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Young Teen Is Stealing

Question:

My son is almost 13 years old. From an early age, his grandmother taught him how to steal. We have moved away from her, but he continues to steal from family, friends, neighbors, etc. He recently stole $100 from my wallet. He denied this, but I found the money in his room. I don’t want him to have a life of stealing, drugs and jail. Is there a program I can enroll him in that will teach him there is an alternative to stealing?

Answer:

You will need to seek outside intervention. Find a counselor or therapist who can help him make the changes he needs to make. This will not be easy because stealing is often addictive. The thrill of taking what does not belong to you outweighs the negative consequences of stealing. That type of balance is not likely to change his behavior.

Search his room at home. Confront him if you notice anything in his possession that may belong to someone else. Keep in constant communication with his counselor, reporting all verified acts of stealing as well as suspicious acts. Have negative consequences planned in advance. Make these consequences meaningful to him, enforce them immediately and have them be appropriate for the behavior.

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