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.
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.
Overall if your teen develops a habit of stealing or petty theft it’s something that should be dealt with immediately and without delay because it can often turn into a much larger problem then anticipated if left alone. It’s important to let your teenager 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 your teen is aware of the consequences of stealing and educate them on better ways of handling their problems.