No parent wants to believe that their child would participate in shoplifting. However, many teens are cited for this crime, which can then lead to a legal record that could follow your child for life. 

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to deter your child from shoplifting. Instilling in your child the importance of being an honest, law-abiding citizen will prevent current and future legal problems, as well as build character. 

Establish the consequences of stealing 

Many kids shoplift because they do not understand the seriousness of the situation. Parents should acquaint their children with the possible consequences of stealing, including fines and jail time. A criminal record can also affect your child’s educational or job opportunities well into the future. When teens understand that stealing is taken seriously by the justice system, they may be less likely to follow peer pressure. 

Explain how shoplifters are commonly caught 

Retail stores use sophisticated methods to catch shoplifters. Cameras, security tags on clothing, and security personnel can be found in many stores, with the sole purpose of apprehending shoplifters. As a result, it is unlikely your child will be able to get away with his or her shoplifting adventure. 

Evaluate your teen’s belongings from time to time 

Unless your child has a part-time job, it is not likely that he or she will be able to pay for expensive purchases. Accordingly, if you notice your child sporting new clothing or expensive jewelry that you did not purchase, it is time to sit down and have a frank discussion. Kids shoplift for all sorts of reasons, from peer pressure to mental health issues. Starting a dialogue with your child when you first notice issues is often the best plan of action. 

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