Lots of kids like exploring their boundaries – and sometimes that includes taking things that aren’t theirs. Unfortunately, when a child steals and gets caught, it can stay on their record forever. While expungement may be an option later, it’s a good idea to work with a Milwaukee juvenile criminal defense attorney who can ask the judge to take your child’s youth, intentions and background into consideration.
Why is My Child Stealing?
No matter how old your child is, or how well-behaved, it’s almost always a surprise to learn that he or she steals things. First, remember this: kids’ brains aren’t as developed as ours, and the instant gratification of stealing is very tempting.
While preschoolers and young school-aged kids may steal things because they lack understanding or self-control, many preteens and teens do know they’re not supposed to steal. However, there are a handful of simple reasons and a laundry list of complex reasons they may make the choice to take things that aren’t theirs:
- Stealing can be a thrill or an adrenaline rush
- Kids test their limits, and this is a limit that some kids are drawn to
- Your child might be feeling pressured to fit in with friends by stealing
- Some teens steal as a way of rebelling against authority
- Many preteens and teens steal because they feel they need the items or money they’re taking
- Your child could be asking for your attention
- Stress is a driving factor in many juvenile thefts; kids can be angry, upset or unable to control other emotions and steal as a cry for help
- Some kids steal to pay for drugs
No matter why your child is stealing things, it’s a behavior you need to address right away to prevent future problems. Ask your child’s attorney if he or she knows a local counselor or therapist who’s experienced in juvenile theft; sometimes talking to an impartial third party can help kids work through their emotions and issues so that you don’t have to worry about them choosing the wrong path.