Q:

What can I do if someone walks in and takes stuff and then says he didn't?

A:

Quick Answer

If someone steals another person's possessions and then denies having done so, possible responses include talking with him about it, understanding the reasons behind the behavior and making it clear why telling the truth matters. Parents often have to deal with this behavior when disciplining younger children and trying to teach them right from wrong.

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Full Answer

Children need to learn at a young age that lying and stealing are wrong, according to Young Minds. This involves helping them understand the concept of private property and that they can't have something just because they want it. While children often don't fully understand the concept of lying until about the age of 6, they must learn that when they are dishonest, other people get hurt. Before that age, parents may find it difficult to explain why these behaviors are wrong, and they may simply need to establish rules for proper behavior. It is also helpful for parents to separate the issues of lying and stealing and to deal with them separately.

Understanding the reasons for the behavior is crucial. Teenagers often lie about inappropriate activities because they don't want to get in trouble or because they are acting out anger that they can't bring themselves to discuss. Younger children often lie or steal out of fear or resentment. Sometimes kids lie to elicit attention from their parents or friends. Children also steal out of peer pressure or because they are trying to compensate for something they feel is lacking in their lives.

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