Should Kids Write a Shoplifting Apology Letter

If your child is caught shoplifting, how should he apologize? In some states, the legal system requires a shoplifting apology letter to be sent to the store manager. Other states offer programs that require the shoplifter to apologize to the theft victim. Is this an appropriate consequence? Yes.

What Lessons Are Learned?

  • Trust.  If a child shoplifts, he must rebuild trust. Writing a letter of apology to the theft victim can be the cornerstone of rebuilding trust.
  • Humility.  When a child apologizes for the mistake, he learns to be humble.
  • Consequences. For every action, there is a reaction. Children need to understand that improper actions result in consequences. Learning accountability at a young age is an important lesson. Writing an apology letter might be the least daunting consequence a child faces.
  • Circumstances. A child who writes about the reasons why he shoplifted might discover triggers that influenced the act. This can be helpful to a parent who is trying to comprehend the actions of his child.

Programs Offer Help
Some states offer diversion programs for non-violent crimes, which keep children charged with shoplifting from reporting to court. Diversion programs work with children, and sometimes parents, to show the long-term consequences of shoplifting. Many times, these programs support having a child write an apology letter. This step requires the child to examine his motives prior to the shoplifting as well as to understand the severity of the consequences.

Writing a letter of apology for shoplifting is a valuable learning tool for a child who is caught stealing. The process will help your child understand the consequences and thought processes surrounding the incident.

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