As we are in the summer months, more teens are hanging at the malls. I get an increase in calls of teens being arrested for stealing and/or shoplifting. Why are they doing this, especially if they have the money to pay for it?
Too Young To Start
There are almost as many reasons teens steal as there are things for teens to steal. One of the biggest reasons teens steal is peer pressure. Often, teens will steal items as a means of proving’ that they are “cool enough” to hang out with a certain group. This is especially dangerous because if your teen can be convinced to break the law for petty theft, there is a strong possibility he or she can be convinced to try other, more dangerous behaviors, like drinking or drugs. It is because of this that it is imperative you correct this behavior before it escalates to something beyond your control.
Another common reason teens steal is because they want an item their peers have but they cannot afford to purchase. Teens are very peer influenced, and may feel that if they don’t have the ‘it’ sneakers or mp3 player, they’ll be considered less cool than the kids who do. If your teen cannot afford these items, they may be so desperate to fit in that they simply steal the item. They may also steal money from you or a sibling to buy such an item. If you notice your teen has new electronics or accessories that you know you did not buy them, and your teen does not have a job or source of money, you may want to address whereabouts they came up with these items.
Teens may also steal simply for a thrill. Teens who steal for the ‘rush’ or the adrenaline boost are often simply bored and/ or testing the limits of authority. They may not even need or want the item they’re stealing! In cases like these, teens can act alone or as part of a group. Often, friends accompanying teens who shoplift will act as a ‘lookout’ for their friend who is committing the theft. Unfortunately, even if the lookout doesn’t actually steal anything, the can be prosecuted right along with the actual teen committing the crime, so its important that you make sure your teen is not aiding his or her friends who are shoplifting.
Yet another reason teens steal is for attention. If your teen feels neglected at home, or is jealous of the attention a sibling is getting, he or she may steal in the hopes that he or she is caught and the focus of your attention is diverted to them. If you suspect your teen is stealing or acting out to gain your attention, it is important that you address the problem before it garners more than just your attention, and becomes part of their criminal record. Though unconventional, this is your teen’s way of asking for your help- don’t let them down!
Need help? Visit www.HelpYourTeens.com and join us on Facebook.
Parenting teens today has become one of the most challenging jobs with a new generation of technology, peer pressure, substance abuse, and much more.
As a Parent Advocate, I continuously help parents with today’s teen issues. Many call my organization, Parents’ Universal Resource Experts, at their wits end.
Here are some article that I encourage parents of teens and tweens to take the time to read. An educated parent is a prepared parent. A prepared parent can lead to a safer teenager.
School Violence: The dangers of bullying
Teens Shoplifting and Stealing
Teen Dating Abuse
Teen Inhalant Abuse
Parenting teen girls
Teen Drug Prevention
Click here to learn more about the author.
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It doesn’t matter what your economic status is, it seems some teens from all financial backgrounds will try their “hand” at shoplifting. Why? Peer pressure? Is it cool? Part of the crowd?
What constitutes shoplifting? It doesn’t have to be only stealing, shoplifting can include changing price tags (which is harder to do now with the bar scans in some stores), consuming food or drink without paying for it, leaving a restaurant without paying, wearing items out of a store (again, hoping there isn’t an alarm tag on them) – this and more will land you in legal trouble if you are caught.
Teens seem to believe it could never happen to them – however more and more I am hearing from parents that have had to deal with this.
Why Children Steal and Your Role in Preventing Retail Theft
Very young children sometimes take things they want without understanding why it’s wrong. Elementary school-aged children know better, but may lack enough self-control to stop themselves. Most preteens and teens shoplift as a result of social and personal pressure in their lives. Here are just a few of the reasons why:
• Feel peer pressure to shoplift
• Low self-esteem
• A cry for help or attention
• The naïve assumption they won’t get caught
• The belief that teen stealing is “not a big deal”
• Inability to handle temptation when faced with things they want
• The thrill involved
• Defiance or rebelliousness
• Not knowing how to work through feelings of anger, frustration, etc.
• Misconception that stores can afford the losses
• The desire to have the things that will get them “in” with a certain group of kids.
• To support a drug habit.
• To prove themselves to members of a gang
Be an educated parent, you will have a safer teen.
For more information visit my website on Teen Mischief. If you have a teen that is at risk, please visit Parents’ Universal Resource Experts. Also visit Teens Health on Shoplifting.
Also on Examiner.com