Teen shoplifting is a bigger issue than it might seem. While in the past teenage retail theft was considered a minor transgression, these days it can have serious consequences. Depending on the value of the object stolen, your child may face time in a juvenile detention center as well as exorbitant fines. The reputational damage caused by a criminal conviction can also haunt teens for many years to come.

So, how can you talk to your teen about the seriousness of shoplifting? Parents recommends the following tips, which will impress upon your teen the full range of consequences that can occur if they are caught shoplifting.

Explain that you will not be able to protect them

Lots of teens believe their parents will be able to bail them out of any tough situation. While it is crucial for parents to support their kids, your child should understand that the consequences of theft are outside your control. Even with legal assistance, your child may still be subject to harsh penalties and punishments. Underscore the short and long-term impact of these punishments, from academic achievement to finding a part-time job.

Highlight the risks involved with shoplifting

Getting away with shoplifting in a retail store is all but impossible these days. Store owners are well aware of the potential for theft, and with cameras and security guards at every turn, it is likely that your child will be caught. Many items also have tags, which trigger an alarm as your child leaves the store with concealed items.

Emphasize the moral issues associated with theft

Shoplifting is not a victimless crime. Retail theft impacts the bottom line of stores and businesses, and can even send some smaller businesses into financial ruin if the issue is persistent. Retail theft can also result in layoffs and firings of store staff. Make sure your child understands the consequences of shoplifting, both for themselves and for any others involved.

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