While it might seem intuitive for a parent to dismiss a case of shoplifting something small as a “normal” part of growing up, the reality is that shoplifting is a crime. Even worse, if the child continues shoplifting without intervention, this could set the precedent for more serious crimes in the future. Here’s what every parent should know about how to help their child when talking about shoplifting.
Stealing affects the whole family
If your child is shoplifting from a store, it’s very likely that he or she will find ways to justify stealing from family members as well. If your child can’t be trusted outside of the home to behave in a legal manner, then he or she likely can’t be trusted inside the home either.
Shoplifting affects their development
Shoplifting is, at its core, antisocial behavior that is premised on the belief that someone has a moral right to take another person’s property under some circumstances. The justifications that are often employed to rationalize this antisocial behavior, such as saying, “It was just a candy bar,” or “That company won’t even notice,” are detrimental to the psychological development of a child. Juvenile crime has a way of turning into adult crime. Down the road, allowing these types of justifications for wrongful behavior to go uncorrected could set the child up for a lifetime of this way of thinking, which is not good for him or her or for the wider society.
As the parent, your job is to explain these ideas in ways that your child can understand and respect. Lay down clear boundaries and consequences for shoplifting so that your child learns the difference between right and wrong. You’ll also want to explain why you are taking disciplinary actions when they become necessary.