Teen Theft #67

Out of nearly two decades of coaching, it has happened…thievery among the girls.

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“When life brings you full circle, pay attention. There’s a lesson there.”
― Mandy Hale

A big problem with teenagers who begin to act out and rebel is theft. Many teens see theft as a way of dealing with social or emotional aspects of their life and thought it usually starts out pretty innocently it can develop into quite a problem. A lot of teens will steal because of peer pressure or influence from their friends. If a teenager can’t have the same quality of clothes or electronics their friends have then it’s pretty common for them to turn to stealing the object or stealing the money to pay for the object that they want. If you happen to see that your teen has new clothes or other types of things that you know you didn’t purchase for them and they don’t have any other way of explaining the presence of such material items it’s a safe bet that your teen has taken to stealing as a way to get what they want.

Last night at practice when people were leaving I had one of my members yell, “Coach, my money is gone!”

All of a sudden one of the gals points the finger at one of the girls that had left saying, “I saw ‘so and so’ going through ‘——–‘s’ bag earlier.”

You can imagine the discourse that followed this accusation.  Pretty soon, someone else said, “I have money missing too!”

Having been a teenager once, a veteran of parenting and coaching, I know all too well that the one who usually points the finger is the one who has done the theft.

However, after asking the girl (calmly) who pointed the finger first to who did it, and the others still left, to please empty out their pockets and backpacks – there was a point of haughty transactions that took place.  And the gal who’s money had gone missing – said, “Coach, it couldn’t be ‘so and so’ because they’re my friend.”

I tried my best to stay calm and let her know that she would feel better checking with the people left at the scene, because then she knows without a doubt that it was not them.  She frankly said, “no” – and took the words of the girl who was the loudest overall and the most convincing at pointing the finger away from her.

When I asked the member who was ‘most convincing’ everyone else that it was ‘so and so,’ I asked “Why wasn’t this brought up early if you knew she was going through ‘the victim’s’ bag.”

I was given the lame excuse that, “I didn’t want to embarrass her.”   

Now, having known these girls since the beginning of the year, I’ve gotten to hear and see many things transpire into drama in the past with even the littlest nonsense.  And I knew without a doubt that if someone had been going through somebody else’s backpack without their consent, drama would have been expelled as soon as it was happening.

Another reason that teenagers act out and begin to steel is because of pressure to fit in or be liked. Many groups will use petty theft as a sort of “initiation rite” into their inner circles by requiring any new people or members to commit a crime to prove that they are “worthy” of hanging out with them. It can also begin with a teenager being asked to stick around as the “lookout” for other members of the group but unfortunately teens that do this are often prosecuted just as harshly as the people who are actually doing the stealing. This kind of influence can be dangerous as it often snowballs and leads to larger crimes with more severe punishments.

Some teenagers will steal out of boredom or just for the thrill of having done something without getting caught. Other teens will steal to get attention from their parents and are often in competition with brothers or sisters. They might also steal as a way of acting out against authority and proving that they don’t have to listen to anyone or follow orders. It can also stem from feeling neglected and left out at home. If a teen feels that they might get more attention by stealing something or committing some type of crime  then this can be a way of dealing with the lack of attention they feel is a problem in their life. It can also be a way of acting out against something going on at home that they can’t handle such as a divorce, a move, or some other difficult type of life situation.

SOLUTIONS TO GOING FORWARD:

  • telling the members that stealing is wrong
  • voice to keep money that is not intended to being used at home
  • voice to make sure that all valuables are put away and out of sight
  • avoid lecturing, predicting future bad behavior
  • make clear that this behavior is totally unacceptable

It’s important to let teens know that they are in a safe environment where they can discuss their problems and that you will provide the best support that you can. Make sure teens are aware of the consequences of stealing and educate them on better ways of handling their problems.

http://www.eagleboysranch.com/Teen-Theft.php

https://www.aacap.org/aacap/families_and_youth/facts_for_families/FFF-Guide/Children-Who-Steal-012.aspx

More links to problems and solutions:

http://parentingteenagersacademy.com/stealing/

 

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