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Is your teenage son or daughter shoplifting?

Some kids seem to glide through the teen years with the wind at their backs and sails billowing high. Others get stuck trying to paddle upstream. While it may be impossible — and likely unwise — to rush to your teens' rescues every time they make a stagger step, parents can still be strong deterrents against teen lawbreaking.

Shoplifting isn't a thrill — it's a crime

Most parents realize that their teens' brains are still developing and that they are going to pull a few stunts and make some bad decisions during adolescence (and even beyond). But if their mistakes include shoplifting from Knoxville merchants, their worlds can come crashing down.

While some teens shoplift out of boredom or due to a penchant for thrill-seeking behaviors, others succumb to peer pressure or do it out of misplaced aggression. Still other teens may start nicking goods from shops because they can't afford the latest trendy gear. They might do it to get a momentary lift from normal teen angst or serious depression. But your teen might not even be able to articulate why he or she shoplifted.

Is it a one-off or a habit?

If parents learn or suspect that their children shoplifted by a means other than an arrest, they can intervene to ensure it stops now. Here's a link to a shoplifting quiz you can insist that your teen take. Dependent upon the situation and the results, you can decide how best to manage the volatile situation.

But parents often only learn that their teenagers have been doing five-finger discounts when the hapless teens get apprehended at the store. This is a different ballgame, and you are no longer playing just by parental rules when the police and the juvenile court system become involved.

Life's lessons shouldn't include criminal records

No matter how angry you rightfully are upon learning that your child was arrested for shoplifting, it's important that you focus on the fact that your minor child needs help now more than ever.

Parents can learn which options are available as potential defenses to teens' shoplifting charges. In some cases, defense attorneys can arrange for teens to successfully complete shoplifting deterrent programs in lieu of garnering juvenile convictions.

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