If your child is being charged with shoplifting, it may be difficult for you to know how to handle the situation effectively. If your child claims innocence, you will have to do your own investigation to determine the truth. Talking to your child about the problem is usually the best way to find out the truth and resolve the problem. As the parent, you should be patient and listen to all parties before making an appropriate decision.


This is the first thing to do when your child is being charged with shoplifting. Listen to your child’s version of the story and ask them plainly if the accusation is true. If he claims innocence, ask him about the reason for the accusation. If your child still insists on being innocent and you find nothing to prove otherwise, then you should believe him.

Talk to the accuser and tell him that you believe your child is innocent, then ask him why he thinks your child is not innocent. If the accuser decides to press charges, then consult a lawyer. However, if your child admits that he is guilty, take necessary steps to resolve the problem.

The Talk

Talk to your child and explain why shoplifting is wrong. Ask your child why he did it. Shoplifting by children is often motivated by jealousy and the need to have what other children have. Let your child know that shoplifting is against the law and not the best way to get more stuff. Children who do not stop the bad habit of shoplifting often go on to commit more serious crimes. Therefore, it is important that your child knows she has made a mistake.

The Apology

Ask your child to apologize to the accuser and return the stolen item immediately, or pay back the required amount. Make sure you accompany your child to ensure she actually returns the item and makes the apology. In many cases, the embarrassment of admitting to shoplifting will discourage a child from shoplifting in the future. Your child should offer a genuine apology to the accuser and ask how she can help fix the problem. Be sure you let your child speak for herself.

The Punishment

Force your child to pay back for the item she stole, no matter how small the item is. In addition, consider corrective punishment like grounding and withholding allowance. Avoid physical punishment because it is likely to make your child engage in destructive behavior. If the problem persists, counseling is always a helpful option.

If your child has been charged with shoplifting, you may need to seek legal counsel so your child will be appropriately and accurately represented in court. Contact us online or at 206-621-0500 for a consultation today.