stashing in my bedroom, as they both 'steal', as you put it. my bedroom is just a storeroom, full of desirable food, hair products, perfume, money, in fact anything that's likely to walk. think some on here stash stuff in their car boots.


LazyLouLou · 24/07/2015 13:47

Just don't have it in the house.

And you will have to resort to hiding whatever you do have if she can't control herself, sad as that sounds.

Then you need to work out why she is doing it. If she is brazen enough to open an unused box of chocolates that aren't hers then she must not have that understanding of boundaries/right and wrong that you want her to. You will have to back up a bit and teach her that social skill very firmly and deliberately.

Good luck.


happymummyone · 24/07/2015 13:49

I agree with you that you shouldn't have to hide things to avoid them being taken, I would expect my own daughter to ask permission for treat items. She can have as much fruit as she likes, it's on the coffee table, easily accessible, but I would be really annoyed to find her sneaking food, especially just before meals. I'm sorry, I'm at a loss how to fix the issue though, especially if your daughter seems unaffected by punishments. I'm afraid you may have to hide your treats, in the hope of breaking the habit! Good luck!


ConkerGame · 24/07/2015 13:50

This was me as a child! Blush

Not sure what to suggest really - my mum tried all sorts of punishments for me but I always was willing to risk it for the chocolate! I never would have opened a fancy box though that I knew was a present. Maybe make sure you always have some cheap biscuits in the cupboard so she takes those instead?

If it's any consolation I grew out of taking them once I had enough pocket money to buy my own and grew out of buying them once I hit adulthood. Carried on eating lots of chocolate throughout my childhood and teenage years but if it's any consolation I was always very slim and have never had any health problems, touch wood!


WLTMEET · 24/07/2015 13:50

Stealing a box of chocolates that were a gift is an offence to me, yes.
I do make sure she's got plenty to eat yeah but gosh, she's just mental for the sugar...and I do mean relentless. It's wearing

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WLTMEET · 24/07/2015 13:52

If I let her have unlimited access to biscuits or whatever she would be huge. Honestly, she doesn't have an off switch. She's not overweight because I work at it. I worry about her future though, when I no longer have a say in what she eats. I've tried everything

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WLTMEET · 24/07/2015 13:55

Don't really know what to do about the lying though? Is that just a kid thing? She'll lie and lie and lie about it even though it's obvious. she will only ever admit when she's been grilled for ages or offered some kind of amnesty...Grin

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TheOriginalWinkly · 24/07/2015 13:55

I cannot see why you persist in keeping junk food in the house. She's nine, she should know better yes but her impulse control is poor and to know that the things she wants are in the house is probably torture to her.


ConkerGame · 24/07/2015 14:00

Does she always get punished if she answers truthfully without an amnesty? If so, then that is why she lies - to avoid the punishment!


WLTMEET · 24/07/2015 14:07

I admit to sending mixed messages about the amnesty! I've carried on with a punishment even though she's admitted it.

I don't routinely keep junk food - in fact, we eat very well. It's just that there will be from time to time things that she's been given, or me, or for example things left over from a gathering/party or whatever. I actually never buy the stuff! She not deprived of treats, will generally get something nice every day, even if it's just a nice yoghurt or whatever. She always gets treats at weekend without fail

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PeterParkerSays · 24/07/2015 14:07

I think you need to tackle this as two separate issues - the need for a sugar fix and stealing a gift given to someone else. Taking someone else's present is not on, whatever it is, and I'd be clamping down on that with a sanction - if she has pocket money she can pay for a replacement box, even if she only took a few, for example. That's not on.

I would generally try and keep refined sugar out of the house if you can, so she's less tempted to get chocolate from the cupboard. Is it worth speaking to your GP to see if there's an underlying issue?


kittycatz · 24/07/2015 14:16

Sorry but if she keeps taking stuff and can't seem to control herself then it does need to be hidden or locked away or not bought in the first place.
You could try saying that she is allowed one treat per day, after the evening meal, which she can choose herself from a locked box.
During the day she could have access to healthy snacks if she is hungry.

Is there perhaps an undiagnosed medical problem which is causing these sugar cravings? Perhaps talk to your GP about this.


WLTMEET · 24/07/2015 14:30

I've thought about whether it's medical or not but she's not greedy with healthy foods , or dinners, only junk! That includes bread, starch and another junky foods. She's slso able to control it in some situations , for example at school, and also, when she's busy and distracted, it hardly gets mentioned. The minute though, that we are in company, there's a gathering or there's other kids around, its currency as far as she's concerned for access to junk. The begging is pretty full on. I've had to really get strict about pleading constantly - I feel like I'm going to give her food issues myself because of the things I've had to say to get it through to her. Just telling her no doesn't cut the mustard.

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WLTMEET · 24/07/2015 14:34

I agree about the chocolates being a gift that she took - good idea about her replacing them from her money box.

I've also wondered what to do about telling lies. It's literally the only time she does it (well, that and saying she's brushed her teeth, lol)
She is a great kid, really chilled and loveable. Her relationship with junk food is shocking though. It sends her wild- I don't mean wild as in hyperactive. I mean wild as in, it's like a drug to her. She is never ever ( and I mean never) happy with 'one' . If a buscuit is on offer, she will come back and back and back for more. She doesn't get it, but is happy to set up an hour long campaign trying.

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yallahabibi · 24/07/2015 14:37

I think some sugar fuels some children in a more negative way than in others. It makes for addiction in certain people in the same way alcohol and drugs do .
One of my sons has little or no adverse effects and the other will babble and jiggle like he's snorted half of Bolivia with just half a glass of a juice . He would sell his soul for a can of pop .

OP, I would strip her processes sugar intake right back to stop the cravings and gradually those stolen treats will become really unpalatable .
You have to look really carefully at the labels on everything especially those nice yogurts , muesli bars , bread and even things like baked beans .


WLTMEET · 24/07/2015 14:41

Yalla- I think everything you say is right. It's going to be hard but it's true- she's like an addict. Poor thing:/

It's wearing in public because I swear I must look so strict. She's in my face, interrupting me in front of adults, pleading, pleading pleading. It's embarrassing just how long my child will sustain the campaign for. Sometimes ive had to leave because I'm seconds away from crying my eyes out, such is the relentlessness of it. In those situations I think it's definitely behavioural though because I've seen her control that side of her for different relatives.

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Moreisnnogedag · 24/07/2015 14:54

yalla that did make laugh!

I think I'd treat this as two separate problems. I don't think the lying is on at all - what punishment does she get for that?

The food issue is problematic - you don't want it to become a secret thing where she binges but she obviously can't eat all of that constantly.


1Morewineplease · 24/07/2015 14:56

It's very interesting to note that these pleading campaigns happen when you have company... She clearly knows that you will be more likely to comply as there is an audience... Does sound behavioural and quite manipulative.
Maybe sitting her down quietly and telling her that if she does it again then ..( insert consequence) will happen. Remind her before the event and then if she does it, give her the consequence. And keep doing it.
I have to say though that it is easier said than done and I don't envy you at all on this one! Good luck... And be firm.


WLTMEET · 24/07/2015 15:05

I've tried sitting her down before we go out and warn her about the pleading - she's always full of promises that it won't happen but it does. I see other kids staring at her because she's not engaged in the games they play- only in her junk food campaign.
My dd is a worry to me in terms of where this will lead in the future. I've tried going softly softly and saying it's just because sugar harms the body and teeth. Now I have to be brutal and say that when you constantly out good into your body that it doesn't need or appreciate, it makes your body grow bigger and bigger then your organs are under pressure. She's a clever child and knew I was alluding to the word 'fat' without actually saying it. I end up feeling so bloody guilty and that I am going to give her serious issues and she'll remember me as the source.
Where's the line though? What do people do to get these issues through to their kids without destroying their self esteem? What do you say without planting seeds of shame or harm? It's so hard.

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AGrinWithoutACat · 24/07/2015 15:22

What about a different approach to the sweet treats?

Try weaning her onto dried fruit as that is still very sweet, think apples, banana chips, mango slices etc - whatever her favourites are and then onto fresh fruits keep grapes, seasonal berries in the house as they are sweet and easy to snack on

And letting her know that sweets / ice cream / chocolate will be on offer once a day after dinner but only if she doesn't have any before that point

Could you also do something like also have a regular baking day where you bake with her, make cup cakes, biscuits etc she then gets the fun activity, wait for them to cool, then she gets to ice and add sprinkles wait for that to set and then she gets to serve them up as everyone's after dinner treat (aiming for the idea of learning the pleasure of delayed gratification as well as a constructive activity)

The lying is hard, am going through this with DS at the moment and not yet winning however he is slowly learning that he is going to get a larger punishment for lying than whatever it was he is trying to hide - still very much a work in progress though


Dynomite · 24/07/2015 15:25

To be honest,as a kid, I couldn't resist eating sweets that were right in front of me. Not even one bit. I just looooved them. If I could see them, I ate them. All. And I knew all the hiding places too.

I didn't grow up to be overweight (except for a short period as an adult in a very stressful time) and I don't really have issues with food (although I still have a sweet tooth, I control it just fine).

For me it was the temptation I guess. The fact that it was just there in front of me. My mum started hiding them which didn't help because I always found them. They just stopped buying sweets except for a little here and there and that solved it tbh.

Have you considered not having them in the house?


WLTMEET · 24/07/2015 15:25

Thanks Grin, that's a great idea about the baking. I'll try it.
I do keep lots of fresh fruit at home- loads in fact. Junk will always be on her mind though. However I'll try with regards to the dried fruit- thanks

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helenahandbag · 24/07/2015 15:32

I was like this as a child. My mum policed everything I ate, to be fair, because she was terrified that I would end up fat like her.

I have ended up fat like her. I've struggled with binges, bulimia and food restriction for years. I'm also like a junkie when it comes to sugar and can put away a disgusting amount of sugary food when I'm on a binge.

I stole food from the kitchen and lied about it but my mum always found the wrappers when she tidied my room. I actually remember stuffing biscuits into my socks to sneak them past my parents without my pockets bulging! Blush


WLTMEET · 24/07/2015 15:36

Helena:/ you've just given me a picture of my own fears for my dd.
I was a pretty chubby kid to be honest. Greedy too. I see so much kg myself in her

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