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Karin Samms
Karin Samms, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 300
Experience:  with over 15 years experience offering support with relationship, mental health & addiction issues
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Our 16 year old son has taken things from other people

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Our 16 year old son has taken things from other peoples houses during parties. The goods were returned however. We have a question as to what we should do with him now, unfortunately he's about to start his exams but is there somewhere where we can get free help to determine if he has any problems. He has exemplary behaviour in ever other aspect and is a popular and respected child at school and home. We can't understand why this has happened but as it now has happened a second time we feel we have to get help.

Hi there,

I'm sorry to hear that you're going through this. I would like to offer you some support and perhaps. Consider your options of where you might go...

Firstly, it would be important to get a sense of how long this has been going on, you will need to ask him in a calm manner and allow him to be as open and honest as he possibly can with you, without fear of your reaction to it for now. Yes, GCSE's will take over any time you may have wanted to invest in things at this precise moment, however there is nothing stopping you from doing your research on youth related support networks, as referrals can take a while to come through.

Seeing as you are UK based, my first point of contact would be to see if GP could refer you to a young people's counselling service or to a psychologist, (psychologist is what would be better to push for - as they can assess if be has any psychological related issue, and counsellor if you feel he needs to build a relationship, trust someone and begin to open up to someone impartial to work through the reasons why he acted in this way and stole things). He may not want to go but it's worth being 'tooled up' before you put anything to him, and you may want to leave it till after his exams are over, as this intervention may create unnecessary stress and anxiety in him (fear of the unknown can cause this to happen). I work with young adults and believe that his behaviour will have some root from which it has begun; this behaviour of stealing is a response to something else in his life - perhaps transitions. Once things settle down after exams, perhaps it could be addressed with a professional?

Here are some links that you might be interested in, I'm uncertain which part of the UK you are based so I will give you a rough idea that all locations within the UK will have a dedicated young person's counselling service available. It is usually free and confidential, so he may feel reassured by this (and might be more likely to give it a go):

Some counsellors will be specifically trained in working with young people, and if you're interested in going private, they can be accessed via the BACP website:

Or if you are searching for a private psychologist: The British Psychological Society's Directory of Chartered Psychologists:

I truly hope this is a good starting point for you, my best wishes as this can't be easy for you as parents to have to deal with either. Best of luck, and I pray that you can resolve this with him peacefully.

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Kindest Regards, Karin
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