We strive to teach our kids at an early age the difference between right and wrong. During the teenage years, kids go through a lot of changes, both within their bodies and within their social environment. At times, good sense can be overtaken by peer pressure and other factors. That is where many parents begin to worry.
One thing that is important is to know your child. Even if they are grumpy, always full of drama and constantly going from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde, keeping those lines of communication open will save you both a lot of heartache. It can also alert you to the early warning signs of a serious problem that could be brewing.
But, before you begin to yell, take the time to catch your breath. During these moments, think of how you will approach your teen. A position of “I am right and you are wrong” will only cause your teen to wall themselves off and not talk to you at all.
Before you get into the punishment, listen to what your teenager has to say in their own defense. There are many reasons that kids steal, especially those who have not been in any trouble up until then. One of the number one causes is a cry for attention.
As a teenager, your child is trying to figure themselves out. Their emotions are a jumble and that can lead to acting out as a way to get you to listen to what they have to say. Discovering the underlying problem will lead to a more permanent solution to the problem.
Why would they be screaming for attention? Look at your home life. Has there been a recent divorce or an illness in the family? Dealing with the stress of these changes can cause your teenager to look for an outlet, good or bad.
School may not seem like a safe haven at this time either. Between school work, afterschool activities and peer pressure, your teen may give in to the challenge of stealing just to fit in or regain some control over their lives. Unwittingly, parents can contribute to this pressure by overemphasizing excellent grades and accepting nothing less.
This is not a blame game but a time for understanding. The best thing to do is to talk with your teen. Find out what is going on with them after the first incident so that no others occur. If you need to, ask a professional to intervene to help get to the root cause of the problem and suggest lifestyle changes to make it better.
Emotional problems can manifest themselves in the form of stealing in your teenager. Before you scold, maybe a talk with your child would be more beneficial to finding out why they have chosen this path.