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How to Deal With a Teen Who Shoplifts

Dealing with teenagers is a bit difficult, especially since this is the phase where they go through a lot of changes. You have to deal with their mood swings and their “angsty” phase, and you also have to help them deal with the physical changes they go through in the adolescence stage. If you have a good relationship with your children, all these will be a walk in the park. However, if you have a shaky relationship, especially if your teen is going around with a bad crowd that shoplifts and does petty crimes, then it will be a much more difficult situation.

Understanding Shoplifting

There are so many reasons why some teenagers shoplift. Some do it to rebel against their parents and even society; some do it to be different or to join a popular crowd. Some steal because they can’t afford to pay for the product; while some steal for the thrill. There are also those who simply want to get back at a store by depriving them of potential profit. Finally, there are some teenagers who simply can’t help themselves but steal. People who belong to the latter may be suffering from a mental disorder called kleptomania.

Dealing with Shoplifting

If your teen is caught shoplifting and the security personnel called you to appear at the store, the most important thing that you have to remember is to stay calm. Do not overreact and do not become too emotional when you reach the store. You’re not going to help the situation by becoming overly upset. Instead, talk with the security personnel calmly.

If you caught your teen shoplifting or if you’re very positive that the item he brought home is stolen, then you have no other choice but to bring your child back to the store. It won’t help your child in the long run if you shield him from the consequences of shoplifting, which is considered a crime. If you don’t stop his shoplifting tendencies now, it could escalate into bigger crimes, which is what you don’t want to happen.

Of note though; it won’t do the situation any good if you defend your child, offer excuses as to why he did that, or even reprimand your child in front of them. Remember, they have a protocol to adhere to in cases of shoplifting, and more often than not, they’re going to follow through with the procedure. After all, they’re doing their job of protecting the store and preventing theft.

What you should focus on instead is how you can correct the situation. Some stores do not prosecute the shoplifter if this is his first time to steal; however, there are those that do. If this happens, then your child will be taken to the police station. You might need a criminal defense lawyer should the store pursue the case against your teen.

After the Incident

If this is the first time that your teen shoplifted, the judge may be lenient, and your teen may get off easy. However, you have to make him aware of the dire consequences the next time he’s caught shoplifting. Show him that you’ll not tolerate his shoplifting, and more importantly, get to the bottom of why he’s doing this so necessary steps may be taken to prevent a repeat offense.


Jennifer Daley is a freelance content provider forĀ Savitz Law, a reputable criminal defense lawyer. She also writes for numerous law-related blogs.

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