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What Can I Do to Stop My Child From Shoplifting?

My 16-year-old daughter was caught shoplifting recently, and I'm both devastated and worried about her. What should I do?
Joseph

Teens might shoplift for many different reasons, including acting out, trying to look cool, rebelling, looking for attention, or because they see friends doing it. Some do it to get things that their friends have that they can't afford.

It helps to try to examine what might be causing your teen to shoplift and to talk to her about it. Try to explain that she is not just taking something from a store, but is stealing from the people who own the store, contributing to higher prices for other customers, and committing a crime that can have consequences such as a criminal record.

Many parents find that seeking professional help from a doctor or therapist is the best way to deal with a teen who has shoplifted, particularly if it has happened more than once. Mental health professionals and organizations such as the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention can provide valuable information and help.

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: February 2010

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