Support with Children Stealing and Lying

Support for Children Engaging in Stealing and Lying

If your child's stealing and lying behaviors have become frequent or are accompanied by other concerning signs, it may be beneficial to seek guidance from a child behavior expert. We are here to provide assistance in such situations. 

Lying in children and adolescents

Telling lies is a unique human ability and is considered an important milestone in a child's emotional development. On average, adults admit to lying approximately 13 times a week. The process of lying involves a child's understanding of their separate identity from their parents, which typically occurs around the age of 2 or 3.

While young children may lie due to difficulty distinguishing between fantasy and truth, most children by the age of 6 understand the moral implications of lying.

Persistent lying can indicate various underlying factors, such as:

  • Unrealistic parental expectations
  • Fear of the consequences associated with telling the truth
  • Inability to explain their actions in any other way
  • Desire for attention
  • While some lies may be insignificant, if your child frequently lies or if the lies lead to trouble for them or others, it may indicate an underlying problem that could benefit from professional intervention.

If lying is accompanied by any of the following signs, seeking assistance from an expert may be advisable:

  • Depression or low mood
  • Lack of empathy for others
  • Low self-esteem
  • Intentionally harming others or animals
  • Hyperactivity
  • Fire setting or engaging in risky behaviors
  • Child and adolescent stealing
  • Discovering that your child or teenager is stealing can be deeply concerning, and it's understandable for parents to feel guilt or shame about their parenting role.
  • Stealing in children can stem from various causes, including:
  • Emotional problems
  • Peer pressure
  • Low self-esteem
  • Difficulties with friendships
  • Desiring popularity
  • Seeking a sense of self-worth
  • Neglect (acquiring items they lack)
  • Bullying experiences

If stealing is accompanied by any of the following signs, consulting an expert may be beneficial:

  • Depression or low mood
  • Lack of remorse
  • Frequent stealing incidents
  • Stealing expensive items
  • Low self-esteem
  • Intentionally harming others or animals
  • Hyperactivity
  • Fire setting or engaging in risky behaviors

Understanding the reasons behind your child's stealing or lying is essential. Some of these behaviors are a normal part of growing up and learning from mistakes. Lying can be a way for adolescents to test boundaries, while stealing may provide a temporary sense of power or control.

Seeking professional help for stealing and lying

Initiating an assessment with a child and adolescent psychiatrist is often a helpful first step for parents. It allows for the identification of any underlying issues contributing to the stealing and lying behaviors. Research indicates that children engaging in such behaviors may have conditions like conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), or an emerging personality disorder, all of which can be addressed through therapy and, in some cases, medication.

Working with a psychologist or psychotherapist can assist your child in managing emotions more effectively and developing lifelong skills. In some situations, medication may be recommended to address underlying issues.

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