What Makes Teens Steal?

by James Tang (4709 views)
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Estimated reading time: 1.5 minutes

The case of teens stealing is a rather peculiar one, one that many people may not be able to wrap their minds around logically. But it does exist and it’s a problem, especially in kids that are brought up with bad parenting. Kids or infants and young children may steal simply because they don’t really understand the concept of a thing being “mine” or “yours”. But once they grow up and become more mature in their thinking, then stealing becomes a problem especially if done consciously while knowing it's a bad thing. So why do teens steal then?


Testing Boundaries

For one, teens may be in the phase of testing boundaries. It is natural that teenagers are often curious and fearless because they have yet to really understand the consequences of their actions. As such, they would often test the boundaries of their actions in order to see just how far they can go. This alone isn’t restricted to stealing but other highly dangerous acts such as climbing to great heights in public property, performing death-defying stunts just for the sake of social media and so on. Besides talking to teens about the consequences they may face, the only real way to get them to learn is for them to be caught in the act or learn from their experience.


Trying to Fit In

The other reason why teens steal is because they are simply trying to fit in. It is only natural for kids to want to fit in and peer pressure can cause them to do stupid things like steal from shops. Teens feel the need to be part of a group or organization, to feel wanted and belong. In doing so, they may commit acts like stealing to prove their worth or show that they are doing the “in thing”. The solution for this, of course, is to have a strong family bond with your teen and be an active part of their life. If they feel wanted, there is no reason for them to partake in activities such as stealing.


Wants Are Not Met (Concept of Working for Something Is Missing)

The next reason is slightly more sinister although it doesn’t happen as often here in Singapore. Stealing because basic necessities are not met is more of a problem for first world countries as compared to Singapore because the families there are of poorer. Teens that are not able to have their wants and needs met often resort to stealing as a way to procure something which they deem important to them. This could be a survival problem, or simply because the teens have a lack of self-control, the latter being a much harder case to deal with. It is important that you speak with your child if you believe that the case of his stealing is because of poor self-control, especially if you’re from a well to do family. The bad habit can be easily corrected when your child is still a teen but may grow worse, especially if they don’t see it as an ethical problem.