When teens are caught shoplifting

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When teens are caught shoplifting

When you find that your teenager has been shop lifting, the first thing to do is calm down and understand that she is not a criminal, she is a teenager. And teenagers are not capable of being criminals. They are capable of learning, this is another one of situation where you want to teach versus control your child. Understand second that the teen brain is much more attracted reward versus rest. it is just a neurology of a teen brain. They sort of understand it is wrong to steal but they are more attracted to the risk. So, what a parent to do? When you are calm, take her out to the coffee shop, sit down and ask her don't lecture don't punish, say do you think it is okay, she'll say yes, everybody does it. And then you need to post some questions, well sweetie, do you think it hurts anybody? What if you were the owner of the shop? Would that be hurtful for you? If everybody did it, what do you think the problem would be? So, you try to get the circuits turning in her head, to deal with issues that have to do with empathy and guilt which are challenges for the teen brain. Your questions are magic not arguing her answers but just throwing the questionnaire. Parenting a teenager is very much like guerrilla warfare, you run up to the wall of your enemies fort, you throw a hand grenade over and you ran the hell away. The point is to throw in good questions to make her think for awhile. After she think, you ask her to come back and tell you what she's thought, if she still has no contrition, if it still okay for her to steal the next step is to say, well we have to make it right, we are going to have to restore the shop owner. So, if you fear prosecution, you can do it anonymously redeliver the goods and the money with a note of apology and tell your daughter again for her earn a level of freedom, to be going to shops alone, she has to have a level of responsibility to honor the trust of the shop keeper. it is no about the trinket she stole, it's about something called trust which is a much bigger issue.

View Michael J. Bradley, EdD's video on When teens are caught shoplifting...


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Michael J. Bradley, EdD

Psychologist, Author & Speaker

Michael J. Bradley, EdD, award-winning author, has counseled adolescents and their parents for over 30 years and currently has a private practice in suburban Philadelphia. As a recognized specialist in adolescent behavior and parenting, Dr. Bradley is in demand as a speaker and facilitator for mental health professionals, educators, and parenting groups. He has appeared on over 400 radio and television shows, including CNN, The Today Show and Good Morning, America, and has been interviewed by numerous magazines and newspapers such as USA Today, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Parents Magazine. His website forum is a great source of advice and encouragement to parents.

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