Dealing with a teen involved in shoplifting will never be easy on any parent. It’s going to be so hard to make things right. You have to take care of the damages your teen has caused the store; you have to confront the issue of shoplifting when you get home; you have to set rules regarding petty crimes; and you have to regularly monitor your child that he won’t do it again. All these can be very stressful, and it can cause more rifts between parents and child.
Shoplifting is a very common crime though amongst teenagers, especially those who are under a lot of pressure from school, peers, and even family. If you received a call one day, telling you that your child is in custody of the police or the store’s security officer, what will you do?
It won’t do any good to arrive at the store angry and confrontational. You won’t help your child if you berate him in front of the authorities. It will only make the situation worse. Plus, it’ll also make him feel more humiliated as well as embarrassed.
Instead, you should remain calm and composed. Listen to the authorities explain the situation and calmly talk to them about what you can do to help your child. You’ll be asked to pay for the items, of course, plus additional cash for damages. Pay them and don’t argue. Remember, they have the right to file and pursue a criminal case against your teen, something that you definitely don’t want to happen since it’ll mean a permanent mark on his record.
Talk to Your Child
As soon as you get home, don’t confront him immediately. Instead, allow a sort of cooling off period first before you discuss the issue. Not only will the cooling off period give your child some time to think of what he’s done, but it’ll also give you some time to control your anger and temper. When you finally sit down to talk about the issue, you’ll both be calmer and more able to discuss everything sensibly.
If it’s peer pressure that’s forcing him to do petty crimes, then advise him to stay away from the bad crowd. It will be difficult for him to ignore his “friends,” but in the end, it’ll be for his benefit if he steers clear of them. If drugs and alcohol are involved, then take him to a specialist. The specialist can help him quit the addiction. If family problems are involved, then as a parent, do something to address the issue. Find a solution to your problems; shower your child with love and attention; do things with him. Sometimes, simple things like these are what make a child grow up to be good or bad.
If your child is of legal age when the authorities caught him shoplifting, then there is a very high likelihood that the store will press charges. If he’s found guilty, he can face potential jail time.
Shoplifting is a bailable crime, and you can post bail so your teen can get out of prison. However, you’ll still need to get him a lawyer to represent him during the hearings.
- The photo included in this article is a free image via http://www.sxc.hu/. Credits to duchesssa.
- License: Creative Commons image source
A blogger for law-related sites, Jennifer Dallas writes about bailable crimes, including shoplifting. If you want to learn more about bailable crimes, click here.