10 Reasons Why Do Teenagers Shoplift: What to Do About It

February 12, 2024    criminaldefencelawyersperthwa
10 Reasons Why Do Teenagers Shoplift: What to Do About It

It can be shocking for a parent to discover that their teen has shoplifted. After all, you raised your child to understand right and wrong. Did they remember how often you made them return their friends’ toys after playdates? You repeatedly stated that taking items that do not belong to them is wrong. So, why do teens shoplift?

Many parents of teenagers caught stealing are astonished to hear that shoplifting is frequent. Parents who discover their teen has been caught shoplifting may be worried about criminal intentions. While this isn’t always the case, shoplifting is an offence that parents must face head-on and can also request the help of criminal damage lawyers.

Teens’ reasons for shoplifting can often be more complicated. Parents should know that the triggers are frequently rooted in adolescent psychology. Some of the most common reasons children steal include:

1. Peer pressure

Teenagers often steal from stores to prove to their buddies that they are “cool.” Teenagers who want to fit in may be dared or convinced to shoplift. The need to blend in and impress their peers could prevail over their better judgment.

2. Poor impulse control

Teenagers still develop their prefrontal cortex, which controls cognition and self-regulation. Because their minds are still developing, they are less likely to consider the repercussions before shoplifting.

3. To challenge authority

At this stage of self-discovery, teenagers are more likely to rebel against their parents and cultural norms. Pushing boundaries and testing limits are major reasons for youths to shoplift. Engaging in risky behaviors and defying authority are all part of the developing process.

4. For thrills

Some teenagers steal to get an adrenaline rush when bored and looking for excitement. They may not need or want the stolen item. Some juvenile shoplifters become repeat offenders because they enjoy the rush of getting away with stealing. Shoplifting can be considered an addiction, known as kleptomania, and can lead to situations when police come to the house after shoplifting.

5. To distract from uncomfortable emotions

Hormonal changes can cause kids to become moody and experience a variety of heightened emotions. Some teenagers steal to distract themselves from intense emotions (such as rage, despair, or grief). You can contact theft crime lawyer Perth professionals to help counsel your child or you on how to teach the child.

6. Pay Attention

Some teenagers may steal to gain attention. Feeling neglected at home or envious of a sibling’s attention, some children shoplift to draw parents’ attention to themselves. They want to be heard and loved, and theft is their way of communicating, “Pay attention to me!”

7. Behavioural or mental health disorders

Children with behavioral disorders show poor conduct and have difficulty obeying rules, which may lead to theft. One study discovered a link between shoplifting and borderline personality disorder. Stealing can result in other mental issues such as severe sadness, anxiety, or bipolar disorder.

8. Neurodivergence

Teenagers whose brains work differently, such as those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or ADHD, frequently struggle with behavior and controlling their impulses, causing them to say and act without thinking. One study discovered that children who had a history of stealing were more likely to be labeled with ASD or ADHD.

9. Past trauma

According to the same study, young people with ASD or ADHD who have also experienced abuse are more prone to shoplift.

10. Kleptomania

If a youngster is still shoplifting at 15, they may have kleptomania, a type of behavioral problem. Kleptomania appears to be more common in girls, starting in late adolescence. It’s a rare illness in which individuals cannot resist the urge to steal things they don’t need.

How to Deal with Teen Shoplifting

Shoplifting is a widespread violation, but that does not mean it should be overlooked. Parents of children found stealing should take it seriously since it could indicate that an adolescent requires mental health treatment. Furthermore, parents must clarify to their children that theft has serious consequences. Here are some of the most effective strategies to deal with shoplifting.

  • Don’t Overreact

Yelling and name-calling when your teen does anything wrong will not help. And it is unlikely to alter their conduct. On the contrary, being upset, threatening, and imposing harsh penalties will make children scared and hesitant to listen to you. Instead, be calm and teach your teen about respect for others and their possessions. If this is your teen’s first violation, ask what triggered their actions and pay close attention. Do not go into lecturing mode.

  • Let natural consequences unfold—or set your own

For most teenagers, being caught in an obvious situation of immoral conduct serves as a deterrent. If the store owner files charges, the shame, discomfort, and probable legal consequences will hopefully deter your youngster from shoplifting. If the store owner does not press charges, you must punish your teen and establish age-appropriate consequences for their behavior.

  • Determine their motivation

Ask your teen what motivated them to shoplift. Ask them what they were thinking. Were their buddies involved? Did they encourage them to steal? Listen with compassion. You might be amazed at what your child shares.


The reasons discussed in this blog are why children steal even though they are raised in great families. However, as teenagers, the parent or adult must teach the child right and wrong. In case your teenage child has committed such a mistake, and you are having trouble dealing with the issue, the criminal damage lawyers will render the best assistance.

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