Your teen stole from family or friendsCatching your teen stealing from you, other members of the family, or from family friends can feel like a betrayal. It’s essential to take the right next steps so that your teen faces the appropriate consequences for his actions and behaviors.
- If the property can be returned, have your teen return it with an earnest apology.
- If the property cannot be returned, work out an appropriate repayment plan.
- Determine the appropriate punishment for the theft, including loss of privileges, access to devices, and being grounded.
- Consider counseling to help your teen better understand why his behavior is inappropriate.
- Discuss the consequences of stealing. Avoid downplaying the seriousness of the issue. There are life-changing consequences to stealing.
Your teen stole from a store or broke into a homeIf your teen has been caught shoplifting or has broken into a home and stolen valuables, it may now be out of your hands. Once the crime takes a serious turn, law enforcement will need to be involved. This will also come the potential for court, court-ordered community service, and potentially time behind bars. It can be quite a helpless feeling to see your teen facing legal consequences. Once you get past the anger and the frustration, you will have to make several decisions about how to next proceed with helping your teen to navigate the difficulties that he is facing. The value of the stolen property will often be used to determine whether the crime is going to be considered a misdemeanor or a felony. Regardless of the costs associated with the crime, your teen could very well be facing a steep fine or several months in jail.
- If your teen has been arrested, you may need to consider options for bail. This can be a costly endeavor, so be sure to explore all of your available options.
- Your teen will need legal counsel. Court-appointed legal counsel will not cost you much if anything, but many prefer to get their legal team to direct the outcome of the legal proceedings better.
- Make arrangements with your teen’s school so that he can still keep up with his classes, even if he is confined to home.
- Determine whether your teen will return home or whether you’re going to consider getting him into a residential treatment center.