Psychologist Questions Kleptomania

My son is displaying traits of kleptomania. He's young, but how can we deal with this problem?

My son is 10 years old and seems to have a strong urge to steal things. Wherever we go he tries to steal something. What can we do to tackle this issue?

9 Answers

Dear Parent,
Your concern is legitimate. Is he impulsive about other things as well? Does he know right from wrong? Does he break any other family and/or societal rules? Does he feel remorse after stealing? Has he ever returned things he has stolen? Is there a family history of obsessive-compulsiveness?
So much information is needed to help him help himself. So, I would suggest you consult a psychologist who specializes in working with children and families so you can address this issue and get to the root of the problem. Timely intervention will help him with emotional, psycho-social growth and prevent any future legal problems.
Take care,
Dr. Sonpal 
Sitting down with him and having a discussion as to why he feels the need to do so and laying out a strong behavior modification program for reinforcing appropriate behavior and establishing a negative consequence which he would hate to get if he did steal might be helpful. Consider seeing a therapist trained in helping young kids who knows techniques in CBT and behavior modification.
I think it may be wise to seek professional help. This is a concerning behavior.
Have him speak to a therapist, one who will help him to understand why he feels the need to take things that don't belong to him.
Since I lack information, I highly recommend psychotherapy for your son to work through internal conflicts he has that are underlying his behaviors. As opposed to adults, children have less language abilities for communicating when they are distressed, so "acting out" behaviors indicate that he may be experiencing some depressive and/or anxious symptoms that he does not know how to express. Psychotherapy is very helpful for this.
Your son appears to have some issue of sensed deprivation. Get a behavioral evaluation for him.
He is young but needs to know boundaries and right and wrong. Teach him and take away items and freedom whenever he does wrong now before he turns 14-15.
Kleptomania is a symptom of something else: feelings of deprivation, feeling cheated, teased or some sort of environment that makes the child feel like he isn't getting his. Sometimes it's too many siblings to get one-on-one attention from mom or dad. Sometimes its too much work for a child and not enough reward. Sometimes it's feeling inadequate, like the child who was sick too long and comes back to school feeling behind and inept. Sometimes its being in a social environment where the child's friends are more privileged and the child feels less than. These days it is often children who have been rescued by parents out of earning their recognition and rewards, thus feeling entitled. Find out why the child wants what he hasn't earned. Know that you have a part in it, so you don't have to be punitive. Have a talk with him about ethics and self-worth (earning what we have), and step up your time spent with him, coaching him to make good choices and do the work to earn the better things in life.
You need to find the underlying reason. I suggest a good child psychologist. This is not appropriate behavior. What is your response when he does this?