Is My Son Stealing?

Dear Sara,

I have been finding things in my twelve-year-old son’s room that he cannot afford on his allowance. I am pretty sure that he is stealing them but he denies this and says that his friends have given them to him. I am worried that he will get in trouble with the law if my suspicions are correct. What can I do to get to the bottom of this and make him change his behavior?

Dear Dorie,

Maybe you need to start with a little more investigative work. Pin your son down by asking which friends gave him certain items and call the parents of these friends to confirm his story. If you find that in fact, he is lying then you can help him start paying for the things he has stolen.

If you can figure out which store his ill-gotten gains came from then the best thing to do would be to assist your son in returning the items. Whatever the store’s policy is, he will have to face the consequences. It’s better to take the hard-line now than let him get the idea that he can get away with stealing. If you cannot figure out where the stolen merchandise came from, you might consider having your son work around the house to earn money and then give the money to a church or some charity of his choice.

Whatever method of restitution that you choose your son needs to see that there are consequences for his actions.

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