Welcome to Say No To Shoplifting. You are likely reading this because your child has been caught shoplifting; a serious offense which can have lasting consequences if not addressed quickly and effectively. Your child may have been turned over to the police, gone to court, offered a diversion program or perhaps the store where your child was caught referred them directly to an education program. In any case, he or she was caught shoplifting and the primary goal now is to help them learn from this experience and go on to a bright future.
Like most other parents, you have probably never been in this situation before and aren’t quite sure how to respond. You may be asking:
“Am I a bad parent?”
“Where did I go wrong?”
“She says she’ll never do it again. Should I believe her?”
“He is a decent kid who knows right from wrong.”
“Why should my child take an education program if the item was only $2.00?”
“I don’t understand how any kind of program would help him more than what I have done already.”
To answer these questions, let us ask you a question:
Why Did He/She Steal?
The answer from the vast majority of juveniles is: “I don’t really know”. Sometimes it is because they want nice things, didn’t want to spend the money, felt pressured by friends, wanted to fit-in but felt unworthy, not attractive or not accepted, or were depressed, frustrated, confused, angry or bored. Maybe they just wanted to see if they could get away with it or were mad at the world and wanted to strike back.
Whatever the reason for your child, over our long history, we have come to understand that the act of shoplifting is largely a symptom and a signal to you that there are underlying issues in your child’s life which are causing him/her to feel stress, fear or emotional pain, usually related to school, friends, or a situation at home. For kids, the need to relieve their discomfort creates an impulse to act in this way.
After impulsively taking their first item and “getting away with it”, juveniles often find temporary satisfaction or relief from their internal personal stress and even though they know right from wrong and may have felt ashamed and afraid when they stole, the feeling of satisfaction pulls them toward doing it again.
The value of the item taken is never the issue because shoplifting is not about the item; it’s about the relief or satisfaction obtained from the act of stealing.
Education Makes a Difference
The Y.E.S. Program helps youth gain a new understanding about shoplifting in a very different way than they were probably told by friends; it explains how they impulsively make these kinds of decisions; highlights the true impact shoplifting has on their self-respect and daily life so that they can immediately learn how to make better decisions for themselves. It helps to change the thinking, feelings and attitudes the youth now hold which allowed them to shoplift and will reduce their risk of shoplifting and getting arrested in the future.
Even if you think that shoplifting is not a real problem for your child and you are telling yourself that he/she won’t do it again, the Y.E.S. Program will help your child because it will prepare them to deal with peer pressure and temptation… which will always be there.
Participation in the Y.E.S. Program is a vital part of what your child can do to make amends with the store, your family, the community and most importantly themselves.