chapter  47
5 Pages

Stealing

ByQuentin Spender, Judith Barnsley, Alison Davies, Jenny Murphy

A child who steals from other children at school may be expressing a similar need for personal comfort in the face of hostility or rejection from other children. Stealing is not necessarily a mental health problem, but may be a moral or legal problem and is a problem for the victim of theft. An apparent hybrid between proving and comforting occurs when the child steals money from home, then buys sweets which can be handed round at school in order to buy friendship. A young person stealing to finance an addiction to gambling or arcade games can be referred to a psychologist or cognitive-behavioural therapist for habit-reduction strategies. Referral to specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service may be useful only if the stealing behaviour is seen as a symptom of a mental health problem, such as depression or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.