Talking to children about difficult topics is not always easy. As parents, it is important to teach children about the world and the type of behavior that is expected of them. Although subjects involving underage drinking, drug use or sexual activity are rightfully highlighted as important topics of discussion, shoplifting is another issue that needs to be talked about. Whether children have never shoplifted or have been caught in the act, it should be addressed early.
1. Examine the Situation
Depending on their ages, personality types and social groups, there are many reasons why children may shoplift something from a store. They may be trying to look cool in front of their friends or succumb to peer pressure. If they are young, they may not understand exactly what stealing is and why it was wrong. Older children may do it because it is exciting and makes them feel independent. It may be the only way they can obtain illegal substances, or they might steal things that the family cannot afford to purchase for them.
2. Talk About the Consequences
Shoplifting is a crime and can result in legal consequences. If children make it a habit, they can end up in jail and may need to deal with Erie County bail bonds, court time and fees and fines. Besides dealing with the legal system, children can also face consequences at home. Think about the appropriate way to handle the situation, whether it is restricting access to malls or shops unless under adult supervision, taking away access to certain privileges or other appropriate actions.
3. Ask Questions
Find out what motivates children to want to shoplift. Finding out that children have shoplifted or may shoplift can bring up a lot of strong emotions. Ask questions and listen to the answers to get as much information as possible. Once the motivations and circumstances are understood, parents can help children move past the situation.
4. Reinforce Good Values
Everyone has their own set of personal values that guides their behavior throughout their lives. Instilling good values is an important part of being a parent. Talk about the values that children should follow in their lives and lead by example. If the parents exhibit good behavior, then children have positive role models to follow.
Children make mistakes as they grow and learn about the world. By keeping the lines of communication open and helping them understand how to make good choices, parents can limit the temptation to start or continue shoplifting.