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How to Tell If Your Teen Daughter Is Stealing

by Tammy Dray

Stealing is more common among teens than you might think. Part of it stems from peer pressure, according to psychologist and author Michele Borba, but it's also due to boredom, which is why shoplifting among teens is more common in spring and summer -- they're not in school and have more free time. If you suspect your teen daughter might be stealing, it makes sense to be in the lookout for some clues.

Look around the next time you're in her room. Resist the temptation to search the room -- you want to respect her privacy. Just look around. If she's brave enough to steal, she might be careless enough to leave pilfered items lying around. Notice any new objects that don't belong and that you haven't bought. Don't assume they're stolen -- they could have been borrowed from a friend -- but do ask where they came from.

Inspect your daughter's choice of clothing. For example, say she's been obsessed with certain brands but you couldn't afford them and suddenly, she starts wearing those brands. Although borrowing clothes from friends is a possibility, that's likely an occasional incident, not a consistent occurrence.

Pay attention to your daughter's attire when she leaves home. If she's carrying baggy jackets even though the weather is warm, he might be using that to conceal stolen items. The same is true of a teenager who leaves the house with an empty backpack and returns with one that looks full and heavy.

Ask friends and relatives if they're missing any property or money. Stealing doesn't always happen at stores. Some teens could be stealing from family or friends. Small amounts of money are a lot easier to snatch from the purse of an unsuspecting parent or aunt than from a stranger.

Look for the appearance of items you don't approve of. If you don't want your daughter to wear makeup yet and she suddenly owns mascara or lip gloss, ask where she got it. Look for provocative clothing, banned music or anything she might be stealing because you refuse to buy it for her.

About the Author

Aside from writing experience, I also have coaching/teaching experience, both as an writing coach (currently teaching three workshops at www.coffeehouseforwriters.com) and an ESL (English-as-a-Second-Language)teacher abroad. I'm a certified Nutrition Consultant and fitness trainer and a longtime contributor to health/wellness publications, from Self to Marie Claire. I am fluent in Spanish and have worked as a translator and a language instructor. I also have two books forthcoming in 2008.

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