How do you stop a teenager from stealing?

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  1. Edda McIver profile image60
    Edda McIverposted 14 years ago

    Please do you have any advices? My husband and myself we have tried almost everything (a part phisical punishment,because we believe they don't work)
    Nothing seems to work with my stepdaughter.

    1. rhamson profile image69
      rhamsonposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Call the police and turn her in.  I know this sounds kind of harsh but the more resistance you get from her with regard to this problem the more effort you should make to get her attention.  You may say this action could have an adverse effect on her future because of a criminal record and reduce her chances can be turned around by saying what if she doesn't stop even into adulthood.  At that point she will not only hurt herself but also her victims.

    2. cheaptrick profile image73
      cheaptrickposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      I worked as a councilor at a felony convicted youth Camp(prison really)for some years.We found that the most common cause for youth crime was a lack of self esteem usually hidden under some kind of Front image.Once the defence mechanism was breached the boys started making progress toward "living by principles"through Self discipline(hard physical work seemed to work best).Teens are not given enough credit for spotting BS so don't try to manipulate her.My advise is Work her hard then be honest in your praise...teach her its OK to fall down as long as she falls Forward...

  2. profile image0
    ralwusposted 14 years ago

    hmmm, good luck with this. Some underlying problem I see, most likely. tough job being a step parent. Too late for physical punishment, good counseling maybe, or as a last result, jail may be in her future.
    My oldest son stole money once from a neighbor, I made him give the man his new TV set that I had given him for Christmas, he never did it again. That was back in the seventies.

  3. Edda McIver profile image60
    Edda McIverposted 14 years ago

    Thanks for your replies unfortunately we have already tried both idea and they didn't work.

    1. rhamson profile image69
      rhamsonposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      The only thing I can suggest is to keep it up. It worked for us.

      My oldest 15 year old at the time son was getting in trouble and went to juvenile court the first time and recieved a slap on the wrist.  I made him repay the victim and things went okay or awhile.  He did something else and went before the court again.  After all was said in the case the judge asked if I wanted to make a statement.  I told the judge that he needed to deal with this problem with my son because it was beyond what I could teach him.  The judge looked at me incredulously and said he was truly surprised and how refreshing it was for him to hear what I told him.  He said he was going to give my son another chance to straighten up but after hearing what I said he gave him a fine and community service. That did it for my son and he has stayed out of trouble since.  He is 32 now.  It is never easy but maybe a similar thing is applicable for you as well.  Good luck. smile

  4. andromida profile image55
    andromidaposted 14 years ago

    You should know why a teenager steals and what are the things he/she usually steals. Make the things available to her what she usually steals and see the response.Talk to her with lots of love and care about stealing,if necessary consult a psychologist.

  5. Krystal Blue profile image59
    Krystal Blueposted 14 years ago

    Was she taught correctly as a child? That could be the problem.
    The things she steals, what are they? I stole as a child but I stole clothes and make up, things that my mother couldn't afford, I had to keep up with peers, there is a lot of peer pressure to wear the right clothes, have the right look and so on. Perhaps a lack of corporal punishment is the reason. I'm not saying beat the child, but spankings are not abuse. Although a teen is too old for spankings (that should be done when they are young to prevent bad behavior in the future, they need to know who is boss) Seems as though the girl has not had enough discipline or does not know the meaning of having to work for something.
    Maybe have her work for something and then take it away from her to teach her how hard people have to work to own something, then maybe she'll have some appreciation.

    Is she running with the wrong crowd? If so, take away all her phone time and computer time. Do not under any circumstances allow her to associate with those people.

    Good luck to you.

  6. tobey100 profile image60
    tobey100posted 14 years ago

    This may sound strange but it depends on who they're stealing from.  Is it you and your husband?  Shoplifting? From friends or other members of the family?  Since we're talking about a teenager there are a number of options.  I have five boys and at one time or another in their lives I think each one of them went through a sort of phase involving stealing.  The number one thing my wife and I did was talk to the boy about trust. If we can't trust you, then you will not be allowed to do things that other kids can do---sleepovers, camping, going to ballgames or school events, etc. Then we stick to it, and let him know that it is because we didn't want him to steal things from other people.  I don't know if your teenages is an only child.  In our case, we quickly discovered the underlying reason for the boys behavior usually could be traced back to a perceived lack of attention.  Our oldest one time actually said having us pay attention to him because we were mad was better than being ignored because he was older and had a bunch of younger brothers.  You never know.

  7. Ms Chievous profile image65
    Ms Chievousposted 14 years ago

    See if you can arrange a meeting with a juvenile probabtion officer to scare the crap out of her!  If you can't do that take her a on a lovely tour of juvenile detention centers and explain very carefully the behaviors that can get you there!  It may take her messing up big time to actually learn.  Have there been any consequences to her behaviors before?

  8. SandyMcCollum profile image63
    SandyMcCollumposted 14 years ago

    Sometimes you've raised them with the right ideals and paid tons of attention to them and then they steal anyway. My daughter got caught the first time shoplifting when she was 15. She got good grades and her attendance was perfect in school, so every time the judge would give her a slap on the wrist. She got away with everything she got caught doing and is now a 32 year old thief. They turn into their own people and grow away from us sometimes. They have their own mind. I hope it's not too late for your daughter, but don't beat yourself up if you can't help her in the long run. Really good parents often have kids who make mistakes and commit crimes. Good luck!

  9. profile image0
    shazwellynposted 14 years ago

    My heart goes out to you.  I have a son who is heading down the wrong path.  I am thinking in terms of moving him on.  Let society give him a lesson in life.  Sounds hard, but I don't think I have much option.

    You know, you start of with great hope for them, but as been said, they have their own minds and they will do what they will do and there is no doing anything about it. x

  10. kirstenblog profile image79
    kirstenblogposted 14 years ago

    There must be a hub in here somewhere. I imagine you are not the only parent to have to deal with this issue. As a teen I did some shop lifting hmm Getting caught didn't scare me straight, getting caught again still didn't do it, tho it did limit my sticky fingers as it did scare me, just didn't hammer home the realization that stealing is wrong. What stopped my sticky fingers was having a job. I remember the first time I bought something I would have stolen before with my first wages. The feeling of pride at buying what I wanted with my own hard earned money was something I had not experienced before, and I decided that I never wanted to steal again. Being able to get the things I wanted was great, being able to earn the things I wanted was unbeatable. To this day I love the feeling of buying what I want and need with money I earn instead of getting it any other way. Not to say that I don't like getting presents, I do, but it lacks that feeling of accomplishment. I guess this sort of lesson is one that cannot be forced on another but has to be learned by oneself. If you can encourage a person to discover this feeling of self sufficiency that could be a good idea.

  11. prettydarkhorse profile image62
    prettydarkhorseposted 14 years ago

    turn her to proper authority-- correctional, if all else failed like grounding etc

  12. profile image56
    cami2403posted 14 years ago

    why dont you find out why she is stealing? perhaps its a lack of money, or that feeling of not being able to have what you wants. she needs a job. also knowing what she is stealing could help you to find out the reason

  13. profile image0
    reeltaulkposted 14 years ago never passify a situation as such by providing the individual with more.  Severe measures must be taken.   Your step daughter ego is out of control.  She feels she deserves whatever she desires doesn't matter who it belongs to, or who has to suffer from her actions.  Some time spent with a few crackheads and thugs in jail will set her straight

  14. Edda McIver profile image60
    Edda McIverposted 14 years ago

    I really appreciate all your answers. She is 11 and what she steals are sweets and chewing gums from the shop near her school. We had a couple of books and diary stolen from the school fair.
    She is been trow out by her mum two years ago and it is almost a year that her mother doesn't make any contact.
    I know that maybe someone can find pathetic the sweet stealing but after you explain that it doesn't matter if it is a sweet or a jumper..steling is wrong anyway.
    I understand that there is a huge lack of self esteemed, that she is angry and hurt but as a responsible parents myself and my husband can't allowed this kind of attitude.
    Nothing seems to bother her. I know that in the past her own mum called the police on her but it seems that she doesn't care.
    We praise her for the good actions and persevere with boundaries but believe me after two years of lies and stealing I start to be really tired.

    1. profile image0
      reeltaulkposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      you should have said it was sweets from the beginning!  That is nothing to worry about everyone has done that

      1. Edda McIver profile image60
        Edda McIverposted 14 years agoin reply to this

        I totally disagree one thing is try once and stop and another is doing it systematically. Sweet, books, money are all the same the principles; you don't steal. And I'm not talking about one sweet here and there, i'm talking about packets. Plus we had the books at the school fete, my grand mother ring being stolen and given to one of her friend, my son pocket money disappering and foun it in her purse, and believe me I check on her so I know exactly how much money she has. I wanted to avoid a huge list for don't appearing the awfull step mother but your comment deserve an answer.

        Sorry I disagree with your views

  15. ddsurfsca profile image70
    ddsurfscaposted 14 years ago

    I found with my kids that the only thing that worked most of the time was allowing them or making them feel the way the other person did when they were stolen from, for example, if they took a toy from a neighborhood kid, I would in turn take something they really treasured so they could see how it felt.  Also, making them fess up to whomever they stole from and make it right.  No matter what a kid does, they should be made to correct their wrongdoing.

  16. ddsurfsca profile image70
    ddsurfscaposted 14 years ago

    work duty perhaps, for every thing she takes, she must work off the crime, sort of like community service

  17. Madison22 profile image61
    Madison22posted 14 years ago

    I had a similar situation with my daughter when she was a teen. She did it twice the second time she got arrested and let go the next morning. I have to say that it definitely was a wake up call for her, she never did it again. I also got her some therapy.
    I believe it was a thrill seeking motive for her along with rebellion at the time we were having a difficult time communicating. Also, the things she shop lifted were relatively inexpensive and I had no problem purchasing them for her, so obviously it wasn't about the items themselves. Today, I am happy to say she is a well rounded young women on her third year of college living on her own. Hope that help's.


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