Chris Brown‘s 4-year-old daughter Royalty Brown reportedly stole $300 from her grandmother, Joyce Hawkins‘s purse, according to court records obtained by The Blast.
Lying and stealing from a parent (or grandparent) are usually early indicators that a child is headed for a life of crime.
Parent.com explains what you can do if you catch your child or grandchild stealing from you.
Hardened criminals who were interviewed by prison psychiatrists say the earliest memory they had of criminal behavior was stealing money out of their mother’s. purses — and lying about it when caught.
Child experts say lying and stealing are usually attention-seeking behaviors.
Small children live in a world that’s difficult for them to manage and in which they often stand accused of doing damage of one kind or another. Denying wrongdoing is therefore their most usual kind of lie and the kind that most often gets them into trouble. Your child breaks his sister’s doll by mistake. Faced with it, he denies the whole incident. Your are probably angrier with him for the lie than you are about the breakage.
Penelope Leach, Ph.D. suggests urging your child to own up to their behavior without confronting them or accusing them of wrongdoing.
If a doll is broken, saying “This doll is broken. I wonder what happened?” is more likely to get a response such as, “I broke it, I’m sorry” than if you say “You’ve broken this doll, haven’t you, you naughty, careless boy.”
Stealing is much more problematic — although some parents might agree that children who steal and lie are equally troublesome.
Child experts say stealing is more prevalent among “only” children who have no siblings.
Many young children — especially those with no older brothers and sisters to keep asserting “That’s mine!” — are as vague about property rights as they are about truth.
An only child or a child who is not socialized at an early age with same age children often lack boundaries about what is theirs and what belongs to others.
Outside the family there are complications too. It is all right to keep the little ball you found in the bushes in the park but it is not all right to keep a purse. It is all right to bring your painting home from nursery school but not a piece of play dough.
Experts suggest having a discussion about property rights with your children as young as 2 or 3.
You might find it useful to separate the issue of principle from the complexities of daily behavior. Discuss the first and have some rules to guide the second, such as: don’t bring anything away from somebody else’s house without asking; always ask a grown-up if you may keep anything you find; don’t pick anything up in a store unless a grown-up says it’s all right.
When it comes to money, experts say don’t put more emphasis on money than you would a tube of lipstick.
To young children both are the same. Treasure. They know money is precious, of course, because they hear you talking about it and see you exchanging it for nice things. But to children, money is like those tokens you put in slot machines; they have no concept of real money.
A child who is aware of the value of money — and one who steals more than $100 like she’s robbing a bank — needs therapy to prevent this sort of criminal behavior from continuing throughout her adolescence and teenage years.
Most shoplifting teens started out stealing from their parents’ purse or wallet. It is a learned behavior that reaps rewards that children learn to crave.
You can bet Royalty Brown has stolen money from her grandmother’s purse before. Each time she goes into her grandmother’s purse, she steals even more money. It might be time for Ms. Hawkins to lock up her valuables when Royalty comes over.
Photo by Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images