Why Do Teens Steal?
Teens steal for various reasons: they want something they can’t have, peers heavily influence them, or they cannot control their behaviors. Teenage negative behavior is something parents tend to expect in adolescence. Stealing may indicate mental issues such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or kleptomania. Your teen may unintentionally steal from you, their friends, or even malls — they feel the need to grab and keep something that is not theirs. If you discover your teenager has been stealing, contact us. We’re a teen treatment program in Los Angeles, and offer a wide range of therapy for adolescents who struggle from stealing, to depression and mental health related issues.
Prevention Strategies: What Should You Do if Your Teen is Caught Stealing?
- Encourage your teen to contemplate the consequences of their actions
- Your teen might have made a mistake, and that is perfectly normal. You are here to guide them and help them understand the consequences of their actions. Separate the wrong deed from the doer and do not make your child feel alone. Remember that you know your kid more than anyone and that one mistake does not define their entire personality. Instead of focusing on what’s been done, help them figure out how to overcome this issue.
- Give your child responsibilities
- Some teens steal because they are bored. If your child has many tasks on their plate, they are much less likely to consider stealing. Having a good set of challenging and rewarding responsibilities will be positive for their mental health.
- Discuss the consequences of stealing and make yourself clear
- Warn your child about the grave consequences of stealing, like school suspension or expulsion, jail, or fines. They must understand the implications of their actions.
- Provide the appropriate punishment for your child
- Try having your child spend their time participating in outreach programs. This can help them see how other people live and practice introspection. Grounding them can also be effective, especially if your child spends a lot of time with negative influences.
- Talk to your teen about financial responsibility
- Give your child a daily or weekly allowance and teach them to budget their own money. Let them buy their essentials such as toiletries, school needs, and clothing. Your child will learn the importance of money and that they should not steal it from anyone.
- Treat your children fairly
- If you have two or more kids, make them feel loved equally; do not have favorites. Some teens become rebellious when their parents do not appreciate them as much as they do their siblings. They may be stealing as a way to elicit attention.
Substance Use: Risk of Stealing in Teenagers
What to Do When Your Child Denies Theft?
Consequences for Shoplifting
Inform them of the severe potential consequences, such as getting jailed or fined. If your child finds it hard to stop themselves from stealing, it is best to seek professional help. They might benefit from programs for out of control teenager, especially if they have a mental condition and teen impulse control disorder such as kleptomania.