Is your Child Kleptomaniac or a Typical Thief?

Children are sometimes naughty in nature. But the problem is when he starts getting things that does not belong to him. However, parents should realize what the real problem is. In this way, they could find the right solutions. So here are some facts:

is the inability to resist impulses to steal. The things that are stolen are not needed for personal use or for their monetary value. This is a rare condition.

EXACT CAUSE: UNKNOWN. However, it often occurs with other psychological disorders which include:

1.0 Depression
2.0 Anxiety
3.0 Substance abuse (alcoholism or drug abuse)
4.0 Eating disorders (anorexia or bulimia)
5.0 Other impulse control disorders

NOTE: Kleptomania appears to be more common in females than in males but there are no other known risk factors.


Counseling or therapy may be in a group or one-to-one setting. It is usually aimed at dealing with underlying psychological problems that may be contributing to kleptomania. It may also include Behavior modification therapy and Family therapy.

Drugs used for treatment include:

1.0 Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which raise serotonin levels in the brain:
2.0 Fluoxetine (Prozac, most commonly used)
3.0 Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
4.0 Paroxetine (Paxil)
5.0 Sertraline (Zoloft)

IMPORTANT WARNING: Consult FIRST to a doctor or
in your place.

A TYPICAL THIEF steals to get what they want either for their own use or for resale. They have no remorse for the theft. They may consciously commit thefts out of revenge, anger, to gain an exhilarated high from doing an anti-societal act, or to have something to do.


1.0 Your child believes s/he is unloved, or unwanted.
2.0 Your child believes at least in his/her own mind that s/he is not getting his/her fair share of attention.
3.0 Your child is jealous of his/her sibling's things.
4.0 Your child is jealous of his/her sibling's relationship with you.
5.0 Your child is an outsider amongst his/her siblings.
6.0 Your child has become the family scapegoat.
7.0 Your child may be stealing to gain peer acceptance.
8.0 Your child has wants and desires but no way to earn money to get them in a legal manner.
9.0 Your child may do it to get his/her fighting parents united in his behalf, even if he/she experiences punishment.
10.0 Your child may be stealing items and money for drugs and/or alcohol.
11.0 Your child doesn't understand that it is wrong to steal.
12.0 Your child steals for the adrenaline rush s/he gets from stealing.


1.0 Your child should know in advance what the consequences you will give if s/he chooses to repeat the offense!

2.0 Your child must personally apologize to the victim.
3.0 Talk about the how the victim feels. If it is a store, talk about how shoplifting causes you to pay more for the stolen merchandise. Point out that the child is hurting not only self, but everyone else s/he cares about!
4.0 If this is a repeat offense, this behavior will merit punishment. This could be taking away something the child values such as any of these: loss of freedom, privileges and free time.
5.0 If the child chooses to repeat the offense a third or more times the punishment may result in loss of them.

6.0 Let the child experience the consequences, instead of you feeling sad for him/her and getting him/her off, no matter how much pleading, bawling, and/or name-calling calling goes on.
7.0 The child may say that you don't love him/her, but if you take this opportunity away from him/her then you are opening the door for additional trouble to occur because the child knows they can get you to bail them out. Acting in this manner shows that you truly do not love the child.


Article Source:Effective Parenting Tips



November 19, 2007 at 3:50 PM

After years of working with kids-- as a social worker, foster parent, parent, and now a grandparent-- I know that all behaviour has a purpose. You review what a child might believe (that he/she isn't loved, etc.) but really didn't get into how you might respond to the child's mis-perceptions and how clearing them might just as well clear up the behaviour. I'd like to suggest that, yes, correction/firmness is important, (making amends, etc.), but it is also really important to build the kind of relationship with the child that serves him/her through the rest of their lives with a feeling of being loved and lovable. It doesn't happen in a couple of hug-talk-hug sessions, unfortunately, but takes a long time of "conscious parenting"-- really tuning in what this young person is saying, needing, wanting, expressing in their words and actions. It's hard work, but will result in a child who ultimately chooses not to steal (or do other anti-social behaviours) not because of the potential for punishment (external control), but because they begin to 'get' the payoffs for making healthy choices that are respectful of themselves and others. The old sage, Bernard Bettelheim, has some wisdom to share on why children steal and how to deal with it... worth a google.


November 20, 2007 at 8:30 AM

Hi, heathcytnthia! Yes, you're right, parents really need time and effort to "love" their child so that they will not lead into the wrong way...thanks for the follow up suggestion.


February 25, 2008 at 7:49 PM

My daughter is a 9 years old and we're having a problem with her. We don't know if she's a klepto or a typical one? It all started when I found out that I'm missing my 300 bucks but I know that I didn't spend anything and it's in my wallet. I spent the whole day thinking where it goes or did I bought something that I can't recall. Finally I decided to ask my daughter if she knows something about my missing money. At first she denied that she didn't know about that but I'm not satisfied with her answer as I saw in her eyes that she's lyin' to me. Then I told her that I didn't believed her and I'm going to ask her again and I need the truth. She started crying and said yes she did it. She stole the money. I'm really upset and furious for what she did. I punished her for what she did and told her as well that what she did was totally unacceptable and it's a big sin. I discussed it to my wife after she came home from the office to where I was really shocked to my wife's confession when I learned that this is not the first time my daughter did it. I'm working onboard a foreign vessel and I'm always away from my family for about 9 months or so in a year and I always told to my wife that keep our kids to grow as a good/honest child and a responsible citizen in future. I know my wife did her best to keep our kids in a way that should be. We don't want our daughter to grow up like that as I'm sure no parents want that as well. Back to our conversation, my wife also told me that she started
noticing some items in my kid's school bag that not really belong to her. Everytime she confronted our daughter she always said that it was given by her classmates. Some of it yes, but most are not. We really don't know what's wrong with her. We can give her what she wants or likes as long as it's not a waste of money. We're afraid that one time she do it here in our neighborhood and get caught and hurt by other people to where I cannot accept. Today, about three weeks from the first time she stole money on me, I went to my parents house had a talk and some "kumustahan". After a while my mother told me that she's going to tell me something about my daughter but ask me not to hurt her instead talked heartedly and why it's happened again. My mum told me that my daughter did the same thing again and that's what my wife told her. I asked my mother why I learned this from her and not from my wife. Mum said my wife's scared that I may hurt and punish again my daughter. That very moment I felt my blood pressure shoot up and in total blankness as I remember my kid's promise that she's not doing it anymore. I calmed down myself first before I went back to my house. As I entered into our house here she is open arms and give me a big hug (she's very sweet though or is it just a make up?). I ignored that welcome of her and get straight to the point on why she did it again and this time even my US dollar. I don't know if she's aware the value of that foreign currency or it's just she like to steal it from me. Even my wife's money went missing again and after looking in my daughter things there's all the money in her wallet. Actually we just placed our wallet sometimes on top of our ref or on the tv rack as we trusted all people in our house. We have another daughter, a 2 year old and a maid. My parents are in and out in our house.

What's really wrong with our daughter and how can we change her bad habit? We always told her that we don't have any favorite between her and her younger sister, they both our child and we love them fair and equal. As a fact she had seven years of being only kid and she had our love and attention most and there's no need to get jealous to her younger sis.

Please help and thank you from our family. God speed.

Worried Parents from Navotas City

  Guardian Angel

February 25, 2008 at 9:06 PM

First of all, I am somehow glad that you are courageous enough to share your problem. That means you really love your daughter.
Although I am not a professional child psychiatrist, I think your daughter is most likely turning into a kleptomaniac. Sorry but this is my observation according to what I read from your story. I think you need to seek for professional advice. But I think you have to do the following first as immediate countermeasures:

Do not hurt your child. Instead, talk to her seriously and ask her why she takes things from others and be eager to listen. Show her that you are sad and not mad. Explain to her what will be the negative effect of her bad habit esp. if she will grow up.

Offer a reward if she will not do that again.

Do not leave valuable things anywhere that she can see them. I think that this habit of yours triggered the problem.

Do not be strict to her. Treat her normally as if she has no problem. Your child is a victim, not a criminal. She still have a chance to change.

Spend quality time. I am not saying that you should stop working abroad. But see to it that when you are here, you bring out all the best she can.

Lastly, seek for assistance from professionals instead of friends, co-workers and other relatives. I do not know one, but there's a site forum that I think you can also ask for opinions. Here is the link:

or simply and you can easily find the forum.

Hope I helped somehow and I'll pray that you overcome this trial the soonest. Thank you for trusting me.


February 27, 2008 at 9:40 PM

A very good evening to you and to your family. We really thank you for your prompt reply and it made us satisfied for what all you said. Yes! it's a big help.

Not much worried parents now after
reading your response.

Fair wind and smooth seas.
God speed.

  Guardian Angel

February 28, 2008 at 12:01 AM

Don't mention it. It is my privilege to be trusted on problems such as yours. I am glad to know that somehow I provided some help.
Anyway, you are welcome and do not hesitate to come back if you have further concerns.
By the way, I suppose my other posts can help you too.