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How to stop my sisters addiction to stealing?

Discussion in 'Helping an Addicted Friend' started by light, Jul 11, 2015.

  1. light

    light Active Contributor

    My sister is only fifteen years old but I think she is addicted to stealing cosmetic products mostly but even clothes. My family felt ashamed when our cousin caught her stealing her dress but after feeling very guilty we thought it was just an impulsive act. It happened again in a shop with cosmetic products where she stole a lipstick even though she just bought one. Again..and again! I doubt she may have any stealing addiction but don’t know how to help her… Please share your experiences and your advices. :((
  2. 6up

    6up Community Champion

    You should let the law take its course. If she is caught again, she should be taken to a court of law. That is the only way she can learn that she must not steal.
  3. Jamesbonner

    Jamesbonner Active Contributor

    Try to talk with her, if not, try to steal her things just to make her feel what it feels like, if not you need to punish here each time she does something like that, I don't know how you should punish her, for example don't let her go out from the house, don't give her money, don't let her go to shopping, don't let her see her friends etc ... you can't easily control her in that age but at least you can try ...
  4. rrs4623

    rrs4623 Member

    I think you may have to deal with the issue by digging deeper. Is she stealing to gain acceptance from her peers? Are her friends like that? If so, ending those harmful relationships is the best solution. If she is doing it for attention, then letting the law deal with it is a solution.
    Chances are that she suffers from Kleptomania, a condition where someone cannot stop stealing, even though they know it is wrong. If that is the case, she needs to visit a counselor or psychologist, because its not going to go away without some help. Hope this was helpful!
  5. MNyte

    MNyte Member

    Well, depending on your sister, and her personality, neglecting her could help. If you show her consent, and she is the type who is 'stuck up' ( not to be rude ), then the more you care, the more she does it. Adolescents tend to hold grudges, and belie decisions because they feel as if they are being controlled. Maybe if you give her the silent treatment, and pretend she is not there( until she stops stealing ), she will change. Like I said, it depends on who she is.
  6. Snakevenom

    Snakevenom Member

    Usually in these situations I would give them a taste of their own medicine, so to speak. You could try taking some of things she stole etc. When she notices ask her how she felt.

    The guilt trip usually works, not to be harsh but if you make her feel bad and put a face behind the crime (saying that she's taking food off of families plates by stealing) she'll feel worse and will probably think twice before stealing again.
  7. sonia11

    sonia11 Senior Contributor

    Well, you need to figure out WHY she's doing this in the first place. Obviously she's not taking things she needs to survive, or things she even wants (ex. she has enough lipsticks, but she steals another one.) Sit her down and ask her how it feels for her to steal things. She may be doing it because she thinks it's fun, or because she just impulsively wants something. At work, I see quite a few shoplifters, and mainly the reason the kids steal is because they wanted something in that moment, not thinking about the consequences at all. She's going to have to learn that all her impulses can't be acted on, sometimes you have to either pay for something, if you really want it, or put it back.

    In the end, the only thing that might act as a wake up call is the police getting involved. If she keeps stealing, she WILL get caught, and being a minor she'll probably just get processed and face some fines. Make sure she understands that it's a big deal to get arrested and hopefully make her pay the fines with her own money, instead of, say, your parents taking care of it.
    light and deanokat like this.
  8. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    I think your sister needs to see a counselor. Like @rrs4623 and @sonia11 suggested, you need to find out why your sister is stealing. Usually there are root causes of behavior like this. A counselor could maybe help get to the bottom of the "why?" aspect.
    light likes this.
  9. gmckee1985

    gmckee1985 Senior Contributor

    Hate to hear that youre going through this situation. On the bright side, its a lot less than what a lot of folks are dealing with. To be honest, I'm not sure talking to your sister will get her to stop stealing. I think its likely that she is going to have to get caught and deal with the ramifications before she learns her lesson. Hope im wrong though.
  10. mickella18

    mickella18 Active Contributor

    Very valid points here, especially that you need to figure out the 'why' of the problem. At 15 years old, I am pretty sure she is aware of the consequences of stealing so it must be a powerful factor why she would choose to do it anyway. Neglect is never the answer especially in teenagers. We actually welcome neglect because we hate being bombarded by family interference anyway.

    Sit her down and get to the meet of the matter. Threaten to take action if you must.
  11. karmaskeeper

    karmaskeeper Community Champion

    I agree she needs to face the music. She is young so the sooner the better. The longer she goes without punishment the harder it will be for her to stop. Plus her being a teen maybe they will not do to much just enough to stop her kinda scare her straight. She doesn't need to be doing this as she gets older because she could get into to big trouble as an adult.
  12. MyDigitalpoint

    MyDigitalpoint Community Champion

    This is exactly what I was thinking of.

    When someone stills consciously for whatever reason, perhaps an inner pleasure to do it, this could be called "addiction whether to still or to hurt someone (usually hurt commercial concepts)

    However when the person steals involuntarily, like being pushed for a need to do it, it's because she might be suffering from kleptomania.

    Until you don't really know what is causing her behavior, you won't be able to help her efficiently. Talk to help about to convenience to visit a counselor or psychologist as @rrs4623 has suggested.
  13. Hyperion

    Hyperion Active Contributor

    I've discovered since I've gotten a bit older that theft is a much bigger issue with young people than I realized when I was a teenager. It will grow into something worse. You should try to steer her away from it the best you can, but she will probably continue to do it until she gets caught. Explain to her that she is on her own when she gets caught, and you won't hire a lawyer for her, etc. My mother did this to me and it made me make better decisions. I was not nearly as wealthy as the people I grew up around, so I understood why she said this. However, my friends with rich parents got bailed out and continue to become worse people.
  14. Hyperion

    Hyperion Active Contributor

    I should add a small anecdote:
    When I lived on Cape Cod, one of my bosses told me about a famous thief in the area. He started when he was young and became more skilled as it went on. Eventually accumulating a fair amount of wealth because of it. He had robbed tons of people, including my boss, and the pathetic, ultra-lenient Massachusetts criminal justice system kept releasing him for whatever insane reason they came up with. It infuriated the police, but there was nothing they could do. He ended up knocking up a girl and then dying in a car wreck because he was high. He could have killed people on the road.
    This kind of behavior, if it goes unchecked will get worse, and you owe it to society to make sure your sister doesn't not morph into a criminal. Thieving is one of the best indicators of a degrading society.
  15. Winterybella

    Winterybella Community Champion

    I see some suggesting she is dealt with by the law? I would want to do everything possible to help before it reaches the stage where the law is involved. I think immediate action should be taken to get her some professional help before it becomes a much bigger, uglier problem. Kleptomania is a very real mental disorder. I think the best approach is to find out what's fuelling this and go from there.
  16. moreno58

    moreno58 Active Contributor

    I agree with Winterybella. It would be better to try and get her some help before it gets worst and the only alternative is the law. Maybe get her into some therapy and try and find out what is going on. There are a lot of different things that could be going on.
  17. Tremmie

    Tremmie Community Champion

    There is no such a thing as ''stealing addiction'', this is more a mental disease issue than anything else. Some people just feel the strange compulsion to steal things. I think your sister needs help before she gets caught and have problems with the law. It's still early to help her, but you guys need to know what is exactly causing this. So you can fix it more easily.
  18. zaerine

    zaerine Community Champion

    I agree that knowing the reasons why she is doing that could help you understand the situation more. That could also help in solving the problem. Better for her to learn early that stealing is bad and against the law before she will learn it the hard way.