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Teenage Problems/Brother robbing parents' house

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Question
Hi Diana

I am writing to you from outside the states. Recently, my 17 year old brother has been sneaking in to my parents' house overnight or at times when he is sure they are not home and taking money, food and most recently a set of car keys. He outright denied the offenses but has been caught on camera.
He has been living with a girlfriend's family, has no source of income and has been known to smoke marijuana (or synthetic alternatives) in the past.

I feel like this is a call for help but we feel powerless until he, himself, will accept that he needs help.
What can we do?

Answer
First of all, he is 17.  He has a long way to go until his frontal cortex (decision-making) is developed.  Next, he is smoking weed which means, his growth towards developing his decision-making will be stunted or incomplete.  He is motivated to support his habit which is why he is stealing.  If he has money, he will use it for weed and continue to steal so he can continue his pattern.  Marijuana use really does not have a treatment plan that works over a short period of time  It is the craving brain that seeks the THC.  His theft is associated with his behavior.  Help? Change the locks on the house to force him out.  Your parents need to know what he has been doing if they do not know.  Burglary is a felony and if it continues, your parents should take action.  He is a juvenile and will receive probation and drug counseling that is forced on him.  I am not a fan of calling the cops on your kids and deal with it the old fashioned way but if your parents cannot get through to him then he gets what he gets.  He will end up with a record that if it is a court of record (meaning they make it public record) then it will follow him.  None of this is legal advice as I am not an attorney.  I am letting you know what he will encounter.  You are correct, if he is ready for help, he will ask. As far as a cry for help?  I doubt it.  He is being selfish.  He is choosing to feel the reward he gets from the marijuana. Only he can change it.  Or a change be forced on him if he continues stealing.

Teenage Problems

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Diana Dickinson

Expertise

I specialize in Juvenile Crime (Property Crimes - stealing from home, shoplifting, autotheft, joyriding, burglary, etc.) Juvenile Drug Use/Abuse (Prescribed or unprescribed ADHD, Xanex, Weed, etc.) Methamphetamine and Suicide Prevention. I do not provide legal advice, however I can point you to the laws in your state regarding consequences of your illegal actions or someone else's. I work face-to-face with juvenile offenders, both pre-adjudicated and adjudicated. I am the gap filler of statistics otherwise unheard of by the justice systems. I am the fly on the wall, seeing and hearing things that teens do not share with their parents. I then point them in the direction of helpful social services.

Experience

I am a statewide director of programs to address criminal issues that juveniles encounter. I find programs and implement them as well as provide training to professionals. I also work with youths throughout the various stages of their lives.

Education/Credentials
Extensive history of training by the Department of Justice, local universities, and Office of Juvenile Affairs. I am also a Certified District Court Family & Divorce Law Mediator. (I am NOT an attorney. Please do not confuse the two.) I am also certified in the area of Domestic Violence and a certified trainer for Healthy Relationships. If you reside in Oklahoma, and you are interested in training or free services, please contact me.

Awards and Honors
Oklahoma County Juvenile Justice Center's Volunteer of the Year for 2009.

Past/Present Clients
Court referred clients as well as walk-ins from the general public.

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