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How can I stop my son from stealing?

Dear Bunmi,

Some months back, I noticed small amounts of money had been withdrawn from my bank account when I was nowhere near a cash machine. In total, almost

NI90,000 was missing and there was only one person who could have taken it – my 20-year-old son who is an undergraduate. I confronted him and he admitted it. He said he’d needed the money to payoff a debt.

I forgave him but it seems he’s at it again.  Money was missing from my purse the last time he came home. I don’t want to get him into trouble, but being soft on him has got me nowhere.

Fidelia, bye-mail

Dear Fidelia,

It’s difficult to stop petty thieving once it started. You need to get your son’s

father, or any father figure in his life involved in talking some sense into him. Is he on drugs? Does he drink a lot or is he involved in social activities on campus that cost a lot of money? As a drastic measure, you could get a friendly police officer to deal with the situation without your son ending up in court, by having an informal chat with him.

In the meantime, I would be careful about how easy it could be for him to be

tempted by not leaving money or your debit cards around when he visits. If he sees how much he’s upsetting you by his dishonest behaviour, he could stop. But you need to find out the reason why he needs so much cash all the time.


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