8-year-old stole $120 from my wallet - what to do?
We adopted her at 15 months from China, where she was in an orphanage but apparently healthy and very well-fed. She's been stealing stuff from us for a few years now -- little things -- Chapsticksm etc. - but a few months ago took $60 from my husband's wallet (we found it in her room) and last night, her teacher called to tell me she found $127 in her cubby at school. Turns out she's been taking a 20 here and there from my wallet, and all the while I'm thinking I must be losing my mind, because I didn't remember spending it.
SHe has no remorse - she says she wanted to show classmates that she was "somebody" and had money -- can anybody shed a little light for me? First, I don't know what consequence to impose -- and second, where do we go from here??
First, have her evaluated by a pediatric mental health clinician. Second, establish a firm and clear rule about stealing. For example, let her know that any incident of stealing will result in 48-hour 'grounding' - i.e., no recreation or socializing, including use of electronics. Third, trust your instincts - when the money was missing, especially after the first episode (and there may have been other examples of which you are unaware), try to avoid explaining it away by unlikely possibilities.
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