Dealing with shoplifting

Learn about: Dealing with shoplifting from Stephen Gray Wallace, MS Ed,...
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Dealing with shoplifting

Stephen Wallace: Young people engage in shoplifting for 3 primary reasons. Number 1, they have a need for the item and so they steal it. Number 2, they’re influenced by their peers and show off for their peers. Oftentimes, shoplifting happens in groups. And number 3 is sometimes, they don’t really think about it at all. It’s an impulsive act. It goes to that brain development in the pre-frontal cognitive, development where kids sometimes just act on the spur of the moment without a lot of rational thought behind it. Parents might suspect their children of shoplifting if they suddenly find that they have lots of new things. The parents don’t know how they got them. Or perhaps they have a lot of extra cash on him because they’re selling items which may have been shoplifted. We know that young people would often sell items online that they’ve stolen. In the even that those things happen, I think it’s important that parents explain to children the results of shoplifting. How it impacts the shop owners, how it impacts other customers who may be paying more for products to make up for products that were stolen. I think it’s also important to refer back to the family values that may discourage stealing behaviors. And certainly making sure the child apologizes and offering some form of restitution is a great path to go down.

Learn about: Dealing with shoplifting from Stephen Gray Wallace, MS Ed,...


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Stephen Gray Wallace, MS Ed

School Psychologist & Author

Stephen Gray Wallace, M.S. Ed., is president and director of the Center for Adolescent Research and Education (CARE), a national collaborative of institutions and organizations committed to increasing favorable youth outcomes and reducing risk. He is a consultant to summer camps on staff training and teen leadership programming and has broad experience as a school psychologist and adolescent/family counselor. Stephen is a member of the professional development faculty at the American Academy of Family Physicians and American Camp Association and a parenting expert at, NBC News Learn and WebMD. He is also an expert partner at RANE (Risk Assistance Network & Exchange) and was national chairman and chief executive officer at SADD for more than 15 years. Additional information about Stephen’s work can be found at

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