When you are upset and frustrated with your child’s dishonesty, you may be left asking yourself, “ Can I call the police if my child is stealing from me?”
The short answer is: Yes, you can call the police to step in if your child is taking your money or valuables without your permission. Although you aren’t obligated to report a theft committed by your son or daughter, legally a parent can call the police on their child for stealing from them.
Sometimes parents give their kids one more chance but if you have tried teaching them a lesson and aren’t getting anywhere, a visit from a police officer might help set them straight. No one should be taken advantage of and stolen from, let alone from their own children.
If you and your child are both angry and arguing, things can get out of hand pretty quickly. Let’s talk about what to do when your child is stealing from you. We will discuss when it’s appropriate to call the police on your son/daughter and ways a police officer might be able to help your family.
Try to Find Out Why Your Child is Stealing From You
Children have very little or poor impulse control.
They want the things they see and sometimes just take them. It doesn’t mean that your child is bad to the core, it might be a natural behavior especially if the children are young.
Your child may be stealing from you to impress buddies and be the big spender when they hang out. This is usually due to the judgment kids deal with when being surrounded by their peers.
A common factor Kids get judged on is status and wealth. Maybe your child is trying to steal the money for name-brand clothes or expensive things he/she knows you won’t buy for them.
Your child may be embarrassed to ask you for money to buy something they need. If your child is a little older, they might want things that they know you would question them on. This could be anything from a pack of condoms to a box of tampons. They would rather try to steal from you than to feel ashamed of what they are asking for.
Another reason why kids might steal from their parents would be because it is their way of thrill-seeking. They want to seem daring and look cool in front of their friends so they commit actions that are not ethical or right.
Your child may be getting an adrenaline rush from taking your things and getting away with it. Whatever the reason may be, don’t take it as a bad mark on your parenting skills. If that is the case, you need to explain that stealing is wrong and shouldn’t make you feel good in any way possible.
Lots of kids steal small things on occasion but they usually get caught. In this case, you can use this opportunity to teach your child an important lesson that can stick with them for the rest of their lives.
Is There a Bigger Problem?
If your son/daughter is taking a large amount of money or items of great value, there may be a bigger problem at hand.
This can be a worst-case scenario but your child could be involved with drugs and is stealing from you to support their habit. When he/she takes advantage of you at every opportunity and then comes back for more, something needs to be done.
Talk to your child about the missing property and see if you can get some answers. Let your child know that if this behavior continues, you will involve the police.
What to Do When You Catch Your Child Stealing From You
Make it clear that stealing is wrong and you will not tolerate it. Your child should have to apologize to you and explain why they did this. He/she should also have to replace the item or repay the money that was stolen.
Talk to your child about having strong values and moral ethics.
Explain that they should never take what isn’t theirs because this will cause a lack of trust which is the most important thing when it comes to relationships.
Your children taking something from you affects the entire family negatively and the last thing you want is for your family to have trust issues.
Express Your Disappointment
Let your child know how disappointed you are about them stealing from you.
Inform him/her that you are aware of what’s been going on and will be more vigilant moving forward. Your son/daughter will have some work to do to rebuild your trust because stealing is a big form of dishonesty.
If this becomes more of a pattern than an occasional occurrence, you may need to seek professional help from a therapist or the police.
It won’t be an easy decision to make because no one wants to have to call the police on their own son/daughter but when your child’s behavior just continues to escalate, calling the police may be the only thing left to do.
Is There Anything Left To Try First?
There are several factors to think about when considering making that call to the police. Make sure that you have exhausted all other options. Sometimes our authority as a parent doesn’t quite make enough difference. Sometimes our children grow bigger than we are and become physically threatening.
As parents, we cannot allow ourselves to be intimidated by our children. Lots of parents feel threatened by their children’s behavior which means bringing in a stronger authority figure to back them up is the only answer.
Hold Your Child Accountable
As parents, we naturally want to protect our children, but sometimes teaching them a valuable lesson is more important. When kids display a total lack of self-control, some type of action needs to be done so it does not get rooted in them for the long term.
This behavior can stem from trying to maintain control over you or from anger issues. Whatever the case may be, your child is the one who made the choice to steal from you.
Don’t try to make excuses for his/her poor judgment and avoidance of responsibility. Stealing shouldn’t be ignored or swept under the rug because that habit can continue throughout their life and can cause them to faces serious consequences when they are older.
Don’t Be a Victim
Don’t be afraid to call the police if you need to. This makes your child have some accountability for what they’ve done.
It may be intimidating to call the authorities into your own home but asking for help isn’t a crime. It may also be embarrassing to have a police car pull up to the house, but that could also be a motivator for your child to think twice before he/she tries to steal anything from you again.
You don’t want your child to be upset that you called the police for help, but this behavior has to stop now. Try not to feel ashamed of needing some help because it will only help you out in the long run.
If things are getting out of hand, you will need to trust your intuition and make the call.
Don’t Let Things Escalate
If your child is knowingly breaking the rules and stealing from you, make it clear that you aren’t afraid to involve the police if necessary.
Let him/her know that you mean business and that you mean what you say. If your child steals from you again, follow through with the consequences you have set or you will lose what little control you have left.
What to Expect When You Involve The Police
Calling the local police in advance to let them know that you have been having some trouble with your child is a good idea.
They will be more prepared if you call them beforehand and will know what they’re dealing with before they arrive at your house. They might be able to offer you some local resources in the meantime.
You don’t want to waste their precious time and having more information going in will only help the police respond more efficiently to your call. You also don’t want them to feel like you are taking advantage of emergency services.
Police Can Help You End the Nonsense
When your child’s behavior becomes criminal and he/she isn’t responding to the consequences you set forth, you can’t let it continue.
This behavior is risky and destructive which means your child’s choices determine whether you need outside help or not.
You can’t let your child keep getting away with theft, even from you. If there are younger siblings in the home, you have to think of the example that’s being set for your other children.
The police usually encourage parents not to press charges the first time. Juvenile courts can come up with some effective plans for kids that need help if it comes to that.
The whole point of calling law enforcement is to teach a lesson, not to try and punish them.
Further Legal Consequences
Spending time in a juvenile detention center, reporting for probation, or working to complete assigned community service projects aren’t things most kids want to deal with. If you have multiple visits from the police, eventually the consequences will become harsher.
Going forward, your child will have to learn to assess his/her choices more carefully to avoid further complications with the courts. Dealing with the police and facing further legal consequences should send a strong message to your child.
The threat of going to a detention center should be enough motivation to keep your son/daughter from stealing from you again. So when asking yourself the question “Can I Call The Police If My Child Is Stealing From Me”, just remember that this will be a big step to take but it is necessary to ensure that your child learns a lesson.
A family member stealing from you should not be happening and action should be taken to solve this problem.