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When Teens Steal From Parents

What do I do with my 16-year-old son who continues to steal things from our home. He has stolen jewelry and pawned it. Of course he always denies that he did it, but I have found pieces of my jewelry hidden in his room. He has been caught stealing from cars. I told him we were going to start over this year and no longer bring up what he did in the past, thinking he has changed, but now there is one hundred dollars missing from my daughter which was a Christmas gift. Of course he denies taking it, but refused to show me his wallet. Any suggestions of how to deal with this and get past the fact I don't believe anything my son says?


Hi M.,

Give him a warning that - the next time something comes up missing - the police will be called and you will file theft charges (this assumes that you will have some evidence that it was, in fact, your son who took the item in question). If he steals and you refuse to get authorities involved - it shows he can do it with impunity.

I don't know where you are located, but in some states there is something that is called a "youth at risk petition". This is where you ask the court to step in and help you with your out of control teen. He is not arrested, but has accountability with the court. If he messes up then he will go to detention.

Emptying his room of everything but necessities is also an option.

Taking his door off as well is an option. Thus, he has no place to hide the things he steals.

If he gets an allowance take part of it to pay for the stolen items.

It is going to depend on how far you are willing to take it. If you are not willing to take discipline to the next level you can expect more of the same from him.

Lastly, the real valuable things should probably be kept under lock-and-key from this point on.

Mark Hutten, M.A.

My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

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