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Is this behavior a new development or a continuation of behavior that's been going on for years?
It sounds like it's time to get a neutral third party involved. Between the stealing and the unhealthy relationship, it's clear she would benefit from some counseling. Girls of that age rarely respond well to what their mothers say, but when a stranger says virtually the same thing, they'll listen.
As noted on the NASP website "
The single largest psychological factor found in approximately 1/3 of shoplifters studied is "depression". This helps to explain why so many individuals steal from stores on their birthday and/or around holiday times.
The more intense form of shoplifting is classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) as an "Impulse Disorder" known as Kleptomania. For this classification, the patient must meet the following five criteria to justify this diagnosis.
Getting her in to see a therapist, particularly one who specializes in Cognitive Behavior Therapy, would be the most productive help you could give her. She will be evaluated to see if she meets the criteria for kleptomania, and if she does, a combination of therapy and meds could make a big difference. Here are the treatments suggested by the Mayo Clinic:
Treatment of kleptomania typically involves medications and psychotherapy, perhaps along with self-help groups. However, there's no standard kleptomania treatment, and researchers are still trying to understand what may work best. You may have to try several types of kleptomania treatment to find something that works well for your situation.
MedicationsThere's little solid scientific research about using psychiatric medications to treat kleptomania. However, certain medications may be helpful. Which medication is best for you depends on your overall situation and other conditions you may have, such as depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder. You may benefit from taking a combination of medications. Medications to consider include:
You may have to try several different medications or combinations of medications to see what works best for you with the fewest side effects. Keep in mind that it may take several weeks to notice full benefits. Talk to your doctor or mental health provider if you're bothered by side effects. Under his or her guidance, you may be able to switch medications or change your dosage. Many side effects eventually go away.
PsychotherapyCognitive behavioral therapy has become the psychotherapy of choice for kleptomania. In general, cognitive behavioral therapy helps you identify unhealthy, negative beliefs and behaviors and replace them with healthy, positive ones. Cognitive behavioral therapy may include these techniques to help you overcome kleptomania urges:
Other forms of therapy, such as psychodynamic therapy, or family therapy also may be helpful.
Here's a link to a directory of therapists that you can search by area and specialty:
Teens do better when they have someone to confide in, and as you noted, she knows how you feel about her relationship situation and the lying. Setting her up with a seasoned, experienced therapist would be the best way to get her back on track.
She has to be getting something out of this behavior, or she wouldn't continue causing so much upset in the family with her actions. Even if the stealing is not the main issue, I would still recommend Cognitive therapy as it will teach her to review and assess her own thoughts before taking action.