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“I’m Beside Myself”: Teacher Loses Faith In New Generation After Parents Defend Child Stealing
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“I’m Beside Myself”: Teacher Loses Faith In New Generation After Parents Defend Child Stealing

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It goes without saying that stealing is wrong. Not only are people not keen on losing the stuff they worked hard for, but also there are laws prohibiting such actions, so there’s a majority collective norm of sorts in place for this.

Now, this isn’t apparent or obvious to kids, and getting caught red-handed actually serves as a great opportunity for them to learn why theft is not okay. But, turns out, stealing isn’t as big of a deal as much as the kid crying over being caught is. For the parents, that is, as seen in this teacher’s recent experience.

It’s hard being a teacher. On top of teaching oneself being difficult, there’s also the kid to contend with. And, also, the parents too

Image credits: Media_photos (not the actual photo)

This teacher on Reddit recently shared how ridiculous some parenting logic can be after their kid gets caught stealing

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Image credits: Pixabay (not the actual photo)

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Image credits: lhatss98

Sad to say, the teacher received no understanding or support from the school, but at least Redditors got it

The story goes that u/lhatss98 is an elementary school teacher who recently caught a kid stealing a classroom tablet they paid for personally. This led to a private talk about why stealing is wrong, during which the kid started to cry. Quite normal as children’s behavior goes in situations like this. The teacher was gentle and there were hugs of support afterwards.

Well, once the parents were told about this, they seemed to have experienced tunnel vision. Tunnel vision that seemed to focus on the fact that their kid cried and was supposedly embarrassed in front of the class, and not the fact that they tried to steal. In fact, the parents ended up turning the tide back onto the teacher, sending a message that it’s actually OK to steal, and the school didn’t do anything about it. Nothing effective, at least.

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Image credits: Julia M Cameron (not the actual photo)

Bored Panda reached out to OP for an interview on the situation. She explained that she simply wanted to vent her frustrations in an anonymous way as she works in a tight knit school. “Posting in an online forum posed a threat of it getting it back to the parent. Reddit is almost anonymous, so I felt safer to share my frustrations,” said OP.

This turned into a discussion on whether or not the next generation is doomed because of situations like this. The comment section noted instances when parents blamed others in toddler play groups, parents flat out refused to enforce consequences, passing on a culture of gaslighting and even normalizing stealing as sometimes parents are in on it too.

Redditors did, however, express support for the teacher. OP did the right thing in teaching that stealing is wrong, let alone invested themselves into making sure the parents are aware of the situation. It’s all on the parents at this point.

The sad part is that these situations have happened before in OP’s experience. “I’ve taught for 14 years, many parents enable their child’s behaviors. There is no consequences or accountability for kids. Many students are being raised without accountability and are learning to blame others for their mistakes.”

And it doesn’t help that parents like the ones in this story don’t seem to care at all. OP explained that she doesn’t the parents realistically cared about the stolen tablet. Instead, they were more upset with the fact that their kid was embarrassed.

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Image credits: MChe Lee (not the actual photo)

Stealing behaviors among kids have rational and reasonable explanations, though it’s not okay to write it off as being normal or natural

A sense of ownership among kids develops at around the age of two. A full understanding of it, however, only comes around when the kid is roughly 3 to 5 years old. So, there’s a window in which they simply don’t understand what they are doing.

However, if they do, and still decide to steal something, it’s important to look at the root cause. Kids might have low impulse control for immediate gratification, they might have difficulty imagining or understanding that someone might get upset over this, heck, they might even be bored and could steal for the thrill of it or just to get some attention.

This is besides things like being peer pressured into it, having come from impoverished families or there might even be deeper problems there, perhaps on an emotional or social level.

Whatever the case, such behavior has to be tackled and the kid has to understand why they shouldn’t do it. In such a case, it’s important to stay calm and not overreact, talk to them about it and, if possible, confiscate what they stole and establish clear consequences.

It goes without saying that scare tactics won’t work and it is important to continue monitoring the kid’s behavior so that they wouldn’t go back to their old ways, and praise them for doing the right thing. But this is for the parents to do. OP, as a teacher, did everything within their power and did it right, but it’s ultimately for the parents to drive the point home. But, considering what happened, OP explained it best: “Tagging [this post] as ‘humor’ because there really is nothing we can do to help, but laugh.”

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So, what are your thoughts on any of this? Share your takes and stories in the comment section below!

Image credits: Ivan Aleksic (not the actual photo)

Folks in the comments shared their own reactions and takes on the matter, with the author of the post also chiming in

Others shared their very Reddit reactions and similar stories

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silverskycloud avatar
SilverSkyCloud
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

what are the odds the parents told her to take the tablet to begin with~?

kenbeattie avatar
Ken Beattie
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Probably not. But I wouldn't be surprised if the kid asked for a tablet and the parents turned them down. The interesting part to me is that the kid had it hidden up their shirt. That indicates they knew what they were doing was wrong. It's the point that highlights the kid was stealing it and not borrowing it.

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philiprutter avatar
Cosmikid
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My big sister, the child shrink, put it this way -"Young children don't get crazy all by themselves..." When the child is a thief and whiner - OF COURSE the parents are going to be badly behaved.

naschi avatar
Na Schi
Community Member
1 month ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

OMG, the future is really doomed when looking the BP poll! Currently only 55% percent think that stealing includes consequences. And a whooping 27% percent that parents have the right to scold the teacher if the teacher had been overly harsh! TF WHAT? Better learn not to steal in a young age! Harsh teacher or not. When becoming an adult and only gotten a figuratively slap on the fingers there will be a harsh wake-up for some of those today’s cute little thieves. (Edit: worst of my spelling)

waihi avatar
My O My
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I think "overly harsh" needs a definition here. I will absolutely talk to the teacher when she's too harsh in my opinion. But I'm also a mum that talks to the teacher if the lets too much slip. "Talks to" means talk with each other, find out why certain things are in a certain way and also listen to each other. And that is what's wrong with my generation! Talking ang listening TO each other isn't a thing anymore

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silverskycloud avatar
SilverSkyCloud
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

what are the odds the parents told her to take the tablet to begin with~?

kenbeattie avatar
Ken Beattie
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Probably not. But I wouldn't be surprised if the kid asked for a tablet and the parents turned them down. The interesting part to me is that the kid had it hidden up their shirt. That indicates they knew what they were doing was wrong. It's the point that highlights the kid was stealing it and not borrowing it.

Load More Replies...
philiprutter avatar
Cosmikid
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My big sister, the child shrink, put it this way -"Young children don't get crazy all by themselves..." When the child is a thief and whiner - OF COURSE the parents are going to be badly behaved.

naschi avatar
Na Schi
Community Member
1 month ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

OMG, the future is really doomed when looking the BP poll! Currently only 55% percent think that stealing includes consequences. And a whooping 27% percent that parents have the right to scold the teacher if the teacher had been overly harsh! TF WHAT? Better learn not to steal in a young age! Harsh teacher or not. When becoming an adult and only gotten a figuratively slap on the fingers there will be a harsh wake-up for some of those today’s cute little thieves. (Edit: worst of my spelling)

waihi avatar
My O My
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I think "overly harsh" needs a definition here. I will absolutely talk to the teacher when she's too harsh in my opinion. But I'm also a mum that talks to the teacher if the lets too much slip. "Talks to" means talk with each other, find out why certain things are in a certain way and also listen to each other. And that is what's wrong with my generation! Talking ang listening TO each other isn't a thing anymore

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