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What Should Parents Do When their Child Steals?

05 January, 2022
Q Let’s say someone steals money from their parent. Is the parent required to go to the authorities and report the crime? Or is it fine for the child to repent and pay the money back?

Answer

In this counseling answer:

•When the child steals money from their parents, repercussions should follow and should be tailored around the child’s age.

•Consequences such as taking something away from them, repaying the money they stole, doing extra chores, and repenting to Allah.

•Repenting to Allah is not part of a punishment, however, it is part of educating a child to be mindful and fearful of Allah.

•When a child seeks to please Allah and understands the blessings in following Allah’s commands, the stealing should insha’Allah stop.

•Sit down with your child down and explain to him why stealing is wrong and how it displeases Allah.


As salamu alaykum,

Thank you for writing to us. Regarding a child stealing money from their parents, it is haram.

The parents may want to respond by discussing with the child how it is haram to steal.

They may wish to explain how the parent loses trust in the child. And it how makes the parent sad to think their child would steal.

The child should be taught about what the Qur’an says about stealing and how Allah swt hates a thief

“As for the thief, the male and the female, amputate their hands in recompense for what they earned [i.e. committed] as a deterrent [punishment] from Allah. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” (Quran 5:38).

The child should also be taught about Allah’s forgiveness and mercy reflected in the following ayat

“But whosoever repents after his crime and does righteous good deeds (by obeying Allah), then verily, Allah will pardon him (accept his repentance). Verily, Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Quran 5:39).

When child steals

As you live in the US, parents are not required to go to the authorities and report that their child stole money from them. The parents do have that option, but most parents do not do that.

There are no laws stating that a parent has to go to report when their child steals money from them. In some circumstances however a parent may have to report the theft.

A case would be when it involves fraud such as a child who steals a credit card and runs up large bills and the parent does not know it was the child who stole the card.

In this case, the parent may find out the card was stolen or missing and report it to the authorities.

When this happens a police report is filed. If it turns out that the child is found to be guilty, or the child admits they took the card (stole the money) then the parents would have to inform the police that it was their child who committed the crime.

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In these cases depending upon the state and the age of the child, it may be up to the parents if they will press charges. Parents usually do not.

Consequences

In the case of a child-stealing money from their parents, repercussions should follow and should be tailored around the child’s age.

Consequences such as taking something away from them, repaying the money they stole, doing extra chores, and repenting to Allah.

Check out this counseling video

Repenting to Allah is not part of a punishment, however, it is part of educating a child to be mindful and fearful of Allah and their actions.

When a child seeks to please Allah and understands the blessings in following Allah’s commands, the stealing should insha’Allah stop.

By providing discipline after wrongdoing such as stealing money from parents as well as sitting the child down and explaining why stealing is wrong and how it displeases Allah, is a lesson the child needs to learn.

We wish you the best, you are in our prayers

Salam

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Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-the-scholar/family/spending-parents-money-stole-valid/
About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha has a PhD in psychology, an MS in public health and a PsyD. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years at Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. She has worked with clients with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, panic disorder, trauma, and OCD. She also facilitated support groups and provided specialized services for victims of domestic violence, HIV positive individuals, as well youth/teen issues. Aisha is certified in Mindfulness, Trauma Informed Care, Behavioral Management, Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and Confidentiality & Security. Aisha is also a Certified Life Coach, and Relationship Workshop facilitator. Aisha has a part-time Life Coaching practice in which she integrates the educational concepts of stress reduction, mindfulness, introspection, empowerment, self love and acceptance and spirituality to create a holistic healing journey for clients. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocates for prisoner rights/reentry, social & food justice, as well as advocating for an end to oppression & racism. In her spare time, Aisha enjoys her family, photography, nature, martial arts classes, Islamic studies, volunteering/charity work, as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.