Family Magazine

Help! My Teenager Was Caught Stealing. How Should I Handle the Situation?

By Upliftingfam @upliftingfam

Shopping mallMost teenagers enjoy hanging out at the mall for several hours on the weekends so that they can spend time with their friends and window shop, unless they have money to spend.  In fact, I remember doing this when I was a teenager, I enjoyed roaming around the mall and catching up with my friends.  Most teenagers can be trusted and won’t cause trouble when they without parental supervision.  However, some will go against what they were taught and will cave into peer pressure or they really want something but don’t have the money to pay for it.  So they will come up with a plan to steal or shop lift the item that they really want.  Most kids aren’t thinking and don’t want to wait until they have the money to purchase it the right way.  Instead, they decide to steal it and hope that they don’t get caught.  Instant gratification will cause problems with the law and with a teens parents.

Disclosure:  The story above is fictional and was used as an illustration so that parents can understand how to deal with a similar situation.  Please seek help from a licensed counselor or psychiatrist for additional help.  This post is for informational purposes only.

Example of a Teenager Caught Stealing/Shop Lifting

Johnny decided that he couldn’t wait until he had the money for a t-shirt that he saw on a rack at a local store at the mall so he decides to go to the dressing room to try it on.  Once he has the shirt on, he decides to keep the shirt on and put his regular clothes back on over it.  Then he walks out of the dressing room empty handed and the clerk peers over to see if he has come out of the dressing room with the merchandise that he took into the dressing room to try on. Of course, Johnny has no clue that the clerk was on to him because he was talking to his friends and acting normal.  The clerk walks back to the dressing room to see if he happened to leave the item in the dressing room or on the rack near the dressing room that holds the items that customer’s decide that they don’t want to purchase after all.  The clerk doesn’t find the shirt in the dressing room or hanging on the rack.  So she goes back to the register and calls mall security. Johnny and his friends decide to move on to another store and as they are heading towards another store, they notice that mall security is following them around.  They begin to chuckle and they begin to wonder why they are being followed.  Johnny’s friends have no idea that he just stole a shirt from the previous store. The security guard taps Johnny on the shoulder and asks to speak to him.  His friends just watch as the security guard begins talking to Johnny. The next thing Johnny is being escorted to the security office and he is searched.  The security guard quickly figures out that Johnny has on the shirt he stole underneath his clothes.  The guard places handcuffs around Johnny’s wrists and they tell him to sit down in the chair.  Next, the security officer begins asking Johnny a series of questions. After Johnny answers all of their questions, the security guard calls Johnny’s parents and informs them of Johnny’s actions.  His mom answered the phone and was devastated that her son decided to steal from a store, especially, when she had plenty of money to purchase the shirt if Johnny had only asked her.  The security guard contacts the local police department.

How To Handle Your Teenager Stealing in a Calm, Loving Manner

If your child is caught stealing it is very important that you handle the situation properly so that you don’t completely ruin your relationship with your child.  Even though you are angry, you need to make sure that when you confront your child about stealing that you keep calm and talk in a normal tone of voice.  Stealing is a crime and is unacceptable.  If your child is caught stealing, it is important that you take the time to figure out why your teen decided to steal in the first place.  Parents you must also maintain an open relationship with your child so that they feel that they can talk to you openly about situations, such as the scenario described above.  The last thing that you want to do is to push your teen further away, which can lead to self destruction and isolation.

Continue Reading: “Why Do Teenagers Steal?  How Do I Handle My Teen if They Are Caught Stealing?”

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