Teen shoplifting may sound harmless enough, but in reality it can be a serious problem. Some teens shoplift solely for the excitement associated with it. They thrive on the possibility that they may get caught. They eventually become so casual about it that they get caught. Once captured for shoplifting they are entered into the legal system. In some teenís minds it is not a serious crime or conviction so ďwhatís the problemĒ? To a potential employer it is a problem. If you were choosing between two potential employees and one had a shoplifting conviction and one didnítí, which one would you choose? It is also problematic in that the teen is developing a disregard for the law. Some teens may go for years never being caught, while others may get caught the first time.
Teen Shoplifting and Peer Pressure
As we have mentioned previously, a teen will usually engage in the same activities that their peers do. If a teen is hanging out with other teens that shoplift, they will usually end up shoplifting. Every teen wants to fit in and be accepted. This craving for acceptance can push the teen to do things they may normally not have done. In some teen circles a teen will have to shoplift to be accepted in. If you are the parent of a teen that has a friend caught for shoplifting, it may be wise to investigate closer to see if your teen is engaging in the same activities. Teens donít usually hang around with teens that do things they donít believe in.
Teen Shoplifting and the Law
Teen shoplifters will be prosecuted in most states when they are caught. Most large department stores have policies that force them to report shoplifters to the police. Once a teen has a police record for shoplifting they are now in the legal system. If the teen has another run in with the law, the shoplifting case will be revisited, or at least obvious. The judge who may normally dismiss a teen for another violation, may think twice if the teen has a previous shoplifting case on the books. So it may be true that shoplifting is not that big of a deal to some teens, but in reality it is. A judge will more than likely believe that a teen has no regard for the law if he has a shoplifting charge and something else. It will appear that a pattern is being established.
It is important for parents to not only set an example of honesty, but to hold their children accountable for their actions. There are many stories about parents taking their child back to the grocery store to have their little child give back a piece of stolen candy. There are probably an equal amount of stories never told about a child who was never confronted about this type of behavior. It is obvious which child will not think twice about taking something that is not theirs.