Teen Shoplifting: Why Do Teens Steal

teenshopliftingAs 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.

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Teen Drinking is Underage Drinking: Prom and Graduation Parties are No Exceptions

MADDPower

April is Alcohol Awareness Month at the same time teens are getting ready for many celebrations including school being over.

It is that time of the year and teens are excited about their proms and graduation.

With this usually comes celebration, but remember, drinking age is usually 21 years-old.

Parents need to encourage their teens to make smart choices.  There is the POWER of PARENTS!

Steps you can take at home:

Help your son or daughter steer clear of the dangers of underage drinking with these five steps:

Step 1: Think of yourself as a coach

Your role in preventing underage drinking is similar to coaching. You can help your teen by

  • Sharing information
  • Discussing choices and monitoring behavior
  • Helping your teen anticipate and handle challenging situations
  • Cheering your teen on to make smart, safe choices

Step 2: Get busy communicating

Begin a series of conversations with your son or daughter—proactively, before he or she gets caught drinking—about how:

  • Alcohol is a drug with serious sedative effects
  • Drinking has health dangers and other risks for young people
  • It is illegal to drink before the age of 21
  • You want your teen to be safe and respect the law
  • Your teen can plan ways to resist peer pressure to drink

Step 3: Keep track of your teen
You need to know what your teen does after school, at night, and on weekends—and with whom.

  • Agree on rules, limits, and consequences
  • Monitor all in-person and online activities
  • Know your teen’s schedule
  • Make sure he or she has your permission for activities
  • Talk to parents of kids with whom your teen spends time
  • Enforce consequences consistently

Step 4: Show respect and caring
Your teen will respond better when you

  • Listen respectfully to his or her ideas and concerns
  • Explain that rules, limits, and consequences are meant to protect them
  • Help your teen think logically and make smart choices
  • Remind your teen how much you love and care about them

Step 5: Be a positive role model
Your teen will be most receptive to your guidance if you lead by example and act responsibly.

Source:  MADD Power of Parents

Teen Peer Pressure

Frequently we hear how a teen used to be such a nice kid until they started hanging out with so-and-so. Yes, the wrong crowd. Everyone knows about the wrong crowd.

We’re surrounded by peer pressure every day in a variety of different ways, from the unknown forces of the media to our friends and family. Although a parent can’t erase peer pressure from her child’s life, she can give her the tools she needs to stay strong in the face of it and make decisions based on what’s best for her.

Here are a few tools to help you teach your child about peer pressure.

Talk to your child about the influences of the media. Every time you turn on the TV, pick up a magazine, read a billboard, go on Facebook or Twitter, or surf the web there are people trying to get you to take the action they want you to take or think the way they want you to think. Many people don’t recognize these forces as peer pressure because they’ve become such an engrained part of our lives; however, the media greatly influences our ideas and choices. Talking with children about these influences can help kids see things with a critical mind and allow them to make smarter, more objective decisions.

Be a good role model. If your child sees you rush out to buy the latest fashion, stand in line for hours to land the latest gadget, or try the latest fad diet because everyone else on the block is singing its praises, she’s much more likely to fall prey to the same peer influences. Let your child see you making decisions based on what’s best for you and the situation, even when it’s not necessarily the popular choice.

Talk to your child about the people and things that influence him. Conversation is one of the most powerful tools you have in helping your child withstand peer pressure. Talk with your child about what choices his friends are making, the choices he’s facing, the factors that influence him, and how he makes decisions about what to do and what not to do. Giving him a safe place to explore his thoughts and feelings will help him make well thought out decisions. It will also allow him to make up his mind about what to do in a tough situation before he’s actually in the tough situation. Working through his choices ahead of time gives him the confidence to act in accordance with his beliefs and values.

Involve your child in a community that supports your values. Although you can’t insulate your child from peer pressure, you can stack the deck in your favor by surrounding your child with people that can help her make good choices. Your local church, Boys and Girls Club, Boy and Girl Scouts, and community programs are all great places to find like-minded families. Your child will still be pressured to do things that are not in her best interest, but it’s a lot easier to say no when others are saying no alongside you.

Help your child develop a strong sense of self. Children with high self-esteem and a positive self-image have a much easier time resisting peer pressure. Those things don’t develop overnight, so plant the seeds of self-esteem and self-image when your child is young and cultivate them as your child grows.

Help your child avoid troublesome situations. Sometimes peer pressure can be avoided simply by avoiding a certain person or taking control of a situation. If your child’s classmate is known for rallying friends to pick on younger kids, stop meeting him and his mom at the local park. Instead, foster a friendship between your child and a kinder classmate. If your child’s new neighbor friend spends hours watching R rated movies while he’s home alone after-school, insist they play at your house where you can monitor their TV choices. If you’re worried about your daughter being out late with her older boyfriend, impose an early curfew but allow the boyfriend to stay and visit.

Be supportive. Making good choices in the face of peer pressure is tough. It can be a very emotional struggle for many kids. Be the person your child can confide in, can count on, and can ask for advice.

Don’t expect perfection. Your child will make mistakes. She will hang out with the wrong people. She will make bad choices. How you react when those things happen will have a big impact on how she handles similar situations in the future. Your goal is to help her learn from her mistakes, help her learn how to make a better choice next time, and help her correct her course when she realizes that she’s going in the wrong direction.

A parent can’t protect her child from peer pressure, but she can help her make decisions based on what’s best for her and not simply on what everyone else is doing.

Source: Go Nannies

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Peer Pressure and Teens Today

There is no denying how awkward the teenage years are. Surging hormones, increasing responsibility, and feeling a lack of control over their lives have long caused stress among teens. Parents might struggle to find sympathy when their teenager moans how hard their life is but it is true more than ever for today’s teens. A parent’s job is to help guide their child through this time, hopefully having them emerge from the chrysalis as a competent adult.

One problem teens struggle to deal with is pressure. Non-stop access to social media has made it difficult for them to learn to switch off. As their parent, you can help them develop the skills they need to manage pressure in a positive way, without turning to damaging alternatives like alcohol or drugs.

1. Switching Off

Put your teen in an environment where there are no distractions like television, computers or phones. A weekend’s camping, or even a short hike, can help them to learn that there won’t be a disaster if they don’t reply to that text straight away. Living in a world where immediate responses are possible, doesn’t mean they are always necessary. Time away will help your teen develop confidence in the knowledge that they can step back now and then, without losing social status.

2. Taking Control

So many aspects of a teen’s life are outside of their control. They may be nearly adults, but they are still dependent on their parents for basic needs. It is important that they still have restrictions and guidelines around their activities – most teens have not yet developed the emotional maturity to always act in their best interests. Work with your teen to help them learn to make the right decisions. Just as you would have done when they were toddlers, give them several suitable options and let them choose, such as about curfew punishments. Give them a safe environment for them to feel the repercussions of being irresponsible. If you always make the right decision for them, they won’t learn to make decisions for themselves.

3. Keeping Healthy

Teaching your teens the benefits of eating well and being active will benefit them all their lives. A good diet, regular exercise, and enough sleep all help prevent depression and mood swings. Likewise, food stuffed with additives and chemicals, and poor sleeping habits can exacerbate a bad mood. Get your teen involved with planning and cooking family meals. Encourage them to be active by walking to school if it is close enough, and not taking the car or bus everywhere. For some teens, just being outside is a step in the right direction.

4. Building Confidence

Pressure usually comes from the fear of failure. Help your teen build their confidence so that they not only learn to trust themselves and their ability; they learn that it is ok to make mistakes. Encourage them to try new things. Show them by example that the learning process doesn’t stop once you leave school. Don’t hide your own mistakes, but talk to them about what you have tried and what you have learned. In a world of instant gratification, it may seem to them success should be immediate too. Help them see alternative ways of achieving their goals.

The teenage years are the last phase of intensive parenting before your child heads into the world as an adult. Pressure in life is inevitable, but giving your teen the tools to manage it will help them cope without feeling overwhelmed.

Kirsty Smith is a parent of 3 teenage boys. She is an experienced writer and blogger, covering a wide range of subjects including food, parenting, travel, and education. She also contributes to Degree Jungle a resource for students.

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Teens Smoking Pot – Teen Drug Use

Parenting teens in today’s society is not an easy task.  Communication with your teenager is key to their success on many levels, however as a mother that raised two teenager, I know it is easier said than done.  Drug and alcohol use among teens is an issue parents need to be aware of.   There are many good kids making some very bad choices.
A common misconception parents make is thinking that a teen that is only smoking marijuana is a phase.  Marijuana and the substitutes for it, such as spice, are more risky and dangerous than years/generations prior.  They can be laced with higher levels of PCP than can literally alter the mind of your teen as well as cause brain damage.
Drug use (substance abuse) is a serious cry for help, and making your teen feel ashamed or embarrassed can make the problem worse. Some common behavior changes you may notice if your teenager is abusing drugs and alcohol are:
  • Violent outbursts, rage, disrespectful behavior
  • Poor or dropping grades
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Skin abrasions, track marks
  • Missing curfew, running away, truancy
  • Bloodshot eyes, distinct “skunky” odor on clothing and skin
  • Missing jewelry, money
  • New friends
  • Depression, apathy, withdrawal, disengaged from the family
  • Reckless behavior
Do you have a teen that you suspect is using drugs?  Is therapy not working?  Have you exhausted all your local resources?  Take the time to learn about residential therapy,  visit www.HelpYourTeens.com.
Each teen and family are unique, there are many teen help programs, knowing how to locate the one best for you can be a challenge, however Parents’ Universal Resource Experts can help, starting with a free consultation.
Please remember, it is not your marijuana from your college or teens days.
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Teen Help Programs: Sorting through the Confusion of the Internet

School will be ending and summer is fast approaching.

Sending a child to a residential program/school is a major decision. It is not one to be taken lightly or to be decided on overnight.

Usually a teen’s behavior has been slowly escalating and a parent knows that deep down things are not getting better.  As much as you hope and pray that things will change, this is only typical teen behavior, sometimes it just isn’t.

With drug use and substance abuse rising – more dangerous and deadly ingredients being used, such as spice and inhalants, parents have reason to be concerned.  It isn’t your marijuana of generations prior – it is so much worse and in many cases – addictive and deadly.

If you have reached your wit’s end and now surfing the Internet for help, remember, anyone can build a website.  Anyone can put up nice pictures and create great content.  You need to do your due diligence.

Years ago I struggled with my own teenager.  I was at my wit’s end.  I didn’t realize what a big business this “teen help industry” was.  Yes, my child needed help, but what we received was anything but that.  My story is a cautionary tale – not one to scare you into not using a program, however on the contrary, you have to get your child help, but you have to do your research in getting them the right help.

Here are some quick tips:

  • Your child is not for sale, try to avoid those marketing arms selling you a list of programs that are not in the best interest of your child’s individual needs.
  • Always speak with an owner or director – Someone that has a vested in your teen’s recovery.  Their reputation is on the line.
  • Wilderness and other short term programs are usually nothing more than a band-aid that will fall off as quickly as the program lasted.  They are expensive camping trips and in most cases the Wilderness program will tell you at about 4 weeks that your teen will need to continue on to a longer term program.  What? Yes, now you go back to the research board and worse than that, your teen will be deflated when he finds out he/she isn’t coming home in 6-9 weeks as they were lead to believe – and they will be starting all over again with a new therapist – new schedule – and new setting.  Don’t get caught up in this “shuffle.”  Start and finish with the same school/program.
  • The average stay should be about 6-9-12 months, depending on your teen.  Anything less is probably non-effective.  Anything more, you may be creating abandonment issues in my opinion.
  • Do you really need an Educational Consultant?  Absolutely not.  You are the parent and no one knows your teen better than you do – with a few tips, you will be able to make some sound choices.

For more helpful hint and tips, please contact www.HelpYourTeens.com for a free consultation. After the ordeal I went through, I created this advocacy organization to help educate parents on finding safe and quality programs.

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Precription Drugs, Your Medicine Cabinet and Your Teens: Be AWARE

Be an educated parent, clean our your medicine cabinets!

It’s not just pot, crack or cocaine – you could be contributing to your teen’s drug use.

Many teens believe that taking prescription drugs to get high is safer than using street drugs.

Be AWARxE!

Prescription drugs are dangerous when they are not used correctly as directed by a doctor.

  • One in five teens have taken a prescription drug that was not theirs to get high or to deal with problems.
  • Teens are abusing pain pills (Vicodin®, OxyContin®), stimulants (Ritalin®, Adderall®), and tranquilizers (Xanax®, Valium®).
  • Teens take these drugs right out of the medicine cabinet – at home, at a friend’s house, or when visiting family.
  • 5.2 million people, including kids ages 12 and older, said they had abused prescription pain relievers, as reported in a 2007 survey.
  • More people are visiting the emergency room because they misused prescription pain medication. From 2004 to 2009, emergency room visits due to misusing narcotic pain pills increased by almost 100%.

Learn more at AWARE RX.

Fact:Prescription drugs are the most commonly abused drugs among 12-13 year olds. Many of these pills can be found in your medicine cabinet and around your house.  In an effort to help stop this growing problem, the DEA is hosting a Take-Back Day on April 28, 2012. If you have any unused prescription drugs in your home, you can drop them off at the designated collection site in your community on April 28.

The DEA coordinates with the local law enforcement and community partners to provide thousands of sites across the country, many of them at police departments, so that the unwanted drugs are disposed of safely and legally. Sites will accept pills, both prescription and nonprescription, for disposal.

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