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Sunday, September 30, 2012

My Grandchild has been Stealing. What Should I say to her?

Dear AB
What can I do to help my grandchild from stealing? She is ten.  I want to talk to her about it, but I don’t know what to say. I need some ideas. Thanks. I

Dear I.

First of all don't get all crazy. All children steal at some point. They have to be taught not to steal. If your child is caught stealing it does not mean they are bad. It means they haven't been taught yet. 

Here are some of my thoughts about stealing—maybe they might help somehow. I don’t know if there is someway you could have this conversation. But some of the ideas may help no matter what conversation you might have with your granddaughter.

"Nobody has the power to stop you from stealing in the same way that no one can stop you from eating. You will find some way to eat what you want. This is why nobody can stop their child from getting really fat."
"And nobody can stop their child from stealing. Now you may think this is a good thing that nobody can stop you from stealing.  But think again. Stealing is addictive. It gives you a sense of power. You want something, you get it. But since this is not the right way to get personal power, but the wrong way, in the end you lose. You get caught and have to pay the consequences. You are embarrassed. You shoplift and end up in jail. Instead of feeling good about yourself because you got something you want, you only feel bad about yourself because you lose respect from people. And then you lose respect for yourself.

"Even if you don’t get caught you could become addicted to stealing because you start loving the sense of power you get when you steal. You become a kleptomaniac and can’t even keep yourself from stealing. This is very bad when you can’t even stop yourself from stealing. Bad enough that nobody else can stop you from stealing, it’s really terrible when you can’t even stop yourself.  Now how powerful are you? You are not powerful you are weak.  Stealing, instead of making you powerful has made you weak.

"When you steal you are making your bad power stronger because you are using your bad power. You are making your good power (to do better by yourself) weaker because you are not using your good power. When you don’t use your good power, your good power becomes weak., so when you steal you are not becoming more powerful but more weak. Each time you steal, you get weaker.

"This is the worst thing of all-- because stealing is evil , and ultimately, stealing makes you ugly. If you want to be a beautiful person s stop stealing because stealing makes you an ugly person. At first you don’t notice the ugliness but it gets more noticeable. But do not despair, each time you successfully keep yourself from stealing, you get stronger. Doing the right thing makes your good power stronger.

"Doing the right thing makes you a beautiful person. Only you can decide to be a beautiful person. Nobody can make you a beautiful person. That is your decision. Each person can choose what side they want to be on—the bad, the weak and the ugly. The good, the true and the beautiful.

"This choice is not easy to maintain. It is not just one choice, it is a series of choices. You may fail sometimes. No problem, you must re-dedicate yourself and begin again. When you take a wrong turn and do something wrong, you must make amends, apologize and re-dedicate yourself. Turn around from going the bad way, and go the better way.

In the end maybe you can say something like this. “I cannot stop you from stealing but I can help you stop yourself from stealing. Come to me at any time. When you are successful and especially when you fail. I am always on your side. As you keep turning to the good way, you become a more a beautiful person. It is good to be a beautiful person. I want you to be a beautiful person because I love you.  

Hope this helps. A. B. Curtiss

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