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I got busted shoplifting

Two days after my 13th birthday, I shoplifted. I stole from three stores before I got busted. I felt awful, especially when my mom had to pick me up from the mall. I hate myself! How can I move on?


Dear 13,
OK. You screwed up, and you got busted. You regret it but, since you shoplifted from three stores, is it possible that deep down you wanted to get caught? Sometimes, girls who shoplift just want some attention. When they feel ignored or invisible, negative attention seems preferable to zero attention. Or maybe you were peeved with your BF or upset about getting cut from the basketball team, and felt stealing would even the score. Or maybe you were bored and looking for an adrenaline rush—“thrill stealing.” Level with yourself, and think about what made those fingers sticky. If you don’t know why, you run the risk of doing it again—even if you do regret it. It sounds like you’ve learned the hard way that a “free” pair of earrings isn’t worth losing respect—for yourself and from your ’rents. \Instead of hating yourself, talk to your mom or a counselor about your feelings. Vow never to shoplift again, and come up with something you can do to feel proud of yourself. Helping others is a good way to regain your pride. How about making Valentines for nursing home residents or kids in the pediatric ward? Or organize a bake sale to benefit the American Red Cross or Afghan children? Forgive yourself, lend a hand, and you will feel better—guaranteed.


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BY CAROL WESTON ON 7/11/2008 10:46:00 AM


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