Who is the Thief Among Us
Annette Nay, Ph.D.
Copyright © 1999
Most parents have had the unsavory task of trying to find out who took what
was not supposed to have been taken. Almost invariably, nobody did it.
When a thief gets away by lying, his negative behavior has been rewarded. Now
you have a thief and a liar to deal with. Both will be burned at the Lord's
second coming unless they have a change of heart, repent, and never do it again.
As a parent you cannot afford to allow this to continue. When the other
siblings see that one of them got away with a crime just by lying, they will see
stealing and lying as beneficial tools to get them what they want. Because of
this, crime will escalate, life will become unbearable, and you run the risk of
losing your entire family, eternally.
How is a parent supposed to know who the culprit is? Here are the steps to
ferret out the truth. If you have a spouse be sure to include him/her in these
- Ask the Lord to help you.
- Be calm.
- Don't jump to conclusions.
- Gather all the facts of the crime.
- Question everyone who was there or who was even remotely connected to
- Each person may hold a missing piece of the puzzle.
- Offer an open-door policy to all to want to talk about the crime.
- Protect your informants so they don't fall victim to other siblings.
- Based on the facts, make a decision.
- Then ask the Lord if your decision is correct.
- A "Yes" answer is a burning of the bosom or a warm swelling
feeling in the chest area and/or accompanied by a feeling that all is
well or right.
- A "No" answer is a stupor of thought or a dull cloudy
feeling in your head. Your thoughts are hard to hold on to or disappear.
- When you get a correct answer you must act on it. In this way the
liar/thief is caught and
- negative consequences are given for his/her actions.
Faith Promoting Variation
This variation of this can be done to strengthen the children's faith in God.
Setting up Restitution
- A Family Council is called.
- The Lord is asked to help the family come up with the correct decision.
- All evidence is laid on the table.
- The parents and the children serve as the jury and are charged to weigh
the evidence, make a decision based on that evidence, and then ask the Lord
if their decision was correct.
- Each should get the same answer eventually, by elimination.
In all cases, restitution needs to take place and a personal apologize to the
victim of the theft.
Talk to the perpetrator about the how the victim feels. Point out that s/he
is hurting not only self, but the whole family.
- S/He is providing a bad role model for his/her other siblings.
- Eternal family will be minus him/her if s/he doesn't repent.
- A feeling that is nothing is safety in the home.
- A lack of trust in one another.
- Always see that restitution is done.
- Do not give the child money to make restitution. S/He must negotiate a
payment plan in which s/he cant pay off the debt.
- If the child borrows it from parents s/he feel less of an obligation to
pay it off or to pay it in a timely manner.
- Younger children can earn money from parents for additional chores around
- 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.
- 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.
Bailing the child out shows that you truly do not love the child and or
A Set Consequence for Each Offense
- The child should know in advance what the consequences are if s/he choose
to lie or steal.
- Repeat offense, merit a stronger punishment. This could be taking away
something the child values such as loss of one of these:
- freedom - ground the child from going places
- privileges - telephone, radio, television, electricity, driving,
telephone, & computer games
- free time - free time is replaced with structures time where the child
is to accomplish difficult, distasteful, or unpleasant chores.
If the child chooses to repeat the offense a third or more times the
punishment may result in loss of freedom, privileges, and free time for and
- Remember, no matter what the cause of the thefts, it cannot be tolerated.
Neither can the lies.
- Figure out the reason for the thefts, even if it takes professional help.
- Restitution must always take place!
- If the thefts continue even through there is a conscience decision on the
part of the child, then a the child looses a freedom that s/he treasures. If
it still continues then a total loss of freedoms for a time may result.
- Remember the promises of holding Family Home Evening,
that you will not lose even one of your children if you are holding Family
Home Evening. Push the idea of the importance of hard work and service
to others. Also use Family Prayer, eat together as family at least
once a day,
See the articles:
is My Child Stealing and What Should I Do About It?
Our Children Overcome Bad Behaviors, & Repentance
Annette Nay, Ph.D.
Annette Nay Homepage
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